Wednesday, July 20, 2016

12 Monkeys 2.13: Psychedelic -> Whole City Time Travel

An altogether superb season 2 finale to 12 Monkeys Monday night, which I haven't seen until now because I was focused on the GOP Convention in Cleveland, where, come to think of it, Trump was a little reminiscent of The Witness when he first entered the stage on Monday night, or at least the Pallid Man.

But to 2.13 of 12 Monkeys, this episode had everything, including psychedelic time travel via red forest leaf tea, time travel of the whole city of Titan or whatever exactly that is, Cole and Cassie living a few months of happily ever after, and even a cameo by Madeline Stowe, who played the original Dr. Railly in the 1995 movie, except her first name then was Kathryn not Cassandra.

The Stowe character in Monday's season finale plays a Jennifer-like character, who may be a little more clear, if still speaking in riddles, than the Jennifer we've come to know and love.   I hope we see more of Stowe on the show next season in 2017.

We're also treated to a transformation in another Dr. on the show, Dr. Jones, who in the new reality that Cole's psychedelic time traveling creates becomes a kick-ass woman, handy with a gun.   It was great to see her actually go on the expedition to save Ramse and company from their previously deadly fate at Titan.

The ending was predicted by lots of people on the Web, but was still a treat to see: the Witness is the child of Cole and Cassie, the one who presumably wasn't born, because Cole's changing of time in 1957 erased the time he had with Cassie in the house of their dreams in 1959.  At least, that's what Stowe's character said would happen - that the time in the home-sweet-home would be gone - and she certainly seemed pretty knowledgeable.   On the other hand, she did also say that love survives all changes in time, so ...

But this leads to a question about a slightly earlier development: how did Cassie come to remember that she and Cole had been in that cottage, since that time presumably never happened?  Cole is surprised, and we never get an answer to this.  Is it also an example of love conquers all and the power of butterflies?  Likely the details will also explain how Cassie became pregnant - though I suppose Cole and Cassie could have made love at some other instant in this new reality, or maybe Cole isn't the father.

No, that last possibility wouldn't be as interesting as Cole being the father, and we'll just have to wait next to see how that plays out, and what's up in the 22nd century, as we enter 2017 with a new President in our own time-line.   Hey, I'm all about butterflies ....

See also 12 Monkeys 2.1: Whatever Will Be, Will Be ... 12 Monkeys 2.2: The Serum ... 12 Monkeys 2.3: Primaries and Paradoxes ... 12 Monkeys 2.4: Saving Time ... 12 Monkeys 2.5: Jennifer's Story ... 12 Monkeys 2.6: "'Tis Death Is Dead" ... 12 Monkeys 2.7: Ultimate Universes ... 12 Monkeys 2.8: Time Itself Wants Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 2.9: Hands On ... 12 Monkeys 2.10: The Drugging ... 12 Monkeys 2.11: Teleportation ... 12 Monkeys 2.12: The Best and the Worst of Time(s)

And see also this Italian review, w/reference to Hawking and my story, "The Chronology Protection Case"

And see also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ...12 Monkeys 1.2: Your Future, His Past ... 12 Monkeys 1.3:  Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections ... 12 Monkeys 1.4: "Uneasy Math" ... 12 Monkeys 1.5: The Heart of the Matter ... 12 Monkeys 1.6: Can I Get a Witness? ... 12 Monkeys 1.7: Snowden, the Virus, and the Irresistible ... 12 Monkeys 1.8: Intelligent Vaccine vs. Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 1.9: Shelley, Keats, and Time Travel ... 12 Monkey 1.10: The Last Jump ... 12 Monkeys 1.11: What-Ifs ... 12 Monkeys 1.2: The Plunge ... 12 Monkeys Season 1 Finale: "Time Travel to Create Time Travel"

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time travel in deeper history

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tyrant 3.2:: Whither Molly?

