Monday, 08 July 2013

"What will become of the children?" Why, they'll be raped and murdered, of course. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ranks among the worst shows on television. Not because of the acting -- though the fact that Richard Belzer's been going through John Munch's motions since 1993 has been obvious for about a decade now -- but because it's all exploitation all the time. Its bias is clearly liberal, but cruelly so, in that it manifests itself in the bodies of its victims: children, women, immigrants, non-whites, gays, lesbians, etc. But that only makes it worse, because I suspect that conservatives secretly love the show because it combines the victimization of marginal peoples with the systemic incompetence of the New York state police force and legal system. The world of L&O:SVU is one in which white men frequently get away with doing terrible things to people conservatives don't consider people. Which isn't to say that I don't also watch it. When it's on -- and it's always on -- I can't stop myself. It's that terrible. Last night, for example, I watched an episode in which Big Boi was eaten by a pack of hyenas and Detective Stabler was shot trying to stop a man with a monkey in a basketball. Because as we all know monkeys in basketballs are clearly within the purview of the Special Victims Unit. But you need not watch any particular episode to understand its horribleness, because it's right there in the Riefenstahlian opening credits. To the images! This is New York City, where all the American crime happens. This helicopter shot shows you how many people are in it and, therefore, how much crime is likely to happen. Which is a lot. Or would be were it not for: This tough American woman detective. You can tell she's tough because she has her hands on her hips. You can't actually see that here, but the camera's going to pull back on this still image in a moment because this is action photography. Like in a documentary! With two notable exceptions -- which I'll get to shortly -- it's all panning and zooming on still images. It creates the illusion that you're going to be watching something along the lines of Ken Burns's Civil War, and in the distant past of 1990, when the style of the franchise's opening credit sequence was originally established, maybe you were. But L&O:SVU is a far cry from those early episodes, so this here's a bill of goods. As is the first mini-narrative of the sequence: A close-up on the police line. A crime must have occurred! Fortunately, a still image of a speeding police cruiser is on the way: Will it get there in time? Will the criminal get away with it? He will not! The rapist has been captured! The residents breathe more easily. But wait! Just because he's captured doesn't mean he's been convicted. Might he not get away with the raping on a technicality? He will not! He and his raping hands are behind bars. The residents really can...
An LG&M Podcast: Game of Thrones, "Winter Is Coming," though not soon enough Steven Attewell and I decided that we didn't want to wait until next February to continue talking about Game of Thrones, and so we decided to start over. Here's our take on "Winter Is Coming," the serie's inaugural episode. I'm including links to the works I referenced and will have Steven do the same. Works SEK discusses: Game of Thrones - "Winter Is Coming" for Poor Will Game of Thrones - "Winter Is Coming" for Bran Game of Thrones - "Winter Is Coming" for Catelyn Stark and Jon Snow Game of Thrones - "Winter Is Coming" for Will and Bran Works Attewell discusses: Game of Thrones – Prologue (Will, Gared, and Ser Waymar beyond the Wall, and class inequality within the Night’s Watch) Game of Thrones – Bran I (the execution of the Night’s Watch deserter and the direpups, Ned Stark’s theory of personal power) Game of Thrones – Catelyn I (Catelyn brings bad news to the Godswood, Jon Arryn as hand and explorations into feudalism) Game of Thrones – Daenerys I (Daenerys meets her future husband, conflicting historical memories of Robert’s Rebellion) Game of Thrones – Eddard I (Eddard and Robert down in the crypts, Robert as Henry VIII, and the Wardens Cardinal) Game of Thrones – Jon I (Jon meets Tyrion and is super-emo, how GRRM exaggerates medieval bastardy) Game of Thrones – Catelyn II (Catelyn gets a letter from her sister, Catelyn’s political skills, the nature of the Hand) Game of Thrones – Arya I (Arya doesn’t like sewing, Westerosi Punnett squares and not jumping to conclusions) Game of Thrones – Bran II (Bran goes climbing, introduction to the Lannister Conspiracy) Video: Audio: You can listen to the above podcast here. Archives: Our very civilized discussion of the premiere (S03E01). Fancy-talking about “Dark Wings, Dark Words” (S03E02). Here we are blathering on about “Walk of Punishment” (S03E03). Don’t watch — because you can’t — us discuss “And Now His Watch Has Ended” (S03E04). The rudely interrupted first half of our discussion of “Kissed by Fire” (S03E05). The second half of our discussion of religion in “Kissed by Fire” (S03E05). In which we discuss “The Climb” sans spoilers (S03E06). “The Climb” with spoilers (S03E06). “Second Sons.” We has them (S03E08). Belatedly, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” (S03E07). You’re all invited to an epic performance of “The Rains of Castamere” (S03E09). This is the end ... the end of Season Three (S03E10).

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