I have been watching, but rather half-heartedly and will likely not continue in the future. I find the show dreadfully unimaginative and don’t see the point in torturing myself on a weekly basis. The character of Lecter and the Hannibal ‘mythos’ is rather…dear to me, and so perhaps I had rather unfairly high expectations entering into this, combined with the excellent (on paper) cast. In practise, I was dismayed to see how terrifically lacking was the execution.
The idea of a series in the Lecter universe is incompatible to the very nature of the titular character. The chilling effectiveness of Lecter in the novels/films is that he appears intermittently - “sometimes he would open his eyes long enough to insult some academic who was trying to pick his brain” - and disappears, only to cast an aura of constant presence throughout the rest of the scene. Having Lecter appear so often rather spoils the clout of why the character is so memorable, rather ‘too much of a good thing’. Moreover, while I ardently admire Mikkelsen, his speech delivery does no justice to the character. Harris (and Sir Hopkins) made rather a point of emphasising Lecter’s polite condescension for other people, punctuated by his sharp and often ironic diction style. True, that this is pre-Red Dragon era and therefore early days yet with Lecter’s psychopathy yet to be exposed, but being so far from the spirit of the Lecter universe makes the show seem a cheap go at tacking a popular name onto an otherwise mediocre show.
The writing is the other major issue for me, horribly disjointed and incoherent for the most part. Between the piss-poor dialogue, thoroughly unengaging characters and storyline(s), the tragic underuse of Caroline Dhavernas, and Will’s weekly apocryphal hysterics (“pure empathy”? really? the psychology researcher for this show requires some revision), it holds very little interest for me. It is trying too hard to shroud the viewer in symbolism and metaphors, while completely losing track of the narrative (not to mention, the rehashing of the “having a friend for dinner” line is getting very old, very fast). I appreciate Mikkelsen in fine suits serving gourmet meals, and that’s about it. Divorced from the Lecter universe, it may be a passable show, but I find its relation to the spirit of the novel(s) in name only.
Oh, how very glad I am that you asked (I shall refrain from spilling forth an entire essay on the matter).
Southern Gothic refers to a genre of American literature that focuses on macabre and disturbing themes borne out of the social, cultural, and religious climate of the American south. From fixations on the ‘grotesque’ and depraved behaviour of a marginalised few, to the sinister corruption of accepted societal mores, the genre is rooted firmly in explorations of God, morality, and the inner bedlam of the soul. The literary genre is often populated by a darkly satirical take on the aforementioned issues, and some contain elements of magical realism. The result is a deeply unsettling and engaging atmosphere of God-fearing people faced with the degenerate horror of their own making, surrounded by the oppressive heat of a Mississippi summer and blood on the barn door.
Prominent authors of the genre include Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, Shirley Jackson, Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams, and Truman Capote. O’Connor’s short essay from 1960 entitled “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction” provides a brilliant insight into the mind of the Southern gothic writer as a vantage point.
The musical equivalent possesses many of the same characteristics, rooted in southern bluegrass and folk music. It tells of furtive strangers, biblical revelations, and lazy summer days punctuated by gunshot; all to the strum of a banjo.
The answer to the first is buried amongst these. As to the second:
And possibly some more that I may be forgetting…
In a word, divine. No nation’s trove of literature is as resonant of its people, culture, and history as is the Russian sort. It is grand, it is masterful, and intensely psychologically acute of both the Russian consciousness and the human condition.
To my mind, Dostoyevsky is all there is.
Anonymous asked: how did you get to the place you are today, intellectual wise? your thoughts and opinions are very intriguing.
By completely and totally absorbing myself in the conduits that lead to the truth of the human condition - art and science, passion and principle, fiction and philosophy, reason and rectitude. By rejecting complacent mass ideologies and unrepentant mediocrity and sharpening this utterly broken brain of mine on the razor of pens, brushes, and minds of those far wiser than I.
Anonymous asked: do you ever become exhausted from being so intense and intellectual all the time?
Beauty is paradox. Beauty is discordant harmony, asymmetrical symmetry, imperfect perfection. Beauty is that which inspires the deepest and most destructive passions, and that which illuminates the most sublime of truths. Beauty itself is perfectly useless, yet wholly necessary if I am to lead any semblance of a tolerable life.
Accordingly, a beautiful person is the one in which all of the above somehow makes sense. Someone who is devastating in their passions and incandescent in their yearnings. Someone who is too big for the space they occupy yet takes up residence in the lost corners of every cell in my body. Someone who is relentless in their pursuit to be more than human while remaining wholly and viciously good.
A representative (not so small) sample…
Dangerous Liaisons • Amadeus • A Clockwork Orange • Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne • The Silence of the Lambs • Såsom i en spegel • Le Samouraï • Wise Blood • Trois couleurs: Bleu • Le feu follet • Les yeux sans visage • Gosford Park • Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö • Los amantes del círculo polar • Nothing Personal • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover • Cinema Paradiso • Les Vacances de M. Hulo • L’illusioniste • Il portiere di notte • 2001: A Space Odyssey • 28 Days Later • Vampyr • Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould • Russian Ark • The Colour of Pomegranates • Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma • Suden vuosi • Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens • Sleepy Hollow • The Company of Wolves • Withnail & I • Caravaggio • The Cremaster Cycle • La Pianiste • La cité des enfants perdus • Pi • Pickpocket • Koyaanisqatsi • Offret • Zerkalo • Death in Venice • Der junge Törless • Maurice • Remains of the Day • Rusalka • Hiroshima Mon Amour • The Woman in the Dunes • Bande à part • If… • The Hours • Barry Lyndon • The Browning Version • Lord of the Flies • Blind • Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed • Det sjunde inseglet • M • Das cabinet des Dr Caligari • Häxan • Shine • I Walked with a Zombie • L’année dernière à Marienbad • La passion de Jeanne d’Arc
(this could go on for quite awhile; perhaps this gives you some idea as to my taste in cinema. any and all of the above are highly recommended.)
Anonymous asked: is there more to admire, or to despise in humans?
Humans are equally capable of good and bad. They have accomplished incredible feats of knowledge and progress, only to undermine it with their fated compulsion for greatness. However, this is ultimately a moral perspectivist question, and you have (perhaps unwisely) asked a misanthrope. When I see humans, I see their dullness, their pettiness, their corruption, their easy acceptance of everything that turns them into snarling, debased animals. I also see what they could become, rising above artificial constraints of materialism and wealth, and shattering the endless cycle of exploitation. Is the latter likely to occur? It depends on what day you ask me.
Anonymous asked: If life is meaningless, then why bother at all with anything? (I’m an existential nihilist and a mess. But I’d value your perspective on this matter.)
The most intensely personal question of one’s life is whether it is worth living at all. Life is inherently meaningless, but the degree to which the anxiety of the matter affects you is your choice alone. You needn’t bother at all, if you like - it is your choice. However, if you decide that, despite the meaninglessness, it is worth bothering about, then you will find some semblance of incentive on which to cling. Related to the above question, there are an equal number of ugly and beautiful things about life; it is ultimately your choice regarding which one compels you more.
You’re in luck, anon, that I am feeling uncharacteristically generous today.
I am bemused that you feel the need to ask. All manner of faith, irrationality, and superstition defy my intellectual fidelity and have no more relevance than wishing upon falling stars or Father Christmas.