Saturday, 24 September 2016

Anthony Powell Predicts the Manosphere

So. I am already at work on the sequel to Incidents of Trespass, and also intermittently getting the odd poem written and continuing my curious evolution into some kind of trans female gonzo journalist obviously, but also I think I've gotten quite a lot done lately and so I can allow myself to dial it back and chill a little. And, because I am me, one of my ways of chilling has been to watch a four-part 1997 Channel 4 miniseries based on a 12 volume novel by some old dead white cis posh English bloke, because, obviously.

This is not the scene I'm writing about but it is Jenkins (James Purefoy, left) and Widmerpool (Simon Russell Beale, right) and I am a very lazy image researcher

Specifically I've been watching the adaptation of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, which can be found on All4 if you ignore its yobbish attempts to thrust its contemporary toss on you and search the drama category, in which it is alphabetically the first entry. There are a lot of things I'm enjoying about this show, but here I want to pick just one: the scene between Widmerpool (Simon Russell Beale) and Jenkins (James Purefoy) where the former recruits the latter as his assistant during the war. And specifically the fact Widmerpool tells him he has done so not because he would be 'the most efficient' - indeed, Widmerpool, who we have been shown in the preceding two episodes to be someone who is very exacting in his choice of words, says he 'had no cause to think' he might be so - but because he has let their personal ties persuade him to hire Jenkins. Not only does this illustrate the inequity of the cronyism fostered by the English Public School system, of which Powell, A., Eton & Balliol, was doubtless a beneficiary, and which point he no doubt intended the reader to infer from the scene; I find it more amusing, however, because it provides a perfect example of the behaviour soi-disant 'pick-up artists' refer to these days as 'negging' - Widmerpool tells Jenkins he probably isn't very good but he'll hire him anyway because he likes him. 

At this stage I haven't finished watching the show, but I find myself thinking two things: one, would the peacocking vaping fedora crowd be happy knowing that the best fictional demonstration of their allegedly unstoppable move is performed by a short, pudgy gay dude playing a sexually repressed, socially-climbing financial nerd? And, two: if Widmerpool asks Jenkins to make him a sandwich at some point during this episode I will laugh my ass off. 

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