Pixel Scroll 10/25/19 Oh, Nicky, I Love You Because You Scroll Such Lovely Pixels

(1) $$$ FOR JANEWAY MONUMENT. ScienceFiction.com spotlights a fundraiser — “Fans Are Collecting Money To Dedicate A Monument To Captain Janeway”.

Fans of ‘Star Trek: Voyager‘ are hoping to raise money to erect a monument in honor of lead character Captain Janeway in her future hometown Bloomington, Indiana.  Kate Mulgrew portrayed the Captain for seven seasons on ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ from 1995-2001.  She is the only female starship captain to serve as the focus of a ‘Star Trek’ series.  The fictional character’s backstory included the fact that she was born and raised in Bloomington in the 24th century.

The Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective is raising funds to install a monument to the Star Trek: Voyager character in her “future” birthplace, Bloomington, IN. Donate between Oct. 22 – Dec. 22, and your contribution will be DOUBLED! www.janewaycollective.org/donate

(2) WRITERS, YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America responds to a ruthless business practice with a bromide: “SFWA Contracts Committee Advisory on No-advance Contracts”.

Recently, SFWA’s Contracts Committee was made aware of a situation in which a well-liked publisher canceled the publication of a number of books it had contracted to publish….

A publisher so well-liked that it cannot be named. (But see item #3 at the link).

And with this example of a ruthless business practice fresh in their minds what does SFWA advise writers to do?

Publishers of all sizes may find themselves unable to live up to their contractual commitments for a wide variety of reasons, some of which could not have been reasonably anticipated. Hence, the Contracts Committee urges writers to think carefully about signing a contract that provides no advance, or only a nominal advance, while tying up their work for a lengthy period of time.

So think carefully.

(3) LINE UP, SIGN UP, AND REENLIST TODAY. “Netflix’s ‘Space Force’ Enlists Noah Emmerich, Fred Willard And Jessica St. Clair”ScienceFiction.com has the story.

Netflix’s already-in-production comedy ‘Space Force’ has added three new cast members to an already impressive cast, fronted by Steve Carell and John Malkovich.  They will now be joined by Noah Emmerich, Fred Willard, and Jessica St. Clair.  Carell stars as Mark R. Naird, “a General tapped by the White House to lead a new branch of the Armed Forces with the goal of putting American ‘Boots on the Moon’ by 2024.”  Carell co-created the show with Greg Daniels (‘The Office’, ‘King of the Hill’).

Emmerich will portray the… *ahem* interestingly named Kick Grabaston, Naird’s old commanding officer, who is now the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff.  Jealous of Naird’s new position, he does “everything in his considerable power to make Naird’s life difficult.”

(4) BUT IS IT ART? Cora Buhlert sums up the cinematic kerfuffle in “Old Directors Yell at Clouds – Pardon, Superheroes”.

…Because for all their flaws, today’s superhero movies are a lot more diverse in front and behind the camera, then the highly touted movies of the New Hollywood era, which were made by and for a very narrow slice of people. It’s no accident that directors, actors and characters of those movies are all white and male and either Italian-American or members of some other immigrant group (the characters in The Deer Hunter are all descendants of Russian immigrants). There are a lot of people who never saw themselves reflected in those movies – women, people of colour, LGBTQ people, people who are not American – and who likely never much cared for those movies either, because the big Scorsese or Coppola fanboys are mostly white dudes themselves.

Saladin Ahmed says it best in the following tweet:

(5) POP! SIX! SQUISH! Eneasz Brodski mourns a convention experience in “Why Are Your So Bad?” at the Death Is Bad blog.

I had a saddening encounter this weekend. On a panel about civil verbal disagreement, an audience member asked what to do when people use terms that are viewed by one side in a debate as slurs (such as “climate-denier”) and was told that in such a case, rather than getting upset one should stay quiet and introspect on their situation and see if they can understand why the other party would say such things….

(I know that “climate denier” is obviously drastically different. No one’s ever been kicked out of their house or beaten to death for being a climate denier. But after a failed attempt using a more analogous example, I found this was the only one that could get my co-panelist to consider how someone from the outside would view her call to ponder “why am I so bad?” rather than anything remotely realistic.)

Importantly, afterwards the panelist told me privately that she didn’t mean to be unfair or anything. It’s just that the person who asked the question was a White Man, he obviously needed to reflect on himself. And implicit both in her words and the “you know…” look she was giving me was that white men can have no legitimate complaints about how they are treated, and that was the basis of her answer. They are a class that can only ever do violence, and no verbal abuse can be visited upon them that is not morally justified. The only thing she knew about the question-asker was that he was white and male and somewhere north of his 40s, and that was enough.

