Sunday Morning! On Persona and Jennifer Packer

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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11 Responses

  1. Aaron David says:

    I wasn’t aware of Packer’s work, not being a follower of contemporary artists (my wife would probably know, but there you have it.) I would like to see them up close and have a few minutes with them, just to let it seep in. And the Bergman comparison is interesting. I would like to take the time to thank you for making me remember and mentally work through the Humanities classes I took in college. I enjoyed them immensely, but as I am now middle-aged (!) much of the work seems to be approachable through a new lens, and that makes it all the more valuable. We, and by we I mean contemporary culture, seems to be falling into a TV-centric cycle, and this is not a medium that I enjoy. A friend of mines partner, a college lit instructor, seemed flabbergasted that I wasn’t a tube watcher at all, and wanted to actually talk books.

    Anyway, I spent the last week traveling around the funeral of a friend, which hasn’t left me much mental space for the arts. So I am reading a gothic mystery, Basil Cooper’s Necropolis. Fun, in a workable way. It does have a cover by Stephen Fabian, a master of the SF/horror art genre.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Aaron David says:

      You know what it is? I work “maintaining” the university libraries a few times a week and I take the breaks to read the new issues of Artforum and Art in America, which I probably couldn’t afford to buy usually. I’m sort of lukewarm about a lot of contemporary art, but Packer’s art grabbed me.

      I may or may not be lucky in that I simply haven’t the attention span for television. I read an interview with the Coen brothers where they said they couldn’t do a television show because they think in beginning-middle-end instead of beginning-middle-middle-middle… etc. I’m the same way. I can watch movies because they take an hour and a half and read books because they take a few afternoons. But I couldn’t possibly get to the conclusion of Game of Thrones. Heck, I made it through three episodes of the Walking Dead before I lost interest.

      Condolences about the loss of your friend.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    “Warts and all” is one of those things that gets attributed to Oliver Cromwell.

    I didn’t remember that it was Cromwell who said it and when I googled, it came up that the real quotation was a bit more interesting (if less pithy):

    Oliver certainly sat to him, and while sitting, said to him – “Mr Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.”

    It’s possible to soften edges and make people look the way you’ll remember them, if you fell in love with them and then they moved far away. If you want a painting to look like a memory, expressionism is one of the best tools for that.

    If it looks too much like the real person, warts and all, they’ll look like them instead of how you’d remember them.Report

    • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

      @jaybird Oliver Cromwell was also… not the kindest of people, even allowing for the way the restoration of the monarchy edited him retroactively (the opposite of the kind memory you refer to here – not accuracy, but demonization – accuracy being the Fregian synthesis or something). The Irish collective memory of Cromwell is quite horrific. Sometimes I find quotes benefit from not giving them the death of the author treatment.

      Interesting to think about.Report

  3. Maribou says:

    I loved this post, Rufus, and will seek out more about Jennifer Packer anon.

    The best thing I read last week is a comic about kids (not really “for” kids though I would have loved it at 14) called “Home Time: Under the River, by the Australian artist Campbell Whyte. A bunch of kids on their way to a primary-school-leaving 3-day sleepover get sucked under a river and end up in a weird fantasy universe where their help is greatly needed but no one is in any particular rush. It’s spiky and wriggly and strange and I found it very delightful.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Maribou says:

      That looks really cool. You know who would love that is my friend Evan Keeling, who also draws comics and has made a bunch for kids. I’ll find out if he’s seen that one.Report

  4. pillsy says:

    I saw Endgame last night and just enjoyed it immensely. I’m still thinking it over and trying to decide if it was a a great movie, but it was definitely something more than rewarding enough to justify the full ticket price and the ridiculous run time.

    But the reason I call it “something” is that it is, in addition to being the second part of the story begun in Infinity War, something that takes advantage of the 20-odd MCU movies that came before it to deliver a lot of payoffs based on our familiarity with the characters, and their universe. That’s been, in the past, a TV and comics thing but rarely a movie thing, because you really haven’t had a movie thing like this in the past.

    And I will say that, all in all, the IW/Endgame “crossover event” is much better executed than the vast majority of the crossover comic events that inspired it.

    Look, at the risk of outing myself as a naive fanboy nerd slave to consumer capitalism, the MCU overall is *great*. Only a couple of the movies come anywhere near great (and it may be that upon reflection I’ll decide Endgame is one of them since it definitely did a lot right as a movie), but you’ve got almost two dozen movies made with a common set of characters, by one studio, and maybe about three of them really suck. That’s not a normal failure rate for Hollywood.

    And look even the sort of middling MCU movies are fun and so much better than was typical for superhero movies 20 years ago.

