Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hal (ft. Gillian Anderson) – "Extremis" (1997)

A melting of minds
A cerebral mesh
A union of liquid
And virtual flesh

I’ve been watching a BBC series called The Fall, which stars Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson, a London police detective who’s been sent to Northern Ireland to help the local police deal with a nasty serial murderer.

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson
The writer of The Fall named many of his characters after guitars: both Stella and Gibson are brands of guitars, as are Benedetto, Brawley, Breedlove, Burns, Eastwood, Hagstrom, Kay, Martin, (Paul) Reed Smith, Spector, and Tom Anderson.  

Stella is an icy blonde femme d’un certain âge (the actress is 48 in real life) who has a penchant for inviting younger male officers to drop by her hotel room for no-strings-attached one-night stands.  (Don’t call her . . . and don’t expect her to call you.)

To say Stella views herself as superior to men is an understatement.  Here's how she replies when her superior officer (who has the hots for her) asks her why women are emotionally and spiritually so much stronger than men:

And she delivers this statement when interrogating the suspected serial killer:

A woman once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women.  He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them.

When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid they might kill us.”

It appears that the original source of Stella’s bon mot is Second Words, a 1983 book by Canadian author Margaret Atwood:

“Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. . . . “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” 

“They're afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” 

Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” 

“They're afraid of being killed,”they said.  

How times have changed since 1983.  Here’s a quote from an article on xojane.com (which describes itself as “not snarky” but “inclusive and encouraging” and “nonjudgmental”) titled “Your Misandry Playlist: My 15 Favorite Songs About Killing and/or Hating Men”:

[P]lease just don't even start with me about how some of these songs wouldn't be OK if a man wrote them because I'm sorry but songs about killing women in a society where that fear is a daily reality for most of us just are not a 1:1 comparison with songs about women lashing out at their oppressors and abusers. . . .

Jokes about killing all men are funny (and art about killing men powerful) because women as a whole are victimized by men on a daily basis. . . . And misandry jokes are not “sexist” for the same reason that white people jokes are not “racist” -- because sexism and racism must be backed up by institutionalized oppression.

*     *     *     *     *

“Extremis” is a collaboration between Anderson and a relatively obscure British ambient/techno band that called itself Hal.  She not only sings the lyrics – actually, she speaks the lyrics rather than singing them – but stars in the music video for the record.

Here’s a video of Anderson’s appearance on a popular British morning TV show with two members of Hal just after “Extremis” was recorded:

Here’s the “Extremis” music video, which is very brown-eyed:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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