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25 February 2016


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I agree about the division into left/right and urban/rural but the states and regions still retain distinctive cultural qualities and animosities. i.e., even the Virginia and Maryland suburbs of the Washington metro area dislike each other and the populations of these suburbs sort themselves instinctively. No greater example of the lack of real cultural integration could be found than the misadventures of Terry McCauliffe in his forlorn attempt to govern Virginia by Yankee political custom. pl


Budget is very important. Dialogue is much cheaper than action and the budget for a European TV series is just much lower than for an American TV series so putting in more dialogue instead of action helps in making it possible.
There is also a selection effect. Only "good" European TV series are shown in the US. The budget for TV series in Europe is to low to make a good action series so the action series that are made in Europe (like for instance Cobra 11) aren't shown in the US


For me Spiral was good because the "heroes" stumple from one disaster into the next like in real life and are usually not strictly black/white, there many shades of grey.

I liked the US series "Shield" for the same reasons. The "bad" main character Vic, a corrupt cop, fighting for his family...


Addendum: The BBC series "Case Histories" with a perfectly casted Jason Isaacs as former soldier and police officer, now private investigator has a nice mixture of a believeable share of action, good tempo, interesing cases and interesting characters, Edinburgh is a bonus too.


"Chaplin used action to communicate comedy - to a vast global audience - including reigning monarchs and government leaders etc."

Yes, but the difference to modern productions is that action was for Chaplin or Keaton (watch "The General") a tool that was applied with the correct metrum in order to deliver a message, in many modern films action is end in itself, and here US movies "shine".


"It's either left/democrat/urban or right/republican/rural in orientation."

While I think that often is true as a generalization, and therefore true for the most part in Massachusetts as well. But in MA we are a bit of an oddity due to having so many independent ("unenrolled" in a party) voters, who occasionally get feisty with the establishment. Sometimes Republicans do well here, especially as governor. The current Republican governor is well liked and his poll numbers top most all the Democrats in office including the two senators. I think this is because he is competent and does a good job.

Here's an interesting article on Trump's support among MA voters... he is expected to do well here.

Trump’s victory lab - Massachusetts is a blue state, but it’s full of the voters Trump would need to notch a White House win. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/donald-trump-massachusetts-219804
Recent polling suggests Trump is headed for a resounding victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday. A WBUR/MassInc poll out Friday morning puts Trump at 40 percent among likely GOP primary voters — far ahead of John Kasich and Marco Rubio’s 19 percent apiece. Among independents who are likely to vote in the GOP primary, Trump does even better, pulling in 42 percent. … Scott Brown, who endorsed Trump earlier this month, said Trump's potential to pick up independents mirrors his own. "He’s starting to have a broader appeal," he said.

… "You’re looking at a state where independents outnumber Democrats and Republicans combined," said Jim Roosevelt, a prominent Massachusetts Democratic activist and grandson of Franklin D. Roosevelt. "I think appeal to independents in Massachusetts will be an important gauge as to how seriously we take him in November."

btw, On March 1st I will be one of those unenrolled MA voters who walks into my precinct and becomes a Republican for 10 minutes so I can vote in the Republican primary for Trump. I will enjoy that! Though I'll be voting 3rd party in November.


The Twisted Genius

SWIMBO and I observed an interesting example of regionalism recently. We stopped at a Cold Stone Creamery in Massaponax on a return trip from Richmond. Three young adults from the local area sat at a table next to ours discussing what movie they would with that evening. The young gentleman recalled a line from some movie and SWIMBO and I broke out in laughter. One of the women acknowledged us and we joined the conversation about movies. and the merits of "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies". The young man mentioned that this was the second movie in a series started by "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." The young man noted how the Lincoln film weaved its fantasy around real events of the WBS.

And now to the point of the story.

Near the end of our very odd conversation, the young man noted, "Too bad we lost that war." He said this in a matter of fact manner, but with a note of sadness in his voice and face and in the faces of his two companions. These young people, in their late 20s, were deep down still Virginians and Southerners. We departed as friends although we will probably never see each other again. I'm very glad that homogenization has not drained these young people of their distinctive regionalism.


I beg to differ, sir.

Methinks you "pale-skins" ("Gringo," "Farang," etcetera) are still going to "lead" the "culture front" world-wide (be they "gahbage" or otherwise).

Your natural height as well as built (hence a certain "aura") & angular facial features somehow attracts foolish youth across the world to mimic trends from occident west.

Not to mention many fool wenches all the way from former Dutch East Indies to Indian sub-continent much preferring having a white boy 'round them - a living & breathing equivalent of a Prada or Louis Vuitton.

(Chink culture of mine fails to attract as many adherents/converts from other parts of the world.)

Everybody laughs when they see Ginks or Chinks do sci-fi flicks.

Nobody freaking makes fun of Keanu Reeves.

What is wrong with these lefties?, I'm disappointed with 'em - ta think I was left-leaning in me early 20s...

They are going to destroy what little good there is left (pun intended) of western culture.

I fondly recall Rowan Atkinson in "Black Adder" - more impressed I was than with 'global idiot' "Mr. Bean."

