In Which We Harken Back To A More Disturbing Epoch

Aging Well

by ELEANOR MORROW

Another Period
creators Natasha Leggero & Riki Lindhome

Once in a generation a television series comes along which obliterates everything that came before it. M.A.S.H. Seinfeld. Firefly. The character of the Jewish butler Mr. Peepers (Michael Ian Black) in Natasha Legero and Riki Lindhome’s triumphant new series set in turn-of-the-century Newport, Rhode Island has never before been attempted, and it probably never will be again.

The ever-young Ian Black, 43, is an actor who has bounced from project to project without being taken seriously as a dramatic fulcrum. In Another Period, his essential Jewishness at first seems suppressed, only observable below the surface. He is invisible as a Hebrew to the member of the wealthy family he has so dutifully served for most of his life.

The Commodore (David Koechner) enlists Mr. Peepers to keep his secret: he is bringing his mistress (Christina Hendricks) onto the family’s staff, both to create easy access for his selfish, cheating trysts, and to ensure that she does not get restless waiting for him to separate from his morphine addicted wife Dodo (Paget Brewster).

Making Paget Brewster look dowdy is the work of some various makeup, but Hendricks keeps things chaste as well. This leaves the real attention to two of the Bellacourt daughters, Another Period creators Leggero and Lindholm.

Lillian (a vampish yet subtle Leggero) is in an unhappy marriage to a gay man named Albert (David Wain). In Another Period’s second episode, she plans to tell the police he has abused her in order to win a divorce. Her plan goes awry when they don’t take spousal abuse seriously, and she is forced to confront the issue with her husband. He demands financial compensation for their separation — he will pretend to be dead so that she can remarry. In return, he gets to occupy a cute little house with his boyfriend Victor (Brian Huskey), who is married to Lillian’s sister Beatrice (Riki Lindhome).

On the surface, you would think would all be played for laughs. There are moments of humor in Another Period, but there is also a deep pathos in the desperation the Bellacourt sisters feel, first because they are completely unhappy in their marriages, and secondly because the sexist society they inhabit seeks to keep them illiterate and insincere. Their sister Hortense (an unrecognizable Lauren Ash) is a suffragette who doesn’t realize her sisters exemplify the downtrodden female status every bit as much as she does.

The Bellacourts demand that their children reproduce in a timely manner, and so Lillian and Beatrice are regularly forced into semi-consensual sex but their homosexual husbands. Albert accomplishes his goal in the manner of a sneeze, masturbating into his wife’s vagina while covering her face with a napkin. Victor sucks on the finger of a nearby manservant to achieve orgasm.

In order to rationalize what essentially amounts to an imprisonment, the Bellacourt sisters take out their anger on the servant class. Mr. Peepers consciously avoids the venom of his betters, but the new house maid is the victim of Beatrice and Lillian time and again. Lillian demeans Hendricks’ mistress character by calling her Chair, and the nickname sticks.

There is no greater respect for women among the underclass. Chair is constantly harassed and abused by another member of the staff. No one steps in or comes to her aid, not even the patriarch of the house. There is a much deeper realism here than we find in English versions of the same.

Another Period never avoids depicting life as it actually was at this time: dark, nasty and downright Dickensian. Dickens made his first trip to America in 1842, when he was only 30 years old. He complained the whole time he was there, of people like the members of the Bellacourt family. Another Period answers the question of why that might be.

The show’s explicit scenes of rape and abuse are unlike any other to make it basic cable. In addition, no show on television has ever confronted the issue of incest head-on the way that Another Period does. Pushed to an irrational extreme by abuse and neglect, Beatrice finds herself falling in love with her brother Frederick. The two engage in disturbingly childish pastimes, like allowing a servant to pull them in a small boat across the grounds of the Bellacourt estate, and consummating unprotected brother-sister sex.

