Monthly Archives: February 2014
This week on Downton, Lady Grantham aka Clueless Cora was putting together a charity Bazaar and people were either falling in love, getting their hearts broken or facing the consequences of their socially disapproved dalliances.
Love, it makes the world go around
Downstairs, a sweet friendship is developing between the eternal sad sack Molesley and the cipher that is Baxter. The tiresome trapezoid is finally over, Ivy turned down Albert when he asked her to marry him. Daisy finally made peace with the fact that Albert is just not into her.
Upstairs, Rose and Jack got engaged and then unengaged. Rose seemed to be using Jack as a way to get back at her mother. When Mary found out about the engagement, she went to London and convinced Jack to break off the engagement.
As for Mary, she is still keeping Gillingham and Blake dangling. Napier seems to have got the message, since he was nowhere to be seen. Isobel too has a potential love interest. Unfortunately, chopped liver Edith has no such luck, and will be heading to the continent with her Aunt Rosamund to give birth.
Clueless Cora is completely oblivious to Edith’s predicament. What is the matter with Cora this season? I don’t remember her being such an utter imbecile in the earlier seasons. Unlike Cora, Violet suspected the obvious and interrogated both her daughter and granddaughter till they spilled the beans. Violet was not judgmental at all and even offered to pay for Edith’s trip. Her reaction seemed anachronistic and very twenty-first century to me.
Violet and Isobel
Violet also invited her frenemy Isobel, when Lord Merton, Mary’s godfather, came to visit. Merton was charmed by Isobel and her direct ways. He even walked her back to her home in the village and sent her flowers later. What I don’t understand is why Merton sent the flowers for Isobel to the Dower House, when he knew where Isobel lived. I also like the friendship that is developing between Isobel and Tom Branson. Not a fan of Bunting, who we saw again this episode. Is she supposed to be a love interest for Tom? She was rude and obnoxious when she was on the screen, both this week and the last. Why does Fellowes make his middle-class people so off-putting? I remember Isobel riding her moral high horse in the earlier seasons, now she seems to have mellowed quite bit. By the way, whatever happened to Dr. Clarkson, wasn’t he sweet on Isobel in season 3?
After Anna finally confided in Lady Mary about Green. Our heroine, managed to get Green fired using her influence with Gillingham. However, it was unnecessary since by the end of the episode slimy Green met his end under the wheels of justice. Did Bates off him? Bates was not at Downton on the day of the accident but neither were Mary or Anna.
The episode ended with the return of Thomas and Lord Grantham from the United States.
One more episode left to review, until then I will leave you with the best off-air Downton romance; Isis the yellow lab simply adores Allen Leech the actor who plays Branson.
Full IMDB credits here
Witold Rybczynski, who was on the design committee that advised Laura Bush on the George W. Bush presidential library, has unsolicited advice for President Obama. He wants the current President to build a modest library, he didn’t say whether a library with 3/5ths square footage of W’s Presidential Library would suffice. He doesn’t want the library to be grandiose, like the libraries of other former presidents. Why? Would that be too uppity? Rybczynski wants President Obama to donate his papers to the Library of Congress instead.
a bold move would be to revert to tradition and deposit his papers at the Library of Congress. (The National Archives and Records Administration manages the 13 presidential libraries, which nowadays are built and maintained with private funds. The Herbert C. Hoover Library opened in 1962.)
Failing that, he should set himself apart by thinking small or, at least, smaller. Mr. Obama has written a moving book about his early life; there’s no need to retell that story. His library should be more of an archive and less of a museum, more of a house, less of a shrine. In an austere age, a modest library could be the grandest statement of all.
I shouldn’t be, but I continue to be amazed by the pettiness of people who begrudge President Obama the perks of his office, which were taken for granted before Mr. Obama became the President.
Warning: Spoilers follow..
Pigs share the top billing with Mary in this episode. In this episode, the ice-maiden thawed a little and got muddy. As predicted earlier, Blake has fallen for Mary, and we did not even have to wait for the season finale. The pigs are part of the plan to keep Downton solvent during changing times. Mary was giving Blake a tour of the pigpen with its newly arrived pigs. The pigs were dehydrated and one had even passed out. Mr. Blake, the bureaucrat rolled his sleeves and helped save the piggies, with Mary’s help. They both got muddy and playful. Quite unbelievable really. I was rolling my eyes at scene that belonged in some sappy rom-com.
