So whutcha gonna write about today?
Danged if I know. I sat all day yesterday reading “Homicide” instead of doing anything useful like working on the yard.
I’m not surprised. And I suppose you watched a movie all evening.
Yeah, “Mad Men.” The first three episodes, this time with the oral commentary, which was even more wretched than the story itself. These people are so wrapped up in their little narcissistic worlds that everything is “amazing,” “terrific,” “fabulous,” to the point that their self-parody inside the parody inside the lack of reality drew much praise from the critics. Very “meta.” But none of these people was born earlier than 1980 -- they are making fun of a fantasy that never existed.
Well, the Fifties and Sixties in New York City were not like the same time period in Portland.
One of the characteristics of the time was that places were actually different from each other. And we did not all incessantly puff on unfiltered cigarettes. The only person so far who seems to have any brains is the director who acknowledges how cheesy most of the jokes are.
Why are you watching this thing?
Netflix sends them, I watch them. I was curious and now the next three discs are already in the mail.
You don’t have to watch them just because they’re there.
Whatddya mean? Let something go through this house without watching it?
Why read “Homicide?” You saw the whole series plus “The Wire.”
Baltimore in 1988 was a real place and David Simon was really there, a journalist, capable of moral reflection, This book is the foundation of some pretty solid work. It may not be written as well as Norval Morris’ imitations of George Orwell, but the attitude of it is not that different from the story in which “Orwell” is riding in a rickshaw -- or whatever they called the Burma version -- and the emaciated old man who was pulling the thing fell over dead. In the story “Orwell” puts the man in the rickshaw and pulls it to the nearest hospital himself. He is roundly mocked for this. The thing to do was to leave the man’s body between the shafts of his rickshaw and step into another one.
Some social mores never die. But Simon shows the real costs, not just to the victims of crime, but also the men (they were just about all men) who struggle to solve homicides and often fail. This was all happening just before the technological era arrived with computers and street communication. There’s none of the storyline that’s in “The Wire,” nothing about organized crime, nothing about the docks, the newspapers, and so on. The drug traffic is still in a primitive state.
What else you got?
I’ve been thinking about the scandal over the race horses.
So many of them breaking legs or otherwise dying on the track. They’re being run too hard, too often, too young, too stupidly. But that’s Sid Gustafson’s territory. He’s a racetrack veterinarian. I don’t want to trespass. Anyway, it’s a grim subject and I know at least one of my faithful readers who will skip that day’s post.
Hmmm. Sounds like you just don’t want to write today.
I’ve broken my rhythm. I usually research and ponder, then write the next day, but I used up all of yesterday just reading.
And the weather is too nice today. You ought to post a “gone fishing” sign and go cut the grass. Valier citisens would be grateful.
I figure I can afford to fiddle around like this for a thousand words, go for the mail and then work on the yard. There is one thing I’d kind of like to research.
Football players. There are a couple of convergences. One is a senior player who tried to warn new drafts about their impending incredible wealth and how everyone will descend on them to “help” them with the problem. The youngsters, often from ghetto backgrounds, will be urged to buy a big expensive house in a neighborhood where no one is under sixty and no one likes young people (except flashy young women) much less blacks. They can expect to be victimized, patronized, and treated badly while all the time being expected to perform like, well, like race horses. This guy named Nate Johnson --
Jackson. His name is Jackson.
Well, I don’t know one of these guys from another. Okay, NATE! On NPR he said, “I love the game of football, but not the game around football.” That is, the circle of carrion-eaters who gather whereever there is money to invade privacy, speculate on personal matters, press their wishes upon this man who has -- as Nate put it -- “shaken hands with Darth Vader.” Notice how Darth Vader has displaced the Devil.
High time. I’m in favor. Anyway, how is a big black football player gonna shake hands with a little red devil left over from the Indian Wars?
Hey, none of your racism! For you, the devil is gonna look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
The devil always looks like management.
The other story about football players is a heart-breaker. Here’s the news lead: “Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest, in what authorities believe is an apparent suicide. His body was discovered at his home in Oceanside, Calif., Wednesday. Seau was 43.”
Don’t suicides shoot themselves in the head?
Two other football players have shot themselves to death in the chest: Ray Easterling last month and Dave Duerson last year. You know why?
So their brains could be studied by scientists. You know why?
More than a thousand NFL retired players are suing the NFL over their head injuries because their brains are masses of scar tissue. They’re only part of a huge but ignored scandal that reaches into the lives of mid-Western high school kids as much as Seau, who started out poverty-stricken in Samoa. Why do we send anyone out to destroy their brains for our entertainment and why is that the main goal of small town superintendents everywhere who want to keep their jobs. Why do Mad Men everywhere cluster in front of TV sets to celebrate all this?
Beats me. Ask Darth Vader. Now go work on the yard before every muscle you’ve got atrophies.