One of my political heroes was the late South African politician Helen Suzman, for many years the only anti-apartheid member of the (all-white) parliament in Cape Town. As a leader of the opposition party she sat right across from the government, speaking directly to their menacing faces. On one occasion she said to them: “You should really visit one of the townships, to see how blacks live in our country. I suggest that you go disguised as human beings.”
From the always excellent Peter L. Berger.
I used to listen to my songs in random order, but now I go through them alphabetically by name. That has made me notice something remarkable —out of 38 songs in my collection whose name begins with ‘I’, 14 are from The Beatles.
You know them —male, white, middle class, unapologetically heteropatriarchs, and as I can see now, a bunch of egocentric bastards.
As if the world revolted around them, or as if we gave a damn about the pettiness and hollowness of their pathetic partying around for a girl’s kiss in caverns in Liverpool.
The world would be a better place if they had checked back their privileges, assumed their guilt, apologized to the oppressed, pledged them for acceptance and forgiveness, and redeemed themselves by assuming the role of the meek and humble, low-key unconditional background supporter of those whose moment in history has arrived.
And what did they do instead? A batch of silly songs no one wants to hear which should be given absolutely no platform in any college radio station.
Ban’em, here, there, and everywhere.
You know the type. They give you things you haven’t asked for.
Recently I was given one thousand, ten thousand maybe, I don’t know, almonds. They all came from a very old, purely Majorcan almond tree —no bullshit here, those were almonds with pedigree from the land. Smaller than the foreign ones, that’s for sure; but you’ll test them boy and you’re gonna tell me.
So I thanked him with a big smile, of course, almost rented a small van to carry’em home, kind of emptied a room just to store them, went shopping for an almond cracker… and here I am, cracking open the assuredly best almonds in the world, day after day, until God knows when.
My grandma used a hammer and was far much better at it than I am, but I’m sure enough she nevertheless will be proud to see her grandson doing something useful and laborius in his life for once at last.
(some spoilers below)
American Honey. Can there be romance, happiness, on a rundown bus and in dirty motels, selling mags?
King Jack. He just fell off his bike. That outmoded.
Eye in the Sky. You and me are not in that room.
Morris From America. Everyone should be a stranger some time somewhere.
The Shallows. Visually stunning.
Elle. Everything is unusual here: the approach to rape, to virtue and vice, to lesbianism, to work relations, even to religion and fatherhood.
Hell or High Water. Men in all ways authentic, for better and for worse. Superb acting and storytelling.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople and The Lobster. Essentially the same film —there’s no escape, period.
Nocturnal Animals. Failure to comply with the ancestral bases of both femininity and masculinity will lead to this mutual revenge.
Florence Foster Jenkins. Frears could have followed the usual cynical path but deliberately chooses to tell the story the benevolent way, what makes the film unique, and touching, funny and pathetic.
The Edge of Seventeen. Maybe the story is not about her, after all. Great performance again from Hailee Steinfeld (Mattie Ross in the extraordinary True Grit), and a good one from Blake Jenner (Everybody Wants Some, excellent film by the way).
The Christian afterlife tale. There’s Heaven, where the people you’ve loved and have loved you beatifically wait for you to join them in eternity —and, in the meantime, watch on you and talk to you and you talk to them and respond to them and only them; they laugh at you and you laugh with them, and cry as well.
That’s a selected group up there.
I’m in a process of purposeful de-intellectualizing.