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Monday, May 20, 2019

Why I Hate Game of Thrones

Exactly what you would expect the author to look like.
All of this is in addition to the fact that the show is a tribute to fascism. Leni Riefenstahl must be turning in her grave and kicking herself for kicking the bucket before Game of Thrones first aired.

The intro. The music is stupid, and bombastic, like everything else about the series, so I suppose that it’s perfect. The intro also takes way too long. I would have never made it to a single episode without fast-forward. I was in a little village sitting in a cafe and I heard a kid in an apartment somewhere practicing his trombone. He repeated the four notes of the GOT theme a couple dozen times earning himself justifiable homicide status if you happen to be one of his neighbors.

The acting. It’s impossible for there to be good acting in such a childishly simple melodrama. Most of what passes for acting on the show is close-ups of the queens’ faces looking stern, forlorn, or some other comically melodramatic trope. After the battle, it’s a contest to see who can look the forlornest. Long, long, way too long shots of faces which the directors think is the same as acting. It isn’t.

If any of the cast actually are capable of acting, they were never given the chance in this production that tried to overpower viewers with schmaltz and circumstance in every scene. By the end, I hated everyone, even a couple of the actors I initially liked.

The story. After eight seasons almost nothing has changed in the story. We’ve been hearing about the dead from the North and how terrible they are. Then we get an orgiastic battle in which it’s impossible to keep score one way or the other.  Then their wicked leader is slain in a fairly pedestrian manner: knifed by a child. This will now serve as the new definition of anti-climax. “The zombies don’t win in the end? I never saw that coming.”

The dragon girl carries out The Final Solution.

The hot dragon-on-dragon action. Ugh, just didn’t do it for me. The images of the blond gal flying around on the dragon like the Red Baron made me laugh.

The dialogue. Clichés on top of piles of older, deader clichés. There wasn’t a breath of fresh air in eight seasons.

The groveling to royals. I can almost understand Brits digging all of the “milady” and “milord” and “my queen” and “bend the knee” crap, but it should sicken Americans. GOT needs a good peasant uprising.

The best part. It’s over. Praise YAWEH, it’s over!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Chernobyl: History of a Nuclear Disaster

HBO’s Chernobyl is perhaps the finest TV series I’ve ever watched. I can't think of a better example in which a dramatized version of an historic event has been this trenchant. Every ominous scene is like a step closer to the unthinkable abyss that we all know is inevitable.

This was the very beginning of the end for the USSR, it had little to do with Captain Ronnie. The Soviet State was a rotting leviathan and Chernobyl was the most spectacular and horrifying testament to its absolute incompetence. I was living in Athens, Greece, at the time and remember vividly watching the reports of the disaster via Western news outlets as the Soviets didn't utter a word for quite a while.

So far, this series is even better than a documentary because it demonstrates the human aspect of those involved (the Ukrainians were just as much the victims of the Soviet State as everyone in the path of the nuclear cloud that enveloped much of Europe). The next cloud was made up of the lies heaped upon the disaster by the Central Committee which surely doomed thousands of citizens living near the plant.

I’m too impatient to wait for the next installment next week so I started reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. The book reads like a thriller. I literally can’t put it down. I woke up last night with my eBook on my face, read some more, and passed out again.

It’s hard to laugh when you’re reading in the fetal position, but this part struck me as the epitome of gallows humor. One nuclear scientist working on cleaning up the disaster gives safety advice to another nuclear scientist just arriving, “If you smell ozone, run!”

The most terrifying aspect of all is to consider how our leaders today would deal with a disaster on this order. Even the monumentally corrupt Soviets of that era had some intelligent, rational people among them, which is more than you can say of Putin and Trump, and their flunkies. Trump prevaricates on matters of little or no importance; imagine his response on this sort of travesty.