Events in the real world keep pre-empting my reviews of Tyrant.  This time it was the attempted coup in Turkey.  Now as to episode 3.2 -

I've got to admit, and probably have already said, that Tyrant could actually benefit from Molly Al-Fayeed being off the show.  It would free Barry to pursue other romantic interests - especially one, in particular, that we've already seen - and give him a reason to become a ruthless dictator, at least for a while.

Also, Barry's wife getting killed would, I hate to say it, serve her right for staying in Abuddin.  It stretches credibility that she would continue to stay in this country with her children, given what she has seen happening and almost happening to members of her extended family.   On the other hand, I hate to approve of anyone's murder, even a fictional character in a story, especially if that character is not a bad person and however much the murder might propel the story.

Meanwhile, as I said last week, I'm glad to see Leila increasing her political power.  It would be wild indeed to someday see her in the driver's seat of Abuddin, but that's still a very long way off, if at all possible. But, hey, making a woman head of an Arab country would once and for all put Tyrant ahead of what's actually happening in Turkey and the rest of the Middle East, and if there's any woman to do it it would be Leila.

Of course, now that Jamal is slowly coming back, he could be an obstacle to Leila's ascent, not to mention her relationship with the American general.   But, for now, we need to see Molly's fate, and I'm looking forward to the next episode to see that, with no untimely distractions from Turkey.






Melania Trump's Plagiarism in Academic and Historical Perspective

Putting Melania Trump's plagiarism and the Trump campaign's response to it in perspective - as a professor, who, like most professors, has on occasion dealt with plagiarism, and who also has studied what happens when dictators get caught up in lies -

- What Melania did was actually worse than a student who plagiarizes. Students usually are taking more than one course, get caught up in final exams, are just becoming adults, etc. Under that kind of pressure, plagiarism is wrong and must be called out, but it happens. Trump's campaign had months to prepare for yesterday's speech by Melania - the fact that she so blatantly plagiarized shows Trump's continuing disdain for both truth and democracy.

 - The denial by Chris Christie and Paul Manafort of plagiarism is the same as Trump denying a tweet contained an anti-semitic Jewish star.  Trump's approach is just double down and deny the truth when caught in a wrongdoing. This is right out of the Goebbels-Hitler propaganda playbook. Why does this work?  As Erich Fromm pointed out in Escape from Freedom, some people don't want the responsibility of thinking for themselves - they want their leaders to do it for them, and are happy to accept as truth whatever their leaders say.   This, alas, is one of the foundations of fascism.

 -Trump has already gone after the press. We'll soon see him go after academics, because professors are the in-the-trench experts on plagiarism. Attacks on the press and academics are another hallmark of leaders who don't like democracy (Erdogan in Turkey has arrested both journalists and professors).

The Trump campaign has thus far shown an astonishing resilience, often picking up rather than losing support after getting caught up in an outrageous lie.  Plagiarism, and then denying it, is part of the same pattern.   Will it have a similar effect on Trump's success?  The very future of our democracy may reside in the answer to that question.



Monday, July 18, 2016

Ray Donovan 4.4: Bob Seger

Singing has played an important role in this 4th season of Ray Donovan, but never better than tonight's episode 4.4, in which Ray does a standout karaoke of Bob Seeger's "We've Got Tonight" - or at least a few lines of the song really sung by Liev Schreiber - and a splendidly touching reprise of the song capping off the episode by Ray and Abby.

Ray and Abby harken back at that moment to Kenny Rogers' and Sheena Easton's great reprise of the Seger song - though it also reminded me a bit of Kenny Rogers' and Dolly Parton's version a few years later, when Dolly comes on stage and sings "Who needs Sheena Easton" instead of "Who needs tomorrow" (see below for videos of the two performances - decide for yourself which is better).

I could talk about this song all night, but back to Ray Donovan, it's also worthy of note that Ray karaokes the song at the insistence of Ed Cochran, now singing karaoke himself after Ray nearly got him killed and did indeed kill his illustrious career with the FBI.   All of this part of a plan to reach into prison, with another part of this same classic, Rube-Goldberg-Ray-Donovan scheme getting Ray involved, against all odds, with Mickey.

