Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Fall | Lefsetz Letter

The Fall – Netflix

Men are afraid women are going to laugh at them.

Women are afraid men are going to kill them.

I’m in the middle of an IVIG treatment. Three days in a row, for five hours. They send a nurse to the home who injects you with a steroid first, and then the IVIG, and since you’ve taken a Benadryl pill before it all begins, you’re floating, unattached.

I forgot how much it wipes you out, fogs you out, yesterday I was useless. Today a bit better.

You see I went to the dermatologist last week and she told me I had a resistant strain of plasma. She did research after the blood test showed only a reduction of thirty antibodies. I can’t remember if it was 280 to 250 or 250 to 220, but they should go down to zero, and that hasn’t happened, ergo this next round of IVIG. She found some blisters along with new skin rips and said I’d need IVIG every month, but probably not a blood cleansing. Actually, the situation is a bit complicated, you see Anthem Blue Cross is cancelling my plan in California, because of Trump, he eviscerated the Affordable Care Act to the degree that Anthem got scared and decided not to take the risk, and if you question this, you’re probably one of those people who believe your independent spirit will keep you from getting ill. Good luck with that. I’ve connected with an agent who says he can cover me starting March 1st, when Anthem Blue Cross coverage ends, but it’s all pretty freaky, I’ve been paying my premiums in excess of twenty five years, four figures now, what did I do wrong?

You see we’re all just cogs in the system. And the system will get you. Did you see that Tom Petty had emphysema? You think that smoking won’t catch up with you, that you’re immune?

So they’re not absolutely sure what caused the pemphigus foliaceus, at this point they believe it’s the result of being an Ashkenazi Jew, but they had me stop all medications to be sure it wasn’t a drug interaction. And one of those was my Crestor. And without it I’ve got sky high cholesterol, it too is genetic, so my internist sent me to this specialized cardiologist. I’ll tell you one thing, there’s two tiers of medical care in America, the one you pay for and the one you don’t. As in so many of the great doctors don’t take insurance, and this one doesn’t. Oh, they’ll file, but you’ll only get back twenty or thirty cents on the dollar.

And she ran these tests from labs I’d never heard of. In Baltimore, elsewhere, and she dug down to see exactly what was causing my problem. And she gave me an hour of her time, twice.

And I got her life story.

She’s from Ireland. With an inattentive mother. She’s got more degrees and fellowships than anybody I’ve ever seen, and she recommended this TV show.

I’ve been to Belfast. It was the second most fascinating place I’ve gone to.

The first was Bogota. Because with your life at risk and so few chances for financial advancement, everybody was so alive.

Tied with Belfast was maybe Tallinn, Estonia. Where the Soviet-era buildings delineated a dreary life we’re unaccustomed to in America. And St. Petersburg. When you go to that church where they buried all the czars…you can feel history coursing through your veins.

And then Belfast.

We listen to U2, we hear all about Dublin. But it’s in Belfast that the Troubles occurred. The war between Catholics and Protestants, with the English meddling. And you may think it’s over, but when you drive past the walls separating the religions, you can’t believe stuff like this still exists.

I went to the Shankill.

They talk about the Shankill in this TV show.

You think the law will protect you. But Jimmy literally threatens the cops and they get scared and they leave. Kinda like rappers in America, but these guys are white. We think it’s about color, but it’s not.

And to tell you the truth, the first year of the series was imperfect. You might turn it off. But hang in there for the second, you’ll be wowed.

That’s television for you. They renew you and you double-down, you get better. In music it’s one and done, a single and that’s it, can you say LORDE? The fact that her completely stiff album was nominated for a Grammy tells me the committee was fearful it would be excoriated if a white woman wasn’t included. That’s how far we’ve come, excellence is irrelevant, Jay Z might win like Steely Dan, when we all know Kendrick deserves it.

And the war between the sexes is in evidence in this show.

You see it’s all about Gillian Anderson’s character. I had to look her up, why was she in this Irish show?

Turns out she grew up partly in the U.K.

And I’ve never watched the “X-Files,” I know nothing about her. But now I get it. In “The Fall” she plays a femme fatale. Someone competent and brilliant and she drives the men wild. Furthermore, the only one who’s got a fix on her is the serial killer.

