sovay: (Rotwang)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-06-18 12:58 am

I work for Ambassador Mollari. After a while, nothing bothers you

I am not talking much about politics at the moment, not because I don't know the rising number of people confirmed dead in Grenfell Tower at the price of £2 per square meter or that the murderer of Philando Castile walked free because it is more important than justice that a white man should be able to shoot whatever scares him or any of the other appalling, routine betrayals of a society's vulnerable by those with more power in it, but because I am not doing so great at the moment and I don't know what I could contribute other than being upset. [personal profile] truepenny has a list of reasons against Trump and it is worth reading and keeping, because this is still not normal.

I just checked in with the internet and saw that Stephen Furst has died. Pace the New York Times, I never saw him in Animal House (1978) and I don't know that I'm ever going to. But I loved him as Vir Cotto on Babylon 5 (1993–98), second only to Peter Jurasik's Londo Mollari and Claudia Christian's Susan Ivanova and the eventual Regent of Centauri Prime played by Damian London, none of whom had better go anywhere in the near future, damn it. The Centauri characters were overwhelmingly my favorites. They had the morally messiest arcs and besides, I came to Babylon 5 right off Robert Graves' I, Claudius (1937) and its 1976 BBC adaptation; I never had a chance. When my high school's concert choir went to England and France for a week and a half in the spring of 1999, I evaluated Versailles in terms of Centauri Prime. Actual Centauri Prime, I am pretty sure, was mostly a matter of CGI reflecting pools and a lot of draperies on the walls, but I believed in its fabulous age and decadence and post-imperial resentment and it provided me with political lines I still quote literally, as in earlier this afternoon, to this day. "Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots fights a war on twelve." "Arrogance and stupidity, all in the same package. How efficient of you." And Vir, in the face of Londo's nationalist nostalgia, saying something that is by no means less relevant now than it was twenty-two years ago: "Every generation of Centauri mourns for the golden days when their power was like unto the gods! It's counterproductive! I mean, why make history if you fail to learn by it?" He was the kind of character I loved around the edges of stories, accidentally backing into the center of the narrative this time and then going nervously but resolutely forward when he realized where he was, a nebbish with—somewhat to his own surprise—a spine. A good person, which did not mean an uncomplicated one. Very funny, which the character as much as the actor seemed to have developed in self-defense. Not biologically equipped to handle fast food, which I could really sympathize with. I feel he would be unsurprised if amused to see that, unless they've fixed it by now, the Times obituary spelled his name wrong. It got Furst's right, fortunately, which I recognize is the important thing here. But I never saw him as anyone but Vir and it's hard not to feel that's who we've lost.

Ave atque vale.


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