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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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In Which She Has Googled All Of Your Information

Strength of the Cat


Jessica Jones
creator Melissa Rosenberg

Krysten Ritter's pale face lingers over her computer. She has an ability long sought after among detectives: the ability to use the Google search functionality to dig up information her clients need. It was somewhere around the time that she searched Wikipedia for a list of New York's hospitals, and then printed out a hard copy of this information on her deskjet printer that I began to get somewhat cynical about Jessica Jones.

In other scenes, Ritter is on the receiving end of the penis of Mike Colter, who plays Luke Cage, a man with impenetrable skin. This presumably would lead to chafing during sex, but Ritter never complains or asks him to use a condom. Their child will be a wizard with instant messaging clients.

The bathroom of this hovel was not so well appointed. Where are the damn sconces!

Ritter's detective is deeply afraid of a man named Kilgrave (a bored-looking David Tennant), who manipulates people by telling them what to do. In this way, he is no different from any other man in Ritter's life — although there are precious few of them present on Jessica Jones. Ritter lives in a netherworld of supportive women, whether it is her lesbian boss (Carrie-Ann Moss), her best friend Trish (Rachael Taylor) or her client Hope (Erin Moriarty).

Now this is a reaction to the male gender that I am more comfortable with overall.

You would think that a relationship with an overly controlling man would give Ritter some kind of distrust of all men. She treats the opposite like they are sort of besides the point, informing her lovers that "I won't break" and allowing them to penetrate her from any angle. Sex is a major part of Jessica Jones — at one point she even breaks her own bed from slamming down on a cock. Jessica really enjoys wintercourse, which is a wonderful, refreshing approach on one level but honestly lacks nuance for a character who has been violated and tortured by a past partner.

Every casting director in Hollywood was a huge Deadwood fan.

Rosenberg has a decent handle on Jones' two main relationships, and it is a joy watching her go back and forth with Carrie-Ann Moss, who makes Ritter seem decidedly warm in comparison, and Rachael Taylor, who humanizes Ritter by making her seem like a silly younger sister at times. It is the character of Luke Cage who has already been appointed his own Netflix series, even though Colter is absolutely atrocious to watch and a series based around Taylor's ethereal beauty and martial arts would make a lot more sense.

A gorgeous vision hosting a radio-only show. No.

Taylor's Trish is actually the most fascinating character on the show, because she is afraid of both men and women. Her apartment is a kind of fortress, and when a fan approaches her to ask for an autograph she she knocks him and down and screams, "He grabbed me!"

I think that is what is missing about the character of Jessica Jones. She does drink a lot, and maybe isn't the nicest person at times, but she never makes any mistakes whatsoever, even putting search terms into her computer. We would not need a cast of characters dedicated to making her seem likable and relatable if she had these qualities as part of her intrinsically.

What kind of person has no hobbies except for Donald Rumsfeld?

The series succeeds mainly on the basis of Rosenberg's snappy writing and upbeat pacing. Few scenes in Jessica Jones are longer than a minute or two, and we virtually never lose track of our lead actress, who is something like a super charismatic ghost. She has grown up a lot, but she is not really all there yet.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Best of Intentions" - Mutemath (mp3)


In Which We Weep Quietly By The Turkey

Do You Like Italian Food?


dir. John Crowley
112 minutes

My dad has an annoying habit of reminding us all that the moment is fleeting. “Cherish these times,” he’ll say darkly when we’re innocently eating waffles at the breakfast table. “Soon they’ll be gone.” To be fair, my dad is Australian and has been living in America for decades now, so he personally understands the meaning of familial separation in exchange for opportunity.

Brooklyn is about such opportunity and the heartbreak that comes with it. Based on Colm Tóibín's novel, Brooklyn tells the story of a young woman named Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) traveling from a small town in Ireland to BK. A priest helps her adjust to a job at a department store and pays her tuition for night school so she can become an accountant. The reasoning behind her departure from Ireland is precisely the same reason why millions of immigrants braved tumultuous seas and homesickness to go through Ellis Island: opportunity.

Brooklyn is advertised as a nostalgic, 1950s love story: trailers show Eilis and her plumber boyfriend Tony (Emory Cohen) eating cotton candy on the Coney Island pier and chastely hugging each other in a classic New York diner. She wears charming cardigans and full 1950s skirts, and he says, in a thick Brooklyn accent, “Do you like Italian food?” It’s adorable, and it’s New York.

But the real love story is in fact between Eilis and her sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), who has heroically arranged for this journey in the first place. Rose tells her that there are very few career options in Ireland, and indeed, right before Eilis moves away, she’s working part time at a subpar family grocery that overcharges its customers and has an owner who is a gossipy, vengeful woman. There weren’t many options for women in the 1950s anywhere, and even fewer in a small town in Ireland.

I cried pretty much the entire time watching Brooklyn. My sister lives in Dublin at the moment for the same reason Eilis comes to America: when my sister lived in the U.S., she wasn’t getting the same opportunities career-wise that she could get abroad. She moved to Dublin to earn an MBA and is now in charge of some twenty people at a rapidly growing company. I’m forced to keep in touch through texts and skype. I see her once or twice a year if I am lucky.