Mickey has a signally good night himself, evoking the best line of evening, which comes from the old dame who drives him back to LA.  Her price?  "It's not gonna lick itself".   I better quit on that line while I'm ahead.

And Abby has a good night, enjoying the kiss she got from a woman - a former lover of Lena, though for all I know they did more.   Anyway, Ray Donovan is off to its most enjoyable season so far, and here are the two Kenny Rogers's videos of which I spoke.





See also Ray Donovan 4.1: Good to Be Back ... Ray Donovan 4.2: Settling In

And see also Ray Donovan 3.1: New, Cloudy Ray ... Ray Donovan 3.2: Beat-downs ... Ray Donovan 3.7: Excommunication!

And see also Ray Donovan 2.1: Back in Business ... Ray Donovan 2.4: The Bad Guy ... Ray Donovan 2.5: Wool Over Eyes ... Ray Donovan 2.7: The Party from Hell ... Ray Donovan 2.10: Scorching ... Ray Donovan 2.11: Out of Control ... Ray Donovan Season 2 Finale: Most Happy Ending

And see also Ray Donovan Debuts with Originality and Flair ... Ray Donovan 1.2: His Assistants and his Family ... Ray Donovan 1.3: Mickey ... Ray Donovan 1.7 and Whitey Bulger ... Ray Donovan 1.8: Poetry and Death ... Ray Donovan Season 1 Finale: The Beginning of Redemption


  different kinds of crimes and fixes

#SFWApro

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hell on Wheels 5.13: Almost Grinds to a Halt

The penultimate episode of Hell on Wheels was on tonight.  And a real downer of an episode - 5.13 - it was.

In a nutshell, we see Bohannon and the Central Pacific beating Durant and the Union Pacific to Ogden.   That part of the story was uplifting, featuring the Chinese workers coming back from the mines and the African-Americans leaving Durant to join forces with Bohannon to win the race.

Inspiring.  But Durant wins anyway by threatening to get the Central Pacific rails inspected.  It's apparently vulnerable to what government inspectors might find.  Presumably both sides did shoddy work here and there, but the Central Pacific has more to lose than the Union Pacific.
So Durant's business brutality wins the day, and Bohannon is left drunk and screaming on the floor.

Since history records that the Union Pacific won, I guess Hell on Wheels had no other choice but to play it this way, with Bohannon winning but Durant getting the credit.  And who knows what might happen next week.

Truthfully, at this point, I care less about the railroad and more about Cullen Bohannon's ultimate happiness.  Since he's a fictional character, all can end well for him, or at least relatively well, next week.

I'm pulling for him to be reunited with Mei, and the two of them get a homestead and have a bunch of kids and live happily ever after somewhere.  Or maybe a townhouse in New York City, or a houseboat in San Francisco Bay.

I'll see you here next week with my reaction to what Hell on Wheels brings us.   I'll need some cheering up, in any case, with the Trump GOP convention just concluded.


See also 
Hell on Wheels 5.1: Rails and Truckee ... Hell on Wheels 5.2: Mei and Cullen ... Hell on Wheels 5.3: Prejudice ... Hell on Wheels 5.8: Letting Him Live? ... Hell on Wheels 5.9: A Good Night for Bohannon ... Hell on Wheels 5.10: Nitroglycerin and Love ... Hell on Wheels 5.11: Durant and Shakespeare ... Hell on Wheels 5.12: Sailing Away

And see also Hell on Wheels 4.1-2: Rolling Again ... Hell on Wheels 4.5: New Blood ... Hell on Wheels 4.6: Bear and Sanity ... Hell on Wheels 4.7: Why? ... Hell on Wheels 4.8: Aftermath and Rebound ... Hell on Wheels 4.9: High Noon ... Hell on Wheels 4.10: A Tale of Two Sicko Killers ... Hell on Wheels 4.11: The Redemption of Ruth ... Hell on Wheels 4.12: Infuriating and Worthwhile ... Hell on Wheels Season 4 Finale: The Buffalo

