Monthly Archives: May 2014

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Case for Reparations

Don’t put this in your read later list. Read it right now: The Case for Reparations.

I made the mistake of looking at the comment sections of some other website which had linked to this piece. Some observations: 1) It’s shocking how often people will post comments which show they didn’t bother to read the piece or they lack the skill of reading comprehension. “Hello, slavery ended 150 years ago.” “Hello, you didn’t even bother clicking on the article.” 2) It’s crazy how, for some, their case against reparations (or even the modest idea of studying the damage done) is that the amount would be unfathomably large and un-payable. They are throwing up their hands and declaring moral bankruptcy. Or rather, they do it with a shrug. They never make the connection that if the financial reckoning is so large, then the moral reckoning must be even greater.

Lovable Babe Hound

I recently finished watching all of Cheers. I took a hiatus some time around season 7. Now, I’m watching Frasier, so I can unlock some achievement that says I watched everything with Frasier Crane. (One could make a nice contrarian argument that Kelsey Grammar was the greatest actor of the last century.) Stevie’s been making her way through Cheers, and I’ve caught various episodes. So, I have a lot of thoughts. I’m going to try to focus on just one line of thought today. I love how the later seasons inverts some of the classic sitcom tropes it had been using through the previous seasons. It’s subversive, in a way.

Lilith and Frasier are constantly bickering after being married. Their friction is a great source of humor. Somewhere in season 10, they get a divorce. Lilith cheats on Frasier because their relationship isn’t healthy. Some of the scenes even match the weight of early Cheers. It’s so fantastic because a bickering couple is a sitcom status quo. Of course the relationship is unhealthy but who cares because it’s funny. And then the writers are like, yeah, this relationship doesn’t really work. I loved it.

The other inversion involves Sam. After Diane leaves, he descends into pure id, constantly pursuing women. It even gets really icky the way he treats Rebecca. In the 80s/90s, though, he’s just a lovable babe hound. Haha, all he thinks about is sex. At the end of the show’s run, they change it up and it’s revealed that he’s a sex addict. It makes perfect sense in the context of the show, what with him already being an alcoholic. But I love how it says, no, his behavior really wasn’t okay. He wasn’t a lovable babe hound; he was a man with a problem. Of course, from the way the show is, you can tell this was decided later. At the time, they sincerely portray him as a humorous archetype. However, when you rewatch, you can still easily note that his behavior is indeed pathological. It’s a fascinating indictment on not Sam, but the show itself and how we watched it.

Seriously, there’s so much I can say about Cheers. I’ll end this line of thought for now though because it’s getting late. Also, I hate how terrible my writing feels. Those muscles have severely atrophied. I want to write better essays, but I think I need more practice just letting myself write for now.