Weekly Roundup: Happy International Workers’ Day Version!

I look like a literal monster

I know it seems like almost a week late, but over here we celebrate all national holidays on whatever Monday they’re closer to. Except May Day, that’s always the first Monday of May. Hell even the queen slides her birthday onto whichever Saturday happens to be hanging around just in case her well wishers feel like making the trip.

That said, just about the only exception to this be the royalty. Weddings, funerals, coronations. That said, bit of a rip off that Meg & Harry arranged theirs on a Saturday, give everyone else some room and, you know what, give the rest of us a day off. That’s pretty much the deal, our taxes for an unscheduled public holiday once every few years, don’t have the temerity to change it now.

Whatever, I celebrated by reading The Communist Manifesto for the first time, it surprised me how short it was. Like, what sorta idiot am I? It’s a manifesto, and a credit to their invention that it’s even worth publishing. Or maybe a credit to capitalism’s hypocrisy, whatever. It’s approachable, maybe because it’s the basically the primacy of modern leftist thought, a document that strives as far as possible for self reference.

Like, I think I’m a leftist. And I’m even not sure if that language is the right language. I have a pretty strong idea of what I am but when the leftist spheres of the internet at some point over the last year and a bit started using the word ‘liberal’ to describe the concept of liberalism as a whole, rather than, you know, what people think it means.

I dunno, the conversation around all of this shit has evolved into something impossible. It’s unoriginal I suppose to object against the impenetrability of critical language, I know scholars have been making fun of that themselves for years. But it’s self defeating.

When your message if, ‘I’m racist.’ I can see the need for some shibboleths. They help you conceal your cause from those not inside. I’m gonna start reading more criticism, maybe not Capital just yet, I just wanna have the language, maybe then I can translate. It’ll do my own thoughts some good anyway. I don’t think I’ll have insight of my own for a while, I’m too far behind on this, too paranoid, too selfish. The struggles of my own life take precedent, but maybe that’s valuable. Change carried on the backs of virtuous martyrs tends to go badly for the compromised.

I got through the Joe Penhall series Mindhunter in basically two marathon sessions. Episodes 1-5 a few weeks ago, episodes 6-10 yesterday basking in my bedroom with the current heat. It’s the second David Fincher Netflix project that looks prestigious but is actually just fine. I mean, I would say it were fine, but the fact is it runs so much interference on itself that it winds up pretty bad.

Prestige TV pretty much hates the form that traditional network fare does, I think. I am not a TV critic so I am quite possibly diagnosing something imaginary but, Mindhunter is a show about two ill matched cops interviewing serial killers and solving crimes based on their findings. They have an irascible sergeant who don’t quite trust them and might want their operation shut down. A wry and dry analyst gives them useful clues while back at the station.

It’s a fucking procedural. That’s all it needs to be, in the same way that Murder, She Wrote has its author and Diagnosis: Murder has its doctor, Mindhunter‘s gimmick is these interviews and mostly, everything flows directly outta that.

But then the program spoils its own fun, It gotta don’t it. It’s adult entertainment, these characters can swear can’t they? They can show explicit images? Then we can’t enjoy ourselves, their work. It’s grown after all.

So we have a girlfriend and a wife of our two leads who are included so superficially. Over a ten episode season they have all of maybe five scenes between them outside of their partner’s lives, and I’m pretty sure that’s being generous. The actresses in these roles are dope but they’re given nothing to do, zero definition outside the men.

When one of them starts to cheat on the man we’re given by the very design of the reveal no insight into her world. After this happens the characters don’t even discuss it. These women are so sidelined as to become meaningless additions to their own stories.

Starting on meaningless additions. Every episode after like, the first opens on a scene of some dude freaking out. From context I assume he’s going to perform some sorta killing that our leads are gonna investigate. Fucked if I know though because the series spends the whole season dangling that thread. I don’t need to know what it means; I just want to care.

To be honest the whole of the season has done a pretty poor job of that so far.

On the other side of the Netflix spectrum, Aggretsuko is bloody amazing. It’s so short and sweet that I’ve gone through it twice already. I saw that advert with the cute red panda singing metal and resolved to give it a watch, I wasn’t expecting it to show episode one an honest and frank depiction of workplace sexism. Like, the specificity of Retsuko’s rage is enough to convince that the short series knows what it got on its mind.

Stick with it, come on the whole thing is just about 2.5 hours. It’ll spin its wheels for a while and them Retsuko starts attending a yoga class that two coworkers, Gori and Washimi, go to. This is when the full hand is laid down, the series is about the friendships between women and how they all find their way about navigating the society that they find themselves in.

In the first episode we briefly see a character called Tsunoda and are invited to judge. the rest of the series paints her choices with empathy, but crucially never pity. She just takes control of her identity in a different way, hopefully a second season will provide us with more Tsunoda content.

Slightly unpopular opinion, worst character is Haida. No question. Look, I get it, he’s cute and who wouldn’t want a cute hyena boyfriend with them snaggleteeth. But he don’t got a single thing to make him interesting. Not yet anyway. What’s the point of interested without interesting?

Watch Aggretsuko.

This is America.

Have you seen this shit? If not watch it fucking now.

I’m tempted to say it’s unfair, how Donald Glover is just better at everything than the rest of us. I’ve been impressed with him before as an actor, a writer, a director, a musician. But look at the way he fucking moves his body here, look at what he manages to do with his face. Point on point on point he achieves that specificity. When the choir singing and he slides on out of the door; I am transfixed by that, trying to break the performance down into the moments that make it work, like an animator with their keyframes.

There ain’t single moment Donald Glover isn’t getting better. At this point I just feel privileged to watch. Plus, how does he manage to be hotter here than in Magic Mike XXL? I didn’t think it were possible but somehow, it is.

Anyway, this is me for the weekend. More shit went down but them family matters mostly, and not for entertaining discussion here.

I saw my cousins for the first time in a while, the never cease to be a source of inspiration. Their dedication to their goals, drive, and adaptability astound me force me to my way of being a better person. Whatever person I’m becoming anyway, gotta make my mind up soon probably.

I’ll be back throughout the week probably. Whoever hit up my letterboxd will know i got Saturday at least down the art cinema. TullyBeastLean on Pete and The Young Karl Marx reviews are on their way.

For now though, I gotta rest. I were shifted both on International Workers Day, and its given holiday.

Truth is: ain’t gonna argue with double pay.

❤ Esther

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