Ian Black’s Mr. Peepers navigates this environment as an ethnic minority in plain sight, patching together the various strands of the family into a cohesive whole. What initially seems like a parody of Downton Abbey‘s Carson becomes something far greater. Carson was just a white man beset by ill fortune to become some asshole’s manservant. In his explosively concealed Judaism, Ian Black is something far greater.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in New York. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

“Blue Flower (live)” – Mazzy Star (mp3)

In Which We Are The Truest Of All Detectives

Moment of Conception

by DICK CHENEY

True Detective
creator Nic Pizzolatto

Frank Seymon (Vince Vaughn) is getting a blow job from his red-haired wife Jordan (Kelly Reilly) somewhere in the first ten minutes of last night’s True Detective. It has been a long, arduous Fourth of July weekend, and Lynne is on my last nerve. “Ew,” she exclaims, “Why is she doing that? Does he have a gun pointed at her?” I calmly explain to Lynne that they are trying to have a baby.

“You can’t even have a baby that way,” she says, and spits out some of her Big League Chew into a steel bucket.

You know, if he just stood on the chair, she probably wouldn’t have to kneel at all. She might even need a stepstool.

“First of all,” I say, “you don’t know that for sure. I mean you might be right, but if that’s the case why has Orlando Bloom fathered so many children and yet he is still a virgin?”

She is already distracted by the next thing. Colin Farrell wears these unflattering shirts that hide his body usually, and since he was shot last week, he is showing his torso for the first time. He looks fantastic, but Lynne is distracted by the grey highlights in his hair that remind us he is not Colin Farrell, but Ray Velcoro. (If these names sound absurd, it is because they were invented while Pizzolatto was on whippets.)

Rachel McAdams would have been a far more believable Daenerys Targaryen.

“How old is he?” Lynne asks of Velcoro. “Why do they make him look so old? Is this why no one wants to work with this guy? If he was going to ruin someone’s career, it should probably have been Matthew McConaughey. I mean, that is a meaningless statement: we get the world we deserve. It’s a tautology.”

“Colin Farrell is thirty-nine,” I say. She considers this, and then makes a hand-motion like she is masturbating a violin. “Careful,” I say, “you could get pregnant doing that.” While she is the kitchen I think a lot about Rachel McAdams. It is hard to take her very seriously in the role of a police detective named Antigone who carried knives around with her everywhere she goes. She explains that she is from a tough background — two of her siblings committed suicide, and another one is in jail. The last of her siblings works as a cam girl, and Rachel obviously had some kind of quasi-sexual relationship with her. Incest is the last thing I want as a theme of shows Dwayne Johnson or Bill Paxton is not involved in.

Taking shots at Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson is just the tip of the penis for Pizzolatto

Reviews seems to have completely missed the point of this show. Watching it, the only thing I can think to myself is, finally, the person who wrote this stuff is more of an asshole than I am.

The third member of True Detective‘s triptych is a highway patrolman portrayed far too broadly by Taylor Kitsch, whose studliness wanes with each moon. Unlike any other gay man on HBO, Kitsch’s growling, mewling act consists of hiding his homosexuality from his mother, his girlfriend and his fellow officers. (He seems to have had homosexual awakening and subsequent sexual experiences in Iraq. Would I be presumptuous in suggesting this may be justification for several wars I may or may not have caused?)

And the Emmy for worst scene in recorded memory goes to

As I am typing this, Lynne is still talking about McAdams’ haircut. “She looks like a skunk fucked a mountain lion,” she whispers. We are in bed by this point, since Pizzolatto’s dialogue makes Lynne kind of sleepy. There was this one scene where Vince Vaughn was poignantly explaining how his Dad used to lock him in the basement when he drank, and that he is not sure if he still actually down there, if he died in the dark place. “This is Lost all over again,” Lynne says worriedly.

It is actually refreshing to see television taking itself seriously. As these police officers investigate the murder of a city manager connected to Vince Vaughn’s land deal and the future of public transportation in Los Angeles, you start to focus in on why exactly True Detective feels so different from other shows. It is because the vast majority of artistic visions of the world paint it as a hopeful place, but Nic does not care about that at all. He is dedicated to explaining at great length why things are worse than ever.

