Night Thoughts On Homeland

It occurred to me last night that the HBO revolution which made adult, in the last ten years, most American drama on television, and most political comedy, had a cause, and it is a political one.

And it is this. It is impossible to imagine an episode of Homeland with commercials. It is also impossible to imagine an episode, so encumbered, of Rome, Veep, Mad Men, Girls, John Adams, The Borgias, or Breaking Bad.

Commercials require the darkest drama to ‘lighten up’ after the commercial break. You can’t keep going down, down, fathoms down, into despair or gore or suspense or grim incestuous revelation when you have to come up, in seven minutes’ time, for ‘air’, and product placement, and jovial scenes of suburban reconciliation.

This explains, too, why the BBC led the world in long-form drama, and America took forty-five years to catch up with it. It explains why Edge of Darkness was possible, and why it had a deeper focus than I Love Lucy. It explains why Talking To A Stranger and Father Knows Best had nothing in common. The attention span of the audience had to be longer. And, with commercials, it couldn’t be. More to come.

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  1. Hartcher and Kenny: what a bizarre article it was as well.
    A frank interview they said, then not telling us much about it except for a few quotes from Abbott, praising himself.
    More like Frank Spencer.

  2. Hadley’s boss calls him “a psychotic bully”. Not at all like all the other clowns of cancer – Jones? Bolt? Ackerman? Why else would Hadley’s boss and the owners of 2GB employ him but because he is a psychotic bully; that’s what gets the ratings

  3. Some background music for the night thoughts. Open in another tab and it won’t disturb your browsing.

    The late Brazilian guitarist, Baden Powell de Aquino, playing Rosa.

  4. Excellent fidelity on that one – another awesome artist at work

  5. The commercial stations synchronise their ads if they can, to ensure channel surfers don’t escape.

    It is a major reason why the commercial interests and many ad agencies hate the ABC. Though ‘hate’ may be too strong a word; they’d like to get their trotters into the trough.

    Then there’d be no escape from ads.

  6. TV is dying. Soon there will be no more TV. It will all be on mobile devices. You will be able to watch the classics on the bus. In the shopping malls. While taking a leak. Uninterrupted, but with little text ads. Little video overlays. Little flashing spinning things, little icons on your screen are the future. Attention spans will be no greater than 5 seconds as you keep checking your email. You will forget how to get home. But will have the latest gadgets. It is written. Frank is never wrong.

  7. “Homeland” is Claire Danes’ face.

    I can’t remember the last time I saw frenzy and sufferance, verve, tenderness, and anxiety depicted so convincingly.

    Suspension of disbelief?

    Fiction as the Real.

    Utterly mesmerising.


    I note with happiness that 70 asylum seekers have landed on Christmas Island safely.

    I note with high glee that “stop the boats” proves, yet again, to be a shite gibberish swallowed whole by the lumpen mouthbreathing spittle dribblers of the Right.

  8. It also explains why the original six-part Edge of Darkness could only be shown on our ABC in 1985.

  9. Canguro.

    You’ve surprised me with this most beautiful revelation.
    You must be very proud of your son.
    And that’s how it should be.


    Canguro, several evenings ago I went out drinking with my chaps.

    4 men sitting in a bar.
    One of those sitting, E., had buried his father that day.
    A quiet Anglo affair.

    And so we gathered that evening to raise glasses of beer, wine, and whiskey to the passing of E.’s dad.

    We listened as he spoke.
    We listened to the way he spoke; the stories he told, the stories we presumed he did not tell.

    After some time he fell mute.

    As M. and S. filled the silence with quiet chatter I found myself staring off up into the quietly bustling street.

    My eyes stopped upon a man oddly out place in such a street. He was tall, quite thin, deeply bronzed, dressed in black jeans, black thongs, and a black t-shirt with the logo of a biker gang across the back. He was sporting a fresh Mohawk and tattoos peeked out from under his neckline. His arms were a scrawl of images and lettering.
    And there he stood,
    smoking a cigarette.
    And I watched him…and thought about our manner of becoming,
    and in this way my mind slipped through the portal.

    Several hours later I was home and found myself sipping a nightcap in the backyard. The night was mild and I looked up at the clouds as they moved quietly from south to north… the cat curled its body around my leg….and I began to hum,

    I craved a cigarette.
    And thought about the man,
    and E’s dead father,

    and realised that of all my friends I am the only one remaining with both parents alive.

    Looking at that video you posted of your boy brought those 3 day old meditations back to mind.

    I’m not sure why.

    But offer this as possible map:

    “We still were by the sea, like those who think
    about the journey they will undertake,
    who go in heart but in the body stay.

    We still were on the border of the sea,
    Like people who are thinking of their road,
    Who go in heart and with the body stay”.

