Still on TV, HULU has a new show, THE HANDMAID'S TALE.
I loved the novel.
I was so-so on the movie.
I hate the TV show.
Ava and C.I. nail it.
"TV: An Unworthy TV Tale" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):
People in jeopardy are at the heart of most films, TV shows and books.
Tom Cruise is in jeopardy in THE FIRM, Macaulay Culkin in HOME ALONE, Joan Crawford throughout the bulk of her film career and the would-be-Crawford Michael Douglas throughout his films.
But jeopardy is a tricky thing.
Before becoming the box office smash, HOME ALONE was an iffy project.
The promos weren't well received.
The problem: Would be audiences weren't embracing a child being left alone.
So the promos were recut to feature Catherine O'Hara's scenes where she panics and attempts to return home.
With a few seconds of tweeking, 20TH CENTURY FOX had a film millions wanted to see.
What about THE HANDMAID'S TALE?
It's debuted to great reviews.
And that might mean something to us if The Water Cooler Set ever valued women.
But they don't.
THE HANDMAID'S TALE started out as a novel, a classic by Margaret Atwood. In the future, actions humans have taken have led to a climate where (a) few women can get pregnant and (b) where religious fundamentalists have taken over via martial law and use portions of THE BIBLE to suppress the rights of the majority.
Offred is the main character in the novel.
She's also the main character in the 1990 film starring Natasha Richardson (as Offred) and Faye Dunaway (as Serena Joy, the wife unable to get pregnant).
And nothing stopped us from reading the novel or seeing the film.
But a TV series?
Not a mini-series, but a TV series?
Along with the anti-women Water Cooler Set applauding the series there's the fact that a series goes on and on.
When does it end?
Are we masochists?
Eager each week to see another chapter in the subjugation and demonization of women (those who can get pregnant are seen as "sluts" and "whores" by those women who can't)?
With a novel, a film or a mini-series, you know an ending arrives at some point.
The series ends with Offred escaping to Canada.
So if this show runs four or five seasons?
Week after week, we've got Offred enslaved in a world where all women are enslaved.
Who really wants to watch that?
Seriously, this is not a show I'll watch again.
I made it through three episodes on HULU and that was more than giving it a chance.
Also, I agree with this point from Ava and C.I.:
His Commander Fred should luxuriate in his own power and role, like a happy pig wallowing in the mud.
He has everything he supposedly wants.
So why is he so mopey -- or worse, timid, when playing Scrabble with Offred?
If he is the manifestation of danger and oppression in the story, his character should amount to something more than Matthew Broderick in 2004's THE STEPFORD WIVES.
Instead, it's left to a woman, Ann Dowd, to represent true evil on the show in her portrayal of Aunt Lydia.
In a male dominated society, Aunt Lydia goes along with the flow.
But while we've yet to see any redeeming aspect to her, she's still the Eichmann to the various commanders' Hilter.
Or would be if the series lived up to the vision Atwood set out in the novel.
I watched the third episode in open mouth amazement as this Aunt Lydia slapped Offred, used some sort of taser on her, beat her, etc.
The police or 'service' or whatever was there in the form of a man.
But it's Aunt Lydia playing the heavy?
The show's balance is all wrong.
Everything about it is wrong.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, May 4, 2017. The Mosul Slog continues -- despite a lack of interest from the corporate press.
Day 197 of The Mosul Slog.
And here's what the mainstream press runs with.
Day 197 of The Mosul Slog.
And here's what the mainstream press runs with.
Iraqi forces open front in west Mosul, aiming to squeeze ISIS after earlier push is stalled nyti.ms/2qHHePI
Iraqi forces launch new operation northwest of Mosul aje.io/zd4k
Maybe Day 197 should be in the headline.
The original plan was this would take just a few weeks, remember?
Dropping back to the August 1st snapshot:
POLITICO asserts that US President Barack Obama is planning an October Surprise to influence the outcome of this year's presidential election.
For those late to the topic, refer to Robert Parry's reporting on the 1980 October Surprise at CONSORTIUM NEWS.
POLITICO'S Mark Perry reports that Barack is planning to start the battle to retake Mosul in early October and, "If Mosul is retaken, it would both mark a major political triumph for Barack Obama and likely benefit his party’s nominee at the polls, Hillary Clinton, undercutting Republican claims that the Obama administration has failed to take off the gloves against the Islamic State."
Mosul was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.
Barack's 'answer' since August of 2014 has been to drop bombs on Iraq daily.
That was the plan.
Of course, Iraq's Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi couldn't pull it together enough to even get it started in early October.
Even if he had, the notion that Mosul could be retaken in a matter of weeks shows just how out of touch the Iraqi government and the White House was with reality on the ground in Iraq.
And out of touch also describes the press.
