The London Review of Books has never been focused on gender equality. VIDA, the organization which tallies up male and female contributors and subjects in various publications every year, consistently ranks LRB as one of its worst offenders, and that status has apparently prompted the journal to rethink exactly nothing and make precisely zero changes.
So it's rather a big surprise to find out that the journal's editor, is a) a woman, and b) a sister in misandry:
Her feminism is, she concedes, "old-fashioned… I tend to take exception to men in a big way, but that's a slightly outmoded form of feminism."
Men as a general concept or men as individuals? "Men as a general concept, and individual men when they're behaving like men."
[...] She breaks off. "It happened earlier this morning. You're talking to a male colleague, trying to get your point of view across, and then another male colleague walks across and agrees sagaciously with what the other man is saying. That always happens."
And surprise! He's a complete tool.
TMZ has posted several clips taken from the Biebs' recent 4.5-hour deposition in a case involving allegations that his bodyguard beat up a photographer. In this clip, which TMZ calls "Arrogant Bieber," it has put together examples of Bieber displaying his obvious contempt for the other side's lawyer and the whole process. At one point, for example, he claims not to remember whether he's ever been to Australia, just to be difficult.
The bit where he adjusts his outfit while looking into the camera (or possibly at a TV monitor) is also pretty good.
In this next one ("Disrespectful Bieber") he answers a number of the questions by more or less whispering while gazing directly into the camera. Does he think the jury will consist of teenage girls? But that's not the real highlight. The lawyer asks him whether Usher was "instrumental" to his career, which is followed by some argument about whether that's relevant. (Not sure why it would be, but that's not the point here.) Then there seems to have been a short break. When they come back, Bieber returns to that question and tries to emphasize his own role (at Usher's expense). But what he actually says is, "I was detrimental to my own career."
Which is true, but not responsive to the question.
This is how I make it: take
2/3 to 3/4 cup ground coffee and
4 cups cold water
and combine them in a container of some kind. Refrigerate for at least eight hours - I usually do a full day - then strain out the grounds.
The easiest method is to do the whole procedure in a French press with the plunger out, then plunge it when it’s done. But you can just drip the stuff through a normal coffee filter into a teapot or something, too.
You now have enough super-strong coffee concentrate to last one person a few days. I usually dilute mine in a ratio of 1 part coffee to 2 parts hot water or cold soymilk. It also makes ridiculously good mochas, coffee-flavored desserts, and so on.
The ur-text for women without tongues is Philomela, the princess of Athens famously mutilated by her rapist (Tereus)—who was also her brother in law—when she threatened to name him for his crime. But Philomela is resourceful: still mute, she weaves an incriminating tapestry and sends it to her sister, Procne. In revenge, Procne kills her son and serves him boiled to his rapist-father. When Tereus catches wind of his dinner’s ingredients he chases Procne with an axe, and when Philomela and Procne pray to escape, the gods turn the pair into a nightingale and sparrow. But it gets worse: contrary to Ovid’s interpretation of the myth, whose message is justice, the female nightingale is silent.
So begins a long history of women without tongues. In the Western tradition, tonguelessness is ritualistic and punitive. On women, contemporary modesty is usually a visual category: clothing appropriately fitted, eyes blinkingly demure, etc. But chastity and modesty evolved from the classical Greek virtue of sophrosyne, which is verbal. (Anne Carson translates sophrosyne as “verbal continence.”) Its value is also gendered. Here is how Freud put it: “A thinking man is his own legislator and confessor, and obtains his own absolution, but the woman…does not have the measure of ethics in herself. She can only act if she keeps within the limits of morality, following what society has established as fitting.”
“Tereus Abducts Philomela,” by Johann Wilhelm Baur (c. 1939), via.
This moral deficit is why Timycha, a soldier’s wife in 6th century BCE Greece, would rather tear out her own tongue than be tortured: not because she wanted to minimize her pain, but because she didn’t trust herself, as a woman, to remain silent. Here’s the account as described by Iamblichus’s Life of Pythagoras:
Dionysius therefore, being astonished at this answer, ordered him to be forcibly taken away, but commanded Timycha to be tortured: for he thought, that as she was a woman, pregnant, and deprived of her husband, she would easily tell him what he wanted to know, through fear of the torments. The heroic woman, however, grinding her tongue with her teeth, bit it off, and spit it at the tyrant; evincing by this, that though her sex being vanquished by the torments might be compelled to disclose something which ought to be concealed in silence, yet by the member subservient to the development of it, should be entirely cut off.
