Flying in from Munich at Newark the other night. The seat back had mesmerizing video from cameras on the plane. Here’s our landing.
It seemed like a good idea to bring your attention to this piece of writing that Mark Twain wrote in response to the U.S. military intervention against the freedom fighters of the Philippines. It wasn’t published until long after he died. Now in the public domain, “The War Prayer” continues to resonate more than a hundred years after it was written. Also included below is a 2007 dramatization.
That’s me being interviewed about the Tang Teaching Museum during a day when nonprofit museum and art spaces got to meet people spending the day at the Saratoga Race Course.
I use the word “awesome” in it, and I wonder about that word. My use refers to something that fills one with awe, is “awe inspiring” or is full of awe, or is “awe-full.” “Awful,” though, is a word that at one point meant what “awesome” now means. So how did “some” come to stand for “full”? Some blame overuse in the 18th century.
But I wonder: Are there other -ful words that have become -some words?
How about “dreadful” and “dreadsome,” or are those both used, and both mean about the same thing (though maybe dreadsome sounds a little more archaic). It isn’t like people once said “beautiful” and now we saw “beautisome”; or “painful” —> “painsome”; or “thoughtful” –> “thoughtsome.”
Then again, there’s the relationship between “handful” and “handsome,” which in the first means something that can fit in a hand OR something (or usually someone) who is hard to control, versus someone who is good looking. Though that interpretation may mean someone who is easy on the eyes, or whose looks are easy to handle, which then gets the word closer to first definition of handful.
I enjoyed reading “The Passage” (as well as “The Twelve” and “The City of Mirrors,” which I wrote about here), and it has been long enough since I read those books that I could approach the new Fox drama with a fresh perspective.
But after three episodes, I’m not sure if I need to see any more. There’s both too much (too many characters, too far-fetched situations, too quick moving, especially in terms of Amy’s swift move through the foster system), and not enough — not enough character development, not enough at stake between Amy and Brad, actually not enough reason for me to understand or care that much about Brad at all.
One thing that struck me even before seeing the show is that I thought I would find it on FX, instead of Fox. FX is where the edgier shows are. Show that I watch, like the first season of “Legion” and “Fargo” and, yes, “The Strain” (which starts with a mystery — what happened to these people on that plane? what’s about to happen to everyone else?). Fox, meanwhile, is home to shows that I might try and quit, like “The Orville.”
Remember “Lost”? Remember how much time was spent, at least in that first season, with flashbacks that helped us get off the island and to get to know the characters. It is always a sign that This Character Is Important. So far it seems the longest extended flashback is of Babcock — one of the death-row inmates turned into a viral. Is she that important? Is she more important than Brad or Amy?
One thing I can’t tell yet is whether the TV is slow or if it just feels slow. Sure, lots of things are happening — chases and stuff — but if feels slow because I think I keep waiting to feel a connection with a character, especially with Amy.
Part of the problem might be Amy’s voice-over, which just raises the questions of where is Amy now and to whom is she talking?
Another issue might just be the cinematography. So much of the show looks too bright and clean to be dark, creepy, and scary.
Or maybe its because there isn’t much mystery to it. Everyone knows they’re made vampires, as one does to counter a bird flu epidemic. There are moral quandaries about it. What could be the central tension is showing the actions needed to exploit the virals for a health cure, while at the same time showing people doing things to mitigate their fearsome bloodsucking. Instead, it looks like the holding areas of the virals are well established and protocols are in place, and every now and then mucketymucks sit at a conference room table and confer. Worse yet, even as the scientists are slowly realizing that the virals have psychic abilities, they are doing nothing yet to see if that is true or to try to stop them.
There are long moments when Richards, who seems to be the head security guard for the bad-guy scientists, is utterly frozen in place and staring dumbly nowhere as the viral Babcock plays her melodramatic backstory in his mind. After three episodes, that seems to be a good analogy for “The Passage” as a whole, so much inaction in the face of melodrama.
Are you watching the show? Are you sticking with it?
Fantasy Author and Very Serious Person
Little flecks of inspiration and creativity
Book Reviews and Writing Tips
poetry, experimental writing, hybrid, and more
Fanbase for the written word
Words & Images
Writing from both sides of the brain
The poetry blog of Theodora Goss
We believe that good storytelling begins with character.
Origins and Radicals of Japanese Kanji
A journal of literature and the arts