My sister and I lived together for about a year when we were both out of college. It was very tumultuous at first because I didn't like her boyfriend, and I was something of a brat. Despite that, she was patient. She helped me grow up: when I was working two jobs to pay the rent, when I had no friends, when I had no boyfriend, she would make me laugh, would pick up a sandwich for me from our favorite coffee shop. She brought me breakfast in bed on holidays; she would often leave notes on the bathroom mirror if we missed each other in the morning rush. We went to the movies together a lot. Most of all, she loved me when I felt most uncertain, most vulnerable: I was in a new city and had no idea what I wanted to do. Like Eilis, I feel deeply indebted to my sister, and I credit her for showing me who I needed to be.

Performances are solid. Saoirse Ronan is believably innocent and kind, a woman we easily care for deeply. In one particularly moving scene, she helps cook for and serve some down and out men at a Christmas dinner. None of the other girls she knows want to do it, citing the men’s horrible smell. The priest tells Eilis that most of these men built the tunnels and bridges of New York, and all of them are Irish. Prejudice, presumably, means they’re now out of jobs. One gentleman sings a traditional Irish song in Gaelic at the end of dinner, and Eilis weeps quietly by the turkey. As did most people in the audience. It’s strange because the scene is in many ways begging for a tear: able-bodied men unable to work, persistently singing the song of home despite the unspeakable distance. It’s nearly cliché, and yet it works.

In one scene in Brooklyn, Eilis waves from the ship to her mother and Rose. Rose waves furiously, maintaining a brave face, but her mother tries to pull her away because the parting is too traumatic. Years ago, when my sister was visiting me in New York, we shared a cupcake in Penn Station, desperately trying to enjoy every moment we had together before she got on the Long Island Railroad to JFK. As the train pulled away, I ran after it, waving earnestly. It’s not the same as it was in the 1950s — not at all — and yet, it is exactly the same.

Julia Clarke is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in New York. She last wrote in these pages about Suffragette.

"River Lea" - Adele (mp3)


In Which We Would Really Love To Have Been A Woman

View Of A Wet Nurse


Jules Verne was pleased he resembled his sister. "How I'd have loved to be a woman!" he famously crowed. The writer's bisexual proclivities consumed him. Sex with women had its many pleasures; sex with men was more of an incidental directive. Consumed with one fling or another, he left off the writing of the second and third volume of his history of human exploration to a ghostwriter.

By the age of 60 Verne was no less productive than ever, but the toll his behavior took on his wife Honorine was extensive. She wept at his controlling and domineering treatment of her. In fall of 1876, Verne complained to a friend that "life in Paris with my wife, such as you know it, is impossible." The worst thing he ever did was get married, from his point of view.

with his wife Honorine Morel

Verne still wrote every morning from five to eleven, like clockwork. He had lost whatever ingenuity he possessed by then, and replaced it with a commonplace commercialism. The ideas were there, some of them, but the connections stayed unbound.

Brothels had occupied his attention since he was a young man. Yet it only hinted at a very disturbed sexual pathology; once in a letter he expressed his jealousy of a wet nurse. Such topics were not even off-limits in correspondence with his mother. Frustration was either the symptom or the cause. Before Verne met his wife, he struggled to attract one, whining that, "The lover of a married woman saves on two servants and a maid."

Sexual symbolism constantly plagued his novels as well. Few other bad writers had been read so widely, and the public was about fed up with the spewing geysers and tumescent erections in a decidedly female Earth by this time. No one took him seriously as an artist, but his paint-by-numbers adventures continued to sell decently even after his editor and publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel died.

After visiting the Pope in Rome for over an hour, Verne was approached by his nephew Gaston in front of his Paris home. The boy shot at him, aiming for Verne's penis and hitting him in the ankle. Rumors circulated to the effect that the would-be assassin had been the author's biological son. Verne was buried with the bullet still lodged there in 1905.

After the attempted murder, morphine became the better part of Jules Verne's life. He decided to run for political office and won a position as a city councillor in his hometown of Amiens. His local views revolved largely around the importance of preservation; on a macro level he despised both socialism and capitalism for their absolutionist qualities.

His one trip to America revolved around a six-week stay in the New York metropolitan area. He and his companions had no English, or suitable translators. There was something about the wildness of the place that amazed him, but after that elation had dissipated he was left only with the loss that follows. "Members of English speaking races make good heroes," he recalled, "because of their coolness and go-ahead qualities." Provisionally he added, "Americans are undoubtedly the most practical, but they surely lack taste."

Ellen Copperfield is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in San Francisco. She last wrote in these pages about the director Luis Buñuel. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

The Best of Ellen Copperfield on This Recording

Dorothea Lange's Failed Marriage

Sex Life Of Marlon Brando

Lifetime of Threats and Insults

The Onset Of The Western Canon

Entitled To Madonna's Opinion

Barbra Streisand Grows Up In Flatbush

A Sneaking Suspicion of Literature

Anjelica Huston Falls Off The Horse

Prefer To Be Simone de Beauvoir

The Marriage of Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra

Elongated Childhood of Jorge Luis Borges

Jokes At The Expense Of Tom Hanks

Which One Is The Gay?

"Photograph" - Love of Diagrams (mp3)

"In My Dream" - Love of Diagrams (mp3)