Some things stick in my memory. Maybe that is what memory is – a stickiness with time where certain events float through one’s consciousness. Like flotsam, but with people drifting in its midst. The 1959 Bethlehem Steel strike is one such piece of detritus. Involving a dozen steel mills across the US, it was a strike that lasted six months. My stepfather was one of those strikers. I remember him and my mother living in a housing project near the children’s home me and my siblings were in. My mother and stepfather lived off of the union’s strike fund, a coffer that grew slim as each month ticked by. I was flipping through Ghostly Ruins: America’s Forgotten Architecture looking at photos of abandoned buildings. I am soothed by black and photographs of things from my past and earlier – cars from the ’50’s, prisons, mental institutions. Maybe it is because I am of that era; perhaps it is due my being a Southern. A malady in and of itself, my sense of time lopes along at a pace that is out of synch with other parts of the US. I think this is the Southern illness. Born and raised there, it was not in synch with the rest of the country. It is as though it has a stuttering relationship with time preferring to dwell in its own past. It was in that book that I stumbled across photos of Bethlehem Steel. It was then that I fell into my rabbit hole of memory.
There’s more to be said on this syncopated sense of time that is so much the my experience of being from the South. But, for now, I thought I might just give you a link to the photography of the Southern author Eudora Welty and leave it at that.
As a means of unionizing against my over-working, vague-about-when-i-am-working-or-not self , i am basing my work patterns, my obsessing about work, as well as the days i close my biz on the lunar phases. Currently, we are in the dark moon aka new moon phase. The actual day is monday although like some cults, cultures, covens, spiritual practices etc., i am noting the dark moon phase as including 2-3 days before the actual event. “Hush crazy mind, hush,” i’m telling myself. “No work, no thinking about work. Just hush.”
Law & Order in Russian! Narcissism and queerness! Book reports on books we haven’t read! And this time, Wickie finds small breasts un-American.
Anastasia gives us the rundown on Russia’s equivalent of Law & Order. Highlights:
• The poor man’s Olivia Benson mixes with Criminal Intent Russian doppelgangers all in one police department.
• The budgets are so low, the cop station so like a lame dorm room, that they prompt a debate about which is more real—the contrivedness of the Russian version, or the diegetic seamlessness of our homegrown L&O?
• Wickie mostly notices the flat-breastedness and finds it very un-American.
• Anastasia points out that Russians find very un-Russian: (1) the presence of women among the cops; (2) the lack of marriage proposals between male and female cops; and above all (3) “if two detectives have been hanging out that long, how come they haven’t had a spiritually redeeming conversation between the two of them?”
• Wickie thinks this all proves communism has failed somehow.
• Jed wishes we had redemption of soul on all our shows.
At this point Wickie “reviews” a few books she swears she plans to read. She also wants to watch the film Live Freaky! Die, Freaky!
Wickie deftly employs “incurvatus in se” to get us back to last time’s discussion of narcissism in the Law & Order: CI episode “Prisoner.” Why does Corbin Bernsen pull a crucifixion pose? Are narcissism and the “I’m long-suffering” thing always related, or is this a typical sociopathic pity play? Is Stockholm Syndrome just “codependency with extenuating circumstances?” Pity, mercy and suffering are all central to Christianity.
Medical narcissism, Belgian giants and trans surgery: is it a good or bad thing that genius male surgeons are creating more men in their own image? Is everything Jesus?
Also, is the dandy/punky preoccupation with fashion and dress actual narcissism, or the need to look inward to define yourself when the social context gives you no self to express? Narcissism, if you look at it, can mean childish/female/artist/any non-dominant community. In fact, who is really fascinated with himself and must see himself everywhere? The straight white guy. Maybe every person, people, and cultural entity must engage in some narcissism to be healthy—maybe it’s a good and necessary part of the process of constructing the self.
Anastasia Kayiatos joins Head Wound! “The stalking won me over,” she explains. Today we have two psych disorders (at least): narcissism and Stockholm Syndrome. Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by grandiosity, seductive charm, a great ease with exploiting other people, and a tendency to appear in today’s discussion of Law & Order Criminal Intent—the episode is “Prisoner” with Corbin Bernsen. Why the connection between queerness, dandyism, and self-oriented love? Does narcissism put the “homo” in the mo, and even in the tranny?
Stockholm Syndrome, meanwhile, is just so ’70s. (See a fascinating re-telling of the original Stockholm incident in the reader response here.) Anastasia wonders how long it takes for the syndrome to stick, or even to become something that’s a real attachment—somehow Dog Day Afternoon comes to mind. Newborn babies all fall under a kind of Stockholm Syndrome. Jed explains that we know we’re talking about old shows, and we’re doing it on purpose.
The episode is impressively complex and thought-demanding, which Wickie finds wholly un-American. She also figures Goren is a narcissist—and that maybe you can’t have two narcissists sit in one plot. We debate the true cheese content of the “Pyramid of My Potential” as Anastasia shows a devastating grasp for plot that she attributes to reading lots of Russian crime novels. Plus fake feminism, pandering police, and Eames borrows some clothes that fit and some Gorenese condescension since poor Jenny Hendry (the great Elizabeth Marvel) is occupying the puppet role this time.
Captain’s Log: supplemental. Some strange news to tide you over: a woman advertises on Craigslist for a freelance hitman; Lord Byron died of bloodletting, so watch the indy health care; thirsty migrating snakes are becoming a problem in downtown Australia City. Wickie is reminded of her past in the segregated South. The government warns: “Keep your grass well cut, wear adequate clothing and stout shoes.”
Enrico “The food is made of people!” Colantoni and his CBS show Flashpoint are today’s subject. We talk in depth about the show’s premiere episode, which involves your usual macho skinhead cops who are nevertheless Canadianly made charming by virtue of (a) having feelings and (b) singing Gilbert & Sullivan. No personality disorders today, but we learn that killing somebody, anybody, is traumatic for the killer.