(6) CARRIE FISHER BIO ON THE WAY. “Author of unauthorized Carrie Fisher biography defends it against family disavowal”Entertaiment Weekly has statements from both sides.

A new biography on the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher is generating controversy ahead of its release next month.

On Thursday, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, and her father, Bryan Lourd, issued a statement disavowing Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, by Sheila Weller. Set to be published through the Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint Sarah Crichton Books, which falls under Macmillan — one of the Big 5 publishing houses in the U.S. — the book has generated strong buzz in the form of starred trade reviews and praise from award-winning writers including Rebecca Traister and David Maraniss.

Bryan Lourd wrote the statement. He calls the biography “unauthorized,” writing, “I do not know Ms. Weller. Billie does not know Ms. Weller. And, to my knowledge, Carrie did not know her.” He adds that Weller sold the book “without our involvement,” and that he has not read the book. “The only books about Carrie Fisher worth reading are the ones Carrie wrote herself,” he concludes. “She perfectly told us everything we needed to know.”

(7) HE’S DEAD JIM. The Guardian reports “Plan to exhume James Joyce’s remains fires international ‘battle of the bones’”. Seven cities claimed Homer dead, and all that.

… Joyce left Ireland in 1904 to live in Trieste, Paris and Zurich, never returning to his homeland after 1912. The writer had a complex relationship with the country, which in effect banned Ulysses over its “obscene” and “anti-Irish” content. He “decries Irish society’s conservatism, pietism and blinkered nationalism” in his writing, according to an essay from the Irish Emigration Museum curator Jessica Traynor. One of the characters in his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man describes Ireland as “the old sow that eats her farrow”.

Although Joyce “couldn’t bear to live in Dublin”, Traynor continues, his “spiritual and artistic engagement with the city continued until the end of his life”. When he lived in Paris, his “favourite pastime was to seek out visitors from Dublin and ask them to recount the names of the shops and pubs from Amiens Street to Nelson’s Column on O’Connell Street”.

When Joyce died aged 58 after undergoing surgery on a perforated ulcer, Ireland’s secretary of external affairs sent the order: “Please wire details about Joyce’s death. If possible find out if he died a Catholic.” Neither of the two Irish diplomats in Switzerland at the time attended his funeral, and the Irish government later denied Barnacle’s request to repatriate his remains.

If the Dublin city councillors’ motion is passed, the next step will be to ask the Irish government to request the remains be returned before the centenary celebrations around the publication of Ulysses in 2022. A spokeswoman for culture minister Josepha Madigan told theJournal.ie it was “a matter in the first instance for family members and/or the trustees of the Joyce estate”.

(8) COLLECTIBLE FANZINES. PoopSheet Foundation has details about the sale of the “Steve Ogden Fanzine Collection on eBay”.

Some of you know fanzine publisher/collector Steve Ogden passed recently. Per his wishes, I’ve begun listing his massive collection which includes comic fanzines, sf fanzines, mini-comics, underground comix, comic books and more.

Here are the current auctions and there are many, many more on the way. Please add me as a favorite seller if you’d like to stay on top of the new listings.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

Science Fantasy was a British fantasy and science fiction magazine, launched in 1950 by Nova Publications. John Carnell edited the magazine beginning with the third issue, typically running a long lead novelette along with several shorter stories….

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 25, 1909 Whit Bissell. You most likely know him as Station Manager Lurry on “The Trouble With Tribbles”,  but his major contribution to the SFF genre was being in all thirty episodes of The Time Tunnel as Lt. Gen. Heywood Kirk. He also did one-offs on The Invaders, I Dream of Jeannie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Science Fiction Theater, The Incredible Hulk and The Outer Limits. And yes, in The Time Machine film. (Died 1996.)
  • Born October 25, 1940 Janet Fox. Author whose stories appeared in countless genre zines and anthologies between the Seventies and mid-Nineties.  Her long fiction, mostly the Scorpio Rising series, was done as Alex McDonough. She’s also known for the Scavenger’s Newsletter which featured a number of noted writers during its long run including Linda Sherman, Jeff VanderMeer and Jim Lee. (Died 2009.)
  • Born October 25, 1955 Gale Anne Hurd, 64. Her first genre work was as Corman’s production manager on Battle beyond the Stars. (A decent 42% at Rotten Tomatoes.) From there, we’ve such films as Æon Flux, the Terminator franchise, AliensAlien NationTremorsHulk and two of the Punisher films to name just some of her genre work. Have any of her films been nominated for Hugos? 
  • Born October 25, 1955 Glynis Barber, 64. Soolin on Blake’s 7 for a series. She also appeared in The Hound of the Baskervilles (Ian Richard and Donald Churchill were Holmes and Watson) and a Sherlock Holmes series I didn’t know about, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson starring Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering. 
  • Born October 25, 1971 Marko Kloos, 48. Lines of Departure was nominated for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel on a slate organized by the Sad Puppies. In reaction to this, Kloos withdrew the novel from consideration for the award. He was subsequently honored by George R. R. Martin for this decision. And that gets him Birthday Honors. 
  • Born October 25, 1989 Mia Wasikowska, 30. She’s Alice in Tim Burton’s creepy Alice in Wonderland and equally creepy Alice Through the Looking Glass. Rotten Tomatoes gave the first a 53% rating and the second a 29% rating.

