The other day we watched “Hunger,” which is not “The Hunger,” the sexy, vapid vampire movie directed by Tony Scott, and not “The Hunger Games,” the franchise I lost interest in after part two, but a grim, grim, incredibly grim account of the IRA hunger strikes of the early ’80s in Belfast’s notorious Maze Prison. I knew a little about this, having lived through that era and also, having read “Say Nothing,” the recent history of Northern Ireland, but there was something about seeing it on the screen that underlined just how bleak and ghastly that whole era was, pitting the bullheaded Margaret Thatcher against the even more bullheaded Irish Republican Army, and in the end 10 men starved themselves to death in a brutal prison, to get the attention of the world.
And succeeded, I might add. But what a cost.
Early on, we see the largely self-imposed, horrific conditions the men are living under. They refuse to wear prison clothes because, they say, they aren’t criminals but political prisoners, and won’t wear the uniform of criminals. They want to wear their own clothing. The warden won’t agree to this, so they’re sent to their cells nude, with blankets to cover themselves. That was the so-called blanket protest. Then they used the only weapons at their disposal — their excrement and urine — and smeared the walls of their cells with the former, and poured the latter out into the hallways from under the doors of their cells. This was the “dirty protest.”
(Excrement and urine and other bodily fluids are prison weapons of long standing, any guard can tell you. Or Clarice Starling, who has semen thrown in her face in “The Silence of the Lambs,” as you’ll recall.)
Anyway, I don’t recommend this film for a bleak January night, although it is very good, and Michael Fassbender really outdoes himself prepping for the role of Bobby Sands; he dieted himself down to a veritable skeleton.
Also anyway, I am not sure how to explain how I got onto this, but… oh, right. I was telling Alan that I find myself whipsawed madly between wanting to put on some damn nice clothes and go SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE AND KROGER, goddamnit, or just giving up putting on any clothes at all. Since it’s been cold, I’m wearing longjanes most days, and when I come inside, I take off my pants and go around the house in my underwear. My own little blanket protest.
The new, easier-to-catch Covid variant has now been identified at the University of Michigan, which means it’s everywhere, and we’re far from the top of any vaccination priority list, so now we wait. Through the rest of the winter and likely into the spring and who knows, maybe the summer. I hope Biden’s plan gets moving. Flood the damn zone with that stuff.
Because we all know the potential alternative. Condolences, again, to Dexter on the loss of his Carla Lee.
And condolences to anyone who is missing Larry King, even though I can’t imagine why. I was Googling around and found that I wrote about Larry in 2010, but I really wrote about James Wolcott’s hilarious Larry takedown, published after Michael Jackson died. It’s linked within, and I suggest you read it.
Of course Mitch Albom rose to bravely defend King’s moronic interviewing style, but I won’t link to that. You can find it easily enough.
I will link to this NYT piece, by their excellent health reporter, interviewing Dr. Fauci on what it was really like to work for Dipshit Don.
Time to rewrap my blanket and go rustle up dinner, then. The week awaits.