    • “And just as Mars, when it is overcome
      by the invading mists of dawn, glows red
      above the waters’ plain, low in the west,
      so there appeared to me-and may I see it
      again-a light that crossed the sea: so swift,
      there is no flight of bird to equal it.”

      Our fate, of course.

    • It has been said that a boy really only becomes a man when his father dies :

      It is certainly a crucial event in any man’s life.

      • Thinking on that, I wonder if it is not a case of Shakespeare seeing with different eyes in his depiction of Henry 5′s partings from his two fathers – discarding Falstaff, hurrying the dying king on

        • Of the dark past
          A child is born;
          With joy and grief
          My heart is torn.

          Calm in his cradle
          The living lies.
          May love and mercy
          Unclose his eyes!

          Young life is breathed
          On the glass;
          The world that was not
          Comes to pass.

          A child is sleeping:
          An old man gone.
          O, father forsaken,
          Forgive your son!

        • Probably not; the 16th earl of Oxford died when De Vere was 12, in 1562. His older half sister tried to make him a bastard by challenging the 16th earl’s second marriage.

    • ‘And I watched him…and thought about our manner of becoming,
      and in this way my mind slipped through the portal.’

      Jean Liedloff‘s book “The Continuum Concept” is a good place to start.

      But, that’s not what you had in mind.

      Was at Sydney Uni’s Great Hall today at a ceremony for Community Language Teaching graduates, my wife also, immersed in multicultural Australia among hundreds of second language teachers and guests.

      Played photographer. The stained glass windows are so beautiful.

      So many becomings, these transmigratory folks, from all corners of the planet, making their new lives in this country. Amazing, when you think about it.

      But that’s not what you had in mind either…

      It’s more to do with the choices we make as adults, isn’t it?

      • Canguro, i shall respond this evening.

      • Canguro,
        It appears I’ve fallen into the oblique.
        I apologise.

        I meant two things:

        Do you remember those stories I’d written about my champion B.?
        I think there were about 5 or 6 of them?

        Do you remember them at all?


        Choices: I know that Mohawk man Canguro, I mean I know him; every sinew, every thought, every particle if his History.
        I could catalogue his teen/young man years and recount them as if you yourself had lived them.

        You could taste his breath Canguro, pick at the dirty toes, pull on those smelly, tight, and oily jeans….

        And yet,
        I move(d) in other worlds also; diametric and alien,
        a world of fancy book learnin’.

        And after all these years it’s difficult to take the Shakespeare, Beckett, Pollock, Verlaine, Krauss, Greenberg, Boccioni, Sanaa, Manet, Andre, Musil, out of those steamy summer suburban streets.

        The two worlds appear fused.

        But never quite clean; the join line a topography of irregularities, a zone of unpredictable frictions…a site of daily battle.

        allthumbs, I think it was, said long ago that I was full of self-loathing – I think he got it wrong.
        It was self-doubt.

        I think.


        Your son will think what he will think regarding your present occupation.

        It doesn’t define you though.

        And I believe that our children will be wise enough to know the difference.

        Your boy, the maker of beautiful sounds, is perhaps already well past entertaining his father’s doubts about himself.

        Something like that anyway.

        • Fedallah, I meant to acknowledge, earlier, your linking to Max Richter’s Infra 5.

          Pirate Bay has a link to his discography, not that anyone I know would leech free music.

          So, thank you. His rescoring of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is terrific. :roll:

          Musical minimalism is like fractals, unfolding, eternal, an invitation to a party happening just behind the eyeballs.

          Topographical refers to surfaces, does it not, so your observation begs a question on the subject of attention.

          Self-doubt is as efficient a slayer as HIV or the American govt.

          Who’s Krauss by the way? Did you mean Karl Kraus, the Austrian writer?

          • Hi Canguro,

            There are 2 pieces in that Richter score that I would like to have offered…..alas, youtube only had the one.


            ‘Begs a question’

            Ask it.


            Rosalind Krauss.


            The year is almost over Canguro.
            How will you enjoy the break….trekking through the Canadian wilderness with a caravan of naked Caribbean dancing girls, or sipping Tunisian home brew served to you by dark skinned white toothed boys on the rooftop of Chikly?
            Perhaps seafaring across the Baltic pursued by Swedes hell bent on your extermination, or skipping naked through a thick dry grass in North Dakota?

            Maybe eloping with GlowWorm and running hard from the police in Cleveland for the suspected robbery of 4 banks and the establishment of 12 crack houses which is just a cover for the arms dealing you do for an African right wing military junta who has your son and won’t release him until Glow delivers the ‘goods’?

            You hope to be back by Christmas Day.
            No one will ever know.

