The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

The wheels are off the cart…

with 2 comments

Shame, Shame, Shame

“Chaos is a given.”

— Toni Bernette

What a great episode. The question I want to raise off the bat is what everyone thought about the leaving of the Texican? I didn’t seem to grasp what it was all about. Was he leaving because Sonny felt insecure with him around?

Once again the theme of anger surfaces, albeit this time explicitly. As Creighton’s acquaintance states: “There are times when anger is the only proper response.” We see this on display not only with Albert’s pushing the politician (a brilliantly filmed and acted scene), but also with Davis’s bar mishap.

Davis’s change of heart seems interesting from a variety of angles. First, it seems that he is beginning to realize that his neighbors and his friends may or may not be the same, and may or may not be mutually exclusive. Second, he seems to be realizing that perhaps he himself is less authentically New Orleans than he realizes…or at the very least, that authentic New Orleans is significantly more complex, more tense, and more schizophrenic than he thought.

Similarly, I found Antoine’s encounter with the Japanese jazz fan to be a nexus for many of the issues I have touched on. Here we see a case of a genuine desire to help and we also see that it exists outside of the “system.” The Japanese fan comes on his own, helps on his own, and ultimately leaves on his own. He conducts his acts of generosity entirely outside of the systems set up for such things and manages thereby to achieve success with them. Analogously, jazz is an entirely lived experience for him and one that he truly only experiences (or experiences most) when in New Orleans. Similarly, in the tension that is exhibited between Antoine’s recollections of things and the fan’s we see expressed the neat economy between lived and studied knowledge. I found the whole storyline exceedingly well done.(I found the acting here absolutely top notch, incidentally.)

The title of the episode obviously has a multitude of meanings. It’s meant to highlight our shame for our involvement not only as spectators to Katrina, but in a sense, spectators to the show. It also describes the emotions that Antoine feels in response to the Japanese fans’s generosity as well as the emotion that Davis feels as he takes the speakers down. Of course, it also expresses the fact that the state of affairs in New Orleans is a shame. Not only with what Creighton’s points out in his YouTube message to George W. Bush, but also in what the police sergeant tells Toni Bernette: New Orleans is not ready for what’s coming and what’s coming is all of the worst that was already there. I wonder, though, whether the emotion that Albert expresses after pushing the politician is shame for doing it or shame for allowing himself to do it?

Until next week,


Written by Martin

May 11, 2010 at 10:04 am

Posted in Treme

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. I’ve got to agree with you re Antoine and the Japanese Jazz fan. Their scenes were my favourite of the episode and I thought really nailed the “ideal” relationship between New Orleans and the outsider. The key seems to be being motivated by a desire to help and having a respect for the city’s culture while Antoine had loosen up a little and stop being so defensive. For me, this was the counter-point to all the “us vs them” that Treme’s been struggling with so far. Good call in linking that to him acting outside of any institutions.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the shooting. It came as a shock to me, just as I was enjoying what a good time Treme can be, but really helped complicate the whole series and has got me really excited for what comes next.


    May 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm

  2. Yeah, I thought the shooting would be too easy in the sense of being the perfect thing to add the requisite Wire-esque realism and depth to the show (aside from the palpable depth of the relationships).


    May 18, 2010 at 8:36 am

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