This was some mean shit. Go after Woody – he can take it


“The man is so jaded,” I say to Lynne as I am looking up at some water spots on the ceiling, recollecting some disturbing anecdote from my childhood that made me what I am. The scene where Farrell and McAdams visit the set of an alcoholic director who looks exactly like Cary Fukunaga was kind of a racist low point, but I wish more people would take up the example of insulting their former colleagues Matthew Weiner-style through characters in their fiction. If someone had done that to Christopher Nolan, maybe I wouldn’t have to sit through the big bag of trash that was Interstellar.

The best part of True Detective is trying to solve the murder myself, and I believe it comes back to the miniature sculpture of a woman drowning in the bathtub they found in Ben Casper’s house. Ray also makes miniatures — the concept of enjoying putting them together with his kid and then doing them by himself so does not fit at all with the character. There must be some kind of point to it, like maybe he uses them to spy on his kid when he is motorboating with his stepdad, Chad.

Who will be surprised if this boils down to the culpability of evil corporations? No one.

The connection between all the various traumas on the show — Taylor Kitsch’s time working for military contractors, the overseas connections of the Russian mob, the inviability of all the women on the show’s wombs to conceive children (it seems like they are all being poisoned by the local toxic waste) seems to revolve around the CEO of Catalyst. He is one probable villain — the other, Ray’s ex-wife’s rapist, is probably from a neighboring township. Given the genetic makeup of Ray’s son, he should not be terribly hard to find. Lynne offers that they should just hold a ginger casting call.

The mayor is just the best. Strong leadership.

Lynne doesn’t understand why I like True Detective. “The dialogue is soooo bad,” she keeps saying as she strokes my forehead lovingly and murmurs like a kitten. “Half the sentences have the same grammatical subject or object: The world. The world is an undergarment. We marry the world we observe. We inoculate the world we conserve.”

The reason is that I like having to figure things out and then not enjoying what I discover. Why do you think I watched Lost, read Donna Tartt books, and married my wife?

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and the star of the Bravo original series Odd Mom Out.

I think this was a shot at George Miller also?

“Paradise” – Little Boots (mp3)

“Get Things Done” – Little Boots (mp3)

In Which We Answer His Pointed Questions

paintings by Joseph Peller

My Binaries

by ANGELA LIPSCOMB

Kyle had this quiz he thought each individual should administer to themselves at important moments in her life. He always asked himself the following:

Who do I want to be with right now?
Where do I want to be with them?

It is not that he did whatever it took to make this happen. But if his current conditions did not match his desires, he became profoundly upset. After a year with him, it occurred to me that this was the only way he ever knew he was not happy.

The sociologist Alfred Schutz divided the reasons for behavior into two possible spheres — one is the in-order-to motive, the ostensible reason for an act, and the other is the because-motive. This reflects whatever incident in the past is inspiring that behavior. Kyle had both — he was, after all, a human being — but whether he was unable to relate the second, or purposefully kept it hidden, I don’t know.

Sex with Kyle was like this: imagine the top of a wave. You think it’s coming down. It is going to crash, obliterating you. Instead of a loud noise, a crushing impact, all is silence, and your head knocks against a rock.

This is therapy for me, both because I cannot afford to see an actual therapist like my friend Susan, and because I cannot imagine telling any of this to an actual person. It would just hang in the air, like a thought balloon in a comic.

Susan has been very concerned for me, so she runs my situation by her psychologist. This woman who advises her likes to frame most human situations in a binary, since that appears to be the only way that people with a graduate degree in the humanities are able to understand the world. She always asks the same questions: What are you giving? And what are you receiving?

I like to do this when I am checking out at Banana Republic, or riding the Metro. It reminds me that some people think every situation is like the one they are in, and other people think no one could ever be exactly like them.

