Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Epitaph-in-Progress

STRANGER, DO NOT FRET FOR ME.
I DIED OLD.
AND I RODE ALL THE RIDES.

Or maybe it's better shorter:

I RODE ALL THE RIDES.

I Imagine the Ultimate Art Snobbery

I imagine the ultimate art snobbery: someone starts talking about that cheese which artist Olafur Eliasson confected using his own tears. And then the other person, whom this was intended to impress, the interlocutor, would say, "Oh yeah. I had some of that. It wasn't half bad. But not really my favorite Danish cheese."

Oh, What a Good Time is to Be Had When Every Character is a Monster

I started watching How to Get Away with Murder.

It is a little addictive. Yes, it's also a little ridiculous, but blame that on the frenetic pace and the gratuitous (omigawd gay!) rough and tumble, nay pummelling, sex in every episode.

But it's fun.

The plot? It's sort of The Paper Chase (maybe you're too young to even remember that one) meets I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Law and Order.

Every episode is chock full of  legal douchebaggery and murder. There is an ongoing mystery of a murder of a central character on the show, who is variously alive or dead, depending on where we are in the temporal shuttlings the episodes do. Presumably, this central mystery will be fully explained by the end of the season. Additionally, Davis and her small group of chosen students (culled from a university course she teaches) mount and bring to completion a legal defense for some innocent or guilty party each week (here is the entree for guest stars) in the subplot included in each episode.

Oh, and the show is full of fornication. And the ones who aren't fornicating are philandering. So there's that plus.

Viola Davis is marvelous as usual, a real gift. The other cast members keep up.

As in so many Mamet plays, everybody is the bad guy. And this includes the women. Oh yes. 

Precis: Future defense attorneys learn scumball tactics from the Queen of the Scumballs, an unscrupulous defense attorney (Davis) who will do anything to win.

My heroes in real life are generally prosecutors. Okay, sometimes these are defense attorneys, when we're talking Innocence Project lawyers or Southern Poverty Law Center types. 

But shows like this (and it is very fun to watch) remind me why people who badmouth Nancy Grace need to shut their pieholes. When you're on the right side of murder, get as loud and as angry as you want to get. Go, Nancy, go!

The show's still fun. And the best part is that you don't have to invest any emotional empathy into the characters and worry about their imaginary fates. Because they're so generally unlikeable, even when they're not being evil. But is it good televsion? Hell yes.


Three Hundred Day Sentence for Murder?

If you have any doubt that celebrities who commit serious crimes get treated differently than others, even in court systems other than ours, look at the sentencing of Oscar Pistorius.

He got five years for murder, and can petition for early release in only ten months.

Pistorius may be bipolar, but bipolar disorder doesn't excuse murder. And even if he is bipolar (this is more journalistic speculation, from what I've seen in print, than any actual medical diagnosis) I don't think that is why he murdered Reeva Steenkamp. Some have speculated that "roid rage" might be the cause. But you don't really even have to go that far for a theory. There were many previous published reports of Pistorius being thrown out of clubs for being an aggressive drunk and physically attacking people.

So, probably the real reason is alcohol. No surprise. Intoxication in certain susceptible individuals often precipitates violent attacks of all sorts, from assault to rape to homicide, How about we decriminalize marijuana and criminalize alcohol? Yeah, that will happen again. Prohibition was such a great success (cough). But if we lived in a sane world, we would really fear the drugs we should fear, and not demonize the largely harmless ones.

"As part of his bail conditions, he was initially ordered to abstain from alcohol consumption, but later successfully appealed for the ban to be lifted."

Three hundred days for murder is just ridiculous, especially when you hear the details of how that woman died, the absolute terror.

He'll probably be out in a year and a half, partying in the same clubs, and won't even suffer from any dearth of female admirers to fawn on him. He won't have only his usual sports fame groupies at that point. He'll also have the "murder groupies" too by then. Because there is invariably that group of women who think dating a killer is just the most wonderful thing on earth. It's a rare guy on death row who doesn't get at least a handful of marriage proposals every year.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If Witches Were Meteorologists

"There's a sliver of moon,
a blood-red meniscus.
Some voiceless wretch
has cut his own
disappearing throat
and hopeless wishes."

Things You Should Really Never Joke About

Those parents who built that treehouse
in the backyard elm, and moved in.
The young unwed mother
who, in 1955, named her son Lucifer.
Sylvia Plath's jack-o'-lantern
taken by the Atlantic Ocean
when she was ten.
The doomed romance
between two windchimes
hung on porches of rival houses.
What Italy's boot
secretly dreams of doing
when nobody's looking.
Koko's thoughts on death,
expressed in that sentence
about the pathos of "negative bananas."

American Greed

American Greed has to be one of the best shows on American television right now.

Certainly, it's one of the most eye-opening shows out there.

There are sociopaths who murder, and then there are socipaths who murder the bank. This show deals with those in the latter category.

The link above takes you to the show's site, which then has an additional link to watch full episodes.