Citadel of Culture

South Carolina, Who Knew?

A good start to Dem convention week: In South Carolina, Jean-Luc Godard!

Well here I am in my hotel, a Quality Inn in the exurbs about 20 miles outside of Charlotte, across the highway from a down-at-heel seeming amusement park, surrounded by mega-gas-stations on one side, an office park on the other. America. The South.

So I connect all my electronics and I unpack a little and I flip through the channels to see how many are on offer and figure out where the news and sports stations are. So I'm seeing the usual menu of offerings, TNT and USA and so on, and lo and behold, on Channel 35, there's something in black and white, with a very striking look--not just an old sitcom, but something very photographed. And then I listen and lo and behold, the actors are speaking French!

Reference is made to Place du Chatelet. Forty seconds with the Googles confirms that I am in fact watching Vivre Sa Vie, or My Life to Live in English, Jean-Luc Godard's 1962 study of a beautiful young housewife (Anna Karina, who is indeed quite a looker) who leaves her husband and child but is sucked into a life of prostitution. It all ends rather badly, I gather, although I confess I've never seen it.

Well well well. I have to say the odds seems pretty long to me that upon checking into a hotel in Manhattan and channel surfing, I'd have stumbled across not only a Godard film but less-celebrated one (although I see here that Roger Ebert considers it his favorite). In any case, a heartening first chapter to this sojourn into Dixie.

And now, just so's I don't come off as too effete, I note that I've also been thinking, now that I've entered Clemson country, about last January's Orange Bowl, when WVU demolished Clemson 70-33. I trust you noticed that West Virginia also scored 10 touchdowns last Saturday.

Oh, shucks. Anna Karina just got killed. And now I see the familiar visage of Ben Mankiewicz, so this just regular old TCM. Stilll, points. One doesn't see TCM in a lot of hotels, and it, along with the Military Channel (yes, the Military Channel--we'll discuss later), is the channel I probably watch most.