Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis and The Coen Brothers Too

The protagonist in a Coen brothers’ film is usually marked for failure. They also sometimes tend to be aware of this destiny and end up engaging in elliptical quests. The protagonists in Coen brothers' films are thus tragic figures. They tend to be gathered under the umbrella of self-imposed isolation and the action, so to speak, occurs when the outer world decides to intrude on this bubble (eg. The Dude, Barton Fink, Larry Gopnik). Llewyn Davis, (it is a Welsh name) is another evolutionary successor to these illustrious gents. A folk singer trying to strike it big in early 60s Greenwich Village, Llewyn is alone. He is a nomad even, who may or may not want to be one. Circumstance, that fell beast, forces this state on him. He is just on the point of breaking in to the inner circle. He can feel it. 

If you have ever read a review of a Coen brothers film, you may have read about how the brothers mock their own creations. I don't know how true this is. I personally love their body of work and I think it is the most consistent world view presented in a medium. That said, they do tend to behave as a detached Creator conscious of his creations would (should?). Inside Llewyn Davis, however, seems to me a spiritual successor to the intensely personal ‘A Serious Man’. Both films include warm, handle-with-care protagonists on personal quests in largely uncaring, unsympathetic worlds. The film opens with Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) in 1961's Gaslight CafĂ©. A halo frames his bearded face and Llewyn begins to sing. "Amy, Oh Amy" Wait, why is he singing about Amy? Who's Amy? "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" Yes, that makes some sense. Mournful, beautiful notes. Llewyn can sing. The song ends, the crowd applauds, Llewyn leaves to meet a friend backstage. A happy protagonist? Well, not for long. 

When I heard the film was about the kind of time and place that seemed ideal for spawning myths, I automatically assumed Llewyn would be a bit like O Brother's Ulysses Everett McGill—a trickster hero. I watched the film trying to anticipate the point where the film would turn brilliantly on its heels and transform into some kind of magical experience. The film however refuses to (at least not directly) deal with even a tiny bit of magic. Is this what a real period film feels like? Leeched of artistic tone and creative flavour to represent (surprise, surprise) reality? To be honest, I have no clue about historical accuracy and it is not something that I care about. But when someone says a Coen brothers’ film set in 60s America, I expect some form of radical intellectual hijinks. I expect rebels and thinkers and real men and real talent sprouting from every neglected brick wall. I expect a disgusting, colorful orgy of creative juices that would shame my own colorless existence. Instead what we have here is more of the same colorlessness. A story of normal struggle that reads contrary to today's "everyone is born special" landscape. 

Llewyn walks alone, quite literally, from gig to gig. He sleeps on the floors and couches of friends. He had a musical partner, Mike, who jumped off the wrong bridge. (Pop quiz: Name a Coen brothers’ movie that has a naturally stable central partnership that lasts) Llewyn is the man against the world (and against the German nihilists, businesses, wives, relatives, forces of nature, legendary killers, government agencies by extension). For Llewyn the world includes Jean (Carey Mulligan, lovely), an angry ex-girlfriend he’s gotten pregnant who wants him to pay for an abortion; Jim (Justin Timberlake, tolerably bearded), her singer-husband; Troy Nelson (Stark Sands), a folk singer-soldier who already is looking at success; Al Cody (Adam Driver, lanky), a friend of Jim’s who accompanies Jim and Llewyn while recording the funny guaranteed-to-succeed Please Mr. Kennedy; the Gorfeins (Ethan Phillips and Robin Barrett), a couple of academics who are genuine Llewyn Davis fans and their cat. 

The cat is a crucial character (or is it just the Coens doing that mocking thing again?). The cat (several similar ones were used for filming) ends up traveling with Llewyn and turning possibly into a sort of symbol for Llewyn himself (Llewyn is Welsh for lion). The cat (whose name is a lovely, clever "typical Coen joke" that you must find out for yourself) and the troubadour have much in common. They always seem to be escaping from each other's grasp. When Llewyn calls Professor Gorfein's receptionist to inform him about the cat, she mishears his message. "Llewyn is the cat", she intones. He loses the cat then finds it. Then it turns out it isn't even the same cat. Questions of identity plague Llewyn. To use a cliche, he needs to find himself. Yes, I thought to myself, this is it. This is when he will shed the yoke of his own burden and march to glory. But Llewyn is a jerk to put it mildly. His sister, model suburbanite, and his father, almost dead, are the kind of living that scares Llewyn. He wants success (maybe just validation) but he doesn't want it easy. He makes fun of Jean for wanting family life. During the gig that Jim got him, he mocks Jim without realizing it. He mocks a performing band for having nice sweaters. He mocks a poor old lady. He has no money but he isn't ready to adjust. He takes the wrong cat back to the Gorfeins and ends up fighting with them. 

True to the Coen brothers’ name, Inside Llewyn Davis rambles. It takes random turns and one of the most prominent is the road trip. Coen brothers' totem John Goodman as a venom spewing, heroin loving gentleman, and mystery man no.1, a vaguely dangerous enigmatic Beat poet join Llewyn. At one point, Llewyn and the cat look at the driver in an eerily simultaneous way. This was the part where I was sure of a catalyst that will galvanize our protagonist into decisive action. And again I was surprised as the trip was only a slightly surreal car ride. The ride is eventful, yes, but it has nothing to offer Llewyn whose destination is rejection with a liberal dose of irony. The ride back is equally, if not more, hellish. Ice and darkness lead a sleepy Llewyn to maim an animal (A cat? Some metaphorical aspect of Llewyn?). 

All self-defeating roads lead home and Oscar Isaac, in a star-making performance, never asks for mercy. All his actions, quirks and gestures seem to be destined for failure. I would even argue that he doesn't possibly want to succeed because after basking in the tragic light of failure for so long any form of success is tinged with compromise in his eyes. When faced with a chance to impress, he chooses a song that he has no hope of pulling off. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, who tries to fill Roger Deakins' freakishly large boots, helps the director(s) visualize Llewyn's situation (note the cramped hallways and the surreal doors). T. Bone Burnett along with Marcus Mumford creates an aural experience that is evocative and representative. Music has always been crucial to the Coen brothers’ and yet again (think O Brother Where Art Thou?) the soundtrack is a character itself. 

In a way, the film ends the way it begins. Time runs in circles and timing is often key. The Coens show us another solitary man who takes the stage right after Llewyn. A man who we know is destined for greatness. You can’t help but feel sorry for him. Will he find the right note or will he just fade away? What is the price of failure for an insider? Culture and History both tend to be written by winners. Success becomes emblematic and Failure is relegated to the proverbial abyss of daily life. 

In a conversation in the film, Llewyn's sister says, "Exist? Is that what we do outside of show business? It's not so bad." Llewyn however knows that exist is that which some inside the show business must do too. It is this that Llewyn dreads and ultimately comes to terms with.

The cat's name, in this context is a deft touch (think Joycean) and it almost perfectly embodies this problem of identity. After all, the cat and Llewyn both seem to be under the power of their own name at all times. And as the movie nears conclusion, Llewyn, who now knows the name of the cat, behaves differently. As if the knowledge has helped him overcome something internally. He seems to have shed his martyr face and accepted something. I know quiet resignation when I see it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Trick Me Into Believing

First of all, Let us get this clear, I don't believe in love,
I also don't believe in magic.
Tricks are a whole different ball game though.

Think about it.
It is a dark road and you are walking down it alone.
And you can just make love appear.
You could just pull it out a sleeve.
Ain't nobody gonna mess with you. Man.
Crazy, right?

You could hide it like a warm furry white animal. In a classy top hat.
[The animal won't be wearing the hat. I mean, you hide it in the hat.]
It would stay there, silent and quivering. And maybe shitting.
It needs feeding.
And you might need to let it breathe. Occasionally.
Face it, no one likes a dead dove.
Finally, you might have to pull it out.
But I don't think you can put it back.

It brandishes decks of cards and sometimes silk handkerchiefs.
I hear, it can hypnotize people.
Make them forget themselves.
It can tell people what their card was,
And it can very well saw people in half.

Not all magic tricks are good,
But they are not all bad either.
A few are pretty real.
Most are smokes and mirrors too.

Love sometimes gets out of handcuffs.
Out of straightjackets.
Out of chains.
Out of tanks full of water.
That are buried under land.

Sometimes love just vanishes.
Because? I don't know. You tell me.
No, really, I am asking you.
It leaves you with your mouth open.
Wonder. Like no other.
But It binds you sometimes and it binds you till you can't move.