As a woman, it’s easier to bite your own tongue off than it is to resist the chatty destiny of your sex, which is easily “vanquished.”
The really fascinating thing about women without tongues is that they’re not followers— at least not straightforwardly. Many of these tongueless women achieve the height of their virtue when they become mute. I mean this in the least analytical way. Not that women are better for their tonguelessness, but that time and again—literally, millennia worth of texts—women earn non-metaphorical immortality by first speaking out and then becoming mute. They also de-tongue themselves as often as they are de-tongued (though always under duress). Tellingly, many of these stories are early versions of fairy tales.
One heroic self-mutilator is Khana, a Bengali folk hero whose weather proverbs are still quoted by the area’s rural population. One Khana saying is “A plentiful crop of mangoes is followed by a good crop of rice and many tamarinds foretell floods.” (This rhymes before translation.) Unlike Timycha, Khana was an unqualified have-it-all. She had a successful career as an astronomer, is credited with building Medieval Bengali language, and she and her husband were in love. One day she presented her findings to the royal court, and the king was so impressed by her scholarship that he called her his “tenth jewel,” the other nine of which were his “nava ratna,” also scholars. The king requested Khana’s presence at the court the next day, but her father in law, Varaha, panicked. Rather than disallow Khana’s immodest presence the next day, he ordered his son to cut off Khana’s tongue. Khana’s husband resisted his father’s demand, but ultimately adhered to patriarchal law and mutilated his wife. In a different version of the story, Khana herself cuts off her tongue, either to spare her father-in-law from upstaging (he was also an astronomer) or, in versions in which her astronomy has advanced to divination, to spare her father-in-law from arrest.
The question of whether these stories are feminist is of some debate in the literary community, particularly when it comes to Shakespearean retellings. Shakespeare wrote at least three times about Philomela mythology: Philomela is Lavinia in Titus Andronicus, Lucrece in “The Rape of Lucrece,” and Imogen in Cymbeline. In Titus Andronicus, Ovid’s myth is explicitly cited and learnt from—when Lavinia’s rapists plan a course of action in the wake of their crime, they elect both to lop off Lavinia’s tongue and her hands to prevent her from tapestry-weaving or any other form of illocutionary revenge. But their plan doesn’t work. Lavinia uses what remains of her limbs to write a message in the forest floor, and her rapists are caught.
In “The Rape of Lucrece,” a long narrative poem, revenge takes a different course. A raped and (bizarrely) guilty Lucrece actually kills herself to encourage retribution, this time at the hand of Collatine, her husband, a Roman leader flanked by Brutus. Although both Titus Andronicus and “The Rape of Lucrece” have been appropriated by feminism, the critic Jane Newman suggests “Lucrece” and other post-Philomela stories are anything but progressive:
Philomela belongs to and represents the countertradition of vengeful and violent women associated with Bacchic legend. This tradition is replete with images of different, more direct forms of political agency for women, images that in fact challenge the fundamental organization and distribution of power in the Western, patriarchal state….[T]his tradition, which materializes onstage in copies of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in both Titus Andronicus and Cymbeline, is also pointedly invoked—but then just as pointedly excised—in and by Shakespeare’s Lucrece.
Although I’ve been talking a lot about ancient Greece, tonguelessness has as much to do with Christianity as it does with the ancient world. How do you go to heaven in Christianity? Some tools are visual or active—the erection of ornate Cathedrals in Catholicism, for example, or the emphasis on actions like baptism, good deeds, and (from God) election. But something consistent to most schools of Christianity is speech—in particular, prayer and confession.
This trope is not specific to women. Men and women who could avow faith in God even when their tongues were cut out were particularly revered. For example, in 484 AD, sixty Christians from Mauritania, a colony off the northern tip of Africa, had their tongues and right hands cut off by Hunneric, a Vandal conqueror famous for his cruelty. Miraculously, the tongueless group continued to speak “as plainly as before.” Pope Gregory the Great called it a miracle, “the most remarkable one on record after apostolic times,” in part because one of the former-mutes had been unable to speak even before the massacre.
