Jump to content

sistermagpie

Member
  • Content Count

    5.1k
  • Joined

Community Reputation

17.6k Excellent

1 Follower

  1. sistermagpie

    Tusk to Tchaikovsky: Re-watching the Americans

    Just finished The Colonel and with it, season one in my very slow, verbose re-watch. Things that stood out to me: This is the ep where Paige steps into her role as true snoop. It’s ironic to see the contrast between Paige’s grilling of Elizabeth’s doing laundry late at night without the washing machine running and Paige sneering at Philip encouraging that kind of questioning about the dead body she just saw. Stan totally jumps the gun on promising to ex-filtrate Nina. This is good for plot purposes in that it gives her the info she takes to Arkady, (it’s also good for Nina’s purposes as it lets her be forgiving and encourage Stan to prove himself to her) but it seems like a doofus move for Stan. Gaad did not at all tell him this was a done deal even if they caught the Illegals. But it is interesting to try to think about in the context of his later gestures toward protecting Oleg and Philip. At the same time, Gaad’s clearly relying on Stan’s instincts with Prince. The episode (and Elizabeth) spends a lot of time highlighting Elizabeth’s impending sacrifice, insisting that Philip should be the one to be with the kids. (She claims they should be with him because he’s the one they “understand,” which sounds like a humblebrag to me and also makes it all about her.) We get scenes of Elizabeth making her big sacrifice with longing looks at the kids etc. But the twist is that throughout the ep Philip is coming to the same conclusion about himself as if it’s no big thing. I really do think that a lot of Philip’s attitude comes from just being a kid in post-war Russia where parent=mom and dad’s needed, but not in the same way. Oh, and when Philip comes over to take the kids to dinner and Henry begs off for a hockey game. His dad who he no longer gets to see at home all the time has come to take him for a nice dinner (which might have turned out to be the last time he ever saw his father, unbeknownst to Henry) but the hockey game’s what he’s interested in now. Though he is happy when Philip opts to stay with him. Emotional labor is so not Henry’s thing. On one hand it’s just a way of emphasizing Henry’s normalcy the way he takes his parents for granted, but it also means his ultimate tragedy and/or gift is to find out his father was actually more interesting than anything on a screen the whole time. The main person I found myself focused on in this ep was Claudia—it made me start imagining a possible things about her we didn’t see. She murders Patterson (rather pointlessly), proving herself a badass. She and Elizabeth have a big confrontation in a restaurant which I found it really tedious. It was like listening to two people on the internet who keep talking about how little they care about the other person’s opinion, posturing all over the place and shut up, you two, you’re both idiots. Then Claudia talks to Arkady. Originally this scene, iirc, was important because it showed clearly that Claudia wasn’t the person Elizabeth thought she was, that she was trying to protect her and Philip. Watching it now it seems obvious Elizabeth was totally off. Having Arkady marvel at how Claudia is protective of the Jennings after they “stabbed her in the back” was a bit much. Like Arkady’s telling us how wronged Claudia’s been. First, drama queen much? Is it really a stab in the back? Second, Claudia’s got good reason to not want Philip and Elizabeth caught. Third, maybe Arkady might have understood if he knew what she’d been up to. Claudia’s been the one sticking knives in everybody’s back. Claudia has actually sucked as a handler for these two. She shows up to work with two people with what I presume is an amazing record. They’ve worked together smoothly for years. So why on earth would a handler decide to start tweaking their marriage? A good handler would just sit back and learn for a while, not start meddling and trying to make Elizabeth trust her partner less. It's the last thing I'd expect a good handler to do. We know that later Claudia will confess (I don’t see a point in lying about this in this exact context) to sharing her true identity with some guy she was in a relationship with, that she’ll be part of the neo-Stalinist plot to get rid of Gorbachev, one for which she’ll happily sacrifice an unwitting Elizabeth. We’ll also learn she has children and grandchildren in Russia she can’t relate to. She’s very often using her job to pursue her own agenda or instincts—she tells Arkady to call off the Colonel meeting, sends Elizabeth after Patterson, kills Patterson herself and enlists Philip and Elizabeth to investigate the Connors’ deaths. On the show she immediately got seen as just a super badass, but we’re mostly seeing the Claudia she would want people to see. She might not really be the Centre’s favorite handler and might have resented that more and more, conflating her own personal needs with the USSR’s. With that in mind, the last scene played a little differently. The first time I saw the scene between Claudia and Philip after Elizabeth’s shot as just being about Claudia recognizing that Philip actually cares about Elizabeth (like the audience sees Claudia has Philip and Elizabeth’s best interests at heart). This time I couldn’t help but think that Claudia tried to send Philip home, telling him Elizabeth would have to be with “us” a long time, and thought that if he’d gone he wouldn’t have been there when Elizabeth woke up and asked him to come home. Not that Claudia would have known she’d do that, of course. But there is a subtle expression of the dynamics there. Claudia is saying that she, as the handler and representative of the Centre, is the person Elizabeth would be with now. Philip, her partner, can leave. And Philip, naturally, is like piss off, who even ARE you? It seems like Claudia learned to back off Philip overtly where Elizabeth was concerned, but I think she did totally think she’d gotten rid of him in S6 and thought this put Elizabeth under her thumb where she belonged. But there again she didn’t get him or them.
  2. sistermagpie

