April 28th, 2014


A Treacherous Fog

I was going to jump right into the Poetic Edda after Nibelungenlied but last night I instead found myself reading the masterful first chapter of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Having read a little bit about the legal system in Victorian Britain, I know Dickens' account of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, a dispute over an estate that has lasted for generations at the time of the story, heirs having grown old and died in the process, is a quite accurate rendering of the sort of thing that went on. "The little plaintiff or defendant, who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled, has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world." Dickens' lengthy and awesome description of the all prevalent fog and soot of London of course also being accurate, somehow complimenting the atmosphere of the courtroom to perfection. The impression of consummate absurdity portrayed is all the more fascinating for how dead honest it feels.

I recently got my hands on a really lovely 1942 hardbound edition of Bleak House. Though it might be a bit impractical to carry around.

Of course I watched the new Game of Thrones last night--spoilers after the screenshot.

I just saw a rather douchey tweet from Devid Faraci: "Next season on GAME OF THRONES: Tyrion obtains written consent from all women he sleeps with. Every episode ends with crisis hotline info."

I do happen to think the show, or any show, should not shy away from portraying rape or anything else horrible and I don't think it should come with a heavy handed "moral moment." But by getting into such a lather that he uses sarcasm, he misses the real problem arising from the rape scene added by the show runners in the previous episode--it seems like it didn't even happen in the new episode. The two people involved in the rape speak to each other as if it didn't even occur. Which makes sense insofar as it didn't occur in the source material. One could argue the show is making a point about how sometimes trauma is so completely buried, aided by cultural pressure, that people basically seem to forget about it the next day. But I think that's a bit of a cop out. It seems much more like sloppy writing and/or directing, especially since the director of the episode, Alex Graves, said the rape, "becomes consensual by the end." Meanwhile, the writers of the episode unequivocally refer to the scene as rape. So, putting aside all issues of social consciousness (though the director's perspective, I must say, is a little disturbing), there was a crucial scene shot where the people who made the show can't agree on what actually happened. That's bound to lead to problems moving forward.

Otherwise, I thought the implication of what the White Walkers really are was disappointing--I liked the idea of it being an undead army so much better. I loved Diana Rigg and Natalie Dormer, though I still prefer my explanation for Joffrey's death (that he choked on a dove bone). I didn't understand why the very shrewd and careful Littlefinger was laying out all his plans for Sansa like a Bond villain.

Twitter Sonnet #620

Cable-car callipers assist the smiths.
Joan Blondell never carried a broad sword.
Avocado larvae wear grey helms pith.
Heaven's hens roost on Montgomery Ward.
Bats don't see the doppelgänger nuisance.
Metal circles make backgammon obscure.
Some poetry is in the wrong cadence.
A green mirror poisons the long sought cure.
Aphid blood to-morrows rain down slowly.
Baskets of dilithium appear late.
Falling pots and pans are loud and holy.
Satellite nixies arrange shells and wait.
Octopus reeds tied the fake shoe-laced hoofs.
The booze flask of Artemis rattled roofs.