The strength of English shall stay for many decades to come (evidenced by mere statistics that there are more mainland Chinks studying your lingo than the entire population of your Albion isles).

Your worries IMHO are simply displaced...


Aye, sir.

But we instruct our youth in Morality with our film from your Mid East to the Far East.

What does hollywood "instruct" besides "loose" sex & violence?

Babak Makkinejad

Very good points.

"Talk is cheap..." as the saying goes!


Sir, I'm a little sad that the South lost more than just the War.

I've been "informed" that a large portion of Southern Customs & Traditions (as well as History) are now lost as well with the subsequent Yankee occupation...



Trump's nomination will be the South's ultimate vengeance. He is going to sweep most of the states of the Confederacy. His support in the rest of the country would not give him what he needs. The South will give him victory on Super Tuesday. Yes, some Southern identity has disappeared under the onslaught of propaganda and immigration but even as that happens there are those like TTG and many others here who have been assimilated into the local cultural matrix. Yankees have been telling themselves since the 1830s that the South as a distinct cultural area does not exist. When Malaniya Trump is re-decorating the White House remember how much difference the solid support of the South made to his success. pl


M Brenner, a group has been meeting at the Shaler branch of CLPgh to learn to speak Italian. Once each month they watch Italian detective movies (w/ English subtitles). They're viewing Fog and Crimes presently http://shop.mhznetworks.org/DVD-Fog-and-Crimes-Series-1.html

The description for Season 1, with mention of the conflicts over "old wounds left over from WWII" reminded me of (former mayor of Rome) Walter Veltroni's "The Discovery of Dawn."

Thanks for this essay.


I surely would like to know if there are still Old Europe ethnic enclaves in the USA, like there were in pre-WWI / WWII era and even the next generation. Are there still "Little Italys," and Chinatowns, and heavily German regions? Are there discernible voting patterns among those groups and regions, or have they lost ethnic identity and, indeed, become homogenized into inchoate "left" and "right," conservative and liberal.


When Mrs C and I split about a decade ago I was glad to leave TV behind.

US writers like Ed McBain, Walter Mosley, Joseph Wambaugh, John D MacDonald and George Pelecanos have all produced series capable of TV series. I'm ten years out of date, but know from conversations with my daughter of The Wire and Sopranos. Commissioners of Programming are the problem it seems to me.

US authors deserve better.


There are a number of ethnic groups in MA, but my knowledge of their voting patterns is limited. However I will attempt to answer your question best as I can. The older style of ethnic enclaves may not be around any more, but there are still enclaves of a sort. We have a North End in Boston that's the Italian section but I don't know anything about their voting patterns though I would expect that their being Catholic sometimes effects their vote (also those of Irish ancestry, a large ethnic group in MA). Our most common immigrants now are Brazilians so several large Brazilian communities, especially in Framingham, but I am not knowledgeable about their voting patterns either. We have several large communities of Portuguese-Americans in the state, especially in the fishing industry. Gov't fishing regulations do effect that voting group.

My town is noted for it's large Armenian population, and is the hub for the greater Boston Armenian community. When Scott Brown first ran for the senate the Armenians voted for him instead of their typical support for Democrats because...

“The Armenian-American community is understandably hesitant about supporting a candidate after the inexcusable manner in which President Obama and his administration broke his long-standing campaign promise to properly acknowledge the Armenian genocide,” Nazarian said in the Armenian Weekly on Jan. 16.

“Why did so many Massachusetts Armenians, including myself, vote for the Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Scott Brown? Because, we are primarily frustrated with President Obama breaking his pledge to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and the White House decreasing U.S. aid to Armenia,” another Armenian-American, Berge Jololian, said Jan. 19 on the newspaper’s blog. “Our votes will deprive Obama and his Democratic Party the critical 60 votes in the Senate.” http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=massachusetts-vote-seen-as-armenian-punishment-for-obama-2010-01-22

Mark Logan


Whatever is causing it, it's getting worse. A legislature (and not the first) considering forcing schools credit computer coding as a foreign language:


Babak Makkinejad

I think I have only seen two instance of a Euro-American female married to a Han.

Babak Makkinejad

The Korean Sci-Fi movie, "Cho-Soen", was good; check it out.


increase sample size. revise sampling strategy.

.... EVERYBODY makes fun of keanu reeves.


Stronly recommend Fog and Crimes, too. That's where Natasha Stephanenko appears. The first in the series is the least interesting (and lacks Natasha) so don't be discouraged


The citing of highlight shows would not be complete without noting KABOUL KITCHEN - a French spoof of life in the Afghan capital under American/Karzai occupation. It is set in a hotel/bar/restaurant run by a loony Frenchman for Western expatriates. Its humor is on the slapstick side; the show is essentially a series of sketches. The Afghans playing Afghans are the real scene stealers (other than the American military officials/officers). I expect that they're all on the Taliban short list for "re-education - that is, those who have not already met their unjust reward or are living in Dubai.


Mr. Brenner, Thanks for the great article. One minor point: while you included Alain Delon's Frank Riva series, you omitted Fabio Montale, which is even better, and is based the series of crime novels of that same police inspector by Jean Claude Izzo.

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