Tag: writing

Anatomy of Integrity

Jimmy Stewart on the set of Anatomy of a MurderIn scrawling Flash Pulp, I try to walk the line between titillation and good taste. I’ve said before that I’d like the stories to be something my children could read when they grow old enough to be interested, but there’s another barrier that I sometimes bump up against while deciding how to approach a story.

There’s an old adage in the fiction churning business,

“Write as if your parents were dead.”

I’ve always found that one a bit tough, although I’m not sure that, even if they were, I’d suddenly start throwing out human genitalia like candy. Bless my mom, and her French Canadian, Roman Catholic, heart – if she hadn’t unintentionally taught me to be creatively salacious, I’d likely only possess half of my current vocabulary.

Now, these things certainly weren’t on my mind while watching Anatomy of a Murder last night – no, I was simply engrossed in a court room drama being handily presented by the always genial Jimmy Stewart.

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plgucPBotKg]

It’s an intense film, which deals relatively openly with rape, a topic not often touched on in its time –

Upon its original release, the film was banned in Chicago, Illinois.


– but it’s an important piece, in utilizing entertainment to bring a spotlight to dark social corners, and who could resist the charms of Stewart, feasibly the most inherently likable actor of the last century?

James Stewart’s father was so offended by the film, which he deemed “a dirty picture”, that he took out an ad in his local newspaper telling people not to see it.


An Open Letter To Pulpists

Movie poster for The Organization

Dear Fellow Pulp Producers,

   If the best name you can come up with for your shadowy agency is essentially a self-description, (The Organization, The Lab, The Shop, etc.,) you are doing it wrong.

   If the moniker could easily double as a nickname for an art collective, a college dance bar, or the name of the structure in which your characters work, then it sounds like you couldn’t take a further two-minutes to come up with something better.

   Consider: people love “The Man From UNCLE”, but they would not love “The Man From Secret Hideout” – and you can just forget about “The Man From Basement”.


The Drunk Conundrum

Still from the first season of Life Goes OnPlease excuse me if I do a little thinking aloud on this sunny Friday afternoon, but:

Remember when people used to find drunks funny? (I mean on TV and in movies – they’re still pretty hilarious on YouTube.)

Sure you do.

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH3tG5t9cN0]

So, what happened? Where did they all go? Well, sometime during the politically correct ’90s, I suppose we all realized that a life of hard drinking rarely leads to humour – instead, it more often ends in a sad state of loneliness and medical bills.

I Love Lucy - still not funny.It wasn’t the first time popular culture has had to reevaluate one of its stock characters, (I don’t think we need to go into the the moronic housewife/uneducated black servant/black-faced entertainer,) and I’m here to suggest that maybe its time to take another look at an old standard.

Now, listen, sometimes a talented artist can find himself in a bad bit; Rowan Atkinson is a hilarious fellow with fantastic timing and a glorious wit – when used properly.

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umRRCkspaQU]

The problem, however, is the dimwitted mute which arguably made Atkinson famous overseas.

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW6R9kSGV2Q]

While there are many that fit the category of lovable imbecile, the worst offender, to my mind, is Mr. Bean. Of course, I utilize “imbecile” in place of a word I was much freer with in my youth – one associated with Down’s Syndrome and a bevy of other genetic and mental disorders.

I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but aren’t we just laughing at people too stupid to be functional? I understand the need for slow characters – I’ve used them myself on more than a few occasions – but if the person realistically ought to be in some sort of assisted living home (or, say, has a number of odd facial ticks and tends to wander around with a stuffed animal,) maybe it’s something we shouldn’t be laughing at.

Just sayin’.