Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Jeffrey Epstein and the Marquis de Sade

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's alleged procurer, is in the news lately. I came across this article in the Guardian making the case that Maxwell is not an outlier, but rather typical of the world of wealthy elites who get away with crimes thanks to their privilege.

...there’s still a good chance Maxwell will evade punishment. Epstein himself originally got what was essentially a slap on the wrist after abusing scores of girls, because he was rich and influential and the quality of a person’s defense representation depends on how much money they have. (One way to make the punishment system more egalitarian would be to ban private counsel, so that everyone had to to use the public defender’s office.)

Maxwell has already been able to evade the law for much longer than anyone with less wealth and fewer social connections. But whether she ultimately walks or not, let us be careful not to focus excessively on Maxwell’s individual pathologies. We must also understand the social and economic milieu that made her alleged actions possible.

It reminded me of the Marquis de Sade who got away with multiple rapes, abductions and pedophilia before the law caught up with him. He got away with his crimes for so long because he was an aristocrat, and most of his victims were the working class - servants and prostitutes. Of course he wasn't alone among the aristocracy in abusing the non-elites, he was just more extreme than most, probably he was a certifiable psychopath. But luckily for his historical legacy he also wrote about rape, pedophilia. etc. which made him a hero to some, especially in France.

In the 1990s, American playwright Doug Wright decided that it would be cool to portray de Sade as a hero of free speech, so he wrote QUILLS which was later made into a movie. 

It would be like someone deciding, 200 years from now, to write a play portraying Jeffrey Epstein as a hero. Somebody probably will, if it turns out that Epstein has written a fictionalized version of his crimes and thus qualifying him as an above-bourgeois-morality Great Man of the Arts.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Springtime

Here is Mr. Fuzz during our first spring on West 85th Street. Look at the green elm tree and the ivy, so beautiful. Both destroyed by my neighbors.

In other seasonal news, Sprinter finally arrived yesterday, even though we already had some 60 - 70 degree weather. Sprinter is very late this year thanks to it being unusually cold this winter especially in late February - early March. But as I was walking around Astoria yesterday there was suddenly the exact confluence of temperature and the scent of burning wood necessary for it to really be Sprinter.

Mr. Fuzz is 17 and a half now. He has some health issues but he's hanging in there!

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Randy Disher Podcast

One of the funniest recurring bits on the TV show Monk - which I have mentioned I adore - is when the young police officer Randy Disher talks about - and even performs with - his garage band "The Randy Disher Project."

The last episode of Monk aired in 2009 but the world of Monk has recently be revived, ever-so-briefly, in the first months of the Covid-19 quarantine in the video spot Monk in Quarantine. Jason Gray-Stanford who played Randy Disher appeared on Monk in Quarantine along with Tony Shaloub, Ted Levine and Traylor Howard. 

And now Gray-Stanford is hosting The Randy Disher Podcast which features the Randy Disher Project's theme song "Don't Need a Badge." The Project made a video which was partially shown on Monk episodes but the whole thing is available on YouTube.

I don't normally get so deep into fandom for a TV show. Almost every guy I've had a serious relationship with has been big into Star Trek and while I supported them I could never get into it myself. Now I get it.

The Monk writers had fun with extreme fandom when they created a character, Marci Maven, played by Sarah Silverman.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

I got no tears on my ice cream but you know me, I love pretending


This woman had a really strong positive reaction to what is probably my favorite pretenders song "Mystery Achievement." I really enjoyed watching her loving this song.

   

 I have never been much of a concert-goer but I'm proud to say I saw them before half the original line-up (Peter Farndon, James Honeyman Scott) died from drug overdoses.

Unfortunately there's only one video I could find of the original lineup doing "Mystery Achievement."

Whenever I smell a leather jacket I think of the Pretenders. They wore leather, the audience wore leather. Everybody in leather.