6 thoughts on “Friday, November 19, 2021

  1. Hi, Robert in Davis. If you want to see a really interesting but totally unglamorous documentary (only 49m) of the history of Los Angeles, with the kind of corruption that inspired noir films like” Chinatown” (in the film, it’s water; in reality, the working-class Angeleno had affordable housing stolen from them by profiteers, – and probably access to water, too; and cheap transport – it was the crime of the century), you must see Thom Andersen’s “Los Angeles Plays Itself” (2003). This is a link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifii8LvR-ss

    Also, in a much more romantic vein, there’s a book called “Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles” full of photos matching the prose from the novels when he describes places, which he did so well.

    By the way, for what it’s worth, I liked the first version of your poem more than the revised one. There’s a spiky vitality to the first version, I find, that is muted in the different choices taken in the second one. But what do I know? It’s just my taste. And now you have two poems instead of one!

    (W. G.)

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    1. Thanks for the L.A. tips and the poetry criticism. Sometimes its best to stick with your first instinct and not fiddle too much with writing. There is a famous story about James Wright’s revision of a poem (“A Blessing,” I think) that was so much worse than the first draft that his editor refused to publish the “new and improved” version.

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  2. Good to see another user of the original social media on OTP. perhaps we’ll meet on the bands one day. Better yet we could pre-arrange a QSO. Preferably using the original digital mode, CW. ..DE AI4WM

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  3. Tom, I learned something about Dogpatch. But it would be whitewashed history to plenty of us to say that those statues ever “sort of lost their relevance.” I suspect the “recasting” you speak of has more to do with whose voices are allowed in the public sphere than with any actual historical shift in consciousness. Or maybe what you mean to say is: more white people than before are starting to see those statues as symbols of oppression. And, while its anesthetizing to think that the statues were a harmless way for a defeated South to let off steam (the race version of “boys will be boys”), plenty of good ol’ guys and gals look up at those statues with pride–and continue on their way to their terrorist cell meetings. Then and now. Charlottesville, anyone?

    Also, with just a slight opening of the aperture, it’s near-every statue that’s a hymn to white supremacy, not just Robert E. Lee’s. (Future post on Abraham Lincoln’s post-civil war treatment of American Indians?) Sometimes it feels like all the (white, liberal) attention to the Confederacy (or the Trump supporters, or the social media Karens) serves as a handy deflection from other inconvenient truths, whether held self-evident or not.

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  4. Tom – appreciated your piece about the civil war. Get yourself on Heather Cox Richardson’s distribution for her daily “Letter to America” – she is a historian, teaches at Boston College. This is a regular theme of hers.

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