(11) THE BOX SCORE. The Hollywood Reporter hears cash registers ringing: “Box Office: ‘Joker’ Passes ‘Deadpool’ as Top-Grossing R-Rated Pic of All Time”. I didn’t know they kept statistics for this.

To date, Joker has earned $258.6 in North America and $529.5 million internationally. It is is expected to ultimately take in close to $900 million globally, with some thinking it has a shot at approaching $1 billion. The film is an enormous win for Warner Bros., particularly considering it faced security concerns ahead of its release and that it is not a traditional comic book movie. Ultimately, Joker is expected to turn a profit north of $400 million. Village Roadshow and Bron each have a 25 percent stake in the film.

The new record for Joker puts it atop an R-rated all-time list that, in addition to Deadpool, includes 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded ($738.6 million), 2017’s It‘s ($697 million) and 2003’s The Passion of the Christ ($622.3 million), not adjusted for inflation.

(12) YOUR MONEY’S NO GOOD HERE. However, one studio is strangling a traditional revenue stream. Vulture reports “Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault, and That’s Worrying”.

Joe Neff knew there was trouble when the horror films started vanishing.

Neff is the director of the 24-Hour Science Fiction and Horror Marathons that happen every spring and fall at the Drexel Theater, an independent venue in Columbus, Ohio. For this year’s Horror Marathon, Neff wanted to screen the original 1976 version of The Omen and the 1986 remake of The Fly, two of hundreds of older 20th Century Fox features that became the property of the Walt Disney Corporation after its $7.3 billion purchase of the studio’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, was made official this past spring. In the preceding few months, Neff had heard rumblings in his Google group of film programmers that Disney was about to start treating older Fox titles as they do older Disney titles — making them mostly unavailable to for-profit theaters. More and more film programmers and theater managers were reporting that they had suddenly and cryptically been told by their studio contacts that Fox’s back catalogue was no longer available to show. Some got calls informing them that an existing booking had been revoked.

(13) WATCHMEN AND ITS DISCONTENTS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] A segment of the fan community is voicing grievances about HBO’s Watchmen series that they complain is “too political.” Their grievance is, of course, nonsense, and Alex Abad-Santos of Vox magazine delves into exactly why Watchmen is, and always has been, a seriously political (dare we even say anti-fascist?) work of fiction. “Some Watchmen fans are mad that HBO’s version is political. But Watchmen has always been political.”  

In Moore and Gibbons’ version of Watchmen, giving someone unrestrained authority is a recipe for disaster. Lindelof pushes that question further and glances into American history to draw on that same theme, but from the point of view of black men and women — people who have been ostracized, belittled, dehumanized. People who someone like Rorschach would have loathed.

(14) LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHTENED OUT. Gareth L. Powell will explain it all to you.

(15) FOR ALL MANKIND. WIRED braves the elements to take readers “Inside Apple’s High-Flying Bid to Become a Streaming Giant”.

More than 50 buildings and soundstages sprawl across the 44 acres of the Sony Pictures lot. That’s a lot of window­less oblongs, and even more distance between them. If you need to get from, say, the Jimmy Stewart Building to Stage 15, golf carts and Sprinter vans are the customary mode—even on sunny days. On a particular Saturday in February, while an atmospheric river settled over Los Angeles, those vehicles were a necessity. The downpour was bad luck for the dozens of journalists there that day, but it was also a touch allegorical. After what felt like years of anticipation, Apple was about to take us behind the scenes of a show it was making for its still ­mysterious, still unnamed subscription streaming service. We were going to find out if Apple, maker of so many devices that have redefined the way we consume content, could finally make content—good content—of its own.