    The Americans in the Media

    In honor of the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos the NYT has a list of what they think are the best shows since then and each one has someone involved in the show quoted talking about something about it. For the Americans, it's Alison Wright. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/arts/television/best-drama-series.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur
  3. It's just bizarre to set up this false dichotomy between coddling and spanking as he did. Even he was talking about it as a "last resort" so why is it so important? There's really no reason that getting hit by a parent needs to be the ultimate threat hanging over your head in order to behave. There are so many other negative reinforcement techniques, so many other things kids would want to avoid without them being in physical fear of you hurting or humiliating them.
  4. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    That was absolutely the first thing I thought. I know almost nothing about Paris herself but of course "sources" were just outright saying that, basically, Robeson, Safechuck and Reed made her try to kill herself with their lives and they hope they're proud of themselves! The little I do know about her I don't really like, I admit. But that could definitely be the fault of her environment.
  5. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    I don't know how much he really wanted it. He was a kid at the time he was with Jackson and MJ got cameras and stuff for him to make movies around Neverland and told him he was going to be the next Steven Spielberg (he seems to have said the same thing to Wade) but at least in the documentary I didn't get the impression it was a truly serious dream to him as a grown-up. Seems like Wade was sort of a rarity in that he really did find his passion early and went after it all on his own from an early age. Poor James wasn't even a Michael Jackson fan when he did the commercial (a line of work his mom seems to have gotten him into). That's part of what makes the Jacksons' claims about him seem so false, like they're trying to claim he was just another amateur who had the illusion of a career as long as the Jacksons gave him jobs like the Cirque du Soleil show when he was very publicly producing work anyone could see and getting hired for stuff where he really had to deliver.
  6. He still doesn't get that conservatives come on TV to do something different than progressives do. People come on Rachel Maddow because that's where they'd have a conversation where they can explain a subject and give their thoughts on it. They'd be fine being questioned by a conservative person asking genuine questions and bringing up relevant issues. Conservatives on Bill Maher's show don't care who they're talking to because they're just there to repeat their talking points. He'll ask them a reasonable question and they'll just pretend the answer to it is a talking point. Then they get clips of themselves shouting over people etc. The audience not liking them is part of the appeal. I remember one time Ann Coulter was on doing her usual racist schtick and the audience was just ignoring her and she kept turning to them to encourage them to react more or pretending they'd boo'd when they hadn't. A person who actually has an issue to talk about knows there's no point talking about it there. Unless, of course, you do like the Dutch Historian did and make your own video to try to get around Tucker cutting your mike, cutting your sound and cutting you off. People probably *are* swayed by clips of conservatives on his show. Fox does its best to make sure the same wouldn't happen on their big shows.
  7. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    Exactly. There's this weird reaction people seem to have a lot whenever sexual assault comes up where they act like there's this magic lamp anyone can rub where you just accuse somebody of it and bells go off and money pours out of the helpless person like they're a slot machine. They just say "it's for the money" without really explaining the steps one would take. And then they forget about it by the time the person fails to become wealthy. Even the whole thing of "he can't defend himself" is ironic since for years Michael Jackson had a far far bigger platform than a documentary, even one that got shown on HBO. He got to give his side of the story all over the place but suddenly none of it's on the level of this documentary.
  8. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    One thing that's terrible about it is even if he himself wasn't having sex with the children, it's irresponsible to act as if the question itself is suspect. And I've seen people still do that, saying, "If you think wanting to sleep with a child means sex, that says more about you than him!" It's trying to make it off-limits to even acknowledge that sexual abuse happens, which gives cover to any pedophile anywhere. They want people to feel too embarrassed or ashamed to question what they're doing. Which is exactly what MJ was doing, demanding that nobody question anything he did and refusing to accept the responsibility of an adult and consider how his actions might be harmful even if he wasn't molesting the kids. Obviously he's not somebody to be trusted with children if he just absolves himself of all responsibility like that. Exactly. There's so much gaslighting going on in the whole story. Even leaving aside the fact that he did have a childhood just as every human does and now it's over and being in the presence of children or cotton candy doesn't bring it back, it's not like sleeping with grown men--or sleeping in bed with other children--is some widely-recognized part of childhood. Of course some children share beds or whatever. But they do it for practical reasons like space or money or warmth. I would bet James and Wade might never have shared a bed with any actual boy in their life, nor ever had a desire to do so. (They have, of course, shared beds with other *adults* as an adult.) So among all the other bullshit you've got this guy slipping in "sleeping in the same bed" as being linked to children or being a child or being childlike when probably every single one of the kids only ever associated it with being with Michael Jackson. Likewise holding hands. Who the hell in the US, at least, holds hands with their friends generally at 10? I don't think that would be something chaperones ordered as part of a field trip buddy system at that age.
