Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do you think loud orgies of luxurious good taste can drown the moans of the tortured earth?

So, about that top ten list I promised. Getting there slowly, with a few distractions. I'm about 350 pp deep into Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, which is a ripping yarn about...what else? Lincoln molding his political rivals into a functioning wartime "team" (aka cabinet). Big surprise, huh? Good on the Moms for setting me up with this tome for Xmas. I never fail to be impressed by Old Abe, no matter how many times I read his tale. And it is, in one way or another, the same story every time, no matter who is writing the book. Glimmers of speculation here and there change with authorial perspective, of course. But the ending is always the same: saves the union, frees the slaves, murdered by insurgent conspiracy. The pure allegorical power of his life and political career would be banal if it wasn't true, and that is part of the myth, of course. By now, after third fourth and fifth grade school middle school high school and Sam Waterston Gregory Peck Ken Burns and Carl Sandburg and DK Goodwin, it DOES come across as a bit banal. But you can't help but notice the political atmosphere these days and wonder about the evolving myths of history and what they'll say for our time. After all, it wasn't that long ago (twenty years or so now?) that various relatives of mine told me Martin Luther King wasn't so fucking special; that he cheated in college, cheated on his wife, stuck his nose where it didn't belong. Isn't it wonderful that in America people can talk mindless filth like that to children and not go to jail for it? There is a good reason to vote this year right there, if you needed another one. Pull the lever for mindless filth!

Fun with digressions, huh? So, yeah. I just started watching Rome also (the HBO series; in the middle of season one and steaming ahead), and it's mind-warping and excellently stupid entertainment. Sandals and swords, togas and titties. After the family caterwauling drama of Big Love, it's a nice palate cleanser. Actually it's like fifteen candy bars and a few faint stirrings of emetophilia, but I'll keep watching.

No comments: