The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, October 26, 2006

From Rush to Bond...


Tananarive and I are getting into “Jericho” on television, at least partially because the premise is so close to “Devil’s Wake,” an idea we were pitching last year.  Well, it’s pretty close, except that instead of nuclear war we crashed the grid with an infestation of zombies.  There is just nothing like working months to set up a pitch meeting, getting there and seeing smiling faces of people who like your work, starting your pitch and having those faces change: “oh…we have something in production just like that.  What else do you have…”

And having nothing.  Never again.  I’m always going to have a “back pocket” pitch, something secondary but good.  ALWAYS, just in case.  Man, that was aggravating.

Do like “Jericho,” though
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The Rush Limbaugh flap over Michael J. Fox has been interesting.  Yes, I think his comments were tasteless (accusing Fox of deliberately declining to take his meds) but then, Rush has never really been known for being in great good taste.  In the world of hyper-nasty politics that has existed for the last ten years or so, it was pretty predictable.  There are other things I’ve heard him say that I found more distasteful.  But here he seems to have tripped across a cultural minefield—Fox is much beloved.  In my mind, he had the right to appear without his meds, and in fact might easily have been accused of “fakery” had he suppressed his symptoms—the entire point was to bring home the human cost of Parkinson’s.  What’s fair?  What’s unfair?  In this instance, I’d say that my sympathy goes with Fox, but I understand why Rush bit at that bone. 

And I am greatly amused to watch him squirm at the national reaction.
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One of my students continually cycles through shame and guilt in connection with her weight loss and relationship issues.  This good lady was raped as a teenager, and I think that the damage has gone so terribly deep that she cannot climb out of that hole alone.  Looking at her issue from the “Lifewriting” point of view, she desperately needs to have stronger, better allies—therapists, doctors, etc.  Right now, when she approaches weight loss, she is stirring up a real pitch-pot of night terrors.  I’d say she literally cannot lose that weight until she has more psychological support, and perhaps even spiritual guidance.

God in heaven, I hate rape.  No, I don’t think it’s as bad as murder (after all, death is usually the threat used to force compliance.  If it was really worse, that wouldn’t be an effective threat) but the damage it causes can last generations.  While I’d never want a death penalty for rape, if a woman hunted down and murdered her rapist  and I was on the jury, I’d be looking really, really hard for a way to find her innocent.
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I think I’m going to be doing another NPR article, this one about Obama and the recent mini-flap about the spiritual/psychological integrity of black Americans opposed to recent immigrants from the Caribbean or Africa.

And here’s my real point: you can’t say that slavery caused enormous damage, and simultaneously say “we’re just fine, except for those pesky bigots.”  Can’t have it both ways.  If we were damaged, we carry those scars and they will effect our relationships, health, ability to deal with stress, belief in our innate divinity.  If we AREN’T carrying such wounds, then either slavery was just hunky-dorey, or blacks are Superpeople.  Sorry, but I’ve known entirely too many people abused in childhood, and the effects are crippling in adulthood.

In my mind, I see the effects of 300 years of bondage quite clearly.  Heck, economists say that the South needed 80 years to recover from 4 years of the Civil War.  Who really believes anyone could recover from 300 years of slavery, followed by another century of segregation, racism and Jim Crow, in just a few decades?  Give me a break.
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Daniel Craig is starting to look pretty good as the new James Bond.  I’ve read two reviews of “Casino Royale” and both were glowing.  I am extremely stoked!
I fell in love with Bond in the first fifteen minutes of “Goldfinger,” back in 1964 at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  My entire nervous system went into a sizzle.  I’d never seen anything like that before, and to this day when I hear the James Bond theme I get goose-bumps.  Probably just that search for healthy male role models.  Hah!  I remember at the end of “License to Kill” when they had a disclaimer for tobacco usage.  Oh.  So it’s all right to jump out of airplanes without a parachute, but don’t light up a cigarette?  It is to laugh.

By the way, I’ve never considered Bond a misogynist.  He treats men FAR worse than he treats women.  The guy’s a misanthrope, and the movies have glossed over that.  He has no real human relationships with ANYONE.  Not much of a healthy role model, but my psyche still loves it, man.

I can’t wait.

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