‘Those who coincide too well with the epoch are not contemporaries’
Monthly Archives: February 2014
‘Time for me is nothing ’cause I’m counting no age’
I. E., the ‘ie’ following ‘one’ and ‘self’ in onesie and selfie.
It stems from a culture of abbreviation, ‘app’ etc., a culture that mainly concerns one and self.
‘Masculinity in thrall to itself is ruthless’: Jacqueline Rose on ‘Nigella Lawson, Charles Saatchi and the ugly face of patriarchal power’ in the Guardian, 20 December 2013.
1974: Lucan, ITV – two parts. 11 December 2013 and 18 December 2013.
1963: The Great Train Robbery, BBC – two parts. 18 December 2013 and 19 December 2013.
What is happening to masculinity on the television? These two dramas with (almost) entirely male casts, certainly male-orientated casts, following men in thrall to each other and their masculinities. Think of the most recent series of Sherlock… the gushing second episode of Watson’s wedding, where he was really accepting vows from Sherlock himself. And its finale, with the menage of Sherlock, Watson and Mycroft triangulated together. With massive television audiences, it is not just masculinity in thrall to itself, but us in thrall to masculinity, and a masculinity that acknowledges a necessity for homosocial bonding, that always already flirts with something more – an exclusive maleness.
Bruce Reynolds has it right in The Great Train Robbery: ‘”It’s the camaraderie – trusting other men with everything you know, with your life. You of all people should know what that feels like”‘ – he says this to DCS Tommy Butler of the equally masculine Flying Squad.
It is the bust of Lord Lucan, at the end of Lucan, that is perhaps the most hauntingly masculine though. The bust resides in John Aspinall’s casino, Aspinall who believes so fervently in an animal kingdom masculinity as a ‘perfect’ order. There were four busts of famous gamblers commissioned, but ‘Lucky Lucan’ is ultimately hidden, and thereby quarantined. The inscription – concerning his children – one of the most ruthless masculinity.
Atheist Sunday Assembly
I have recently read Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks, which is an excellent novel. That and The Circle of Reason by Amitav Ghosh have made me think about contemporary representations of the pseudo-science phrenology, which keeps rising to the surface of popular culture.
The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester held an exhibition called BRAINS, which seemed keen to again link areas of the ‘head’ to aspects of behaviour. Phrenology is visually inscribed and this emphasis – i.e. what you see is what you get – persists and insists today.
Why? And why the insistence?