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Jul. 4th, 2008

Busy week getting up at six every day for physiotherapy (too-often-for-comfort recurring pain in my lower back/hip/leg that I finally decided to see a doctor about; apparently caused by some kind of, for lack of a better word, knot in the muscle) before work. It would probably help more if I hadn't been unpacking a whole pallet of books yesterday, and more today. I was really feeling fine on Wednesday. *sigh*


Finished re-reading A Passage To India; somehow I didn't remember it being quite as disillusioned/depressing, but I still/again love this book so much. It's a crying shame that between what he wanted to write and what he could publish this should have been Forster's last novel.

Maybe it's a good idea revisiting the books from a period of my life where I was, in hindsight, the happiest. At any rate picking up Forster again helped me quite a bit towards regaining a better mental balance, because while he has ideals, he isn't dogmatic. Individuality, difference and variety of human experience; I realised that (paradoxically) therapy somehow made me lose track of that, chasing after some kind of elusive ideal and losing myself a bit in the process. (That's for another entry though, or this one will never be finished...)

Mostly I'm procrastinating (but really kind of enjoying it) and finally watching the DVDs I'd bought when amazon tempted me with offers, but somehow never got around to actually watch; S1 of Rome, which I really liked for the first seven episodes -- good cast; Casar (as well as most of the big historical figures) seemed a bit lacking in charisma for me, but maybe he wasn't supposed to have too much; OTOH Octavian was very well cast with those sudden flashes of brilliancy and coldness, as well as Atia and the other women, both Vorenus and Pullo were fantastic especially during the first half of the season, and hello!, Suzie from Torchwood. *g*

The Kleopatra episode, however, is horrid; racist beyond what I'd have believed possible at the beginning of the 21st century, to the point where it makes me wonder if it wasn't some vague modern anti-Eastern prejudice mixed into the Ancient Roman anti-Eastern prejudice. And while I mostly want to be entertained rather than nit-pick historical details, will people eventually get it into their heads that the Ptolemies were Macedonians? And after that, instead of culminating in tragedy, the show somehow peters out in melodrama. It still has its strong moments, but the plot becomes a bit lurid and soap-opera-esque when Servilia manipulates Octavia into seducing her brother, the scheming repetitive, Vorenus' moral dilemmas ditto, and the characters are simply not compelling enough any more. Considering that it is common knowledge that (and how) Ceasar will die, it somehow lacked the tension and proper dramatic build-up necessary to keep one's (or my, at any rate) interest.


Tool are always a bit too pretentious for me to really fangirl them, but I listened to Lateralus again driving home from feeding & cleaning & petting the horse last Wednsday, and this song is still pure genius.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
In real life, I regret to say, Forster was remarkably narrow-minded and dogmatic. CS Lewis got the full blast of it when he took up his professorship in Cambridge. He was beyond a doubt the most brilliant English language and literature specialist alive, and Cambridge had actually gone out of their way to secure his services by creating a Chair of Medieval and Modern English Literature especially for him. It was a public consecration (and a slap in the face of Oxford, who had kept him as a lowly lecturer for thirty years even though he was by far the most famous Oxford writer alive). Yet the local atheists made a great public parade of treating him as though he carried the plague, and "Forster", says one of his letters "is the silliest of the lot. A pity, becauese his novels are really quite good." The calmly dismissive tone with the side-note of cool appreciation seems to me much more deadly and damning than any fit of anger would be. I dare say that a writer can feel the attraction of a human and intellectual ideal the more when he does not actually fulfil it in real life; like for instance the superstitious Arthur Conan Doyle, a firm believer in Spiritualism who was taken in by the simplest frauds, created the very image of a rationalist hero in Sherlock Holmes.

I refused to watch Rome when it came out, so I do not have much to contribute, but I am not in the least surprised by what you say about Cleopatra. And this may surprise you, but it is probably a surrender to the crassest PC that makes people make her African. There is an orthodoxy in "black history" circles that Cleopatra was one of "their" heroines, and to represent her as history indubitably demands - as a fair-skinned Balkan woman with a few drops of Middle Eastern blood at best - would have caused trouble among black nationalist activists and their multi-culti supporters in the BBC. So it turned out to be viciously racist? As Krazy Kat would say: sipprize, sipprize. PC almost inevitably end up being racist, and their basis is so inevitably.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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