After the journalists handed their phones to Apple staffers to be taped up with camera-blockings stickers, the vans shuttled the group to Stage 15. (The Sony complex is also home to HBO’s Insecure and Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Apple may have a near-trillion-dollar market cap, but it still leases soundstages like everyone else in Hollywood.) Dryness maintained, we walked into the control room of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center circa 1969.

(16) THE NOTHINGULARITY. Vox makes a recommendation: “Zero Hours is a terrific fiction podcast about the end of the world”.

…But what feels like the end of the world happens millions of times a day on a more personal level. A marriage crumbles into ruin. Somebody loses their job. A child dies. Your favorite baseball team makes some boneheaded managing decisions and misses the World Series. You can’t find the chips you want. None of these is literally apocalyptic, but each one can be metaphorically so. Sometimes, that’s as bad as the real thing.

The space of the personal apocalypse is where the new audio fiction podcast Zero Hours thrives. It’s a seven-episode anthology series set across seven centuries and 594 years, beginning in 1722 and ending in 2316. (In between every episode, 99 years pass, so episode two takes place in 1821, episode three takes place in 1920, etc.)

Every episode depicts one of these smaller, personal apocalypses, but none of them actually end humanity (though the last takes place after we’ve gone extinct). The story is probably most similar to David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas (and the subsequent film based on it), but really, it’s not quite like any other work of fiction.

(17) WHAT’S STREAMING? Zomboat! on Hulu.

In this British sitcom available on Hulu, a cheeky group of travelers flee a zombie-infested Birmingham, England, by canal.

Daybreak on Netflix, is a comedy that “revolves around cliquey teens in a post-apocalyptic Glendale, Calif., where a nuclear blast has transformed many grown-ups into zombie-like monsters.” (Hey, John King Tarpinian’s hometown!)

(18) NOT YOUR AVERAGE TAILORS. A company called Full Body Armors offers custom-fitted superhero outfits including Batman, Iron Man, and Deadpool.  “The Iron Man Mark 47 suit can include a motorized mask, a voice changer, and even an integrated cooling system.”  All for five thou a suit!

Even if you order today, The Wearable Armored Batsuit Costume Suit won’t arrive in time for Halloween. Or Christmas. Maybe for Martin Luther King’s Birthday.

(19) SJWCS’ REAL STORY. “Why do we think cats are unfriendly?” If you feed them, they will come. Maybe. Eventually.

Cats are the only asocial animal we have successfully domesticated. We’re disappointed that we don’t bond with them as easily as dogs. But are we just missing the signs?

Dogs seem almost biologically incapable of hiding their inner moods – shuffling, snuffling, tail-wagging clues to contentment, nervousness or sheer, unadorned joy. Despite what the famous painting might want to tell you, dogs would be terrible poker players. We pick up their cues all too easily.

Cats also have sophisticated body language – their moods are signalled through twitching tails, ruffled fur, and the position of ears and whiskers. A purr usually (but not always) signals friendliness or contentment. They’re a usually reliable method of working out if the cat is in friendly mode or best left alone.

…One clue to the cat’s image may come from how they were domesticated in the first place. It was a much more gradual process than that of dogs – and cats were very much in the driving seat. The earliest domesticated cats started appearing in Neolithic villages in the Middle East around 10,000 years ago. They didn’t depend on their early human hosts for food – they were encouraged to fetch it themselves, keeping crops and food stores safe from rats and other vermin. Our relationship with them was, from the outset, a little more at arms’ length than dogs, who helped us hunt and relied upon humans for a share of the spoils.

The cat that may be currently curled up on your sofa or glaring at you from its vantage point on top of the bookcase shares many of its instincts with that of its pre-domestic ancestors – the desire to hunt, to patrol territory, guarding it from other cat; they are much closer to their old selves than dogs. Our taming of cats has only partly removed them from the wild.

(20) THIS ONE’S REAL. Not a link to an Onion surrogate this time: “JK Rowling calls for end to ‘orphanage tourism'”.

JK Rowling has told young people not to become volunteers in overseas orphanages, because of the risk that they might be unwittingly supporting places that are cruel to children.

The Harry Potter author warned that children in orphanages in poorer countries often still had parents – but they had been separated by poverty rather than the death of their parents.

“Do not volunteer in orphanages. Instead, look at what drives children into institutions,” she told a conference in London.

The author set up a charity, Lumos, in response to cases of neglect in Eastern European orphanages, which is campaigning to remove children from orphanages and return them to their families.

It operates in countries including Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Colombia, Haiti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

(21) NOW IN PAPER. Well, yes, it is a commercial. But this is a pretty book! Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop Up Galaxy preview.

