Oscillate Wildly

Lorraine Lyon
Now, honestly, what’s the point of being a billionaire if I can’t have somebody killed?

Kelly and I have been watching “comedy crime drama” tv show Fargo.

It started in 2014. It just finished its fifth season.

I’ve resisted all those seasons for 8 years because “comedy crime drama” usually means “lots of dumb violence and sociopaths who are hateful and useless to me.” I like a character who is useful. I like redemption, of course. The Hero’s Journey and all that. So that’s one reason.

The other reason I’ve avoided the show is that I love the film Fargo. It aligns with my beliefs and has the doleful plus hopeful tone in a Murphy’s Law universe. I had severe doubts that any tv show could be worthy of the name.

Marge Gunderson
I’m not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Lou.

I changed my mind because I skimmed a paragraph in Alan Sepinwall‘s newsletter. And Fargo Season 5 was brilliant. Then we watched Season 2 and it was brilliant. And now we’ve started Season 1. We’re watching out of order and happy with that decision. We’ve decided ad-hoc whether to take on another season day by day.

Legion, also by Noah Hawley was a terrific show, too. It’s among the best Marvel shows so far. I’m glad we started with Season 5. Juno Temple, Jennifer Jason-Leigh and John Hamm were incredible. And it had an antic quality that worked well. Season 2 was relentless though with less comic relief overall. And Season 1 has such violence and even the funny bits–Billy Bob Thornton mostly–come with a tinge of malevolence that is rough on my psyche.

And so when my mood is more negative, I find a need to find ways to move the needle in the opposite direction. The solution? Ted Lasso.

It moves that emotional needle effectively. When Ted does “High five tree!” I knew I’d chosen the right thing.

Keeley Jones
You’re trending hard on Twitter right now.
Ted Lasso
How ’bout that.
Keeley Jones
Do you even tweet?
Ted Lasso
Nah. But I do beatbox all right. (beat boxes a line)
Keeley Jones
I never know how to react when a grown man beatboxes in front of me.
Ted Lasso
Well, I hope you never run into Biz Markie.

Self care, knowing oneself and honesty are the themes of Lasso. Good things to strive for for myself, too. Not doing those things have a result: escalating stress and anxiety. Going to the beach, reading comics, taking long baths are among the things that heal me. Because I do feel obliged to read the news: war, layoffs, Election Year news. The stressors require relievers.

Back and forth, back and forth. Opposing forces kept in tension and thus creating a more fully rounded me. That’s the theory. A person who doesn’t have forces to oppose them, or lacks the opposing external forces is not a healthy person. And so, I think of Elon Musk, despite my efforts not to think of him. This morning I read Elon Musk Lies by Joan Westenberg:

…journalists have played an unfortunate role in providing a platform for claims lacking substantiation. Republishing attention-grabbing statements without verification contributes to potential misinformation and distorted perceptions of technological progress. The personality-driven cult of Musk too often overrides a careful, conscientious journalistic process.

It’s said “never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel”. The problem is magnified when that someone is also gifted barrel-fulls of ink. Musk has very few forces which can move his needle. He’s force without counterforce.

I think we can be strengthened tension and stress. M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled has several passages talking about how all human relationships are sources of friction. He uses an extended metaphor comparing this friction to the forces of the sea wearing away at the rocks by the seaside. The stress makes the rocks, and also us. smoother and more beautiful. It’s a tricky metaphor because lacking a counterforce we and those rocks can get crushed to the size of sand.

Force. Counterforce. Alternating.

I think of the movie Colossal. It also has Jason Sudeikis in a major role. In some ways it’s a kind of midpoint between Fargo and Lasso. And it’s got giant monsters and robots, always a bonus for me. So far Fargo has not had either, but it would not surprise me if one of the seasons does. Hawley can make any outlandish thing work in his fiction and still manage to make the whole thing useful to me.

Dorothy ‘Dot’ Lyon
You got to eat something made with love and joy… and be forgiven.

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