A Far Cry From Africa
By Derek Walcott
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa. Kikuyu, quick as flies,
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
"Waste no compassion on these separate dead!"
Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy.
What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
To savages, expendable as Jews?
Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break
In a white dust of ibises whose cries
Have wheeled since civilization's dawn
From the parched river or beast-teeming plain.
The violence of beast on beast is read
As natural law, but upright man
Seeks his divinity by inflicting pain.
Delirious as these worried beasts, his wars
Dance to the tightened carcass of a drum,
While he calls courage still that native dread
Of the white peace contracted by the dead.
Again brutish necessity wipes its hands
Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again
A waste of our compassion, as with Spain,
The gorilla wrestles with the superman.
I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
Betray them both, or give back what they give?
How can I face such slaughter and be cool?
How can I turn from Africa and live?
Delta and I had a Russell Crowe day -- joined by my family, since both kids were home and Paul worked from home. We had hummus and pita and watched a bunch of Man of Steel interviews and talk shows, then we watched Proof of Life since Delta had never seen it and I think it's somewhat underrated (decent female characters, good performances, though it's way too focused on foreigners living in a fake Latin American country with very few actual Latin American characters).
Then all of us went to see Man of Steel, which I went into knowing I was going to love and was not disappointed (disclaimer: I never saw Superman Returns, and the first Christopher Reeve film is the only one I really loved, so despite a decade of fidelity to Smallville and on-and-off Lois and Clark viewing, I don't consider myself a particularly passionate Superman fan). Small qualifications: there were waaaaayyy too many explosions, product placements, and irksome Jesus parallels. Spoilers below!
But I adored the Krypton backstory, and probably would have even if Crowe had not played Jor-El -- and I loved that he was all over the movie, not just the first ten minutes plus a few more as a hologram talking to Kal-El, he also got to talk to Lois and Zod and I thought it was interesting that he limited his gestures and emotional range from the live character at the beginning. And he got to ride a FREAKIN' KRYPTONIAN DRAGON. If they had fleshed out the backstory where he and Zod were youthful boyfriends, it would have been perfect.
I don't always love Amy Adams but I really loved her Lois Lane -- and that Lois was neither in love with Clark from the moment he saw him shirtless nor ever clueless about his identity and abilities. (And baby Lana, hahaha -- my whole perspective on Lana has changed now that I love Kristin Kreuk so much on B&TB.) I wish we'd seen more of Lara but very few incarnations of Superman with which I'm familiar have given her much more to do, and Faora was fun to watch though I'd love to have heard her explain her motivations.
I love the Kents too; the fact that I love Costner and Lane undoubtedly has a lot to do with that, sinceMartha was saddled with more cliches in a cliche-ridden screenplay than anyone. There are many plot elements that seem swiped right out of other superhero movies, not just Nolan's Batman franchise but The Avengers (the small town street fight with the unbreakable metal dude, the blue light weapon from space threatening Earth). I liked Henry Cavill, I liked Lawrence Fishburne, and I am looking forward to the sequel even if they can't figure out a way to bring Jor-El back.
Just one neighborhood bunny tonight, more pics tomorrow!