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Mad Men - The Carousel

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Mad Men - The Carousel

So many great scenes over the seasons from episode one up to last year's singing Cooper thing, but obviously 'The Carousel' remains the standout.

The final run begins next week.

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Why does Jeremy Clarkson get me so angry? | sturdyblog

Alex Andreou:

I don’t think, unless you have been at the receiving end of someone screaming “paki go home” from a car window in the street, of some sort of mindless discrimination or bullying like that, there is any way to actually describe the fight-or-flight feeling people like Clarkson create in someone who feels “other” in any way. Clarkson, in this way, becomes emblematic of every bully. At work, at school, in the street. That there are people defending him, even after the details of what he has done have emerged, is a source of profound concern. Somehow “the right to free speech” has assumed larger significance in some people’s minds than “the right to go to work and not get punched”. I can only put it down to a worrying lack of empathy – a million people able to only identify with the aggressor, rather than the victim.

But it is more than that. It feels like he is at the vanguard of a reaction by those who are privileged in every way – race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, background, wealth, platform, position – against losing what is, objectively, a tiny bit of their privilege. He felt like the epitome of the Farages, Littlejohns and Moores of this world using their soapbox (usually in the form of a weekly column in a national paper) to somehow claim they are the real victims, the voiceless majority, the disadvantaged; to say: “now ENOUGH you darkies/women/perverts; we gave you a little equality, but don’t push it”.

Such a well written post.

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That Gum You Like Is Going To Come Back In Style

No work of art has given me more pleasure than the two seasons of Twin Peaks from the early 90s. 

I watched every episode 'live', then several times over on video during the following week.

I bought all the books, the VHS, the DVD of the first season, the (Spanish only) DVD of the second season, the eventual DVD box set with all the features, and most recently, the bumper Blu-ray remasters (the first Blu-ray / DVD I've purchased in 6 years).

I don't know where to start in explaining the show's appeal, so I won't. It's just the best. At everything. It touches every human emotion. It's David Lynch's masterpiece.

A picture of the Black Lodge has been my last.fm avatar since day one, there are two Twin Peaks images in my Twitter profile. My obsession with Sherilyn Fenn is well into a third decade. A trip to the Snoqualmie Falls area is number one on my bucket list. 

The new Twin Peaks was announced on the same day that the Juliana Hatfield Three confirmed they'd reformed.

A week on, and I'm still not coping very well with this news.

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Lindy West: Ricky Gervais Broke My Heart

Lindy West:

I wish I could still listen to those podcasts. I wish I could still follow Ricky Gervais on Twitter. I wish I could bring myself watch Derek (kind of). I mourn that loss. But if there’s one thing I took away from the Office and Extras, it’s the importance of never losing sight of people’s humanity. Even David Brent, the irredeemable, is redeemed, and I always took that as a clarion call for empathy, a challenge to see people more deeply. I hold the media I consume to a higher standard now, because of Ricky Gervais.

It's a great article and pretty much sums up my feelings on Gervais. 

People make terrible decisions and say awful things. I know I do, but I like to think I learn from them and apologise. When Gervais gets called out on these things (like the 'mong' business and the recent tweet about celebrity nudity referred to in the linked post) I think he knows he's messed up. He sees that he was wrong but like a child cannot admit it and ends up making him look even more like a dick.

 

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Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode – review | Books | The Guardian

And of course film has already changed a great deal: streaming is not analogous to the videocassette or DVD. Now we have instant access to an unparalleled library of films, books and recordings, we are wallowing about, really, in an atemporal zone of cultural production: none of us have the time – unless, like Kermode, we wish to spend the greater part of our adult life at it – to view all the films, read all the texts, and listen to all the music that we can access, wholly gratis and right away. Under such conditions the role of the critic becomes not to help us to discriminate between "better" and "worse" or "higher" and "lower" monetised cultural forms, but only to tell us if our precious time will be wasted – and for this task the group amateur mind is indeed far more effective than the unitary perception of an individual critic.

 

An outstanding piece of writing by Will Self, reviewing Mark Kermode's book but offering so much more on where technology has taken society and the arts. 

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Mrs Justice Thirlwall: The one woman Philpott couldn't defeat - Comment - Voices - The Independent

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Grace Dent:

I mention West because the summing-up by Mrs Justice Thirlwall – whom you may have noticed to be a female judge – raised in my mind several stomach-churning similarities between the two cases. Thirlwall issued a judgement so razor-sharp that when I read the full transcript I felt like punching the air. Because while the nation bickered about Philpott’s access to housing benefit, Thirlwall spelled out the true matter at hand about Philpott’s systematic campaigns reaching back over 40 years of violence, mental abuse, manipulation and blackmail against  vulnerable women. She spelled out why many men like Philpott – regardless of class – have multitudes of  children. Thirlwall was determined there would be no neat summations of Philpott’s unfortunate “mistake” in 2012, because this was a far longer, detailed story that needed telling.

 

The best article I've read on the Philpott case.

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Don't get mad about the Mail's use of the Philpotts to tarnish the poor – get even | Zoe Williams | Comment is free | The Guardian

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Zoe Williams:

But the paragraph that had me churning with impotent rage was this one: "Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: his story shows the pervasiveness of evil born of welfare dependency. The trial spoke volumes about the sheer nastiness of the individuals involved. But it also lifted the lid on the bleak and often grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers – of whom there are not dozens, not hundreds, but tens of thousands in our country." It is vitriolic, illogical depersonalisation to ascribe the grotesqueness of one wild, unique crime to tens of thousands of people on benefits.

 

As has been pointed out elsewhere, the Harold Shipman case had nothing to do with middle England, middle-class professionals. Yet, somehow, the Mail and others have been able to bring social politics into the Philpott case.

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Hilary Mantel v the Duchess of Cambridge: a story of lazy journalism and raging hypocrisy | Hadley Freeman | Comment is free | The Guardian

Hadley Freeman in the Guardian:

It is worth looking at what is going on here. Lazy journalism, clearly, and raging hypocrisy, obviously: what has any paper done with Kate for the past decade but use her as decorative page filler? Indeed, when the BBC covered Mantelgate (Mantelpiece?) it included lingering shots of the duchess's fair form while quoting in horror from Mantel's speech about the royal women existing to be admired. This is also a good example of how the Mail fights back when it feels it is being attacked...

 

Excellent commentary. Worth reading the whole article.

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