This week’s theme is Difficult Conversations. I had to have a Difficult Conversation at work this week, but in the end it was thrown rather sharply into relief by the Supreme Court nominee hearings over in the USA. Here we saw one brave person stand up for truth and justice, no matter the cost to themselves, while another person ranted and raved about the injustice of it all. One of these people is the nominee for the Supreme Court—a lifetime term which puts the appointee in one of the most powerful positions in the USA, not to mention giving them significant influence over the lives (and deaths) of every citizen in the country.
Of course the GOP has been true to form and put forward the worst candidate you could possibly imagine. It’s one of those situations where I find it hard to articulate the problems because they’re so blazingly obvious. And yet we have the GOP, and no shortage of other people, campaigning on behalf of someone who is demonstrably a liar and almost certainly an abuser. In a twisted way, it’s entirely appropriate—Kavanaugh would absolutely represent the law, but the law as the GOP sees it (which is to say, as another tool they can exploit and twist to their benefit).
I’ve said it before, but it doesn’t seem so many years ago that a politician’s career would be finished after even a whiff of indiscretion. We all remember Bill Clinton’s presidency almost ending because of a consensual sex act. Now, we have someone who is accused of attempted rape (and is almost certainly guilty) and people are still supporting him. Meanwhile, here in Australia we have a former Deputy PM who is a proven cheat and liar, and who got re-elected to Parliament due to the efforts of his party.
The most galling thing is that it’s the right-wing who campaign on the basis of family values, but it’s those same people who trash those values at every turn. I can’t help feeling that modern politics has become tarnished beyond repair and the process of fixing it is not going to be a pleasant one.
It’s been a relatively light viewing week, but I did finally dip into a new TV series. I’d read about a series called The Norsemen somewhere or other and seeing described as “The Office, but with Vikings” made it sound like something that I’d be into. It was. And I am. It’s not the fall-down, hyperventilate, smack yourself funniest thing you’ll ever see, and there’s a mildly worrying homophobic slant to one of the characters, but it’s casually amusing and if “The Office with Vikings” appeals to you, then I highly recommend it.
For my Saturday movie I picked Hanna, which showed up on one of my streaming services. It’s one of those movies that’s brimming with genius, but doesn’t quite manage to become the sum of its parts. In short, I loved many, many elements of the film, but came away thinking the whole thing hadn’t quite come together as well as it could have done. That being said, definitely not a disappointment, and well worth viewing,
Guess what? I FINALLY FINISHED THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE!! Yes! I made a commitment to myself to sit down and read it every night this week, and I managed to do exactly that. It was a fine read, but throughout I had the same problems with it that kept stalling my progress.
Firstly, the 1963 Robert Wise adaptation is so good, and relatively close to the source material, that I felt little sense of mystery as I made my way through the chapters. It’s probably sacrilege to say, but I didn’t feel as if the novel was giving me anything I hadn’t already found in the movie.
Secondly, I had a really hard time engaging with the characters as written due to the fact that their dialogue seemed overly stylised. It was very hard to accept them as real people when, to my ear, they didn’t speak like real people.
Also this week, I finished the audiobook of Dune. It’s been fascinating listening to a full, and highly regarded, novel in audiobook format. The production, as I’ve already said, was superb. The experience of listening to a book, instead of reading, seems to allow me to focus far more on the words and details. As such, both the strengths and flaws seem more apparent. Frank Herbert builds a rich, highly detailed, fully immersive universe in Dune. The first act of the story is rock solid, intricately plotted, and absolutely gripping. After that, however, he seems to get a bit lost in his creation. We shift from a Game Of Thrones level tale of political drama, to a slow-burning character study of a rising messiah. The closing chapters, though dramatic, seem to amble towards a conclusion, and then abruptly end.
Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this one, but it was just as fascinating to hear the book in a whole new light, and with a fresh perspective.