Things, here are some.
Julia Jacklin. Not a thing, really. So much as a person.
Yiyun Li, in her memoir, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, mentions how one of the great weapons against the void is absolutism.
From time to time I find myself absolutely obsessed with things which are sometimes not things at all so much as they are people. Though, really, people are just one type of thing.
I have been asked by some people not to refer either to them, or myself, as things. I still do. There is power in naming things. My plan is to save up this power until the last minute.
I am presently absolutely obsessed with Julia Jacklin. Particularly this video for her new single “Eastwick.” Which combines two of my favorite things.
- Televisions, across disparate scenes, displaying the same program–as if relaying a secret message from the universe.
- A young woman sitting in the rain on top of a picnic table drinking a drink that is, among other things, very blue. I didn’t realize this second thing was one of my favorite things until I saw it in this video.
I also love the subtitles in that one bit where there are subtitles. It is a short bit.
You should watch the video.
When Julia Jacklin looks at you, don’t be surprised if you melt a little bit.
Master of None. Not so much a thing as a television show. Which I guess is kind of a thing. But so, as previously discussed, are people. The thing here is that I’m really into parallelism and so I felt compelled here to copy the structure of the first thing’s introduction. Absolutism!
Speaking of which.
I am absolutely, along with Julia Jacklin, also obsessed with Master of None. Particularly this season. Which is the second season. And which, like Louie or some other show I can’t think of right now but imagine that I did, proves that these days the best Hollywood films are television shows. I haven’t seen such a classic it-hurts so-good-romance in a long while. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang and Alessandra Mastronardi have made magic.
Plus, there was “Thanksgiving”, an episode not at all related to the season long romance but entirely related to the greater mission of Aziz’s show which is to put interesting people together and let them tell interesting stories about their lives. “Thanksgiving” is one of the best episodes of television in one of the best television shows on right now and it is probably what people mean when they say the best episodes of Master of None often have very little to do with Aziz’s characer, Dev.
I love it all.
Storyological, at long last, has returned for the remainder of our second season. If anyone is as obsessed with our little podcast as I am with Julia Jacklin or Master of None then I will consider our podcast a success. Joss Whedon once said he would rather make a show loved by 200 people than a show liked by 2 million people. I feel the same. I think Emma does, too, probably.
In our latest episode, POCK SMASH!, we discussed, as we generally do, two stories. Those stories were:
“Whatever Happened to Interracial Love” by Kathleen Colins, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love, Granta, 2017.
“The Embassy of Cambodia” by Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, 2013.
Zadie Smith has a blurb on the cover of Kathleen Collins’ collection of stories. We didn’t plan this. These things happen, is all.
For example. Right now.
I want to talk about Gilda. Namely how, among other things, there’s this brilliant use of the song, “Put the Blame on Mame.” It appears three times in the film. As the best things do. Appear three times, I mean. There’s a rule about that somewhere.
The first time the song appears, Gilda hums it to herself. She’s enjoying the song for her own sake. It belongs to her and her alone. Her humming ends when two men enter her room and elicit the iconic hairflip that is one of the greatest entrances in film. Right up there with the entrance of Rita’s one-time husband in The Third Man.
The second time the song appears, Gilda sings it to a dear friend and it is maybe my favorite scene in the whole film. Gilda’s sitting on a table, strumming a guitar, no longer so much happy as melancholy. But she’s not really unhappy about this state of affairs. She’s not sure why the world sucks so much but it does and everyone seems to blame her. But what are you gonna do? The world’s a funny place. This singing is interrupted by a man from her past. His name is Johnny. A fact that is repeated endlessly in the film. Oh, Johnny. Don’t you see, Johnny. I just can’t quit you, Johnny. So on. Gilda stops playing the song when Johnny enters. I don’t think he likes that Gilda sings songs for herself and for others but no longer sings for him.
The third time the song appears, Gilda’s in full burn the world mode. She’s done with this shit. And she sings the song this time for an audience of men. And, perhaps, for us, the viewers. For everyone but Johnny. The song this time is ribald and, for a time, she seems to be having fun. And maybe she is. Maybe it’s fun to watch the world burn. What makes the scene spectacular is that, in fact, the performance this time is entirely for Johnny and it is a giant fuck you.
I wish the whole movie was as good as these three scenes.
These three scenes are, though, better than many whole movies.
Happy Tuesday, readers.