It transforms you. It transports you.
It levitates you. It penetrates you.
It escapes you.
But it is popular at parties. It makes you meet others.
Who believe. In Abracadabra.
And some who believe. In Hocus Pocus.
Who have read the books and want to practise.

So. For my next trick, I'll need a volunteer.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ship of Theseus

It is not a very good paradox (very good meaning mind boggling as should be the innate nature of paradoxes) like the grandfather paradox.

As per Plutarch, who is very old and definitely dead by now, the ship in which Theseus and his gang of Athenian youth homies returned from Crete had thirty oars. It was supposedly preserved by the Athenians for quite some time. They took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place.

This is the crux of the matter so to speak. The ship changed. Leading to a question of things that grow. The more things change the more they remain the same or is it the other way round? Or something.
My personal choice of question though, voiced by Thomas Hobbes, is what I was trying to explain last night (and failing remarkably).

"What would happen if the original planks were gathered up after they were replaced, and used to build a second ship. Which ship, if either, is the original Ship of Theseus?"

Kinda like that band which is headed by one guy and everyone else just keeps on changing. [Yes, you Axl Rose and you too, Billy Corgan]

eg. You read this when you are unhappy. You read this when you are not unhappy? Is it the same thing?
OF COURSE. Literally, it is. On some terrible philosophical level (which has mood lighting but malfunctioning coffee vending machines) it is not.

The experience changes not just with the environment but also with the perception of the experience.
The formal cause or form is the design of a thing, while the material cause is the matter that the thing is made of. The "nature" of a thing is its design? Or is it a more material connection? Or is it entirely B.S.?

The song remains the same, because the design and not the matter stays constant.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Jan's Heart

It looked quite like a heart. If you have ever been to a fair this side of the sun, you will have seen one of those tents with one of those jars. Cow foetuses masquerading as mutant wonders. This was however something different. It was a beating heart. It was a noiseless thing. You couldn't hear it beating but you could see it moving. Rubbery. Slimy. Something that makes your stomach jump like it does when you see roadkill.

Jan saw it first.

He was a slender man with slender craftman hands and he clenched the barrier that kept the curious spectators back as he stared at it. He stared it like he had stared at the first pair of boobies in the first porno he had seen when Altman's Travelling Movie Circus had shown up in town. He had paid money and he was determined to get his money's worth.

Everything else at the fair was shut down. Not even a single mechanical tinkle could be heard. The audience was streaming homeward. A static hiss of a radio here, a raucous card player there.

At that moment, however, Jan and the heart existed alone in the universe. Wonder lit his eyes.

"You still here, brother?", said a shadow, coming into the glare of the solitary light bulb.

"Yeah," said Jan curtly, not too happy about this intrusion on his thoughts.

The circus master was a connoisseur of curiosity. He nodded at the jar. "Isn't it something?"

Jan grunted and nodded. "I want to buy it."

The circus master snorted and then laughed a mocking laugh. "Why would I want to sell? People come to see it. Makes me money."

"Oh," Jan let his disappointment show.

"Well, now. No need to be too sad young man. If you have money. Speak up."

"How much?"

"How about - " the circus master raised a fists and counted on his fingers. "five and maybe another five?"

Jan nodded with anticipation. The circus master saw this and raised his total, "- well maybe even fifteen?"

Worry creased Jan's brow. "Look here now, I just got twelve cards in my pack. I just want it to make me popular back in my home town. I don't want to make money from it."

"I see, I see. I think we can come to an arrangement.."

Jan was sold the heart and the jar containing it was put in the back of Jan's old cycle rickshaw.

"Just don't take it out of the liquid, will you?" said the circus master as Jan readied to leave. Jan nodded and drove off. The sky was bluer and brighter as stars died and night arrived around man and machine. The rickshaw made a faint clanking and the liquid in the jar sloshed around the heart. Crickets provided company.

Jan looked back again and again at his possession. Checking on his ticket to interestingness.


The Outlands had always been barren and Jan's home town, widely known among by the residents as The Burrow, was an oasis. Lanterns tossed light over patches of the property and the talking men that marked the property.

Jan headed straight to Buttner's store. The men recognized the creak of Jan's cycle-rick and stopped talking as it got closer.