Elise Labott screamed "NO!" in the middle of a press conference when another reporter, Said Arikat of AL QUDS DAILY, referred to the Mosul operation as a slog near the end of October.
Elise works for CNN.
QUESTION: Okay. Can we stay on [the Islamic State] and the battle of Mosul?
MR KIRBY: Sure, sure.
QUESTION: Okay. Is it turning out to be like a slog, or how are things moving? How are they progressing?
MR KIRBY: Elise, do you want to come take the podium?
QUESTION: Not today.
Elise's little outburst shocked even then-spokesperson John Kirby.
But that's how the western media has played it -- denial, denial and more denial.
Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:
Strikes in Iraq
In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of 39 engagements against ISIS targets:
-- Near Mosul, four strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and a sniper team; destroyed two fighting positions, two artillery systems, a heavy machine gun, a medium machine gun, and an ISIS staging area; and suppressed nine mortar teams.
Additionally, three strikes were conducted in Iraq on May 1 that closed within the last 24 hours:
-- Near Mosul, May 1, three strikes destroyed three vehicle bombs and three ISIS fuel tankers, and suppressed three mortar teams.
These daily strikes having been going on since August of 2014.
A fact the corporate press also tries to bury.
Of the strike last month which killed 100s in Mosul, Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:
Witnesses and survivors of the US strike say the whole US story about ISIS putting them in the homes never happened.
Rather, they insist airstrikes had been leveling houses in the area for days, and ultimately everybody ended up collected into just three houses close together, hundreds of people from scores of families, when major US airstrikes came and brought the buildings down on top of them.
Indeed, the whole reason the houses had been so popular with fleeing civilians is that they were relatively far away from the fighting, and they assumed there’d be no reason for them to be attacked, since they were small and isolated. The Pentagon has yet to respond to the eyewitness accounts, which radically differ from their own version of events.
Also noting that reality is Amnesty International's Donatella Rovera:
From Monday's snapshot on an AP story by Susanna George:
As for national reconciliation, dropping back to Friday's snapshot:
THE BAGHDAD POST reports that MP Mohamed al-Ja'fari has said that the reconciliation is "doomed to failure."
This is just one opinion, right?
He's a member of State Of Law.
State Of Law is the political coalition created by Nouri al-Maliki to avoid running with his political party (Dawa). So State Of Law is making clear that they remain opposed to reconciliation.
And Hayder al-Abadi, the current prime minister?
He's also a member of Nouri's State Of Law coalition.
Which explains why he does nothing to bring about reconciliation either.
So get ready because the never-ending Iraq War is never going to end.
As long as the government persecutes a group, some organization will rise up -- it's the basic reaction to persecution.
But don't worry, George tells us, with money, there will be reconciliation.
Remember that lie?
Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, it was 2007. And Iraq promised reconciliation.
To keep getting billions.
They never met the benchmarks then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki signed off on.
But they kept getting money, remember?
And no strings attached.
Even though, remember, Nancy Pelosi, failure to live up to the benchmarks was supposed to result in pulling all funding.
Monday, Peter Van Buren (ANTIWAR.COM) weighed in:
Iraq’s Foreign Minister this week asked the United States to develop a financial plan for the reconstruction of the country after ISIS, similar to a program developed for Western Europe after the Second World War.
In discussions with Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk, Ibrahim al-Jaafari stressed the need for “collective support from the international community to contribute to the reconstruction of infrastructure after the defeat of terrorism.” Jaafari suggested “the adoption of a project similar to the Marshall Plan which contributed to rebuilding Germany after the Second World War.”
Iraq will need billions of dollars to rebuild after ISIS. Large portions of major cities were destroyed in the war, infrastructure was neglected under ISIS, villages are riddled with mines and booby-traps. The deputy governor of Anbar estimated that his province would need $22 billion alone for reconstruction.
Um, never mind invoking the Marshall Plan. What needs to be cited here is that the United States already spent billions to reconstruct Iraq, from 2003-2010. I know. I was there. It was my job to help spend some of those billions. We accomplished less than nothing. In fact, our failure to reconstruct Iraq then lead in a direct line to the Iraq of now. I cannot believe I am writing this. Again.
See, in fact, I wrote a whole book about it: We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, in 2011.
At some point, you'd expect the corporate press would be required to note these basic details -- even if only for context.
But proper context is the one thing the corporate press no longer wishes to convey.
It's all about opinion and personalizing these days. Hotheads distracting the American people from the real issues.
The Mosul Slog will soon hit 200 days and that alone is news.
Equally newsworthy is how little has been accomplished.
The operation, for those who've already forgotten, was supposed to be about rescuing the citizens of Mosul, improving their lives.
But they are the ones who have suffered the most during this operation.
Maybe someday the corporate media will do its job?
The following community sites -- plus GORILLA RADIO and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: