Friday, July 27, 2018

New news of Harvey Weinstein

I saw a film last night about Southies growing up and venturing beyond their fence, Good Will Hunting. A story full of interest in the American vein of making it, at the expense of stripping away of ties. Alas, the film has in common with a sparkling fantasy on Shakespeare in Love, a moral stain, to earn it a place on our proscribed roster of illegitimacy. Harvey Weinstein was involved.

I am told I have a problem with how good we are, to allow myself these viewings, these listenings to James Levine's Onegin, my periodic visits to Monticello and the Mission Santa Barbara. It's not so much that I'm sentimental about old ties, as that I'm impertinent toward my new fences. Not so long ago, it was possible for thoughtful people to go to the opera, Peter Grimes, in which the artist's own falls from grace did not bind them, voluntarily blinded to every layer of its tragedy. Benjamin Britten preyed on boys, and we had to decide, does this deprive us of the finest opera in our language?

I'm not looking for Harvey Weinstein movies, but if there's a good one, I'm willing to see it. At the same time, I've lost any sense of ties with Britten, well enough to respect his music more, not less. Manichaeans clamor loudest where human frailty lends the thrill of punishment, the harshest of which is always self-imposed. But we still decide where we are. I won't live in Southie in my soul.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Origins of Wednesday lxxiv: Not a rebellion, an invasion

I'm re-reading David Halberstam's
enthralling history of the contest
between the New York Yankees and
the Boston Red Sox, for the Amer-
ican League pennant in 1949; and
I'm understanding, the game has
changed, the League has changed,
the year is extinct, and pennants
are quaint. This weekend, I feel
I owe it to myself to re-read
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness,
a book by a Pole about an English-
man in Africa, because a fine col-
umn I woke up to find in a rain-
storm last night appeared in the
Post, to remind me of its several
points of contact with our con-
text of today. All of this time
of wasted time, while I could be
out forging signatures on a peti-
tion to outlaw the appearance in
public of unescorted women. Our
time is not about playing the
game well, it's about acting to
destroy the game at any price.

As this appreciation sank into
our opinion writers, after the
President of the United States
tipped his hand from his séance
in Helsinki, drooling fealty
to a hostile power, subscribers
were given an appreciation that
the violent resentments he em-
bodies are no mere revival of
post-Confederate humiliations,
but a second foray into America,
across the Mason-Dixon line, not
a protest march. A crusade, to
bring this nation down forever.

Pennants are quaint, but elec-
tions are deadly. We're in a
campaign for each of them, as
of this writing. I think the 
invaders will be repulsed, but 
I'm not betting on it. I'm say-
ing, the game is calling, and
it's on.

Patric Shaw, photography

Robert Motherwell
1915 - 1991

Above, I embrace the availability
of "Heart of Darkness" in a free
edition, on line. But there is an
edition of such excellent advan-
tages other than price, which I
can't refuse to recommend:  the
with the superb introduction by
Verlyn Klinkenborg and printed
and bound to live with one.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Rain for Richard Cohen

On mornings in a summer when it
rains for hours on end, the
distant sound of tires on the
highway comes as waves when
at the beach, and one delays 
a sip of coffee to reserve 
the night.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The effrontery

   I credit the New American Government,
   don't you, with sensitizing us to a
   general crisis of our time, only tan-
   gentially typified in the President's
   indefatigable resolve to Notify us of
   his disturbances in real time. Still,
   if there could be a more banal remind-
   er of the asynchronous persistence of 
   the Notifications storm which seizes
   our devices in self-indulgent demand,
   than the President's hiccoughing har-
   angues from his valise of grime and
   halberds and bile, it would have to
   be that other most ironically named
   nuisance, Flash - a translation sys-
   tem which ingratiated itself early
   with visualization manufacturers, to
   require more attention than will ever
   be justified by its usefulness. And 
   we are to be exercised by torrents of
   corruption in the information we get,
   through conduits of such instability?

   Has it been established, that any at-
   tention span can endure Notification?
   I'm with the President in his skeptic-
   ism. What is continuity worth today?

   But you are, Mr Woltz, a bandleader;

Mario Puzo and
  Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather
Paramount, 1972©