            • … which she will haughtily but willingly do, if it will return Canguro’s son to his Father’s side. But she is saved from this unspeakable fate by the last-minute arrival of Fedallah, parachuting through the ceiling of the makeshift prison with a cutlass between his teeth and all guns blazing … prison

  10. Fedallah, thank you for a lovely contribution.

  11. I suppose it different for each survivor. When my dad died in 2002 (yes the same dad who was picking spider orchids in 1920 when the detonator blew off three fingers) I was in Tucson Arizona and he in Perth where we were both born.

    Although he was in hospital for week prior to taking the definitive journey I was blissfully unaware.

    It just so happened that my cell phone service was interrupted at exactly the time my daughter in Perth was trying to reach me to let me know dad was in hospital.

    Curoisly though I did receive indications of a kind. It is a strange and beautiful world.

    during that week when I went to the liquor store on the corner of Swan and River road I saw a dead bird in a fountain in the courtyard of the mall.

    When I arrived back at the guesthouse beside the Rillito River where I lived and parked the Toyota Celica I saw a dead rabbit among the bushes beside the car port.

    I thought it strange at the time.

    A few days later I finally got the call and knew that he’d gone. No grief ever was felt by me which I put down to my psychic mutation experiences of 1981 and a new spirituality. I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was no longer present physically and yet he lives in spirit and was in close contact with me and still is.

    I’d been invited to a party the night I got the phone call. I told my hostess and she encouraged me to come anyway. I shared my experiences with those present.

    Only Rebecca was interested. The others shied away – they were sure the dead birds and rabbits and other omens of death were nothing but coincidence.

    Rebecca knew better.

    She became my closest friend.

    Denial of spirituality is the main mental malady that afflicts our world community.

    Materialism is a disease.

    A sustainable culture is already thriving and it is a culture of spirit.

    • I watched my father die of a recurrence of the stomach cancer, the treatment for which had made his life a misery for the previous few years.

      As a man who’d had to leave school at 15 to help support his family in 1930, and who fought in WWII, things never came easily for him.

      Just when things had finally become easier, and he was enjoying his retirement . . .

      Such is life.

      • ‘Just when things……’

        Only too true Doug; too true and too common.

        Tell me Doug, why haven’t you gone off on one of those crazed expeditions with that banshee Macabre?

    • Is Rebecca still part of your world Malcolm?

      • She is the Sister I didn’t have as a chiild. I am the brother she never had.

        The connection remains strong.

        I expect to see her on my next expedition to turtle island.

      • Here is the proof Fed-man
        Rebecca responds to Dali’s Mark Gillespie TALKIN’ TO THE DEVIL’ BLACK TAPE 1978

        After I posted Dali’s link on FB Rebecca says:

        I love it!

        At first I thought it was about zombies!

        • Hi Malcolm,
          Good to hear!

          Say, ain’t you too old for Facebook?

          Let me ask you something: what did you make of the mug of Dali?

          Caught me by surprise.
          Our very own Stromboli, staring back at us,
          after all this time, all these stories…..

          Quite amazing.

        • Almost forgot,

          It appears that the Liberal FTTN string and can operation has just lost half its string.

          What a colossal calamity!

          It appears now that every major plank of the Liberal pre election policies is fucked sideways up the arse with a large wheelbarrow – education, broadband, budget, asylum seekers, government transparency.

          Gone in 100 days.

          On the bright side: Brandis appoints IPA lifer as new human rights commissioner.

          Jobs for the boys!
          Well done IPA!
          The union room for the Liberal Party.

  12. I just watched the season 3 finale. A tour de force quite surpassing everything currently on offer at the moment as far as writing directing and acting .

  13. Sorry this is offtopic, but xmas has come early:

    The third major poll in as many weeks has found Tony Abbott’s 100-day-old government has been given no honeymoon by voters and would have been bundled out if an election were held over the weekend.

    The ReachTEL poll shows the collapse of support for the Coalition Government is being led by dissatisfaction with Mr Abbott’s own performance, with 52.1 per cent of voters marking his prime ministership as either poor, or very poor.

    Mr Shorten’s personal approval continues to climb with fully two-thirds of voters viewing his performance as either satisfactory (41.5%) good (15.9%) or very good (9.2%).

    Tony, he goin’ down.
    He’s crazy going to Paris, only the river is Seine.

    • “Off topic”?
      My jubilant arse “off topic”!

      This is the only topic.

    • Honeymoon?!? For Abbott?

      The bride found out on the night of the wedding that the bastard was bankrupt, a liar, incontinent, sterile, impotent, wears a hair-shirt to bed, and that he was eying off the fire extinguisher as a suitable rogering tool (for both of them).

      Add in that he proposed a gang bang with the fuglies from his cabinet and that the honeymoon should be in Baghdad rather than Paris because of budgetary concerns . . .

      No, not impressed. Divorce papers will be served as soon as they can find the bastard.

      :lol: :cry:

    • Off topic…you is soooooooo modest, Mr Dali…

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