    I thought the previous MCU flick, Captain Marvel, was at middle of the pack, but if it had come out in the mid-90s when it was set, even correcting for the shifts in budget and FX, it would have completely redefined the genre standards for telling a coherent, engaging, well-paced story while staying true to the spirit and, where possible, details of the source material.

    The first X-Men movie did that, and it wasn’t bad, but Captain Marvel was much better.

    I see a fair number of both fans and professional critics complain about the MCU, and I think they’re missing the really amazing forest for the pretty good trees.Report

    • George Turner in reply to pillsy says:

      *slight Infinity War/Endgame spoilers*

      I found the whole thing horrifying. You see, after Thanos wiped out half the galaxy, I was one of the survivors. Sadly, my wife was not. At this point we all know the numbers. 25% of married couples made it through unscathed, except for perhaps missing children. But those children would be fairly easy to replace from the pool of new orphans, since 25% of families lost both parents. But I was in that middle 50% of couples that lost either the husband or the wife, but not both.

      So, you know, we grieved, we leaned on each other for support at all the memorials. We helped each other out. My wife’s sister lost her husband to the ordeal, and she also had a kid, and we were really all each other had during those dark days. And, well, it just seemed kind of natural that she’d move in with me, and that we’d get married and try to get on with our lives. That happened to literally billions of couples around the globe. Some married their bosses, some went back and married their high school sweethearts, some married in-laws. We were more than surviving, we were living new lives.

      And then a few weeks ago, my dear departed just reappeared in our bathroom, waltzed into our bedroom, with no idea that anything at all had happened since I last saw her, mind you, and there I was, in bed with her sister. To say that it did not go over well is a gross understatement. And couples like us were the norm! Dr. Phil is probably booked up for the next 50,000 years. They’re going to have to add 500 more cable channels just to carry all the new clones of the Jerry Springer show.

      Now some say it was all some cosmic accident, or temporal field, or some other natural phenomenon, but others say that it was the Avengers that did this to us, intentionally inflicting more personal pain on us common folks than any people has ever suffered. If that is the case, I am going to devote the rest of my now doubly-divorced life to hunting down each and every one of them and slowly grinding them to death with a belt sander. Not only that, I’m going to film it all and sell the movie rights, at least if I’m not beaten to it by the billions of other people looking to do the same. And then we’re all going to dance a jig on the graves of those spandex wearing weirdos, because now my life has a purpose, and that purpose is revenge.

      I suppose I should come up with a name for myself. I certainly can’t use the any of the names my first wife called me that night, but something will come to mind. “Doctor Alimony.” No. “Pain Soufflé.” No. “Captain Bigamist.” No.

      Anyway, the name isn’t as important as getting payback. Hrm… And I’ve just thought of the best payback of all. First off, I’m gonna get on Tinder and set Thor up with my ex’s, and then I’m gonna Photoshop Captain America with a bunch of naked old ladies, and then… I’ve got it! Bwuha! Bwuhahahaha!!!!

      *Coming soon to a theater near you.*


      • pillsy in reply to George Turner says:

        Yeah that’s definitely the sort of thing that occurred to (and slightly horrified) me as I was wandering a gigantic New Jersey parking lot looking for my car. 3 hours is more than enough time for me to completely forget where I parked.Report

      • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

        Another angle would be covering all the people who came back and found out, to their horror, that their relatives had given all their stuff away.

        “But mom, you didn’t even try to get any money for my car!”
        “Well dear, suddenly there were twice as many cars as drivers so there just wasn’t any market for it. But you can buy a new car.”
        “With what? My bank account is gone too!”
        “Oh, about that. Your dad and I took the most wonderful cruise! I have pictures!”
        “Mom, I’m going to go now.”
        “Where to?”
        “To file a civil suit against the Avengers.”
        “But that evil Thanos is the one who made you vanish.”
        “Yes, and while I was vanished, I wasn’t needing cash and you got to go on a cruise. The proximate cause of my present financial situation is the Avengers, and I’m going to put a jury in a box and make them bleed.”

        There’s plenty of material they could work with if they wanted to pursue using the aftermath as a plot device to once again turn the super heroes into outcasts and social pariahs, as is common in the X-Men Universe, and spawn a new range of home grown villains.

        However, I never read comic books so I have no idea where they might head next.Report

  5. George Turner says:

    Oh darn. Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones revealed that Daenyres drinks Starbucks coffee. Daily Mail story with a bunch of fan reaction tweets.

    Nothing on that show happens by accident, so it likely indicates that Jon Snow and Daenyres are backing Howard Schultz’s independent bid for President.Report