“St. Agatha” by Francesco Guarino (c. 1611-1654). St. Agatha’s tongue remained intact, but like the mute St. Christina, her breast was torn off. via.
Although many of Christianity’s tongueless were (male) soldiers, another category of mutes also exists—young female martyrs. One such martyr is St. Christina (so named as a religious permutation of Jane Doe). St. Christina, the daughter of a Roman patrician, was only 11 when this happened:
Urbanus [her father] shut her up in a tower with twelve maids, who were charged to bring her back to the worship of the [Roman] gods. Having no money, she broke her father’s gold and silver idols, and gave the pieces to beggars. Her father therefore ordered her to be beaten and thrown into a dungeon, where angels comforted her and healed her stripes. She was next thrown into the lake with a millstone round her neck. Angels held up the stone, and floated her safe to land. Urbanus had a fire lighted, and put her in it. She remained five days unharmed, singing praises to God. He then had her head shaved, and dragged her to the temple of Apollo, intending to compel her to sacrifice. As soon as she looked upon the statue of the god, it fell down before her, and her father fell dead from wonder and rage. His successor, Julian, heard Christina singing in her prison. He had her tongue cut out, whereupon she sang better than ever. Then he shut her up in a dungeon with serpents, but they could not harm her, so he had her bound to a tree and shot with arrows; and thus she died. [In t]he Spanish version of the story…When Julian had her tongue cut out, she took it and threw it in his face and put out his eye…
Bad ass. It’s hard not to read these Saints’ Lives as anti-patriarchy, especially when the villains are compulsory religion and your father. Other saints’ lives are even more compellingly modern, in that they sound strikingly like Freud’s (sexist) accounts of hysteria, a set of limb-bewitching behaviors historically attributed to Satan. Examples include St. Dominica, who was thrown (by the devil) out of a window, imprisoned, and lost the ability to use her tongue, hands, or feet; and St. Christina (a different one), who suffered suicidal impulses for most of her life (egged on by the devil who appeared to her as St. Bartholomew) and whose symptoms today we might call some combination of conversion disorder and anorexia:
When she was going to eat she saw a toad, a serpent, or a spider on the bread or other food. Her disgust was such that she could not eat. In this way she suffered severely from hunger. A priest, fearing she would die of inanition, advised her to put the food in her mouth, notwithstanding her disgust. As soon as she did so, she felt on her tongue the cold body of a reptile…
Though not a saint’s life, Hans Christen Andersen’s telling of The Little Mermaid also connects tonguelessness with holiness and immortality. Yes: while you may have heard that this early TLM rendition is a touch gorier than the Disney version, what you probably don’t know is that the titular mermaid was (confusingly) dually motivated by love for a hunky prince and a quest for an immortal soul, the latter which mermaids don’t possess. When the little mermaid asks the sea witch for advice, the witch promises to install TLM with a sweet pair of legs—in exchange for the little mermaid’s dulcet voice, which the witch captures materially by way of the mermaid’s tongue. Oh, also TLM will feel like she’s walking on knives every time she uses her legs and will turn into soulless foam if the prince marries anyone else. It’s pretty rough:
“But if you take my voice,” said the little mermaid, “what will be left to me?” “Your lovely form,” the witch told her, “your gliding movements, and your eloquent eyes. With these you can easily enchant a human heart. Well, have you lost your courage? Stick out your little tongue and I shall cut it off.”…”There’s your draught,” said the witch. And she cut off the tongue of the little mermaid, who now was dumb and could neither sing nor talk.
To make a long story short (but really, read it), the little mermaid fails to win the prince’s betrothal and is forced to throw herself into the sea as foam, which is what mermaids become after their typical life span of 300 years. But just before TLM gives herself to the waves, her sisters surface and offer her a second witch-backed trade: if she kills the prince, she can return to her pastoral life as a mermaid princess. The little mermaid, who still loves her prince, refuses, and martyrs herself. But but but: it TURNS OUT that there’s such a thing as air sprites (totally ignored by Andersen until this moment) and they can earn their eternal souls if they perform enough good deeds in a phenomenology suspiciously similar to that of Tinker Bell’s happy laughter/clapping schtick in Peter Pan. Thus, TLM exits the story, if not possessing an eternal soul or a voice, with at least the promise to win the former. Not the tongue, though. That’s just gone.
