Miscellany #47: 10 August 2015

10 Aug

One of the few reasons to watch the Red Sox

I am in the small camp of people who think its a waste of verbiage and pixels to attend to short fingered vulgarian. John Oliver sums it up brilliantly:

Now, if you want to hear more on the Trump/Kelly showdown, you can basically tune in to any news network because it is all they’re fucking talking about,” Oliver continued. “But we are going to move on, and I’ll tell you why: This whole debacle was meaningless. The 2016 election will not depend on this because it’s 457 days away. There will be actual babies born on Election Day 2016 whose parents haven’t even met yet. So everyone pace yourselves

Child 44

Tom Rob Smith’s trilogy Child 44, The Secret Speech and Agent Six set in the Soviet Union (Stalin era and post Stalin)in addition to being a page turning crime story is a skillful survey of life under in a dreary and fear-fraught so called socialist regime with an addition patina of paranoia provided by genocidal megalomania of our late WWII ally Uncle Joe.

Secret Speech

Agent 6

Now comes a Ridley Scott produced, Richard Price scripted film iteration of Child 44 with a well cast ensemble of actors lead by the increasingly visible Tom Hardy* (my favorite of his roles is Jewish gang leader Alfie Solomons, in the oddly inexplicably-underappreciated BBC seriesPeaky Blinders). Had I not been aware of the books it would have been some time before I came to this film as there was virtually no press attached to it—though its good enough that it will find its audience and credence sooner rather than later

Apparently the Ruskies are aware of Child 44 and reverted to a Soviet era response.

A few years ago I conversed with Nigerian novelist Uzodinma Iweala about his debut novel, Beasts of No Nation. It’s a harrowing story set in an unnamed West African nation beset by a civil war and being waged by child soldiers, a tragedy in and of itself. It’s cinematic version is coming soon with the redoubtable Idris Alba as the very scary military leader.

Some NY Times person thought this was clever? Useful? Amusing? Maybe the question should have been, “Name the Supreme Court Justices” Or “Who won the Battle of Mukden?”

Aerial photo of Nagasaki after Atom Bombing [Library of Congress]

Aerial photo of Nagasaki after Atom Bombing [Library of Congress]

images-1

No doubt there is a strong predisposition to forget about US deployment of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki but here’s a piece from Lapham’s Quarterly that talks about efforts to add to the dustbin of history:

Contradicting the new constitution’s guarantee of freedom of expression, and its explicit wording that “no censorship shall be maintained,” the occupation’s Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) carried out broad media restrictions…Across the country, movie theaters could only show films approved after stringent review by the CCD; among other criteria, any challenges to the terms of Japanese surrender,…

No specific censorship rules referred directly to the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bombings, but the CCD nonetheless eliminated most statements about the nuclear attacks in print and broadcast journalism, literature, films, and textbooks. Public comments that either justified the United States’ use of the bombs or argued for their inevitability were sometimes permitted, but subjects that continued to be censored included the extent of physical destruction in the two cities; technical details about the bombs’ blasts, heat, and radiation; death and casualty counts; personal testimonies from atomic bomb survivors; and any reportage, photographs, or film footage of survivors suffering from atomic bomb injuries or radiation effects. Even phrases such as “Many innocent people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki” were banned. Nagasaki named its annual commemoration of the bombing “The Memorial Day for the Restoration of Peace,” calling it a “culture festival” to appease U.S. officials

Artist José Luis Vargas, in his Santurce studio [Christopher Gregory for Al Jazeera America0

Artist José Luis Vargas, in his Santurce studio [Christopher Gregory for Al Jazeera America0

I love Puerto Rico especially the strip of coast in the west, from Aguadilla to Mayaguez. It hasn’t escaped me that the poor benighted island (which was added to the US empire after the Spanish American Cuban War)has been under greater strains and burdens of late. It was encouraging to read

Baffler Issue #23

Baffler Issue #23


Frankly I don’t understood what LinkedIn is. In Baffler #23 Ann Friedman does a fine job of explicating what it isn’t.It seems I haven’t missed anything:

LinkedIn merely digitizes the core, and frequently cruel, paradox of networking events and conferences. You show up at such gatherings because you want to know more important people in your line of work—but the only people mingling are those who, like you, don’t seem to know anyone important. You just end up talking to the sad sacks you already know. From this crushing realization, the paradoxes multiply on up through the social food chain: those who are at the top of the field are at this event only to entice paying attendees, soak up the speaking fees, and slip out the back door after politely declining the modest swag bag. They’re not standing around on garish hotel ballroom carpet with a plastic cup of cheap chardonnay in one hand and a stack of business cards in the other.

* Hardy’s role as Bob Saginowski in The Drop is also compelling:

Bob: There are some sins that you commit that you can’t come back from, you know, no matter how hard you try. You just can’t. It’s like the devil is waiting for your body to quit. Because he knows, he knows that he already owns your soul. And then I think maybe there’s no devil. You die… and God, he says, Nah, nah you can’t come in. You have to leave now. You have to leave and go away and you have to be alone. You have to be alone forever.

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