In fact, I know there are other men like Kyle. I know there is a way to operate from impulse alone, and I even value that, and probably envy his modality to some degree, but above all, I do not really understand it. It may be that we need more of that — of acting without knowing why we are acting. Or maybe, Schutz writes, we just think we know why.

I still see Kyle quite frequently. He went back to working as a waiter — he was too used to the money and I have to admit he is good at it. I wave at him when I walk by Cafe Almonte and he gets this screwed up look on his face, like he is thinking really hard.

Last week he actually came over. “I just want to talk” is what he said, for what felt like the thousandth time. At sunrise he woke me up by playing my guitar. Well, not playing, just plucking at the strings.

I just read back what I have written so far to Susan. She told me that he does not sound half-bad. I will try harder.

You see, a because-motive is necessary for me in everything that I do. I think of the first time I was ever humiliated quite often. It was in second grade, when I refused to wear my eyeglasses. I can’t help but think it is highly relevant that I was shamed because I could not see clearly.

There is this woman he knows — I want to call her a girl, but she is even older than I am. She buys him things. She bought him a nice watch when we were dating. I said, “Doesn’t it feel weird to accept a gift like that?” He took the watch off his wrist and handed it to me.

What are you giving? What are you receiving?

Of course he was with other women, but at the most cynical times, like when he told me he wanted something else instead, or suggested a short break. I remember him asking me if I thought we were too close; I never felt farther away. Schutz actually believed it was easier for us to know other people better than we know ourselves, since we were able to observe their subjective reactions to events.

Lately I feel I know what he meant.

Angela Lipscomb is a contributor to This Recording. This is her first appearance in these pages. She is a writer living in Washington D.C.

Paintings by Joseph Peller.

“Back To You” – Meg Baird (mp3)

“Past Houses” – Meg Baird (mp3)

In Which We Find Nicholas Ray In A Lonely Place

This is the second in a series about the life of the director Nicholas Ray. You can find the first part here.

A Dangerous Fault

by ALEX CARNEVALE

He has a dangerous fault in work. You feel that he is thinking a little bit more about himself, and the angles, than the material. This comes out of his uncertainty.

Hollywood in the late 1940s was a dangerous place for anyone who had ever has the slightest association with the Communist party. The director Nicholas Ray had recently married an actress named Gloria Grahame after impregnating her.  He could not afford to be blacklisted; he had to work. So he turned to his friend Howard Hughes.


At RKO, Hughes’ mission was to make anti-Communist films — he did not particularly care the politics of the people who made them. Ray refused to direct a movie called I Married A Communist because it hit too close to home — his friend Gene Kelly had done just that. His first film, They Live By Night, had been shelved and  a proper follow-up, starring Joan Fontaine as a miscast bad girl, was something of a mess as well.

He was unhappy with his marriage, too. Grahame was beautiful, but as Patrick McGilligan explains in his masterful biography Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director, Ray admitted he was “infatuated with her: but I did not like her very much.” At the start, their connection was mostly sexual, with Ray’s friends in awe that he was able to even maintain an erection given the amount of alcohol he consumed.

Gloria loved sex more than her husband. One of her friends suggested that when they were out, Gloria stood behind Ray with her eyes cast to the ground. Ray’s gambling and drinking were spiralling out of control — Grahame and her mother would spend hours replacing his cocaine with sugar.

One of Ray’s closest friends, Humphrey Bogart, was his star in the legal drama Knock On Any Door. In 1951, they planned to reunite for a picture in which Bogart would play a man with the double life of a screenwriter and serial killer. The working title was In A Lonely Place. Because the Production Code was loathe to approve the concept of Bogart as a multiple murderer, Ray and producer Robert Lord rewrote the script to make Bogart only a potential suspect in the case.


In A Lonely Place is a masterpiece of atmosphere and mood over actual content. Bogart plays his usual caustic individual, but Ray pushes the character into something like a literary supervillain. They had great trouble casting Bogart’s love interest-victim until Ray suggested his wife. In order to get the film publicity they drew up a his-and-hers contract where Ray’s second wife was forbidden to “nag, cajole, tease or in any other feminine fashion seek to distract or influence him” during the film’s production.