Etching from Hans Christian Andersen's Sämtliche Märchen (1873), via.
An even less pleasant fairy tale comes by way of Medeival warfare, specifically as told by The Dream of Maxen, a Welsh “history” which descends from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, the feeder-text for almost 1,000 years of Arthurian legend. In continuing our mythology theme, the story you’re about to read is cousin to old and new classics like The Faerie Queen, The Once and Future King, and Mary Stewart’s excellent Crystal Cave Merlin series. Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from The Dream of Maxen:
The ruler Maxen was Emperor of Rome, and he was handsomer and wiser and better suited to be emperor than any of his predecessors….In his sleep Maxen had a dream. He saw himself travelling to the end of the valley and reaching the highest mountain in the world—it seemed as high as the sky—and having crossed this mountain he saw himself journeying through the flattest and loveliest land that anyone had seen.
Maxen elaborates your typical fairytale quest scenery: beautiful rivers, beautiful fleets, fortresses, etc. Eventually Maxen finds a beautiful castle. Naturally, a beautiful woman presides.
Sitting before him Maxen also saw a girl in a chair of red gold, and looking at the sun at its brightest would be no harder than looking at her beauty: she wore shifts of white silk with red gold fastenings across the breast, and a gold brocade surcoat and mantle, the latter fastened by a brooch of red gold, a hairband with rubies and gems and pearls and imperial stones in alternation, and a belt of red gold. She was the loveliest sight man had ever seen…
Maxen awakes and decides he needs to find his dream girl, so he sends his troops “all over the earth in search of her.” After a while they find her in Caernardon; she is the daughter of a Chieftain. The woman’s name is alternately Elen or Hellen, and she is ~a virgin~. Maxen falls in love with her, and because she’s a virgin, he’s willing to pay top dollar to marry her. He orders three castles for his bride, and busies himself with their building. The whole affair is very time-consuming, and in Maxen’s absence a new emperor takes Rome. So Maxen, who’s no pushover, enlists the help of Elen’s brother, Conanus (Welsh: Kynan Meriadec, French: Conan Meriadoc) and recaptures Rome. That’s where I’ll let The Dream of Maxen resume:
Maxen then said…“Sirs, I have regained control over my empire, and now I will give you this host, that you might conquer any territory you like.” The brothers went out and conquered lands and castles and cities; they killed all the men but left all the women alive, and this continued until the young lads who had come with them were white-haired with the time they had been conquering. Kynan said to his brother Avaon, “Do you want to stay in this land or return to your own country?” Avaon and many of his men decided to go home, but Kynan and another group stayed, and they determined to cut out the tongues of the women, lest their own British language be contaminated.
THE END. Yep! That’s the end of the story, happily ever after. There’s silk, there’s virgins, there’s mountains, and then the men pillage Brittania, murder the land’s husbands, and marry and cut off the women’s tongues to ensure the perpetuation of English among their progeny. It is sooooooo good.
“So they set forth and conquered lands, and castles and cities. And they slew all the men, but the women they kept alive.” Etching from The Mabinogion vol. 2, ed. Owen M. Edwards.
This is probably the only story in my arsenal that doesn’t treat de-tonguing as some kind of punishment. Where the tonguelessness in “Philomela” mixes spite and practicality, Maxen’s tongue-removal process is purely utilitarian (though still symbolic). This is unusual.
“Brank or Scold’s Bridle” from A Parochial History of St. Mary Bourne, 1888.
