Thursday, January 14, 2021

Watching

Despite watching hours of television every week, rarely do I watch it for entertainment's sake alone. It's one of my many failings as a human, as an American. Instead, I tend to watch TV for what I can learn about others.

For example, did you know you can learn about the waning days of Trumpismo by watching Succession? It's all there: an utterly unlikable roster of characters who are trying to game a system where the one in charge is so senile and incompetent that he pisses all over the place.

I did, however, have to stop watching after a handful of episodes because it became more and more apparent that they were letting the interns write the shows. Rookie mistake: having a character have some kind of impossibly lucid epiphany after taking fistfuls of drugs.

A series that taught me about the goat-fucking underbelly of 4chan and QAnon was PEN15. Watch the "Vendy Wiccany" episode (S2E3) if you don't believe me: hysterics blended with wishful thinking all because mom and dad are getting divorced. (Only some of those words are used metaphorically here.)

If you want to understand solidarity, then perhaps there's no better show than the unconvincing, naively counter-factual miniseries Hollywood, where the Blacks, Asian Americans, young gays, and feminists all conspire to usurp power from shitty old straight—and gay—white men. You did not see that twist coming!

Or for a less fantasy-based miniseries, also about solidarity, check out Mrs. America, where the Black lesbian feminists don't get along with the Black non-lesbian feminists who also don't get along with white feminists who also don't get along with white religious feminists who are feminist in the same way that Reagan and Bush and Bush and Trump were conservative. Kudos for showing that cunt Phyllis Schlafly being thrown under the bus by both her husband and Reagan. (Sadly, more metaphoric language.) It's the exact opposite, more believable, more historically accurate story about solidarity.

I wish more shows were as cutting edge as The Conners when it comes to cutting out reprehensible people from the cast. It truly has been a sweet few months not hearing or seeing Roseanne. If only America were as competent at so-called cancellation.

Most shows I abandon after one or a couple of episodes. One show I watched entirely this past year was The Americans, which was violently terrible, especially when it became a teen drama and an infomercial for est. Credit, though, for the writers who came up with the will they/won't they story line about fucking a teenager. Said in thick Russian accent: "You have to do it for the Motherland." Yuck!

Silicon Valley was maybe the only sitcom that offered me any delight this past year, though some of those episodes were sheer drudgery. Part of what I enjoyed about it was assigning various Twitter friends roles, sort of like what boring white women in mid-management used to do with Sex and the City. I think you all know who our Gilfoyle is.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Books Read in 2020

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgA Luminous History of the Palm by Jessica SequeiraSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgDitch Water: Poems by Joseph DelgadoSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSupport Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgMusic & Philosophy by Gabriel Marcel

My reading this past year was all over the place. I began 2020 participating in an in-person reading group called something along the lines of Books Your Parents Probably Read that ended with the pandemic. That's why you'll find Judith Krantz, Erich Segal, Mario Puzo, and Jacqueline Susann on this list. It was revelatory rediscovering how sexist, homophobic, and racist New York publishing was in the Sixties and Seventies. What a fucking garbage industry, no less to blame for shit American culture than Hollywood. Alas, times haven't really changed all that much.

The year ended with a couple of titles by Toni Morrison, whose voice is painfully missed. The few philosophy titles, also mostly garbage, were primarily for research on my phenomenology of music book that I'm still, and slowly, working on. Then even fewer literary works that I reviewed.