  9. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    Do we know there was an interview really planned? That stuff from Brandi seems so steeped in fantasy I could believe it was just something she imagined was going to happen. Her arguments just make the men's stories look more logical and straightforward in comparison. She's just all over the place, making up rules in the child predator handbook and then pretending Wade and Michael broke them. (Certainly the blunt descriptions of sex acts in the documentary make more anatomical sense than whatever she seems to be imagining!) And sometimes coming at things from both sides at once--if Wade is sucking up to the family because they're the only people who give him work, why did he burn his bridges with them in response to not getting the one job? Did he forget he needed them to give him work? Did she forget that he's had a very easily verified, public non-MJ (or Spears or Timberlake) career? Like way more verifiabley Jackson-independent than her own? Points for not only suggesting she was a closer confidante to Wade than his wife, but for doing it in an interview where she responds to him saying he was sexually assaulted by publicly calling him a liar. Who wouldn't want to confide in her? Clearly her loyalty would not lie with her uncle and the family at all times.
  10. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    Yes! That's the thing, the boys' stories don't seem particularly convoluted at all. All the basic facts remain the same. The difference is just that they used to vehemently deny any abuse and now they say it happened and give detail as to what it was like including their motivations that are really very straightforward. In fact, the whole story's been the same since people started making jokes about in in the 80s. There was always the two narratives: 1) MJ had no childhood and now has the soul of an innocent child. He loves children, loves touching them in affectionate but non-sexual ways and loves sleeping with them in affectionate but non-sexual ways every night. If you say it's sexual you're sullying the innocence or you're out to get him. 2) Y'ever noticed how Michael Jackson has a string of child boyfriends? That sticks out to me too. It makes it all the more ironic to me in a way because it's like...Joy, if you'd just waited and let him develop freely he might have had the same success without the breakdowns. Maybe.
  11. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    I think the director's pov on this is pretty reasonable. His interest in the story is the story of grooming and how it works, not proving or not proving MJ's guilt beyond any doubt. Anything that can be confirmed is already confirmed--nobody, including MJ when he was alive, disputed that he spent the time with the kids without supervision, that he slept with them. So he had the opportunity. There's superficial confirmation in things like the faxes or the jewelry or the hand holding etc.. One side is MJ himself saying that it was all innocent--those interviews are widely available. He actually had a bigger platform than they did or do. Then there's these guys being interviewed and saying there was sex. Either of them could be lying since anyone can lie. But WR not getting any particular job doesn't seem like much of a smoking gun to me--MJ obviously had far more motivation to lie if it's true. Innocent until proven guilty is about going to jail, not public opinion. Both men are being accused of running a con for money as well, after all, without proof. But it actually seems like they've provided more justification and explanation or their position even to people sympathetic to them than has been offered to explain how this is an easy way for anybody to make money or become a celebrity. I'm not really seeing that happening at all. Knowing or having met Michael Jackson doesn't give anybody special knowledge about what he did with somebody else. The doc and the Oprah special covered the story of why and how the two men changed their story. That doesn't mean they couldn't be lying (anybody could be), but psychologically it's pretty logical in this kind of situation. (And it seems like what we know about their lives supports the timeline etc.) Crimes like this by definition rarely have anything like real proof. I don't know how Michael Jackson's father's abuse became widely known about--was that, too, just the victims talking about it?
  12. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    LOL. Yeah, I almost added, "She didn't really look like that...unlike him and James, who were BOTH exactly as God made them..."
  13. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    IKR? I took it as part of the misogyny he seemed to always be teaching the boys. Women are deceitful and make-up is part of that. The person James thought was attracted was a womanly trick. She didn't really look how he thought she looked.
  14. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    Wasn't there a quote about James where he said that *he* had a crush on Sheryl Crow during the tour and Michael was very focused on James' crush? He even got James a photo of her without make-up to prove she wasn't really that pretty.
  15. sistermagpie