"Hi Dun, Hi Matt," Jan said without stopping. "Come to my house tomorrow, I got something to show you."

"Yeah? What you got?" the men shouted after the departing Jan. They got no answer but the muttering of frogs. "Tell us or we ain't coming Jan!"

"Oh you sure coming fellas. You coming as sure as Jesus!" Jan shouted back. He grinned to himself. They sure coming.

Jan drove by all the places where he could find men and he told them the same thing that he told Dun and Matt. Uncertain men in uncertain lantern lights stood around in The Burrow and talked about this thing that Jan had gotten his idiot hands on. Some people said it was a thing and some others thought it was that other thing. The Redhead said it was an animal but the Buttner brothers claimed it was a machine. Anders wondered if it was a wife and Mrs. Anders wondered if it was a husband. Everyone was interested.


Jan reached home. He lived alone and he carried the jar pushing the door open with his butt and performing all the gymnastics that comes with carrying a heavy thing with both your hands. He set it down in the living room, right over the tee vee. The house was filled with grey things and this was the only thing with any colour.

There was nothing to do now but wait. Jan knew the jar was going to make his life a lot more interesting now. He imagined all manners in which that might happen.

"Damn I try and I try but everyone thinks I am an idiot. You don't think so do you? I think you should have a name. How about Clyde? Clyde is good. So, Clyde do you think I am an idiot? I didn't think so. Well, you know what Clyde? You and I are going to be very good friends. And Clyde, you my friend are going to make me famous."

The jar and its lone resident chose to respond with silence.

Jan dragged the only chair in his house in front of the tee vee and slept in it.


Morning came and it brought people.

Dun and Matt stood in the front door. Jan woke up, startled, and then grinned the widest grin.

"Hey Jan - we - came. To have a look - at whatever it is - that you have."

Jan pointed to the jar. Dun and Matt stared.

"What is it?" asked Dun in a whisper usually reserved for sacred words. Matt's mouth hung limp, a pink weal, showing teeth.

"Jan, tell us what it is. Is it a heart?"

Jan smiled his widest smile, the smile he had planned to smile at his wedding.

"Why fellas, it is indeed a heart. And it is not just any heart. It is my heart."


It was the third month of winter this side of the sun.

For the first time since he was born, Jan was happy as a well fed dog. Boots tramping up to his house to gaze at the horrible wonder, the hushed sounds of respect men made while standing in his house, the groan of the house as people came and went was extremely pleasing for Jan. Hairy wrists and fair faces came to Jan wanting to know if they could see it.

Jan would invite them in casually. He would gesture torpidly towards his heart and silence would engulf the room. Lizzie Buttner even fainted once. She never returned. Most people came twice, thrice and more. The room would burst with people from The Burrow and flies would itch their legs all over the place.

It was the same ritual always. No one would say anything. The people would stand or sit thinking. Jan imagined their brains working behind their bony skulls as he accepted their food, their cigars and their gratitude.

It was like a church. People believed in Jan and his heart. And guess who did not like it? Gramps, the preacher. The ruler of the real church. Unsurprisingly, attendance had dwindled at the church. Gramps had heard about Jan's heart but he had dismissed it as a silly tale. But now it was the only thing anyone talked about. Gramps did not like it one bit. All that reverent awe wasted on that idiot and his oddity.

Some of the men shared Gramps irritation and these men met with Gramps and a plan was hatched.


As was customary, people showed up at Jan's house on a Sunday, like pins to some oddly attractive pin-cushion. The gathering had begun and there was no sound but for that of impatient feet and the scurrying of rats under the porch planks outside. Jan was up front, on his rocking chair, resting on a pillow, gifted by the Buttners. He was rocking slowly, enjoying the fame. Jan had a crush on Mary Buttner since he had seen her and she was at the back of the gathering with all the womenfolk. Her soft lips pursed but she spoke not a word to nobody.