Presented in a dynamic 360-degree format that enables the action to be viewed from all sides, the book also opens up to form a displayable 3D diorama of the entire saga. Packed with amazing Star Wars moments and hidden surprises to discover, Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy represents a whole new level of sophistication and interactivity in pop-up books and is guaranteed to thrill fans of all ages. Matthew is the King of Paper Engineering and returns to the franchise with this new, deluxe pop-up.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, Olav Rokne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/25/19 Oh, Nicky, I Love You Because You Scroll Such Lovely Pixels

  1. @4: I would be interested to hear whether Scorsese etc. could do anything but splutter when confronted with the paragraph discussing diversity.

    @7: one hopes there is a member of the family sufficiently aware and empowered to be able to tell the government to go piss up a rope.

    @14: [snortle]

    In other news:
    * Greta Thunberg joins the list of luminaries with a species named after them
    * a very looong hack: MIT and the elderly milk. (I’m hoping that link won’t get paywalled too quickly as it’s from their top-stories list.)

  2. I strongly suspect that Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are not reading my humble blog, but if they feel the need to sputter, then let them sputter.

  3. (10) Janet Fox was a prominent fan fiction writer when fan fiction was regular sf/fantasy that was published in fanzines rather than prozines. She had dozens — maybe hundreds — of short stories published in many different fanzines.

  4. Well, Chip, I wasn’t going to read the milk story, but I did, and am much enriched. Thanks.

  5. 13) As usual, the issue is “history that we like” versus “history that is outside our worldview.”

  6. 4) Why is it surprising that members of non-WASP white ethnic groups took their chance to give those groups representation? The Italians in particular had just barely transitioned into whiteness by the auteur era. And how is that any different from non-white people doing the same thing today?

    13) Having read the article, I’m unconvinced that the final sentence in the quoted paragraph was true. In the clipped panel, it’s notable that Rorschach might think the woman cheats on welfare but never does anything about it. Perhaps he (like I would have) thought that was not worth bothering with. Rorschach’s politics in the book are repugnant, but his actions seem driven by his abusive childhood, and aimed primarily at violent abuse directed toward others. That organized white supremacists would claim him as one of theirs after his journal came to light is certainly plausible; that his anti-social philosophy (or psychosis–the man isn’t right in the head) is actually theirs is not.

  7. Jeff Smith says Janet Fox was a prominent fan fiction writer when fan fiction was regular sf/fantasy that was published in fanzines rather than prozines. She had dozens — maybe hundreds — of short stories published in many different fanzines.

    That may well be true but Fancyclopedia 3 only had her listed for contributing to less than a handful which is why I didn’t note that. And ISFDB has listed as writing a lot of short works but I don’t know if they list fan writings.

    Tracking down what an individual writer has done as a fan is often nigh unto impossible.

  8. @John A Arkansawyer: Rorschach is somewhat complicated. When he confronts the landlady (about the fact that she had lied about him to the newspapers), he refrains from attacking her as soon as he sees her children present. When Nite Owl threatens indiscriminate killing, Rorschach pulls him back. On the other hand, Rorschach clearly thought of the New Frontiersman as a truthful newspaper – so he may have considered his own brief moments of mercy as weakness.

  9. 10) Mia Wasikowska was also in the creepy (but in a good way) Crimson Peak and Only Lovers Left Alive.

  10. 4) I have to say that I find the comment about “members of other immigrant groups” to be somewhat ignorant. Immigrants have historically faced discrimination (e.g. “No Irish Need Apply” signs, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the Chinese Exclusion Act) and still do today (e.g. ICE raids, Trump’s comments about Mexico “not sending their best”, Trump’s comments about Representative Ilhan Omar). And as John A. Arkansawyer pointed out, members of some ethnic groups that are considered white today were not considered so in the 19th and early-mid 20th centuries. Inclusion of immigrants, whether in front of or behind the camera, is a form of diversity, and is one that should be particularly encouraged in light of current anti-immigrant sentiment.

  11. 19) A nice overview, but the editorial decision to pick up on the “asocial” remark for the subheading is pretty misleading (and the vet who used the term ought to know better). I can’t find the reference right now, but there’s a good documentary that observes the various modes of cat-in-the-wild socializing, particularly cooperation among mothers in barn-cat colonies. (Actually, the existence of cat colonies ought to demonstrate that “asocial” is a mischaracterization.)

    We haven’t redesigned cats the way we have dogs, by extensive specialized breeding, but we do reengineer some of their behavior patterns when we socialize kittens–behavioral neoteny.