On set, the real intimacy was between the heterosexual Bogart and the indeterminate Ray. The particulars of the relationship depended entirely on which of them was drinking at the time. “At certain times when I would not drink,” Ray later wrote, “when filming, particularly or the preparation before filming, our relationship would alter. In some ways it became deeper, in others, only more formal.”

Ray rewrote the novel’s ending to reflect the dark nature of the relationship between himself and Grahame. The real-life parallels were all too obvious to everyone on set of In A Lonely Place, and Bogart convinced the studio that it all actually worked, so Ray’s new ending stood. Although not very successful at the box office, In A Lonely Place established Ray as a director who was doing new things that other men in the industry could only dream of.

The closeness necessitated by their working together drove Ray and Gloria Grahame even further apart. He moved his things out of their Sunset Boulevard home and slept in his trailer. They kept up the fiction of their marriage in order to protect their young son, but the gossip columnists broke the story. Grahame’s deep hurt was expressed on a series of men, while Ray started an on-again-off-again courtship of a younger woman named Marilyn Monroe.

One night Ray walked in on his 13-year-old son Anthony from a previous marriage inside of his soon-to-be-ex-wife. The story followed Ray everywhere. (It only worsened the situation in 1962 when his look-alike son and Gloria Grahame reconnected and decided to exchange vows of marriage.) The betrayal meant more drinking, more drug use, and when he could get it, more of Marilyn.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

“Crux” – Jean Grae (mp3)

“August 20th” – Jean Grae (mp3)

In Which We Find Someone To Play The Bass

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.

Hi,

Aaron has been dating my friend Katy for just short of two years. She loves him dearly and sees a future for them together. They are both in their late twenties. Recently, Aaron told me in confidence that his Italian-born parents want him to take a long trip to Italy and “find a wife there.” I guess this is something of a tradition. He has had some great experiences with his family in Italy and he confessed that it is something he has considered. 

I recently observed someone ask Aaron whether he had a girlfriend, and he said yes, “She is really nice.” This struck me as true but also a bit underwhelming. Do I tell Katy any of this, and how do I advise Aaron?

Priya C.

Dear Priya,

That’s how someone would describe material possessions, like a soft pashmina or an adopted pug, not a significant other. There’s definitely a lack of passion in his cadence and demeanor. According to his missteps, the red flags line up perfectly. One, he doesn’t love Katy enough and is already resorting to flying out to Italy. Two, a part of him still wants to please his parents to fill a void (i.e. parents never got him the Yorkshire terrier he wanted on his 5th birthday).

When we were younger, my parents knew my brothers and I weren’t going to have traditional marriages. Not every parent is going to let their child run into the wild to figure their own romantic endeavors. They fully accepted the upcoming cultural and generational shifts. Marriage is just the cherry on top for them. I rolled merrily along with my life and didn’t expect anything of it until I met a girl in college who had an arranged marriage. She fell in love with him as time went on, but it was an unusual and fortunate circumstance not everyone is so lucky to have.

Aaron should fully accept the full responsibility of what is to come. If he is percolating the idea of flying to Italy quite heavily then he should tell how Katy how he really feels about her. More importantly, ask him if Katy is his soulmate, or if the timing is right, “his soulsies.”

Hi,

My stepsister Andrea has a young son named Ruben of 12. He is hyperactive and frequently embarasses her in front of company. I realize he has behavorial problems, but my fiancee isn’t as used to dealing with him as I am. Our wedding is in a few months and she has said in no uncertain terms that she does not want Ruben to be anywhere around us that day.

I realize the possibility of ruining the ceremony would be terrible, but I have suggested as a compromise that he could attend the reception where more than one individual is likely to embarrass themselves. I feel it would be a long-remembered omission to disinvite a member of my family who is a part of our lives, even if he has issues with ADHD.