By the seventeenth century tongue-torturing women was both less severe and more prolific. For instance, have you ever heard of “the scold’s bridle” or the “brank”? From 1600 to roughly 1850 it was a mask used almost exclusively for the punishment of women. Although there are many permutations of it, as a rule the scold’s bridle is a head-cage with a small piece of metal strapped into the mouth that either bleeds or presses against the tongue to cause physical and symbolic discomfort. The metal projection was usually smooth, its main effect to gag and embarrass, but sometimes the protrusion was spiked. Women were usually treated to the scold’s bridle if they offended their husband or father. But unlike contemporary visions of domestic abuse, this punishment was regulated by court. Here is the earliest known example of scold’s bridle sentencing, from 1614:
Scold. Whereas Ann Walker, daughter of John Walker, of Slaughthwaite, did in the time of ye sessions heare holden, in ye open streets, call one Andrew Shaw ‘cuckoe,’ for prosecuting a bill of indictment on ye King’s behalf against her father. Ordered. That the constable of Wakefield shall cause ye said Ann Walker, for her impudent and bold behavior, to be runge through ye towne of Wakefield with basins before her, as is accustomed for common scoldes.
In an 1858 paper read before the Architectural Archaeological and Historic Society of Chester a man named William Andrews recounts how the scold’s bridle was once used by the town’s “gaoler” and attached to the sides of the town’s older buildings by hook. If a wife was found gossiping, her husband would send for the jailer to bring his bridle and the woman would be chained (by the mouth) to the exterior of her home until she “promised to behave herself.” Says Andrews, “I have seen one of these hooks, and have often heard husbands say to their wives: ‘If you don’t rest with your tongue I’ll send for the bridle and hook you up.’”
It’s remarkable how consistent these millennia of stories are: questionably feminist, instructional, heroic, and always horrifyingly blasé. The plot is the same: find someone who loves you “so much that you meant more to him than his father and mother” (Andersen), leave your home forever, cut out your tongue, dance with “gliding movement” while “every step you take will feel as if you were treading on knife blades,” and sacrifice yourself for God and/or a rich stud. Then you too can be a heroine. If I sound sour, I’m not, really. Because in their quest for goodness, these saints, soldier’s wives, and princesses all experiment with witchiness and defy multiple patriarchal orders to do what they believe is good, which makes the stories significantly more complicated than a streamlined feminism will allow.
There are some people who speak several languages, and that's great and I'm really impressed, but this girl can speak like twelve different kinds of gibberish! Swedish gibberish, Arabic gibberish, a whole United Nations meeting of gibberish! I don't think I could pull this off even in English. Some are better than others—the Italian turned out so stereotypical she labeled it "Pizza"—but they're all pretty interesting glimpses at what a language (kind of) sounds like to people who don't speak it. (See also: this old Italian music video in a nonsense approximation of rock-and-roll-style English. It's about 10% more decipherable than "Gimme Shelter.")2 Comments
In retrospect, I can see that depression first struck me when I was 14: Suddenly, laying in bed doing nothing seemed vastly more appealing than doing any of the things I had loved for years—dance, skiing, even school. My high school Livejournal is filled with my confusion about my unpredictable moods, but I assumed that all teenagers were moody and that everyone felt the same as I did. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized something might actually be wrong, and it took until I was 20 to get diagnosed as bipolar and put on medication.
I’ve been in various forms of treatment for years now: college counselor; old-school Boston psychiatrist that handed me drugs once a month; confused beach town therapist who had no idea what to do with me; extremely mean suburban therapist; current wonderful resident at a NYC hospital who sees me once a week and functions as both therapist and psychiatrist.While some treatment has been easy to access—namely the college counselor—most required navigating a maze of phone calls, referrals, string-pulling, insurance snafus, and money.
I am very lucky that I am able to access this care at all, and it’s due largely to two factors: I'm still on my parent’s health insurance in New England, and my mom was a nurse before I was born. Both of these factors have made seeing therapists and psychiatrists relatively easy at home in Massachusetts—Mom set me up with the treatments and our insurance paid. For years, I got my prescriptions from the Boston psychiatrist when I was at home, and saw a counselor at school when I was in NYC. This made my treatment essentially free (besides the copay for my meds and doctor), but ineffective. You want your therapy and meds to work in concert, which is hard when their respective providers are states away.
