Monday, April 27, 2015

Small Victories

It's been a mix of good and bad news lately. Last week I lost my job, but at least I'm safe and sound, unlike everybody in Nepal during the earthquake this weekend. So I'll be busy with jobhunting and also signing up for new health insurance when I lose my benefits.

Today early voting started for our local May election, so I voted, because I need to have some say, even if I'm blue stuck in a dismally red state. Participate in democracy, even if it's just municipal and school board elections! It's the only way to change anything.

I'm glad that Loretta Lynch finally got sworn in as our new Attorney General, because at least that fight's over. I also read some encouraging reports about efforts to transfer Guantanamo prisoners and close the prison before Congress can interfere again. Here's hoping Obama can get it done.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Buffalo Gal

Well, The Pinkertons had several episodes that I didn't like much, as they clumsily figured out how to rotate their varied cast members. Sometimes Kenji would be there, sometimes not, sometimes Miyo was there, sometimes Annalee, etc. I also disliked the attempts to manufacture sexual tension and jealousy between Kate and Will. The strange episode with Belle Starr was very unsatisfactory, portraying the female outlaw as some frustrated housewife foolishly daydreaming about western dime novels. There was nothing about her real-life experience with criminals from an early age, such as growing up with Jesse James in Missouri, and she never got to prove herself a sharpshooter. The writers tried to make her sympathetic, trapped in a loveless, arranged marriage, and they let her escape to freedom. I don't know if she'll come back with Jesse James later, but I'd rather she didn't, with this kind of false backstory.

But the show has recently redeemed itself with an excellent episode featuring Buffalo Soldiers, called "Forever Free." John Bell got to go undercover as a cook to try to find the killer. The white commanding officer, while often sympathetic to his soldiers, still was capable of being arbitrary and cruel. Not only did the episode deal with the traumas of ex-slaves, but there was a twist, because one of the soldiers was a woman passing as a man. The Pinkertons discovered this, but chose not to out her after the case was solved; Kate sympathized and wanted the soldier to continue to serve and earn her pension. I like how this show explores topics of race, class, and gender in a sensitive manner, and I hope they keep this up.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taste the Happy

I'm glad that the Bluths will be back for 17 more episodes, though I wonder why Brian Grazer said it so casually and with no elaboration about the deal. I hope we'll find out details about when Season 5 is coming.

So I better get back to my Far From Over fic. I've almost got an new chapter ready to put up, and it looks like this epic will be about 50+ chapters total.

In other news, I recently enjoyed seeing the movie Effie Gray, about the real life marriage of Victorian art critic John Ruskin, who never consummated it. Apparently this story has been dramatized many times before, though this version is from Effie's point of view, from her beginnings as a naive young bride, through her disillusionment and loneliness, until her eventual escape. Ruskin is brilliant and charming at times, earning public admiration, but clearly he is off and strange too. Perhaps it was due to his doting parents indulging him so much, but he has some emotional disconnect from the needs and opinions of other people. He treats Effie with disdain and neglects her until she's ill. Ruskin seems to have an idea that women (or rather girls) are either virginal and pure or wicked harlots living for pleasure. Nothing between the two extremes. Effie tries hard at first to try to understand him and please him and somehow assert a role for herself in her husband's family, but nothing works. Eventually she finds allies to confide in, and they help her to get the marriage annulled. I thought the film ended too soon, but it was a interesting look into how fucked up Victorians could be about sex, power and marriage. I'm glad that Effie finally found happiness with someone more sympathetic and attentive.