  12. You know, much as it pains me to defend Scorsese in this matter, his movies do actually faithfully and meaningfully represent the experience of interwar immigrants and their descendants, and are actually pretty important culturally in Italy for a variety of reasons. He is also one of the few Italo-Americans I know who does speak Italian and does visit regularly and engages with his country of descent.
    So yeah, white male Christians yes, but this not American actually does feel represented.
    Of course he’s wrong for a variety of other reasons, chiefly among them the fact that how a guy who made gangster movies feels qualified to cast stones about other genres I don’t know.
    Not as interested in defending Cimino, frankly.

  13. Also what Nina said. The fact that some groups transition into whiteness doesn’t mean that their past was any less fraught or that they can be confident of staying there, see the Jewish experience (or of course, my own transitioning from citizenship to filthy foreign European muck status in the country I foolishly considered my home).

  14. Cat, I certainly wasn’t criticizing you for not including Janet Fox’s fan work, just adding information that only someone involved in fanzine fandom in the 70s would know.

  15. (12) In the era of DVD/BluRay sales, the vault was mainly a sales tool. Disney put things in the vault so they were unavailable and then brought them out of the vault at some point to goose their sales. (With the threat that it would go back into the vault at some other point.) How does that work in an era of streaming? Does Disney wish to make certain films only available on their upcoming streaming service?

    You’d think occasional screenings at local theaters wouldn’t even scratch streaming subscriptions and might even get people interested in paying for access to their streaming service. Plus if the copies of movies are now digital, there’s no need to worry about losing copies or having the copies damaged like when distributors would send out actual films.

    Reminds me of this SNL take on the Disney vault.

  16. To be honest, I’m sick to death of the Italian-American/Irish-American family sagas being represented by Coppola et al as being the end-all, be-all of cinema. They have been well-represented in cinema. In my opinion, what is missing–to start with–is authentic Indigenous experiences from native perspectives, produced by Indigenous directors and populated by Indigenous actors. Or the experiences of Chinese miners in the American West that, again, come from Chinese-Americans. There are some quite hideous stories about massacred Chinese miners that dwarf anything that happened to the Italian or Irish populations. (This comes from a white person whose European roots are thoroughly buried (but most likely poor English/Cornish dirt farmers–i.e., peasants) for several hundred years back, far enough that I really don’t give a hoot because I identify more with the Columbia River bioregion than any other place.) My stories don’t end up on the big screen and so as a result I’m always watching somebody else’s history, whether it’s set on the East Coast, LA, or the Midwest (and the few cinema stories about my bioregion are usually so flawed as to be painful to watch the mistakes).

    So yeah. Chinese miner massacres. Indigenous massacres from their perspective and production (and no, neither Dances With Wolves nor Little Big Man fit the bill). Or even the dramatic and bloody history of union mine organizing in the West, along with union organizing in the timber industry. Or longshoremen in San Francisco. Lots of material beyond the Corleones, Goodfellas, Dodge City, and the OK Corral.

    TL:DR–Coppola, Scorsese, et al don’t particularly engage me–and neither does Peckinpah, who has his own issues even though he will engage with the subject matter I’ve referred to.

  17. “West Side Story” is an interesting illustration of the movement of various groups into “whiteness” – in this story, the Puerto-Ricans and Italian characters are both “other” to the rest of the society. The police officers, Krupke and Schrank have ethnic name (German) names but consider themselves to be above the Italians and Puerto-Ricans. The social worker (Glad Hand) played by John Astin, condescends to all (without realizing it, I suspect).

    In Julian May’s “Intervention” features ethnic conflict in early 1950s Boston between French Canadian Catholics (who are new immigrants) and Irish Catholics (who are concerned that association with the French will hamper their assimilation).

  18. @Andrew: it’s been a long time since I looked at West Side Story in detail; what Italian characters do you see in it? My knee-jerk reaction was that the Jets are descended from non-Jewish Eastern Europeans, but that may be colored by mental snapshots from the movie.

    And I would have said that Intervention as described is inaccurate, thinking that Boston Irish were more in charge rather rather than trying to assimilate by the 1950’s. (cf JFK’s maternal grandfather, “Honey Fitz”, being elected mayor in 1905.) I’d have wondered about the date, but I remember 1992 showing up when the narrator was not an old man. OTOH, that cite suggests the books were already set in an alternate timeline — the scene involved the Boskone dealers room being in the converted-garage basement of the Sheraton, from which the convention had been ousted by the time the book came out.