Mark S.

Dear Mark,

You’re actually thinking of disobeying your-wife-to-be’s wishing on your wedding day? You stupid, naive motherfucker. Compromises are for Chamberlain and when they are all out of whole wheat wraps. If your family holds it against you or your wife that you made this unilateral decision, it’s their problem.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

 

“Genesis” – Lau Nau (mp3)

“Kuoleman Laiva” – Lau Nau (mp3)

In Which Ted’s Behavior Reaches A Critical Turning Point

Outlet Shopping

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Ted 2
dir. Seth MacFarlane
115 minutes

At the beginning of Ted 2 the title character is living in a two-room apartment with his wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). The two have slowly been growing apart. After examining their credit card bills, Ted determines that his wife has spent $120 on clothing at Filene’s Basement, an amount he deems excessive for an outlet store. He lashes out at Tami-Lynn, asking her why she needs nice clothing for work when her job as a grocery store cashier demands she wear an apron over it.

Due to drug use, Tami-Lynn’s ovaries have been corrupted into a black fugue. Because they cannot have a child together, and no agency sees them as fit adoptive parents, Ted considers their marriage effectively over. This is the single most offensive notion in Ted 2, although it is not the first time that fertility issues have let directly to divorce.

The rest of Ted’s jokes aren’t terribly offensive at all. They are scaled back a lot from MacFarlane’s long-running animated series Family Guy, where some of the things said about blacks, Jews, women and Frank Sinatra are downright disrespectful. Ted 2 is tame in comparison – most of the humor is about ejaculation and blowjobs. Seth at least had the dignity to hire African-American actors to say the really wretched things.

In order to get Ted certified as a person and not a material good, he and his friend John (Mark Wahlberg) hire a lawyer named Samantha (Amanda Seyfried). MacFarlane spends most of the movie making fun of Seyfried’s disturbingly prominent eyes. Despite enjoying Ted’s favorite pasttime — marijuana smoking — Samathana is deemed not as cool as a 40 year old guy wearing what appears to be a hairpiece and a stuffed teddy because she has never seen Rocky 3.

Ted 2 was begging for a road movie where MacFarlane could really examine America up close and make jokes about people the elites on the coasts secretly suspect are inbred racists who believe in omnipotent supernatural beings.

Instead Seth targets most of his jokes here at the elites themselves, since most of these one-liners, except the one involving Wahlberg being coated in semen, can only be understood with a college degree or by Good Will Hunting-esque prodigies.

Ted 2 starts to get exceptionally dreary and dull in its second act, when a long courtroom scene slows the comedy to a devastating crawl. Neither Wahlberg or Seyfried is good at anything much escept being a straight man. This would normally be fine, but Ted is just a despondent, rather depressing individual here and even his normal joie de vivre would not be enough to carry material this dull. This Ted is not wild or funny at all, just sad that no one respects his choices or personality.

The rest of the movie is not much better, as Ted’s depression leads him to walk around Comic Con where a vendor is selling his clones for $40, and a Hasbro employee named Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) tries to analyze him for science.

Ted 2 reminds one of the serious turn taken by John Landis’ worst movie, Beverly Hills Cop 3. Beverly Hills Cop 3 would never have been released today. Someone would have seen it for what it was — a dramatic version of a comedy series predicated on Eddie Murphy’s wild improvisation. He refused to do any of that in the production of Beverly Hills Cop 3, thinking this wacky kind of behavior did not fit an older, more mature detective. He may have been right, but no one wanted to see it.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

“The Starting Line” – Matt Pond PA (mp3)

“A Second Lasts A Second” – Matt Pond PA (mp3)

In Which Allegory Is The Only Proper Form Of Argument

Poldark Times

by DICK CHENEY

Poldark
creator Debbie Horsfield

What remains of National Review magazine after William F. Buckley expired and left the reins to a bunch of cranky weirdos who loathe homosexuals presented a symposium this week. The topic was the Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage. None of their regular writers were included in the symposium — besides opinion pieces by presidential candidate Ted Cruz and columnist Kevin Williamson, no one wrote at length on the decision. “The Editors” did weigh in, explaining that it was super unfair that gays could marry… for reasons.

