I admit I watched “The Sopranos.” Once. For five minutes. Tony Soprano was disgustingly demeaning some woman sitting at his table in a diner - wife? Friend? I did not know. I said to myself, “I don’t need these people in my life.”
But one can not get away from Tony Soprano the same way one can not get away form Paris Hilton. (I would choose The Sopranos if I had to.) It seems no matter what one consciously does.
But here is a critique by Andrew Greeley, a man filled with a lifetime of history, literature, movies, writing, sociology, opera, etc. and who appears to have been at least a part time viewer of “The Sopranos.”
I find it well worth reading any critique about anything by Andrew Greeley.
I post he first paragraph as a lead, then the link.
Any thoughts from anyone? Whether viewers or not?
In media res
AN ENDING WITH NO MEANING
June 15, 2007
BY ANDREW GREELEY
I must confess a temptation to complacent laughter at the frustration of all ''The Sopranos'' fans at the conclusion of the series. It was the most important television project ever, comparable to Don Quixote, Shakespeare, maybe even St. John's Gospel.
I watched the Sopranos once also. For about five minutes. Some schmuck beat up a woman in a parking lot. Tony came out and admonished him and paid the woman some money to go away. It was a gloriously stupid scene and quickly cured me of wasting more of my time. This after I was told I needed to watch this show b/c it was the greatest thing on Tube.
I did read Mr. Greeley's article and while fascinatingly philosophical, it is my humble opinion the series ended like that so they bring it back any time they want. The blur of "reality" and "non-reality" characters is getting frighteningly absurd these days.
I watch my Twins (actually, mostly radio) and the news. Aside from an old movie once-in-a-blue-moon, my TV habit no longer qualifies as a habit. I even watched The Godfather the other night. Can't get much better than that.
Thanks for continuing to post reviews and/or articles relating to such.
I agree with your idea that they may be able to bring it back some time in the future. But I also agree with Greeley's over-riding philosphical idea. Commerce and art always have a way of working together. Leonardo was hired as a military expert more than an artist. Shakespeare was an excellent businessman and real estate investor! Few know this. Nothing wrong with the former. As a contemporary conservationist, I am not sure of the latter!
You have twins! As one of my best friends said, "Having a child is like having a front row seat to the best movie in the world." A psychologist friend of mine said the same thing about his clients. (Though he loves great theatre, too!)
With twins, you have a great double feature! Enjoy them. Love them.
But, you are missing out on some great contemporary movies. There are always DVD's when the kids grow up. Just have to be selective.
As far as The Godfather. It is a greeeeeeat movie. Especially the long version Copolla strung together mixing them all together. Epic and wonderful. Separately Part II is the best. To see the flip side of that see DeNiro's "A Bronx Tale."
You want to see better on an artistic front in a movie? Try seeing "Jean de Florette" and "Manon of the Spring" back to back, in that order. They are parts I and II of the same story. Rival Oedipus trilogy and the House of Atreus.
Hi there. Thanks for this post, IMR! Always interested to see what you write.
I have never watched the Sopranos. My comment is on Greeley's misunderstanding of post-Modernism.
Or my take on post-Modernism, which is considerably less despairing.
This thing about narrative being imposed on random events is to me only the first step toward understanding postmodern theory. Greeley jumps from the theory that narrative is only the imposition of understanding on experiences of the outside world to the conclusion that postmodernism is meaningless, soulless and hopeless. Much like life in New Jersey (or so I've been told). He is disheartened, it seems, that in the brave new world of postmodernism, no stories can be told that have a satisfying beginning, middle and end.
The fact that narrative is imposed on random events shows that there is not one narrative, not one view of the story coming down from on high that replaces our own experience of the story - your own narrative. It shows that each person creates their own narrative, and that each narrative is limited by that person's understanding of life. That's not a bad thing or a negative thing but a true thing and we are richer for this understanding. Postmodernism reacted to the idea that one view of reality should control - experts saying "this is law", "this is beautiful": it was casting aside the assumptions about who had a better grip on narrative and looking at who controlled it.
And as for the death of narrative, Greeley needs to wake up! Come on! Narrative is inescapable. We are temporal creatures and as such we experience our life as a narrative, as a thing with a beginning and a middle and an end. My shower this morning had those three elements and my workday will have them as well. I think narrative is truly inescapable. So if we can't help but impose a narrative, and we can understand that, then shouldn't we be able to enrich our understanding of life and our relationship to the world by looking for the substance of other people's narratives and recognizing they are out there? And also, can't we be a little joyful that humans can come together and enjoy narrative wherein there is intersubjective appreciation? Like Hamlet and Dr. Who?
To paraphrase Zadie Smith - Why the sad face? Greeley has fallen into tragedy vortex In Media Res posted about earlier in this forum.