After a period of proper silence, Gramps, who had appeared unseen, cleared the phlegm from his old throat. Everyone turned towards the source of the sound as if to admonish the maker of the sound for breaking their saturnine silence. Gramps, blinking, dried lips, calloused face and all the signs of age, stood. Gramps looked a long while, before licking his lips in a single reptilian motion, and spoke in his thin reedy voice, "Now like you my children, I have wondered what it is. What it is that brings you here? What it is that keeps you from thinking about your Lord and saviour? I ask myself, oh I do, what is it that is so important to my flock that they can't show up at the church and be together in the name of the Lord? Wonder what it is that has made them forget me, your humble servant my Lord? Wonder if it's a he or a she or an it or something else? Now I know. It is this vile thing. This jar sitting here in the long dark night. Think about it lying here. Hanging above this mess. Waiting. For what you think? Death and destruction! That is what! That is right my children. That is all this thing can bring you. Because  ask yourself, what really is this thing? That man's heart!? Have you ever seen a man and his heart live apart from each other?! Have you?! Nay, it is not true. Jan is a liar! It is not his heart, It is the work of the Devil, Lord forgive me for taking his name!"

Shocked into silence. And then suddenly everyone started talking. Gramps moved his head side to side before lapsing back into silence. The damage was done. The seed of doubt was sown.

The people left one by one. Jan tried convincing that he had never met the Devil and even if he had he would never collaborate with him on an art project.

Winter did not end that year. It carried on into summer. The town of Burrow was in trouble. Lizzie Buttner had fallen sick. Jo Marner had died in an accident. Dun and Matt had tried to steal food from the Buttners and they had been shot dead in the street. The Burrow had fallen on hard times and in hard times people look for answers. And if they can't find the answers they look for new questions. Which is how one fine day Jan found Mary Buttner and her friends up at his house. They had come around to look at the heart and wanted to know if it was okay. Would Jan mind it awfully if they were to see the heart now?

Why would Jan mind that? Jan nodded happily and beckoned them inside. He watched them watch hungrily. It was like meeting a long lost friend.

"It looks like this dog puppy our Bessie gave birth to. Our Bessie is always giving birth to puppies," said Mary in a benevolent, soft voice. "So this one puppy was born like that. You know, all deformed and unmade. No form, no features except for two large watery eyes."

"It looks like one of those swamp babies my nana talks about. She says they are the reason we don't get no food this time," said Alin, whose nana was crazier than the craziest bat.

And soon enough Jan's house was filled with people again. People wanting to see his heart suspended in the red liquid. People wanting to stare at this wonder in silence. People wanting to forget that they were hungry.


To the few people that came to his church, Gramps preached. He preached understanding and tolerance and virtues. Gramps was angry but he did not let his flock see it. Jan and his heart had stolen his thunder when traditionally it was Gramps' job to comfort his children. Gramps was not needed and Gramps did not like that. And as idle minds are often wont to do, Gramps' mind became the devil's workshop.


One day in the ninth month of winter, Jan woke up to find that the jar was missing. He no longer slept in the living room and he had not heard anything during the night. Jan was distraught. It was more than an oddity for Jan now. It was almost a part of him. It was like suddenly losing an arm. Jan rode his cycle-rick in town looking for the jar or anyone who might have seen the jar.

Questions and their answers led Jan to the church. Jan rushed to the church to recover his beloved heart.

Jan pushed the doors of the church to walk inside and found that almost everyone in The Burrow was present inside. He panicked for a second till his searching eyes found the object of his desire. The jar. Resting in the middle of the stage. Gramps standing to its right. Anders standing to the left.

"What is the meaning of this?" Jan asked as he rushed up to get the jar.

Jan reached the stage and held the jar delicately in his hands. He carressed it like a new born. Afraid that it might fall. He turned and started walking slowly towards the exit. "Thank God," Jan breathed.

"My children, this is what happens. This is what happens when you do not trust me. When you do not trust the Lord. Look at this traitor. Look at this agent of the Devil. He is the reason The Burrow has fallen on harder times. Look at him and his abomination. Look at his fall from grace. Look at his fall from faith. He takes the Lord's name in the same breath as that Devil's contraption. We cannot allow this. We must not allow this. We must put an end to the poor man's sufferings. Else we must risk more of our Lord's fury. Else we risk dying."

By the time Gramps was done, Jan had reached the door of the church and he had not paid attention to the speech. He however realized that the air had changed perceptibly. Something was wrong and he instinctively increased his pace.

"Look at him scamper. I bet he is going right back to his den of vice to experiment in sin and fornicate with the Devil? Will we allow that?" asked Gramps.

