I disagree with you about the slaves. I found that a false note. They were presented as children (even "Uncle" Cato)--who could sing and dance despite the prospect of death approaching with Yellow Jack (Fever), and in spite of their mental (and too often physical) shackles.
To GC : I appreciate your challenge to my perception of the slave community in Jezebel. I was taken by the scene where the little children came to the aristocrats' door -- simple, pure, exuding life, definitely different than the kids one sees in the Taylor, PA neighborhoods where I've lived. Then, of course, the slave's choral singing outside the mansion -- that scene was reminiscent of something POSITIVE the Byzantine Catholic priest of my childhood used to do with parish kids .
To CO: Above is very interesting to me. It develops an idea I have about Art being primarily interactive--a dialogue or conversation between artist and audience. So... that scene that troubles me because I have nothing to relate it to in my background nevertheless works for you because you have a reference point. This is an issue we could develop further--and it's pertinent to politics as well as Art!
To GC: Father Steve devoted Monday evenings to teaching kids Slavonic hymns, and come Christmastime and Easter, he'd take the group singing all over the neighborhood. I remember a lot of the lyrics, and these days many Catholics are fearful of allowing their children to get near priests. This is a very dramatic cultural change especially in these Church-going "coal-cracker" parts.
To CO: We sextagenarians (!) are lucky to have known it somewhat. I find myself craving the old actresses. I can get lost in their faces! Last nite I watched "Pride and Prejudice" with Olivier and Greer Garson. I think Alexis Smith was Garson's sister. 2 unique beauties! Then, of course, there was Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Jones, Marilyn M., Audrey Hepburn, et. al.
Goddesses! After the cultural revolutions of the 60s and 70s, everything changed--at least in that sphere. Too raucous now--in the U.S. of Porn! This is too often the case--after "liberation"... excess! True about politics, economics, culture. "How can we hold on to the best of the old values while moving into a world of accelerating change?
To GC: That troubles me about so much of our culture! I have a terrible suspicion that many writers, artists, film-makers, etc. believe that a profaned civilization can be redeemed by a higher and potentially more ruthless profanity--where does one go with such an attitude?
At times I look back at my grade & high school days, some beautiful, some ugly moments, some raunchy. " Currently I am glad for the gift of reason, ability to look back, comprehend the world from where I came. Tonight, at rest, I look at civilizations in this manner; for example, the philosopher-scientific Greeks, to the frustrated Greeks hitting streets today. " The constitutional America to the lawless power of today. The innocent humor of Jackie Gleason to the raw vulgarity of the modern TV sitcom. Measures of transcendance in humanity are accompanied by dirty drop-off descent.
Charles Orloski's work has appeared at
CounterPunch and elsewhere. He lives in Taylor, Pa and can be reached at: Email address removed .
Gary Corseri's work has
appeared at OpEdNews, The Smirking Chimp, the New York Times, Village Voice and
hundreds of other venues worldwide. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta
and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. His
books include novels and poetry collections. He can be reached at: Email address removed .