    Leaving Neverland

    Agreed. It would be the same thing Robson and Safechuck are facing. They would "impeach" him with his prior statements to the contrary, and they would believe the version they want to believe. Yeah, I think MC's fame in some ways would just count against him. He'd be seen as trying to get back in the spotlight and any struggles he's had in the past whether it's drugs or his own abuse at the hands of his father, would be used against him. It would be just another cautionary tale about him. Yeah, I thought that was a great insight from him, that he needed the perspective of seeing a child through his own eyes as an adult to see things clearly. Because as a kid you just see yourself as a person who's fully capable of understanding your own life--why wouldn't you? That's why I loved/hated that detail where Wade said that first night at Neverland he woke up and Michael was crouched in the corner crying (no doubt he'd woken him up on purpose for this show) and he distinctly remembered fearing he was turning into a werewolf like in Thriller. That was my feeling. The mother talked a bit about their marriage having problems during her interviews, but his absence seems very significant. Even if he was sick you'd think he'd come up, but it seems like he just hasn't chosen to publicly take responsibility, which he could do in some fashion even if he wasn't well. I found Wade's interviews about his father another separate tragedy. He did at some point want to reach out and thought maybe he would have a better relationship with him. But I could completely understand his reaction when his father came to visit and his behavior, because of his mental illness, just made things worse. I respected how Wade just honestly said that the behavior made him angry and he just wanted him to go away--he didn't try to make himself more sympathetic by claiming he was frightened and sad (which he probably was as well) and didn't know how to help him. It was so realistic, especially when set beside Shane's pov of an older sibling who could see a tragic situation he was pretty helpless to change.
×