Friday, October 24, 2008

Way Down In The Hole











From McCarthyite yowls accusing Obama of socialism to false accusations of sexual assault, the end game of the McCain campaign and its supporters recalls the death throes of a mastodon, a prehistoric elephant trapped in the tar pit it walked into and every effort to extricate itself making matters worse...

Larry David writes that waiting for Election Day is worse than waiting for the results of a biopsy...

WWOZ of New Orleans broadcasts live this weekend from the Voodoo Music Experience. Schedule here...

The New York Times endorses Barack Obama: "Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems..."

Several more reasons why I'm glad I don't have to date...

The Number That Explains It All: Obama has tailored his campaign to middle class concerns and McCain has not, at least in a meaningful way. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight explains...

Book Review: The Turnaround, George Pelecanos. Disappointing offering from Pelecanos jumps back and forth from the Seventies to present day, exploring the impact of a street incident when the principles converge years later. The events of the Seventies represent Pelecanos at his best -- you can practically hear the music as bored teenagers cruise looking for action -- but he stumbles badly in the contemporary setting. The novel becomes surprisingly talky -- never a flaw of Pelecanos until now -- as the characters orate at each other rather than converse. Moreover, an unnecessary (and unbelievable) twist and a pat, Hollywood closing mar the conclusion. Pelecanos attempts to personalize the societal forces bearing down on the working class; it's a worthy theme held back by stock characters and wooden dialogue. To read Pelecanos at his considerable best, try Hard Revolution...

Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, and Richard Price -- all of who wrote teleplays for The Wire -- are often cited as America's premiere contemporary crime novelists. The Turnaround notwithstanding, Pelecanos is the most consistent although arguably the least ambitious of the three. Lehane's reputation rests on the Kenzie-Gennaro series and Mystic River. (His new novel, The Given Day, has gotten strong reviews.) While Mystic River is superb, I personally find the Kenzie-Gennaro series to be dull and turgid. Price is the most highly regarded, but he needs an editor badly: With the exception of The Wanderers, anything I've read by him could have been cut by at least 100 pages.

This is all a long way of giving a shout-out to a crime writer whose work stands with these three: The Baltimore novelist Laura Lippman. Lippman, whose husband David Simon produced The Wire. Lippman writes an engaging series featuring the insouciant private detective Tess Monaghan. But the literary strength of her work lies in three standalone novels: Every Secret Thing, To The Power Of Three, and What The Dead Know. Lippman's milieu is the leafy suburbs and the middle-class neighborhoods hiding desperate secrets. She creates three-dimensional characters with flaws and strengths and presents them sympathetically. Moreover the mysteries at the heart of the narratives are involving and well-plotted. As anyone who reads mysteries knows, a compelling plot with credible twists and peopled by strong characters is the Holy Grail of crime writing. I hesitate to call anyone the best crime writer around, but the best of Lippman's work belongs on the A List...

Friday's Choice: This Friday's choice goes out to John McCain and the Republican party.  Each season of The Wire featured a different version of Tom Waits' "Way Down In The Hole," starting with the Blind Boys Of Alabama in Season 1:



Tom Waits introduced Season 2:


Season 3 featured The Neville Brothers:


Season 4 (the best season and the best credits, IMHO) featured a group of Baltimore teenagers called DoMaJe:


Last, Steve Earle and Season 5:


3 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Great post! I particularly like the quote "like waiting for the results of a biopsy" sure does hit the nail on the head! Have a great weekend!

Foxessa said...

That woman's false accusations are still enough to get some random black man lynched. Or a whole neighborhood torched.

The Obama campaign is being awfully forgiving, labeling her, and probably rightly, as a deeply emotionally disturbed person.

However the mavrik's campaign went to work BEFORE there were any ascertainable fact, pushing the most Birth of A Nation racial vileness -- and putting it on the Obama candidacy. That is criminal, and worse, those campaign advisors should be jailed for lying and provocation of public disturbance.

Love, c.

Renegade Eye said...

The whole GOP brand is down the hole, for decades, if not forever.