Eventually, the Boston psychiatrist ran out of ideas of what drugs to give me and suggested I seek another opinion, so my mom called up an old nursing school friend who is now head of psychiatry at a major Boston hospital. This person recommended us the extremely mean therapist, who I hated but went to dutifully two times each week while at home last summer, because I was desperate and out of options and just wanted to not feel like I was dying. My insurance covered one weekly visit, and my wonderful, generous parents paid the other $250 per week out of pockets, hoping that some intensive work before I returned to school in New York could help us plan a long-term strategy. It was also because they were worried that years of depression and anxiety had turned their vibrant daughter into a pet rock who lay in bed until 4 p.m. and then was terrified of getting behind the wheel of a car.
My parents’ health insurance covers me only in New England, except for emergencies, which means that if I break a leg in New York City I’m golden, but if I need therapy I’m fucked. It’s better than nothing, and if I get a UTI or bronchitis I just mosey on down to my college health center. Once I graduate in May this will be ripped away from me and I will be peeing into cups for $140 at the urgent care center (America!). All this means I couldn’t see a therapist at school in New York unless I wanted to be shelling out $300 a session, which I certainly did not. Luckily, by some twist of insurance fate, my prescriptions are covered in NYC. When I was studying abroad in France and attempting to refill prescriptions, I went to the pharmacy and had a meltdown in very bad French when I saw that a month’s worth of Wellbutrin was over 300 euro. The government reimburses you all of that, but I was mid-mental breakdown and pretty sure I didn’t have that much in my bank account.
Ultimately, the extremely mean therapist referred me to Mt. Sinai’s outpatient psychiatry clinic, as she had an in with the director. I wish more than anything I had been hooked up with them years ago instead of seeing college counselors, but so it goes. I also hope it comes across here how important and fucked up it is that you need to know people to get affordable and adequate care: After years of seeing college therapists in New York, who often said I needed more help than they could give me, not one mentioned Mt. Sinai or any similar programs in the city. It took my mom calling in a favor with a college roommate who is now a mental health care bigwig to get the recommendation for the therapist who ultimately knew someone at Mt. Sinai. I am incredibly privileged that my mom knew that bigwig and is also amazing at making phone calls and advocating for me, because I sure as hell could never have figured all that out in a haze of depression. And while there’s a lot of talk about mental health care being accessible and affordable for all, that seems like a pretty distant dream from where I’m sitting.
Here's how the money works: Mt. Sinai’s clinic operates on a sliding scale. Since I am a full-time student, Mt. Sinai counts me as unemployed, and I pay the unemployment rate of $50 per weekly session. This is a full therapy session plus a conversation about my medications, which are currently in the process of being changed. My doctor and I often spend an hour and a half together, despite the fact that she is a super busy resident who also has other psychiatric patients, ER shifts, and pediatric work. She is a blessing from the universe and I kind of want her to adopt me.
The cost of my mental health care over the past six months:
• Therapy: $1,200
• Medication copays: $300
• Subway to therapy: $120
• Sunglasses to hide subway tears coming home from therapy: $10
Total: $1,630, or $271.67 per month
Lifetime therapy and medication costs plus what my parents pay for health insurance are too disturbing to contemplate, but I’m alive, and typing words on a screen right now, and sometimes I go to parties. As far as I’m concerned, every penny has been worth it.
Jessie Lochrie is a Boston-born, Brooklyn-based writer who is probably popping a Zoloft even as you read this.0 Comments
Also a good sense of humor, though you may disagree with his message.
Or you may not.
Accused criminals are entitled to a defense and defending them is an honorable profession, even though many of the accused will in fact be guilty. I'm not entirely sure about the legal ethics of suggesting to potential criminal-law clients that "laws are arbitrary," but especially since it's true that at least some of them are (see The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance, supra), I think he's got a First Amendment right to say that.
No crimes were actually committed in the making of this ad, according to the disclaimer at the end. The ones depicted are "dramatizations."
Main Argument: Any answer to the question of "why did the Romans watch the games?" "requires due consideration of human psychology, once it is properly set against the Romans' historical context" (2). Sociological explanations for the appeal of the Roman games are not enough, as the Romans were by no means the only people to enjoy this kind of spectacle. Fagan argues "that an explanation for the transcultural and transhistorical appeal of violent spectacle must be sought in human psychology and, on the other, that appreciation of the psychology in turn depends our understanding of the Roman experience" (ibid).
