More miscellany

What other news? I have just started an intriguing tale of the London suburbs that LibraryThing sent me as part of the Early Reviewers program (I fell behind in reviewing these a bit during the dissertation-finishing craze, so I am now making them top reading priority): Rachel Cusk's Arlington Park. So far the characters seem deeply sad in their utter lack of redeeming features and painfully accurate humanity. I am busily preparing to teach the second half of Don Quixote when I return from Spring Break, which presents a veritable mountain of reading for the next few days.

D and I have been watching Dexter digitally - it's amazing how much of the day can be frittered away with unlimited digital movies from Netflix, when one has access to a PC rather than an ineligible spinster of a Mac. Michael C. Hall is quite brilliant in it, as he was in Six Feet Under, but the rest of the cast often seems strained and under-rehearsed (or too broadly conceived to begin with). The opening credits are as terrifying a piece of mundanity as has ever been produced by the human mind (my friend C warned me about their creepy genius, but I still wasn't adequately prepared). In fact, it is this play between banal monstrosity and serial killer abnormality that is the show's greatest strength. Although it is (famously) about a sociopathic serial killer who works for the Miami cops as a blood spatter specialist and only kills other murderers who have eluded more conventional justice, Dexter (for all his inability to *feel* as a human should) is no more numbed and insensitive to the crimes they investigate than any other character in this fictional force. All of them have, in one way or another, dulled their humanity in the face of ambition, distraction, or (at the very least) the deadening scraping of repeated horror.

Other bitlets of interest:

  • In America, Mondays are theatrical "dark days," but in Britain, where they have the same standard M-F workweek, theatres are dark on Sunday. Now the National Theatre is following patron demand and moving to stage Sunday performances as well.
  • Are prizes that limit submissions by the gender of the artist (like the Orange Prize for Literature) inherently sexist? I am sorry to admit I hadn't really given it any thought, despite the large part of each day I devote to feminist rants against the gender-machinations of pop culture (a ritual that I perversely feel absolves me of guilt for addictedly consuming said culture). I was intrigued to learn that a number of prominent female authors refuse to allow their publishers to submit their novels for the Orange Prize, on feminist grounds. Food for thought, certainly.
  • I have also been catching up on my blog-reading (a monumental task), and have decided to join the Sunday Salon. I'm absurdly excited about the opportunity to devote time every Sunday to guilt-free pleasure reading and blogging. I won't be able to participate this Sunday, because I will be traveling back to the East Coast, but I hope to start the following weekend.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Wendy says:

    I'm so happy you'll be joining us for the Sunday Salon! It is a lot of fun :)

  2. kookiejar says:

    The second season of 'Dexter' is even better than the first. In the first season, I found his sister, Debra, to be nearly intolerable...I've warmed up to her since.

    It's one of my favorite shows.

  3. Wendy: I have loved reading your posts to Sunday Salon, as well as others', so I am really looking forward to joining in!

    kookiejar: I know! Isn't she awful? I am only about six or seven episodes in, but it bothers me that she is always getting credit for other people's work (just like the female lt., which makes my feminist superego jump up and down in annoyance). I am glad to hear that she gets better. Meanwhile, Michael Hall is amazing.

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