Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Uncle Fuckers of the Black Hills

I recently watched the first six or seven episodes of HBO’s Deadwood series. The characters in this revisionist Western swear interminably, and after a couple of nights of listening to them, I found myself casually telling a secretary on the phone, “Yeah, that’s the right report. I read the whole fucking thing.”

By the way, if you can avoid the consequences of spending so much time in bad company, you should certainly give Deadwood a try, precisely for its language. In between the “limber-pricked cocksuckers” and other Homeric epithets, the dialogue features a texture and density that exploits the whole range of registers from the merest expletives to self-conscious preciosity—a virtuoso instance of what Bahktine meant by the dialogic. Corking good story, too, though the principle villain is perhaps a bit too much like the Butcher in Gangs of New York.
Formal Constraints

The theory of history you espouse has a lot to do with how many sentences you’re willing to devote to its description. A one- paragraph history of the world has just enough room to promote idealism, but the one-liners are liable to sound rather Marxist:

History is the story of how various elites struggled with one another over who was going to get to abuse the mass of the population.