( Games and why people watched them )
Critical assessment: I really like Fagan's work in general, and this is an excellent book which I basically completely agree with.
Meta notes: "The nexus of patronage, indeed, was pretty much how everything got done in ancient Rome, and the ability to attend games was no exception" (115).
[N.B. I have never seen True Detective.]
Camera pans over a bayou or maybe a wooden shack. There's a dead body inside the shack. Still warm.
WOODY HARRELSON: It's incredible that they got us two mega stars to be in this TV show.
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: All right all right all right all right.
HARRELSON: We also look alike.
[VOICEOVER: But which one of them will be—the TRUE detective?]
Camera pans over a wooden shack or a diner. There’s a dead body still inside the shack, less warm. The diner has good grits.
HARRELSON: I am better at this job because I do not drink.
MCCONNAUGHEY: My name is the reaction of iron when put in the presence of oxygen and water.
HARRELSON: I do not know my name.
RUST: [Squints intently at the sun]
HARRELSON: What is it, Rust? You got a clue for that murder?
RUST: I’m gonna call you the Yellow King.
[VOICEOVER: But IS HE the Yellow King?]
Roll credits with whistling.
YELLOW KING: Time is a flat circle.
RUST: Time is a flat circle.
YELLOW KING: Time is a flat circle.
RUST: Time is a flat circle.
Open on the eggshell blue interior of The Mystery Machine.
HARRELSON: What mysteries shall we solve today, Scooby?
SCOOBY DOO: Rrrrrrrrrruff!
RUST: Wait. What?
HARRELSON: Well, like, zoinks, Rust, I thought you knew.
RUST: Time is a flat circle. I grew a mustache, like before.
The true detectives are at a bar. The scene looks like The Wire, when Bunk and McNulty would get blotto together, and Wendell Pierce is there in the shot because HBO also films Treme at the same time. This must mean that True Detective takes place in New Orleans—aha, I have become my own true detective.
RUST: (Talking to a woman) #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin
HARRELSON: (Talking to a woman) #TrueDetectiveSeason2
UNNAMED PATHETIC WOMAN: I have no value!
RUST: That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.
WENDELL PIERCE: “Better to be lucky than to be good.” —Bunk, The Wire, Season 4
Roll ending credits to The Wire. I loved that show.
The scene opens on the interior of a green ‘73 Crown Victoria parked in a Stop & Shop parking lot.
MARTY: The writer figured out my name.
RUST: It doesn’t matter, she also learned that we won’t be on the show anymore come season two.
MARTY: Sheeeettttt. What else does she know?
RUST: You tell me, you’re the detective.
MARTY: Come on, Rust, you know I’m not a true detective.
RUST: Yes, I know. I’m the one with the Oscar.
Light classical guitar plays over the scene. Rust sits across from Marty as he devours a chicken-fried steak.
RUST: I don’t see how you could eat that.
MARTY: What, it’s delicious. Do you want some?
RUST: I’m a vegetarian now.
MARTY: Man is the cruelest animal.
RUST: Hey—got any updates on that murder?
MARTY: Not now, this is the steak part of the show.
Roll credits with steak-eating noises.
HBO Go is down. Time passes. HBO Go is back.
RUST: We made it.
MARTY: The murder is solved.
RUST: People aren’t happy.
MARTY: Rust, they’re never happy.
RUST: Who is the Yellow King?
MARTY: Oh shit we forgot to solve that one bit.
RUST: Good luck on your next job, Woody Harrelson.
MARTY: You too, Matth—
RUST: I don’t need it. I won an Oscar. Peace out, brother.
Previously: The Freelancers' Cookbook2 Comments
For the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog, Anna Holmes studies the scriptures of the Fictional Nerd Girl Holy Trinity: Lisa Simpson, Scout Finch, and Harriet the Spy.
Both Fitzhugh and Lee’s heroines are uninterested in, and occasionally contemptuous of, heterosexual coupling. (You can’t blame them: there are few, if any, functional romantic relationships in either book.) …Though Scout’s closest male companion is her older brother, Jem, she and her best friend, the towheaded Charles Baker (Dill) Harris, briefly conduct half-hearted, playful attempts to get engaged. “Dill had asked me earlier in the summer to marry him, then he promptly forgot about it,” Scout explains. “He staked me out, marked as his property, said I was the only girl he would ever love, then he neglected me. I beat him up twice but it did no good, he only grew closer to Jem.”
Holmes draws a parallel between scenes in which Scout and Harriet dress up as food items for local plays (Scout as a ham, Harriet as an onion), yet unconscionably fails to mention Lisa's Florida costume, which I think we'd all agree is indistinguishable from a huge rubber pork chop. [Image via.]0 Comments
We need a True Detective finale discussion post if only so I can find a support group in the comments. What did you think?! Too conclusive, not conclusive enough? Did they ever address their woman problem? What will happen in season two? Who was the real villain: a sinister cabal of abusers and murderers, or HBO Go?
My take: I live in San Francisco, and there was an earthquake exactly halfway through my viewing of the episode, so if Nic Pizzolatto failed to achieve the right amount of foreboding and atmospheric dread, Mother Nature filled that right in.15 Comments
This is part of a week-long series celebrating the 45th birthdays of characters from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
Heather never told the Cowboy about the abortion. As he slept, she sat up and listened to the hotel’s air conditioner turn off and on until morning. She knew immediately, but didn’t make an appointment for two months. There’s a dull pain of something like regret but mostly like sadness that resurfaces at night, just before bed, but it’s never enough to keep her awake. It’s just there. A decision. A memory. She should have told him. All she would have done differently is make a phone call, but she never contacted him again after that night. He was weird, though so was she. He didn’t speak much, though neither did she. These little hypocrisies that ended most of her relationships before they began were the same ones that eventually led to her biggest ideas.
Wanting to quit smoking without actually quitting smoking led her to invest in a Chinese company that perfected smokeless nicotine delivery devices called “electronic cigarettes.” In 2006 she decided to cease production of regular Lady Fair cigarettes and go all-electronic. “All the flavor and none of the fuss for the gal who says no.” It was a risky move, especially then, but when it came to business, Heather’s instincts were unmatched. Her customers quickly embraced the change and Lady Fair still remains the #1 e-cig brand in the world. (That includes, of course, their more masculine line: The Cowboy.)
In 2008 she was healthy, successful, single and happy – but not everyone always believed the last part. “You should try Match.com,” the wife of a coworker told her. “Plenty of my friends met their husbands on it.”
“But the stigma’s mostly gone!”
Conversations like that happened regularly, and Heather usually brushed them off. Or complained to Sandy about them on the phone. (She and Sandy Frink connected on LinkedIn in 2004 and became long distance friends. Completely platonic, of course.)
“Can you believe the nerve of people?”
“There’s nothing I hate more than someone telling me I don’t know myself. Assuming they know me better than I do. Or worse! Presuming I am denying myself something I want! It’s bullshit!”
“It is bullshit!”
“I know! That’s what I’m saying! It’s bullshit!”
Then they laugh and become silent while flipping through their emails, breathing heavily into the mic so the other knows they’re still on the line. They talk about the good stuff – it’s mostly good stuff, you know – and giggle at news from old friends. Something about Toby. Something about Christy. Something about how hot it is in Tucson. And then she hangs up and moves on to the next day.
Last week she saw a man sitting alone at the coffee shop. About her age. Handsome. Heather watched him as he sipped his latte and sent what looked like dozens of emails. At one point he reached in his breast pocket and pulled out a Cowboy e-cig. Her eyes brightened as he inhaled – seemed like he enjoyed it. She picked up her coffee and began walking to her car. As she approached the door, her phone buzzed. A text from Michelle. “Happy 45 you old hag! See you tonight!” She unlocked the door and looked up at the predictable perfection of a Los Angeles sky.
"God," she thought. "I still love it here."
Bobby Finger will just have two burgers, fries, and Diet Cokes because he's in a hurry.5 Comments
We may bribe the staff with baked goods and/or coffee to let us sit with her for an hour or so later in the week, because THAT'S OUR NEW BABY WHO IS SICK AND MISERABLE AND WAAAAAAAAH.
At least she's getting good care. (And, as Sarah put it: when else are you going to be able to leave the cat at the vet's for two weeks without the bill getting into five-figure territory?)