Monday, July 20, 2015

Evanston: Coriolanus and the Internet validation of the mob; impressed; beautiful

        Done well, I enjoy adaptions of Shakespeare in modern settings, and CORIOLANUS, the 2011 film produced, directed and starred in by Ralph Fiennes is very well done indeed.
        Caius Martinus, the title character—‘Coriolanus’ is an honorific given him after a military victory—disdains, and perhaps hates the mob.  As well he should.  They hate him, love him, hate him, love him, and then hate him again, manipulated to call for his death at the beginning and the end of the play.
        Caius is a proud man, considered arrogant by some because he will not pander to the mob.  He refuses to follow the tradition upon being elected counsel to display the scars of wounds he has received in defending Rome, of which there are more than two dozen, believing it enough that he has sustained them.  He also leaves the Senate chamber when he does not want to hear a speech praising himself.
        This is a powerful movie.  Powerfully acted, particularly by Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave, who plays his mother and reminded me both of Lady MacBeth and my own mother, of whom I once said that her greatest ambition was that I receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Posthumously. 
        And powerfully filmed, which is not surprising considering that the cinematographer is Barry Ackroyd, who also shot THE HURT LOCKER.
        CORIOLANUS was one of a handful of Shakespeare plays I had not read.  After viewing the film a few evenings ago on Netflix, I did.  The film is true to the spirit of the play.
        I also relistened to Beethoven’s ‘Coriolan Overture.’  Not his best work.
        Both the NY TIMES and The GUARDIAN have useful reviews.
        In our own time the mob receives renewed validation from the Internet.  There is, as always, money and power in manipulating the mob.  Success is defined in numbers, such as when it was widely and admiringly reported that the person Jenner reached a million Twitter followers faster than anyone in history, which of course does not go back far, breaking the record of Barak Obama.   All this proves is that there are a million quick fingered fools.


        When there are millions of dollars involved in sailing, I usually tune out.  I just don’t care.  I am far more interested in what can be done with little.   But, as some of you already know, the poetically named 105’/32 meter trimaran, LENDING CLUB 2,  just sailed from Los Angeles to Honolulu, a distance of 2,250 nautical miles, in 3 days and 18 hours.  That is an average speed of 25 knots.  But their track shows that they sailed far more than the rhumb line distance and so sailed even faster.
        I am impressed.

         The beautiful image is a photograph of the Bahamas taken by astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station.