  19. I may have recommended this book here before, but it’s always worth a boost: Five Points, by Tyler Anbinder, an account of a notorious section of New York City from the 1820s through the 1880s. It focuses on the experiences of the Irish who fled poverty and starvation and wound up there, but it is explicitly a model for the way immigrants have entered American society. Here’s the end of the final paragraph:

    “The Five Points story, at a certain level, is common to us all. Koreans arriving in Los Angeles, Mexicans in Houston, West Indians in Miami, Salvadorians in Washington, Arabs in Detroit, and Hmong in Minneapolis all replay its acts and scenes today. There may never be another slum like Five Points, but as long as the United States remains a nation of immigrants, the outlines of the Five Points story will never die.”

  20. Jeff Smith notesCat, I certainly wasn’t criticizing you for not including Janet Fox’s fan work, just adding information that only someone involved in fanzine fandom in the 70s would know.

    Oh I know that. It is a definite problem when putting together these Birthdays as even the fan centered sources like Fancyclopedia 3 aren’t particularly detailed enough.

  21. @Chip: I took the name “Tony” as an indication that he was Italian, and jumped to the conclusion that the rest of his gang was also, but they certainly could have included other Eastern Europeans.

    I checked Intervention – the main character (Rogi, born in 1945) was describing the history of interactions between the Irish and the French Canadians, so the conflict between the Irish-Americans and the French Catholics he was talking about was old news in the 1950s, but still fresh in the minds of the older French Catholics that Rogi was raised by.

  22. I don’t really feel as though Scorsese needs attacked or defended. He’s got a body of work that I personally don’t love, but which people I respect do. He’s also got opinions. In matters of taste, the old Romans said, there is no disputing–not that I’ve ever let that stop me–and, as usual, what people hate is much less interesting than what they love.

    That goes as much for Scorsese’s critics as it does for him.

  23. I wonder why the Hollywood Reporter would rank the grosses for R-rated movies based on worldwide gross. The R rating is the rating that applies in the U.S. Other countries have different rating systems which are not necessarily exactly equivalent to the U.S. rating system.

    If you’re talking about the U.S. rating, then you should look to the domestic gross of a film rather than the worldwide gross — in which case The Passion of the Christ still ranks #1 for R-rated films.

  24. @Andrew: ISTM that “Tony” isn’t necessarily Italian; I know a St. Anthony is ascribed to Padua (although he was born Portuguese), but I had schoolmates “Tony Fisher” and “Tony Anikeef” — not to mention BNF Tony Lewis (who is somewhat Jewish) and General “Mad Anthony” Wayne. YMMV.

    Interesting to hear the details of Intervention; I would have guessed (e.g., from @Lis’s remarks) that Boston Irish would have been aware more of Boston Italians (landed on their doorsteps) than of French Canadian drift-overs (more seen north of here?), but ISTM that Bostonians can attend to multiple conflicts at once (says this DC transplant after 48 years living here…).

  25. @Chip: You’re no doubt correct. My north Jersey upbringing predisposed me to thinking of any Tony as Italian.

    In Intervention, we’re getting a French Canadian’s view of the Boston Irish. No doubt a Boston Italian would have a different view of who got the worse treatment from them.

  26. @Chip
    There were a lot of French Canadians in New Bedford, working in the shoe factories, before 1920. I can see some moving north from there.

  27. @Andrew: a good point — the personal (and Intervention is intensely personal even as it upsets the global applecart) can easily override the general.

    @P J Evans: interesting. I hadn’t known that — Portuguese (or at least Azoreans and Cape Verdeans) are a major ethnicity on Massachusetts’s south coast now, and have been for at least half a century, but I don’t know how far back that goes or how many were involved in land-based work rather than fishing.

  28. Most of the articles about West Side Story I just looked at just call the Jets a white gang, but a few say they were mixed European ethnicities, including Polish and Irish and others, and that Tony was Polish. One said Tony was half-Polish and half-Irish. I thought I remembered that the ethnicity was changed for the movie, but I couldn’t find that anywhere. Apparently when the show was first conceived it was already based on Romeo and Juliet, but originally they were Irish Catholic and Jewish, not in gangs, and the name started as East Side Story. The gangs and Puerto Rican characters were added later. Shows frequently do go through major changes from their original concepts.

  29. @Chip and Andrew

    I remember finding a crumbling novelization of ‘West Side Story’ somewhere, which said that Tony’s first name was Anton and he was Polish.

  30. Trying to catch up.

    (4) Scorcese et al. featured previously excluded ethnicities at a time when it was a breakthrough for people of those ethnicities. This may be obscure, ancient history for younger generations, but it was very important then. They weren’t being exclusionary; they were breaking in to a place they were previously excluded from.

