Thursday, December 11, 2008

For about five minutes, Harriet was the prey of that kind of speechless rage which is beyond expression or control. . . If she could have beaten or strangled anybody, she would have done it, and felt the better for it. Happily, after the first devastating fury, she found the relief of bad language. (Gaudy Night)

It's probably the Blago Effect™ that's pushing me to comment on this (just when is that fucking reprobate gonna flip?), but as a card-carrying johnny-come-lately sanitized A&E Sopranos watcher, I have to tell you that far worse than the edited violence (which doesn't matter to me, anyhow; I still can't stand it), has become the lack of cussing. I'm getting sick of it.

The show is dubbed (not shortened up hilariously, as in the Mad TV sketch). So...there is a lot of "freakin" (endless freakins), "blood suckers," "shoot," whatever. Cussing is such a big part of the Sopranos that dubbing it out flattens out and in some cases cuts out completely huge swathes of interaction. It's weird how you can feel it, too, never really having seen the unsanitised version. I mean, it's the moving lips that don't match the words (although broadcasters have raised matching the dubs to an art form), but also it's just a general disatisfied hum that builds in the back of your brain. Something is missing. Something is really missing.

Without cussing you miss crucial things like character deliniation: i.e., the character who would use a cuss word when another wouldn't. Basic things too, like what exactly people mean--facts, mood, plot points. I never knew that Paulie Walnuts repeated all his dumb raunchy jokes twice because they're cut out, both times.

But also you just miss the visceral satisfaction of listening to people "weave a tapestry of cuss words that hangs in space," to paraphrase Jean Shepherd. There is something unbelievably satisfying about listenin to actors hit certain words in round, plummy tones, hit "fuck" really hard in a sentence. Christopher's intervention isn't nearly as funny or shocking without the cussing.

Although....yeah. When you line all the episodes up, I know the endless cussing in turn devalues, becoming meaningless itself again. Cock-sucker might as well be blood-sucker. Although...not quite, I guess. And honestly it's not that I'm such a wholesale, anywhere/anytime fan of cussing, but still. It's a weird kind of Sopranos no-man land, is the point. So I go to YooToob for my occasional fix of the fuckings.

Yeah, so how about that Blago!? I have never lived through quite a news week like this--here--anywhere, maybe--in my fucking life! Honest to God, I cannot shake the image of him ending it all like Cody Jarrett on the top of a gas storage tank, spraying bullets everywhere. The crazed hubris of the person on the tapes makes you think we're heading for that kind of a psycho standoff to end this, although 10 to 1 says we get a whimper not a bang. Who knows, though. Esp. now that we've heard the unedited Him.

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