Skip to main content

All Fall Down

There is a good case for arguing that 2009 is shaping up to be the most catastrophic year in world history since 1939 (the start of the second world war). Despite the "Obama effect" - now in its 101st day - the world, in '09, is currently facing the most serious economic downturn since at least 1945, and, the most dangerous pandemic threat for forty years. On top of that, ongoing environmental degradation, and all the other problems that usually confront humanity, promise to make this end of the decade a particularly nail-biting one.

Eyewear, for one, is cautiously pessimistic. A few days ago, I believed that the swine flu virus might stay confined to those who had been to Mexico, or had contact with those there - but today, and as we move to Level 5, that seems less likely. Instead, health officials are now speaking of deaths - and the only question seems to be how many zeros after the one. One is reminded of Dylan Thomas who wrote that "after the first death there is no other" - but in a pandemic, that seems reversed - "after the first death there are so many".

This is a chilling time, almost a calm before the storm. London feels a bit like the first hours after the Martians landed on the common, that eerie normalcy that at heart is dreadfully false. How many days before the pandemic breaks out of its relatively contained mode, and really starts wreaking havoc in North America, Europe, and beyond? Time - often a healer - here may not be so kind. We all fall down.

Popular posts from this blog


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…