"We will not," replied the Buttner brothers. Then someone else said it and soon everyone was saying it.

"Well so now my children it is time for you to take matters in to your hands. Destroy the demon spawn! Destroy that halfwit!"


Jan was trying to run as fast as he could. The liquid sloshed against the jar. It lapped against the sides and some of it got onto Jan's grey shirt. The heart stood resolutely in the middle of the jar, beating. Jan turned around to look at the mob moving towards him and almost tripped. Some of them were armed with weapons. Some carried sticks and stones. Some others had nothing but their fists. All of them looked ready to kill.

I just need to get back to my cycle-rick thought Jan. He had parked it at the base of the hill. Jan looked back again and this time he tripped. He clutched the jar and its lid as tight as he could. He rolled to a stop near the base of the hill. He could see his cycle-rick. Jan got up and examined himself. Minimal damage. He then examined the jar and let out a cry of dismay. The jar had sprung a leak due to a giant crack on the bottom. He hurried towards his vehicle when a stone sailed over his head. He looked back fearfully to see a stone head straight at him.

It caught him square on the nose. Jan fell. So, did the jar. It fell and it broke. Jan scrambled to his feet as fast as he could and struggled to reach the fallen heart. The jar was intact but it had tipped over. The liquid was gone. The heart had fallen on the ground and he could now hear it beating. A faint ticking. The mob had reached the base of the hill now. It encircled the crying Jan. Jan held the heart in his hand, cradling it like one would cradle a baby, and cried.

The crowd parted to let Gramps through.

"Aah, you hear that people? You hear that sound? Buttners grab that heart!"

The Buttner brothers headed towards Jan who immediately got up and held the heart close towards himself.

"NO! Stop where you are!"

The Buttners paid no heed to Jan. One of them arm tackled him and the other took the heart from him and tossed it over to Gramps. The ticking startled Gramps for a second before realization dawned upon him. A faint chuckle escaped him.

He raised the heart in one hand and shouted over the howling wind, "Here's proof! It is not a heart like yours or mine. No thing of flesh like the Lord hath intended it to be! It is a vile contraption of the Devil himself. Watch!"

Gramps hurled the heart at the biggest rock on the ground. Jan attempted to catch it but the heart hit the ground before he did. It broke in two pieces revealing intricate machinery inside a plastic casing.

"There is your proof! This man has been fooling you, my children! He is no miracle! This is not his heart! It is but a tool of the Devil. Personally, I don't blame him. The Devil has deluded stronger men than him. However, there must be a punishment for his sins. You decide!"

Even as the mob stood pondering possible punishments, someone decided to take the initiave and hurled a stone at Jan. The stone hit one of the Buttners. On the head. It was the younger Buttner. He died. The older Buttner rushed to his fallen brother's body asking him to not be dead only to find him dead. In his moment of grief, the older Buttner drew a gun and fired in the direction of the stone thrower. There were people in that direction and one of them was hurt and he died too. His friends and maybe relatives retaliated and something broke. A mental barrier of sorts. The people had had enough of faith and wonder and the winter. They wanted to break things, hurt other people and they wanted the warmth of blood to frame their actions.

Martyn who had a rake plunged it into Jonah's stomach even as Anders hit him in the head with a stick. The stick broke and merely infuriated Martyn who free the rake from Jonah and raised it so as to rest it inside Anders. At this precise moment, Bo threw a stone that hit Anders in the head robbing Martyn of the chance to kill Anders. Martyn turned around looking for the one who threw the stone. He had not lowered the rake yet probably because he believed he would find the stone thrower easily. Mrs Anders saw her husband die while standing in front of Martyn. She promptly stabbed Martyn in the back killing him. Alin was shot in the face and her dead body was shot in the gut. Tom chasing Mary Buttner with the intent of raping her was dispatched with a knife through the eye and Mary Buttner herself was strangled to death by Mrs Goodwin who wanted to do something with her hands.

And in this way, pretty much everyone killed everyone. Gramps was shot and stoned and his body was found crucified on the cycle rickshaw's handlebar. Predictably, someone’s heart had been cut out and left in the jar with some red liquid which might be blood.
Someone here had a sick sense of humor. And what about poor Jan, you ask? Did our idiot escape?

Who the fuck knows and who the fuck cares?