And see also Hell on Wheels 3.1-2: Bohannan in Command ... Hell on Wheels 3.3: Talking and Walking ... Hell on Wheels 3.4: Extreme Lacrosse ... Hell on Wheels 3.5: The Glove ... Hell on Wheels 3.6: The Man in Charge ...Hell on Wheels 3.7: Water, Water ... Hell on Wheels 3.8: Canterbury Tales ...Hell on Wheels 3.9: Shoot-Out and Truths ... Hell on Wheels Season 3 finale: Train Calling in the Distance

And see also  Hell on Wheels: Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Track, and the Telegraph ... Hell on Wheels 1.6: Horse vs. Rail ... Hell on Wheels 1.8: Multiple Tracks ... Hell on Wheels 1.9: Historical Inevitable and Unknown ... Hell on Wheels Season One Finale: Greek Tragedy, Western Style



deeper history

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Glad to Hear about Coup in Turkey


Glad to hear about the coup currently happening against Erdoğan in Turkey - he's a bad guy, who arrested journalists and then professors who complained about that.  I talked about the need for true democracy in Turkey with my friends at Ebru News TV in March.

Paul Levinson talks about state of democracy in Turkey

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Heroism of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Abdication of the Media

I was disappointed but not really surprised that The New York Times called out Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg yesterday for her apt and heroic criticism of Donald Trump, worrying that "Washington is more than partisan enough without the spectacle of a Supreme Court justice flinging herself into the mosh pit".  The Times has sunk a long way, both in its reporting and editorials, since I read it every day in my high school cafeteria in the 1960s.   Come to think of it, it was painfully slow in getting it right about how wrong the Vietnam War was back then, too, but at least it had its moments with its publication of The Pentagon Papers.   The same can be said about the Washington Post, its publication of The Pentagon Papers, and its criticism of Ginsburg, calling her comments about Trump "inappropriate" and "much, much better left unsaid by a member of the Supreme Court".

"Better left unsaid?"  If either editorial board had more than a superficial knowledge of the US Supreme Court and its history, they might have come across the following from Associate Justice Louis Brandeis:
If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.  Concurring opinion, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927).
But Trump has risen and thrived due to ignorance of history and the lessons of what can happen in a democracy when it elects someone like Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany.   No, I don't think Trump is exactly the same as Hitler, but Trump is as bad as it gets these days as a major party candidate.   And while the media fidget and express concern that Trump's critics have gone too far - including Chris Matthews, who on MSNBC yesterday afternoon expressed concern that Hillary Clinton may have gone over the line in her speech in Springfield, Illinois yesterday, in which she wondered if Trump might use the military to silence his critics - Trump continues to threaten many of the very foundations of our democracy, including the press itself.

The media, and especially The New York Times, made things worse in the build-up to the Iraq War, uncritically supporting the US and British claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. They did it again with Trump in the early days of his campaign, treating it as a source of humor and a magnet for higher ratings and ad sales, rather than denouncing him for what he is and has done, and backing that up with relentless investigative reporting.

So we have the media to blame, at least in part, for where we are today with Trump about to get the Republican nomination for President, and they attack Ruth Bader Ginsburg for bravely shouting fire in the crowded theater of our democracy?   I've got some news and a little more history for The Times and the media: shouting fire when there really is a fire is exactly what a responsible citizen is supposed to do (it's falsely shouting fire that Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. warned about in his famous 1919 Supreme Court opinion).  

We live in a country in which the Republicans daily flout the Constitution by refusing to hold hearings on Obama's Supreme Court nominee, media such as The New York Times abdicate their responsibility, and both unsurprisingly are roused to come out and attack Ginsburg for doing her job as a citizen.   With any luck and a lot of hard work, Trump will lose and the Republicans in Congress will be voted out of office.   As for the traditional media - well, they'll likely continue to wither and be replaced by the Internet, which has already become the bedrock of our democracy.

PS - News just broke that Ginsburg expressed regret regarding her comments about Trump - doesn't change in the slightest that what she said about Trump was right and she was right to say it.