    Where they go wrong is in not recognizing that more recently arrived ethnicities as well as the always-excluded blacks and others are now doing, or trying to do, the same thing, and that’s just as important now as it was when they did it. They’re getting old and cranky and not seeing why movies can’t be like they made them when they did their best work.

    But it’s also deeply ahistorical not to recognize how important it was for older immigrant groups that are now, currently, “white”, to make they breakthrough and why it’s still important to the people who fought that fight, as well as those of us who had to smile fake smiles to get through the school day and the work day and find, when possible, polite ways to say that no, our fathers or uncles weren’t all drunks, or gangsters, and that the jokes weren’t funny.

    Now, there’s a vocabulary for that. There wasn’t, then.

    But yes, now Scorcese needs either a whack upside the head, or to be completely ignored when he tries to go on about the superhero movies and what inclusion looks like today..

    (19) Cats are social. Cat colonies would not exist if cats didn’t prefer to live as close together as available resources support. They hunt individually, not in groups, but otherwise the social lives of feral or barn cats looks a great deal like that of lions. The only reason they live inside our homes is because they like us; it’s not necessary for any of the basics of what they get from us or we get from them. And individuals of the North African wild cat (barely distinguishable from our basic domestic cats except that they’re all tabbies) still spontaneously self-domesticate.

  31. @Lis —

    The only reason they live inside our homes is because they like us; it’s not necessary for any of the basics of what they get from us or we get from them.

    They live inside our homes because our homes are climate controlled and have soft things to lie on, and because cat food is easier to catch than mice. And sometimes because they like us. 😉

    I agree with your basic point, though — I always have to cringe a little when someone says that cats aren’t social. Balderdash.

  32. @Contrarius–

    They live inside our homes because our homes are climate controlled and have soft things to lie on, and because cat food is easier to catch than mice. And sometimes because they like us. ?

    They started living in our homes when we had no fancy climate control and no cat food. They would get extras from us because they caught mice and other pests as their main food. They hung around our villages because farming made them a great place to catch mice. And the same thing still happens today in rural areas in North Africa, where many smaller villages don’t have air conditioning or cat food being sold in the local marketplace. 😀

    But yeah, there’s a lot of blather about cats from people who have apparently never watched how cats behave when they’re not worried!

  33. Possibly the idea that cats are not social started from people observing other wild species of cats, such as the European ones?

  34. I think it’s more likely that the idea spread from dog owners, who think a domesticated animal should be begging for attention and/or slavishly attentive whenever its owner looks in its direction.

  35. There are species’ of cats that are notoriously anti-social to the point of never being reliably domesticable or even tameable, but they are leopards and the like, not cats. And I think observations on cat behaviour did not come from dog owners but from cat owners who owned working cats rather than house pets; a working cat may have a much less obviously social connection with humans, since they often do not live in the house, are rarely fed, and are not petted or handled in the same way. Many still live in cat company, and some have been known to make friends with other exterior animals (horses, etc.)

  36. @Lis —

    They started living in our homes when we had no fancy climate control and no cat food.

    Even way back when, we had fires for the winter and roofs to keep the rain off. And we had table scraps as well. “Climate control” and “cat food” are relative.

    They hung around our villages because farming made them a great place to catch mice.

    Sure — but your original statement was about living indoors with humans.

    Apropos of nothing — if anyone might still be wondering about the progress of the Darling Dashing Dublin Doright: he is both a trial and a joy, as energetic and imaginative dogs usually are. He remains a very fast learner and eager to please, though, which is keeping him firmly on the “joy” end of the scale!

  37. I remember seeing with fascination a nature show which said that in wildlife parks, when normally solitary big cats are in close quarters, they exhibit pride behavior, even across species. I no longer remember what the show was, though, so I can’t back it up.

    Another factor that makes people think cats are asocial is that dogs have very human body language and facial expressions, and cats don’t. Had to educate a friend on that once.

  38. @Lenora Rose–The European wild cat is not much different from the North African wild cat and its offshoot the domestic cat. It’s not domesticatable like the North African wild cat, and I don’t think they’ve been documented to have the same social behavior.

    It’s fair to say, though, that the lion is the only social large cat.

  39. @Lis —

    It’s fair to say, though, that the lion is the only social large cat.

    Ehhh, depends on whether you classify cheetahs as “large” cats. They certainly don’t have the structure of prides, but they are loosely social — mother/cub groups stay together for a year or more, cubs may stay together on their own for extended periods, and adult males sometimes live together permanently in coalitions.

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