That’s right, this is a genre show.

But it’s got more truth than most movies.

Movies are passe, they’re too short. Isn’t it funny that in music it’s all about the single yet in television it’s all about the series. But TV realizes you must have a theme and expand it, and not go on too long, at least if you’re foreign. In America they milk it for bucks, overseas they just take as many episodes as it does to say what they have to, and then they’re done, oftentimes leaving you wanting more.

To tell you the truth, I haven’t watched the third season of six episodes yet. But we just finished the second, and I’m stunned.

Guys, you know these girls. The ones who are open, who wrap you around their finger, who let you in and then don’t want to know you, they torture you. The police bigwig screwed her once, years ago, and can’t get over it, it’s messed up his marriage, never mind him. And Stella, Anderson’s character, picks up men and women on sight and beds them, gives them a night of bliss, but that’s all.

But she’s screwed up from the core, she idolized her dad.

Is it them or us? You feel the connection, and then you can’t get anymore and then you wonder what you did wrong, but maybe it’s them?

This is exactly what the couples therapist told us, that I’m afraid of being laughed at.

It’s worse than being put down by guys. You think you’re making headway and then they turn on you. Or maybe you don’t even start. Men are weak, except when they fake it and force you. And Stella’s got their number too, you get caught up in your reverie and can’t take no for an answer. Whew! There’s a lot to unpack here, and that’s why I’m writing about it.

Why is it the foreign shows are so much more real?

First and foremost they shoot higher. They want to get it right. Sure, some cable shows do this, but very little television that’s not on HBO or its pay relatives, Showtime and Starz. When you see life on screen, when you can relate to it, that’s when you’re titillated, that’s when you’re hooked.

But everybody in America plays it safe, bunts instead of taking a risk.

They cast beautiful people with beautiful lifestyles and you can watch but you can’t relate.

Yet Stella/Gillian is the only movie star here. Everybody else looks normal, everybody else has got a regular job, it’s her beauty that plays into the script. How do we deal with the more attractive? It generates the desire and action of the serial killer and…the truth is we men have no idea who these women truly are, we’re living in a land of two-dimensional fantasies. And “The Fall” nails this.

We are living in a golden age of television because of distribution. The multiple options, the desire to win in the end. Distributors fund shows and give creative people leeway because they want to triumph in an online world where only one entity does. TV distribution continues to believe in a multi-channel universe, but that’s not the way it’s gonna work out. We’re gonna have behemoth winners, and maybe some small players, that’s it. It’s gonna look just like the Big Four, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, just you wait.

And then maybe the distributors will tighten their wallets, meddle with production, that’s what happened with movies. The talent is no longer in control. The studios play it safe and almost no one goes, ticket prices went up and attendance went down, what’s wrong with this picture?

A bad distribution model at an overinflated price.

Sure, you lose something watching at home, but you gain so much more. Not only a vast variety at a low price, but the absence of talking, texting and interruptions, and the ability to watch what you want when you want. We’re going to day and date with film releases online, just like it took us over a decade to get to streaming/Spotify, you can’t hold back the future, you can’t hold back the public’s desire.

And the funny thing is none of these shows are built on hype, advertising doesn’t make them, it’s all word of mouth. They’re lying in wait on Netflix and maybe six months or a year or two later people insist you watch them and then you are a member of the club, it’s like buying albums back in the sixties, you felt special, you felt included, there was a bond between you and the purveyors, they weren’t playing to everybody, but just you.

Why won’t people play to me. Music, the news, they’re all appealing to a theoretical everyman, all in it for the money, there’s never enough, even though they bitch all along. If only they’d drill down and release their humanity, focus inward instead of outward, they too would create work that percolated in the marketplace and ultimately triumphed.

But for now we’ve got television.

For now we’ve got “The Fall.”

P.S. Just one more thing. Stella calls the wife of the killer stupid and incurious. How many relationships look good on the surface but are not. How many relationships lack deep dives into not only activities, but character. How many relationships are smooth sailing until they aren’t, because one person isn’t revealing their truth. Marriage is only the beginning. It’s a long journey. Unless you apply yourself you’re going to find out that you might reside under the same roof, but are living on different planets. People, so hard to know, but we can’t live without them.

[from http://ift.tt/2k9aO1A]

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