Friday, June 25, 2010

TV, fatigue, war: yes, everything is political

I've been kind of pooped on account of this and that, not least the muggy heat, which I grew up with in muggy hot Detroit and used to love, or at least thrive in, but which I can no longer take. It saps me. I wilt. Summer used to be my season. No more. Oh how I long to be the girl I used to be ... but that's another song altogether. The song I've been singing this week is--oy the shame of it!--the TV song. Yes, that's right, my confession of the week is that I've been on a TV kick.

A week ago we signed on to that cheap Time Warner Cable offer they've been promoting the hell out of, because it is indeed cheap. For a year, anyway, after which we'll have to go cold turkey and switch back to some lesser, cheaper deal since TWC will jack up its charges. For now, though, we'll be paying at least $50 a month less than we had been for cable, phone and internet--and getting much more, including fancier phone features, much faster internet connection, and, heaven help us, about 120 additional TV channels plus a sharper digital screen plus DVR.

Those new channels. They're doing me in. A series on the origins and future of the universe, guided by Stephen Hawking! Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman! Surgery, childbirth, real ER drama (from all of which I have to constantly avert my eyes to avoid fainting)! Broadway musicals 24/7! That silly new sitcom with Betty White, the adorable Valerie Bertinelli et al crafted for precisely my age and sex demographic! Noah's Arc, which I watched for the first time last night and became immediately hooked on! Old movies galore! And that DVR! I'm spending nearly as much time roaming the guide and programming shows and movies to record as I am actually watching. Teresa's out of town, at the U.S. Social Forum in my hometown, which she tells me is, strangely enough, not hot and muggy at the moment, and, as often happens when she travels, despite all my resolutions to use the alone time to write and attend to overdue projects, I'm instead just sort of functioning, getting to work and back and that's about it, only rather than sinking into a chair reading in the evenings I've devolved to the couch and TV.

It will pass, I'm told. It's the novelty, I'm assured. Let's hope.

This week is the anniversary of the start of the Korean War. In my manic perusal of the TV channel guide I discovered that all day today Turner Classic Movies is running films on this topic. Nowadays the U.S. media routinely call it "the forgotten war" but at the time Hollywood apparently took due note of it, churning out a goodly number of salutes to that despicable exercise in U.S. imperialist mass murder, starring such notables as Sterling Hayden, Alan Ladd, Richard Widmark and Paul Newman. I was nearly tempted to set the DVR to record one or two of these, just to get a look at how the bloodfest was portrayed, but decided not to, knowing that neither Teresa nor I would be able to stomach their lies.

Want the truth about the U.S. war against the people of Korea and their revolutionary upsurge? Head over to my comrade Greg's blog Fuck Yeah Marxism-Leninism, where he's posted a series of images from and about the Korean War. As I noted last week in a post about Chang-Rae Lee's novel The Surrendered, the U.S.-allied forces carried out many horrific massacres in Korea. This shot was taken after one of the early ones, at Taejon.

Today in Pyongyang, the northern city that the U.S. invaders totally leveled during the war, leaving not a single building standing, over 100,000 people rallied to mark the anniversary of the war's start and pledge ongoing vigilance against the never-ending U.S. and Japanese war of threats and provocations against the DPRK.