Lord Stalker was back, too. Though, Lord Gillingham is engaged he can’t seem to keep away from Mary. This time he even had Green, his rapist valet along with him, who having gotten away with rape during his last visit has gotten more brazen. We saw him smirking endlessly and ready with a cover story, that both he and Anna were drunk, when he was confronted by Mrs. Hughes. I would say that the sleazy bastard’s days are numbered, Mr. Bates was giving him the stink eye when they were eating in the servants’ hall.
Chopped Liver and disaster magnet Edith is pregnant, and Aunt Rosamund is being a better parent to her than Cora. After paying a visit to a back alley abortion doctor, Edith has decided to keep the baby. Lady Gullible is oblivious, of course. Why does Cora always look like she is high? She was not so spacey in the earlier seasons. Is she on drugs?
Lord Grantham has gone to the US, along with Thomas, something to do with Tea-pot Dome scandal and Cora’s brother. Thomas went with him instead of Bates, because of Mrs. Hughes intervention, she had to take Mary into confidence, to achieve the desired result. So now Mary knows Anna’s secret, though she doesn’t know that Green was the perpetrator.
In other news, Violet falls sick and is nursed back to health by Isobel. So now they are both even. Tom Branson goes to a political meeting and meets a woman. He doesn’t seem all that interested but she sure does. Rose was in there somewhere flirting with Jack Ross as was the tiresome trapezoid of Ivy, Daisy, Jimmy and Albert. Ivy finally figures out that Jimmy is a creep.
The twenties may be roaring but Downton is still moving at a glacial pace. Only two more episodes left in this season and the story seems to have barely moved.
Full IMDB credits here
LoL by: two_kittehs (Picture by: Me)
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After trying the Tom Friedman shtick of writing about technology last week, David Brooks, is back to being a pseudo intellectual sociologist in his column yesterday. Even the title is pretentious gibberish,
The American Precariat
The what again? Brooks deigns to explain only in the third last paragraph,
According to the British academic Guy Standing, the Precariat is the growing class of people living with short-term and part-time work with precarious living standards and “without a narrative of occupational development.” They live with multiple forms of insecurity and are liable to join protest movements across the political spectrum.
David Brooks is sad that Americans are not moving as much as they used to. He says that Americans lack the energy they had in the yesteryears. They don’t move around as much and live in the same house for a longer period.
In 1950, 20 percent of Americans moved in a given year. Now, it’s around 12 percent. In the 1950s and 1960s, people lived in the same house for an average of five years; now people live in the same house for an average of 8.6 years.
What I don’t understand is why this makes Brooks sad, isn’t refusal to change a hallmark of conservatism? Brooks then enumerates the various factors that have caused the decline, namely the state of the housing market where many houses are still underwater, aging populace that is less mobile and finally the most important; a geographically undifferentiated labor market. In Brooks’ own words
It’s also true that labor markets are getting more homogeneous
So how does moving make sense if there aren’t any jobs to move to? Brooks is unhappy that people are behaving like rational economic actors and decides that decline in mobility is not mainly due to concrete economic realities but because of lack of faith,
No, a big factor here is a loss in self-confidence.
Brooks spends the rest of the column skirting around the reason for the pessimism. Since he won’t articulate it, I will.
The reason for their pessimism is economic uncertainty, which is no accident, but the direct result of the economic policies advocated by conservatives like Milton Friedman. These policies that favor capital over labor have hollowed out the middle class. We are slowly returning to the stratified society of Downton Abbey with the few ultra rich and the many struggling to just keep their heads above water. In the aftermath of the financial crisis corporations are sitting pretty on heaps of cash while the rest of us struggle to survive.
David Brooks and his party don’t want to lift a finger to change the status quo and have acted as a road block to all of President Obama’s initiatives to deal with the sluggish economy. They have bitterly opposed health care reform which could mitigate the economic uncertainty brought about by a sudden illness, they have advocated cutting government spending during a recession, now they are fighting an increase in the federal minimum wage, I could go on and on. I have never read Brooks question his party’s leadership on bread and butter issues. In his earlier column on income inequality Brooks like the rest of his party demonized the poor for being poor, in particular he singled out single mothers. Tax cuts and vouchers are their solution to all economic problems. Take it away, Mr. Brooks;
No one response is going to reverse the trend, but Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute believes government should offer moving vouchers to the long-term unemployed so they can chase opportunity.
LoL by: two_kittehs