June 05, 2018

Of Monstrous Injustice, and the Bizarre

Once again, I must offer my sincere apologies for being absent from this space. The reason for my absence is, yes, you guessed correctly, disgustingly awful bad health. Having a failing body is exhausting and boring. God, is it boring. There are so many things I want to do -- reading, writing, listening to music -- and I can barely summon the strength and focus to do even a small part of it. So I'm bored out of my mind, left to contemplate how shitty I feel -- which not surprisingly tends to make you feel more shitty.

All right. A couple of small pointers I can provide. First, the NYT published an engrossing two-part report about a man convicted of murdering his wife. (Part I, Part II) Exactly how and why he was convicted is fascinating, and absolutely horrifying. The second part of the story, which focuses on the "science" of bloodstain-pattern analysis, reveals the extent to which you can bamboozle people with "expert" witnesses who claim that "science" is on their side. Recall, as just one other example of the same phenomenon, all the "experts" in international relations and foreign policy who regularly and repeatedly offer advice which leads to still more brutality, death and destruction -- all of which inures to the benefit of the ruling class. Odd, how "experts" minted by the ruling class can be relied upon to provide policy prescriptions designed to offer still more power and wealth to the ruling class. Whoever would have expected such a result...

The two-part article is lengthy, but it is unusually well-written. I commend it to your attention. Joe Bryan's story is so compelling that the NYT offered an editorial strongly supporting Bryan's release from prison (Bryan has been imprisoned for 30 years, he is now 77 and suffering from congestive heart failure -- and he most probably did not commit the crime of which he was convicted). At some point, it's very likely I will tease out some of the implications of the article's arguments.

Second, and this falls into the category of strange and bizarre bits of cultural history I hadn't known about, when I was toodling about Youtube last week, I stumbled upon a film I'd never heard of, Gone to Earth. David Selznick was one of the producers, and the 1950 film stars his wife, Jennifer Jones. And the film is a Michael Powell-Emeric Pressburger production! (The Red Shoes! Black Narcissus! 'I Know Where I'm Going!') I wondered how I had never heard of this movie, and sat back to enjoy my discovery.

I was transfixed, not by the glory of what I was seeing -- although the treatment of the English countryside is often very glorious -- but by the transcendently, staggeringly, gut-wrenchingly awful performance of Jennifer Jones. Now, I've seen Jones give very bad performances, but this one is genuinely extraordinary. I can't even begin to describe it, and I really shouldn't until I finish watching the film. I got halfway through it; it was very late, I was tired, and I found it a considerable strain to watch this creation that felt as if it had come from another world.

Selznick didn't much like what Powell and Pressburger had done with this project -- so he went to court. The result was Selznick's re-editing and re-release of the film, with a new title: The Wild Heart. The consensus seems to be that Selznick would have been better advised to leave it alone.

I will finish viewing the film sometime this week, and then I'll offer a few more thoughts about it. The story would certainly allow the filmmakers to present a damning indictment of men's cruelty to women, and how men destroy women of unusual qualities. Part of the reason I didn't finish watching it the first time is that it's entirely clear how the film will end -- and it promised to be more depressing than I wanted to deal with. But I shall forge on ... but if you want to see a film that's fascinating simply because it is so bizarre, Gone to Earth may be for you.

So life goes on. I offer all my gratitude to those who made donations in the last couple of months. Your kindness allows me to trudge on -- and I remain convinced that someday, soon, soon I desperately hope, a surge of writing will pour forth from me. I try to gather my strength to hurry that day along.

Because of readers' generosity, I've been able to pay the June rent. But that has cleaned me out -- I now have $60 left. That's it. I have almost no food in the house, and I have nothing with which to pay the internet bill, or the bill for electricity, or a couple of other obligations. Any and all donations will be received with wild, uncontrollable enthusiasm. (Seriously.)

As always, my deep thanks for your attention and your time, and for your kindness, which I receive with a profoundly grateful heart.