Mr. Robot Bhack with 2.0

Mr. Robot, the cyberpunk, age-of-Snowden masterpiece that debuted last summer, was back tonight with the start of its second season.  It was altogether surreal, cinematic, and superb - even more cinematic, in fact, than the first time.

Among my favorite "sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" (William Gibson) scenes -

*Phil Collins' "Take Me Home" playing so faintly, almost indiscernibly in the background, and gradually getting louder, all as prelude, building up to the burning of a truckload of cash - 5.9 dollars to be exact - as our hackers get a moment in the sun, or at least the big flame of all that cash.  Hey, I love Phil Collins - he's second only to Paul McCartney and maybe some of Abba in soaring pop music - in fact, I'm listening to that song right now.

*The guy on the basketball park bench talking to Elliot, and saying that he (the guy) knows about as much about digital as his dog does about e. e. cummings.  Or maybe his dog was e. e. cummings compared to what he understood about computers - either way, his name is spelled with no caps, but you don't find a capital throwaway line like that on any other television show.

*Angela's in bed with the guy (different guy) who picked her up in the bar - reminding us that she belongs with Elliot - he's asleep, she's waking up, and throughout all this we see a skyscraper gleaming in the night through an open window.   It's a soft-spoken, almost poetic image of Big Brother out there in the heart of the cold, cold city.

*Elliot with the white bandage around his head for the bullet wound he didn't really have and the hoody looking like a nun or a sheik.

*Real speeches from Obama and Leon Panetta expertly cut to sound as if they're talking our fsociety hackers.  (I'd have found these clips even more eerily disconcerting, though, if Obama had said something about Trump.)

And there were lots more.  But as to the story, Elliott's bound-to-fail struggle against his father in his Fight Club head is nobly rendered, including the slight tinge at the end that maybe, just maybe, Mr. Robot isn't really dead?   No, he's dead, but  having him speak to Elliott remotely, via old-fashioned phone, instead of in-person as he usually does, is a very nice touch, because it shows that Elliott has both succeeded in getting his father out of face but never out of his life.

There's also an unexpected death - but on the slight chance that you haven't seen it, I won't tell you who.

And I''ll be back here with a review next week - though possibly not in quite so good a mood, since earlier this evening I was at the Mr. Robot season 2 launch party at Story, and the hors d'oeuvres were just scrumptious, though I wouldn't have minded a little Phil Collins music...

See also Mr. Robot: Cyberpunk Triumph


#SFWApro




a different kind of cyber-esponiage




Story board at Mr. Robot launch party

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

12 Monkeys 2.12: The Best and the Worst of Time(s)

Another powerhouse episode in 2.12 of 12 Monkeys last night - they've all been powerful this season - with some of the best and worst developments we've seen for our heroes so far.

Imagine Cole and Cassie living happily after in house in the country.  Too much to imagine? Well, we got that last night, with the kicker that it's the house she was envisioning in her red forest nightmares, and the blood came from just a cut Cole got in doing a little construction.

Back in the future, we get just the reverse - almost all of our major characters except Cole and Cassandra get massacred by the Witness and "his" followers.   The slaughtered include Ramse - which I guess means he's not the Witness, after all (though you never know) - and I put "his" in quotes because you never know about that, either.

So many important characters died in the awful scene that you just know it can't stand.   And since this a world riven and driven by time travel, pulling the rug out from under that massacre should certainly be possible, if never easy.   Towards that end, it's significant that not only Cole and Cassie but Jones were not among the fallen at Titan.   Jones indeed wasn't in this episode at all.  We last saw her in a previous episode back at the facility, which was literally flying apart at the seams, dissolving, actually, but, again, you never know ...  And, oh yeah, Jennifer - the young Jennifer - fortunately wasn't among the massacred, either.

So we have at very least Cole, Cassie, and Jennifer, and maybe Jones in some way, to reverse that chilling scene in Titan.  But if they do, there will be a big price to pay, because there always is in 12 Monkeys.  I'm hoping that whatever is required of Cole and Cassie to amend the massacre, it will not come at the expense of their memories of what we saw in the white house last night.

See also 12 Monkeys 2.1: Whatever Will Be, Will Be ... 12 Monkeys 2.2: The Serum ... 12 Monkeys 2.3: Primaries and Paradoxes ... 12 Monkeys 2.4: Saving Time ... 12 Monkeys 2.5: Jennifer's Story ... 12 Monkeys 2.6: "'Tis Death Is Dead" ... 12 Monkeys 2.7: Ultimate Universes ... 12 Monkeys 2.8: Time Itself Wants Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 2.9: Hands On ... 12 Monkeys 2.10: The Drugging ... 12 Monkeys 2.11: Teleportation

And see also this Italian review, w/reference to Hawking and my story, "The Chronology Protection Case"

And see also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ...12 Monkeys 1.2: Your Future, His Past ... 12 Monkeys 1.3:  Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections ... 12 Monkeys 1.4: "Uneasy Math" ... 12 Monkeys 1.5: The Heart of the Matter ... 12 Monkeys 1.6: Can I Get a Witness? ... 12 Monkeys 1.7: Snowden, the Virus, and the Irresistible ... 12 Monkeys 1.8: Intelligent Vaccine vs. Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 1.9: Shelley, Keats, and Time Travel ... 12 Monkey 1.10: The Last Jump ... 12 Monkeys 1.11: What-Ifs ... 12 Monkeys 1.2: The Plunge ... 12 Monkeys Season 1 Finale: "Time Travel to Create Time Travel"

#SFWApro

podcast review of Predestination and 12 Monkeys

 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Murder in the First 3.3: Fast and Steady

Things move very quickly in Murder in the First.  Hildy is diagnosed with end-stage cancer one week; the diagnosis is revealed as pertaining not to Hildy the very next.   Terry shoots a suspect without a gun one week; a kid finds the missing gun in next episode, 3.3, which was on last night.

And weaving through these fast moves are the two underling season-long stories. One, about the celeb who is gunned down, is moving at a snail's pace, which works well in contrast to the quickies.

The other, about Siletti, is moving at a moderate pace, so all the bases are covered.  Last night was probably his most interesting episode so far.  After his attorney tells him his fate depends on his wife's support - not testifying he was drunk when driving - he comes to talk to her, and lays his soul bare, including taking responsibility for what went wrong in their marriage.  She's moved, and says she'll at least think about moving back with him.

This is at least a partial victory for Siletti, and he'll take it.  But is he being sincere in what he says to his wife, or just playing her, telling her what she thinks she needs to hear?  Tough to say, and probably a little of both.   He knows just what she wants to hear from him, and the fact that he says it so well suggests that it's more of an act than the truth.  But we'll see.

Meanwhile, compare their relationship to what we're seeing between Terry and Hildy.  She lies about seeing the gun, before it was recovered, because she was determined to stand by her partner and her man.  And the last scene, with the two of them watching television with Hildy's daughter on the couch, and two holding hands behind her, was pure gold.

Murder in the First is first class TV, and I'm looking forward to more.

See also Murder in the First 3.1-2: Wild Ride and  Murder in the First: A Review


 

a different kind of crime

#SFWApro

The Day After "The Night Of" on HBO

HBO continues to come up with surprisingly powerful programming - which is high praise indeed, since HBO has been offering surprisingly powerful series and documentaries in various forms for years.   Only Netflix has recently given HBO a run for its money, as Showtime has for a while, but HBO is still far ahead of the competition.   Consider, for example, The Night Of, a short series based on a British show, which debuted on HBO last night.

Did Naz do it?  Well, we don't know, and he doesn't know, either, given that he passed out and can't recall anything of what happened between the time he had sex with the beautiful Andrea, after he reluctantly stabbed her in the hand as per the game she insisted on playing, and he woke up to find her stabbed multiple times to death.   We do know he took lots of drugs - at Andrea's behest - and perhaps could have turned maniacally violent under their influence. On the other hand, he seems on the surface like the last person who would do something like this, and is genuinely horrified by what he saw and what he's now accused of doing.