It is hard to think of a good argument against gay marriage; most of the “people” in National Review‘s symposium cited polygamy as the motivating factor in their advocacy against it.

The slippery slope extends far further than that. I was forced by my wife Lynne to watch a BBC series called Poldark in which a man marries his servant. I am unsure whether or not this is historically accurate — I know the Downton Abbey sex tape girl made it with her driver, but I thought that was a bit of a grey area. It isn’t as if he was cleaning her toilet, after all.

To be fair, she was a fantastic maid.

I composed an elaborate Modest Proposal parody concerning how no one should be allowed to marry their servant, but out of concern for your time, I replaced it with the impassioned broadside that follows. You can thank me later.

The title character of Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) fucks his maid exactly once, although on another very symbolic occasion she baked him an apple pie. After an intense night that the producers of Poldark show alarmingly little of, the ginger maid Demelza (Eleanor Tomlimson) resolves to wander away from the Poldark estate, which looks something like a penis:

After you lose a war to Americans, you build homes like this as emotional shelter I guess.

I recently received a few scandalous electronic mails suggesting that I am obsessed with seeing penises where they are not. One even threatened that if I expressed regret at never seeing the Mountain’s member one more time he would traitorously start reading the wretched Game of Thrones recaps on some other website. I wrote him back, saying, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much” and included a gif of Catelyn Stark being murdered.

In some ways Poldark is basically a Cateyln Stark prequel, which should horrify every thinking person.

You can’t help but see penises on Poldark, even if they are not veiny or fleshy. The main character lives in a penis, and he has a scar running from his left eye to his jaw that looks like a long, stringy phallus. Turner’s acting is a little overdone, and his main quality is an overwhelming handsomeness. He works very hard nonetheless, and he does take his shirt off an awful lot to make up for the lack of visible genitals. Instead of bidding farewell to Demelza, Ross Poldark decides to make her his wife.

The only thing missing from Poldark is any individual of color, and any homosexual. Downton Abbey got us used to expecting extensive gay storylines full of unrequited love and sexually transmitted diseases in our British period dramas. Poldark has none of that — the National Review crowd can enjoy it as good Christians enjoy the Bible and, apparently, denying citizens equal protection under the law.

None of these people can marry.

One article I read from a guy named Rod Dreher was particularly pernicious, and deserves special mention. Christians don’t like being called hateful, he explained, without explaining why he does not want gays to be able to commit to one another for life. Given the decision, he went on to say, it is now Christians who are the righteous minority. He seemed to take a certain disturbed pleasure in this. Naturally he finished his column with the most inane sentence in all of op-ed dom: We live in interesting times.

The wedding was sold to US Weekly for six million shillings.

After Poldark marries his servant, he immediately puts a bun in her oven. She and the baby get sick from an illness that is going around Poldark’s copper mine. It is never cleared up why he can’t get a more honest occupation, like that of columnist for the Dallas Morning News, with which to provide for his family. Instead he subjects the working class of his region to his penis manor, his slighter-higher but still pretty low wages, and the diseases of the copper underground, the one he inherited from his now-deceased father.

Digging in the earth himself is beneath his own dignity. As a veteran of the American War of Independence, he is finished doing the dirty work, even if it is his own dirty work. Instead his child is the one who suffers, perishing from the contagion. This is irony, only semi-tragic and not humorous. Gay marriage should have been a tremendous victory for conservatives who championed the importance of the family unit as the standard grouping of civilization. Instead they made a mess of things.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. His conscience is massive at this point, and expanding every day. He grows larger in our appreciation of him. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

“Sitting On My Dream” – Friska Viljor (mp3)

“Painted Myself In Gold” – Friska Viljor (mp3)