The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 30, 2008

No "Sex" today...

A couple of months ago I finished reading all of Shakespeare's plays (some of his sonnets remain) aloud. Been looking for some comparable challenge, and have half-decided upon the King James Bible, which I have on my Kindle. This edition comes with an original note to King James, written in a similar phrasing as the Bible itself. It's interesting how incredibly servile it is. Hard to remember just how highly people considered (or had to pretend to consider) kings in those days. The praise is so high that words concerning Jesus Himself seem not much grander. Sigh. People had a very low threshold for divinity in those days...
Next week I'll be able to talk about something happening tonight. Let's just say that this weekend is a little too loaded: I have a party at 11pm this evening, two book events tomorrow, and will see Nicki at college and have another book event on Sunday. Will try to get a little rest in there.
My favorite line from a would-be author is that they have a great story, they'll share it with me, I write it and they'll split the money. I always thought people were kidding when they said people did this, but nope, I probably get one request like that every couple of weeks. People just KNOW that their lives are interesting, far more interesting than anything I could have on my plate. Of course, if it's a Grampa or something, who lived through the sinking of the Titanic, maybe there actually was something really interesting. Most of the time it's yawn city.

I wonder if I'll ever actually come across a life story I find sufficiently engaging?
So as Scott McClellan wracks up his multi-millions for spilling the beans, it's interesting watching the lines form. I personally suspect that his account is mostly true--if anyone can prove one of his facts (not suppositions) wrong, it could badly impact sales. Why did he wait until he had quit to do this? Well, I wouldn't be surprised if he was a money-grubbing scumbag...but that doesn't make him a liar. It's my impression that people very, very rarely quit administrations in protest. Whether this is a matter of honor or fear, I have no idea. But falling on your sword for your leader (which is what I think happened with Powell) is pretty common.
I probably won't see "Sex and the City" until next week. Kind of liked the show, frankly, although I consider it as much of a fantasy as "Knocked Up"--only dweeby women instead of a dweeby guy. But then, that's just me. I thought it had style, and was quite funny within it's range. You don't want to know what I thought about the entire Miranda-Blair arc, however...


Anonymous said...

"You don't want to know what I thought about the entire Miranda-Blair arc, however..."

Actually, sir, I would. (My wife was an addict to this show so I've seen more than my fair share, including Mr. Underwood's run)=o)

Unknown said...

"I wonder if I'll ever actually come across a life story I find sufficiently engaging?"

Hey, do my uncle! He left home at the age of sixteen to become a guerilla.

Just kidding about asking you to write about him (though not about the part where he was a guerilla). If I'd gotten enough of the story for that, I'd be writing it myself.

Josh Jasper said...

Well, I've always considered the Bush administration to be made up of money grubbing scumbags, for the most part. They've seldom disappointed me. Is it any surprise that one of them decided to sell out the lot of them?

Seriously though, McClellan's book sales will probably make him less money than he'd make as a lobbyist. I don't think this book was written as a get rich quick scheme. He was already pretty well off, and had a life that he could have coasted along in for some time in a high paying job.

I think he wrote it because he was pissed off, and felt betrayed, and forced into lying for people he lost respect for. It's also possible that he felt remorse for lying.

I'm not sure about the remorse, but you can tell he's pissed off. The White House (if you believe the allegation, and McClellan seems to) outed a former NOC agent, endangering anyone she dealt with while under cover, and at the least ruining covert work form the CIA.

I'm not surprised one bit that the culture of revenge they have going came back to bite them in the ass. I expect more once Bush is out of office.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to know your take on the Miranda-Blair dalliance as well. I only saw one of the Affair episodes, but as "amused" that they used Blair's sister's objections as reason to terminate the fling. Curiously, I would have thought interracial sex/relationships would be more palatable to the Sex In The City audience. If I'm correct about its viewership being female dominated, the "White male sexual competition" factor should be diminished.

David Roel said...

I recommend Milton. Paradise Lost and Regained.

Anonymous said...

Read Chaucer, preferably in the Middle English - most serious editions have a glossary to help you in back - he's a source for Shakespeare, poignant, hilariously funny, and a great social critic (when he gives you Patient Griselda you're not meant to take it literally). You'll learn a lot about how little people have changed in 600 years.

Anonymous said...

I also once thought a story of my life, or a portion thereof, wouldn't be interesting. But after writing it, I have found, if not totally interesting, it is messy, to say the least.

But I would never ask someone else to write for me. That's insane.

Unknown said...

I actually suspect everyone has an interesting enough life that we could mine something out of it ourselves that others would like to read or see, but few people have interesting lives in the sense that people other than ourselves would want to do biopics of us.

For example, Irina Spanidou's novel God's Snake - cool novel, girl growing up in Greece and her relationship with her harsh military father. Particularly interesting to me because my father grew up in Greece (a little earlier than the protagonist of the novel) with an army officer father. I don't know if Spanidou's own life resembles her protagonist's much at all, but she would, at the very least, have drawn from her knowledge of Greece, and probably used at least some things she'd really observed to flesh out her characters. Good story. And would really not have worked as an idea for someone to pass on to Steve, because he's a writer, and they're not.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Remembrance of Things Past might be a worthwhile challenge. I've only read a book and a half (out of seven), but they're full of sharp psychological observation. (I don't know if you've seen Tom Wolfe's description, but he misrepresents them as full of detailed sensory description.)

Steven Barnes said...

Miranda is, to me, the least attractive of the four women. Blair is one of the very most beautiful human beings I've ever seen. The only reason they match is because Miranda is white, and has the additional cultural value thereby. For her to leave a wealthy black doctor for a poor white guy is a pattern expressing relative value, and an image white people are very, very comfortable with. Everyone wants to believe the world revolves around them. So I found it irritating, and terribly familiar.

Unknown said...

Hey, if dweeby white men get to sleep with Halle Berry, I demand equal fantasy rights to watch a dweeby white woman sleep with Blair Underwood. :-)

More seriously, I haven't seen the SATC episodes where this particular plot happened, but from your description, it sounds as if the "why they'd match" part wouldn't be so hard to fudge even without the relative racial valuings - Miranda may not be nearly as attractive as Blair, but the whole premise of the show is that the women have lots of sex with attractive men and lots of great shoes - but the "why she'd leave him for a poorer white guy" may be more of a stretch.