That in itself is a pretty compelling set-up.  But The Night Of wraps this in a package in which every conceivable witness and piece of evidence that links Naz to the murder falls inexorably into the hands of the police.   And yet Naz almost walks out of that police station, in a first episode in which the slow-moving clockwork of police work at the beginning of an investigation almost allows him to escape, at least temporarily.   That vignette is one of the most memorable of its kind I've ever seen on television.

But if Naz didn't do it, who did?   Usually it's one of the witnesses, one of the people we've already come to know.   So far, none jump out.  As a wild guess, I'm thinking someone like Naz's brother, or someone even more on the periphery at this point than the witnesses.    This would certainly be more noteworthy and chilling than the killer being someone we so far haven't seen at all.   On the other hand, we know nothing about Andrea's life, so there's lots of room here for a currently hidden story to emerge.

We'll just have to see, and I certainly will.  Kudos to Richard Price, who wrote The Wanderers and so many other brilliant New York stories, for putting most of this together.


Black Lives Matter ALSO

Racists and perhaps some well meaning people have been proclaiming on television and the Internet that "Black Lives Matter" is racist, because it excludes the lives of other ethnic groups as mattering. As an example of a racist, former NYC Rudy Giuliani, whose record on police brutality directed against African-Americans was deplorable, point blank said on CBS's Face the Nation yesterday that "Black Lives Matter is inherently racist" and "anti-American".

At very best, such a claim misses the crucial context of Black Lives Matter, which is not that ONLY Black Lives Matter, but quite the opposite: Black Lives Matter ALSO.   In fact, though this argument has been become searingly heated with the awful murders of African-Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota and murder of police officers in Dallas last week, I've been seeing people point out this all-important "also" subtext on the Web and TV ever since the Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013, to finally address a problem that has been going on for centuries.

Why have so many people missed this obviously implied "also"?  A better question would be why has anyone?   As Marshall McLuhan pointed out back in the 1960s, everyone who communicates does so on two levels, a figure and a ground.   When someone says some music is cool, people intuitively understand that you don't need to put on an extra shirt or an overcoat to enjoy it.

There is some minimal education needed to get the ground, the context, of any given statement.  A child would not instantly know that cool music has nothing to do with literal temperature.

Bur how could any sentient human being alive the past decade or longer not immediately get the context of Black Lives Matter - not immediately understand that it's a plea for black lives having as much worth less as white lives, and, yes, as much worth as lives of police?

As much worth, not more worth, and the fact that Giuliani and others somehow miss this, and say that Black Lives Matter is racist, only demonstrates, once again, that they are the racists themselves.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tyrant 3.1: Barry -> Bassam

With the terrible killings this week in the United States, I didn't have the heart to review the Season 3 debut of Tyrant, a story in large part about killings in the Middle East.  Indeed, it's tough to say whether the murder of two innocent African-Americans by police in two different American cities, followed by the murder five police in Dallas, is less horrendous than anything that actually has been happening in the Middle East, or in the fictional narrative of Tyrant.

Of course, fiction can be safely watched from the vantage of point of its not actually happening.  But one of the great strengths of Tyrant is that it seems very realistic, and that's impressive indeed, given that the root of the story is the improbably proposition of an American pediatrician becoming the dictator of a fictitious Middle East country.

But Tyrant has pulled this off remarkably well, and it's come to some fruition now in the season 3 premiere, with Barry solidly - well, more or less - in charge.  He's far more humane than his nearly killed brother, but he has an underlying ruthlessness that occasionally comes to the fore.  Does he really believe that Ahmed's wife committed suicide in her prison cell?  Surely he knows Aziz well enough to know what he is capable of doing.  But chances are Barry will do nothing about this.  Or maybe Barry would, but Bassam won't.

His love life is also worth following.  He loves that women he met in the desert, but he also loves his wife Molly.   Significantly, she's on some level aware of this, which promises some interesting developments this season.   Come to think of it, Leila probably still loves Basham, too, to add another powerful character to this mix.  In fact, in some ways, Leila has always been my favorite character in this series.

I'm glad, by the way, that Jamal is still alive.  Not that the character really deserves to be, but he's too provocative and Hamlet-like to throw away.   So I'm looking forward to more - and hoping that what we see in Abbudin is worse than what's happening in our fragile real world.



Hell on Wheels 5.12: Sailing Away

Sailing away can sound like a good thing.  In the last scene of the excellent episode 5.12 of Hell on Wheels last night, it was not so good, or maybe a mixture of good and bad, with hope for some good sometime in the future.

Bohannon has just told Mei Fong that he loves her.  He's also said that he was lying when he said he's lost everyone he's loved - lying, because he actually left them, at least at first.   This was the case with his wife before he left to fight for the South in the Civil War, then Lily of the West, and most recently his Mormon wife.  Bohannon says he's not going to do that, again.

Mei loves him, too.  Perhaps too much.  Because she's witnessed how close Bohannon came to death when he protected her - making like the great gunslinger that he is, which was good to see - but Mei does not want to be the cause of her beloved's death.  So the last scene shows her on that boat to China, in place of Chang's woman.   Hey, she's still alive, while there's life there's hope, so we may yet see Mei and Bohannon back together before the series ends.

I have no idea how long it takes to sail to China and back - months?   It doesn't matter.  We've already seen Hell on Wheels skip to the future with last week's powerful Durant story, so it can do the same with Bohannon.  He's a fearsome man now - his limp only makes him more so - and there's certainly every chance that he will survive.

Of course, since Durant is a true historical character and Bohannon is not, Durant's survival after the rail is completed is assured, while Bohannon's is not.  I assume Durant dying alone which we saw last week is historically accurate.  Now Bohannon is alone, too, but there's no real history to insist that that this sad symmetry be the final fate of Bohannon, too.

Just two more episodes left in the series, right? I'm betting we'll see him standing in the end, and if not with Mei, on a boat to China to find her.


See also 
Hell on Wheels 5.1: Rails and Truckee ... Hell on Wheels 5.2: Mei and Cullen ... Hell on Wheels 5.3: Prejudice ... Hell on Wheels 5.8: Letting Him Live? ... Hell on Wheels 5.9: A Good Night for Bohannon ... Hell on Wheels 5.10: Nitroglycerin and Love ... Hell on Wheels 5.11: Durant and Shakespeare

And see also Hell on Wheels 4.1-2: Rolling Again ... Hell on Wheels 4.5: New Blood ... Hell on Wheels 4.6: Bear and Sanity ... Hell on Wheels 4.7: Why? ... Hell on Wheels 4.8: Aftermath and Rebound ... Hell on Wheels 4.9: High Noon ... Hell on Wheels 4.10: A Tale of Two Sicko Killers ... Hell on Wheels 4.11: The Redemption of Ruth ... Hell on Wheels 4.12: Infuriating and Worthwhile ... Hell on Wheels Season 4 Finale: The Buffalo

And see also Hell on Wheels 3.1-2: Bohannan in Command ... Hell on Wheels 3.3: Talking and Walking ... Hell on Wheels 3.4: Extreme Lacrosse ... Hell on Wheels 3.5: The Glove ... Hell on Wheels 3.6: The Man in Charge ...Hell on Wheels 3.7: Water, Water ... Hell on Wheels 3.8: Canterbury Tales ...Hell on Wheels 3.9: Shoot-Out and Truths ... Hell on Wheels Season 3 finale: Train Calling in the Distance

And see also  Hell on Wheels: Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Track, and the Telegraph ... Hell on Wheels 1.6: Horse vs. Rail ... Hell on Wheels 1.8: Multiple Tracks ... Hell on Wheels 1.9: Historical Inevitable and Unknown ... Hell on Wheels Season One Finale: Greek Tragedy, Western Style



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