“Are you a typical American?”

Last weekend, I searched British TV in vain for a Humphrey Bogart film. I was simply in the mood, and was depressed when I couldn’t find one. Naturally, I informed (as one does nowadays) everyone on the planet who happened to be reading Twitter.

And a Twitter friend came to the rescue. He pointed out this is on YouTube. Here’s 1953’s Beat The Devil in its entirety:

It is in the public domain, so you may watch it guilt free. Bogart’s production company held the copyright, but allowed it to lapse. It’s his only film that’s outside copyright.

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Social Media Overload

The way information flies at us is now unprecedented. Masses comes our way, and we “gulp” down lots. But it’s hard to know how much we honestly can process.

Moreover, social media conveys a happy impression that we all live, more or less, in the same “space” – if not precisely the same geographic place. We’re seemingly required as well to have opinions on just about everything happening, and everywhere. And we have to have them immediately.

Free Stock Photo: A beautiful Chinese girl sitting tired at a desk.
Free Stock Photo: A beautiful Chinese girl sitting tired at a desk.

You find yourself worn out now and then? I do. This weekend was one of those times.

Saturday morning, one of my Twitter lists had displayed this. All at the same time. Seriously:

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As Bryan Adams Sang: “We all need somebody”

We’re informed – men, especially – “society” is truly terrified of “this” woman:

Screen capture of Elite Daily.
Screen capture of Elite Daily.

And why? Because, we’re also informed, we never see her. Other women dominate the silver screen:

….You know exactly what sort of leading lady I’m talking about: the damaged damsel in distress who’s tragically tethered to the tree of danger, and is patiently awaiting a sweepingly powerful (masculine) energy to find her in the thick of the forest, cut the ropes with his bare hands, rescue her and wrap up her tiny body in his big, burly arms.

OR it’s the doe-eyed, heartbreakingly self-destructive waif who hates herself with a fervent relentlessness and we watch, teary-eyed, as she spirals into the harrowing vortex of addiction and self-abuse — until the earth shattering moment an authoritative male figure magically appears in her life, by absolute happenstance, and an instant falls in love with her and peels her off the ground, saving her from the cell of herself….

As one who creates and writes many women characters, that assertion made me sit up and take notice. It’s certainly not unreasonable on some levels. But it’s also a massive over-generalization.

Think about it: Are nearly ALL women characters really portrayed only one of those two ways on screen?

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CNN Urges One Thing, But Your State Department Urges The Opposite

Over the years, I’ve been to some “problematic” places. You may have been, too. We know most people one meets in the world are fine.

Enter CNN’s Anthony Bourdain. An American, he has just been to “back to Beirut.” He says he loves the city:

Screen capture of the CNN web site.
Screen capture of the CNN web site.

And it’s wonderful he loves it. Certainly he’s not alone. At one point, he even declares:

It’s a place I’ve described as the Rumsfeldian dream of what, best-case scenario, the neocon masterminds who thought up Iraq, imagined for the post-Saddam Middle East: a place Americans could wander safely [Note: emphasis mine]….

But is it really that? Images whizzing by of dinner dishes, attractive people smoking (and of course looking “cool” while doing so), clubbers, and assorted glamour gloss (even bomb damaged buildings are made to seem “trendy”) is to be expected: CNN wants us to watch and hold our attention. But especially relevant for some prospective destinations is obtaining hard information beyond its “thrills,” “hipness” and “happenin’ness.”

Because YOU are NOT being paid to go there.

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“Foolish, Mr. Bond”

He is in Austria with his son, to see the Austrian Grand Prix.

She is with her daughter – recently turned 18 – on a long weekend in Split, Croatia.

Jet setters.

What we all do for friends, eh?:

Same cat. Using the top of the wine cooler, he likes sitting next to you at the kitchen island.
Using the top of the wine cooler, this one likes sitting next to you at the kitchen island.

Someone had to watch their cats, so we’re staying in their house.

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The Many Shades Of Envy?

Another installment of that book series is upon us. A Newsweek reviewer (interestingly, by name a man, although the books do appear aimed primarily at women, and are written by a woman; but I don’t want to disgress down that path here), disparages it this way:

Cinemax softcore masquerading as fiction

Really? So then it’s perfect to adapt into a possibly “award-winning” cable TV series? Just shift the tale and main characters to, say, Rhode Island?

Evidently this effort is told from “Mr. Grey’s” perspective. You must know him by now. He’s the fictional character some appear to confuse with an actual person.

A couple of weeks ago in the Telegraph, Michael Deacon (again, a man; and again I’ll leave the issue there) had fun with it. He “imagined” its opening chapter. Here’s an excerpt:

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Real Life Is Full Of “Coincidences”

Twitter is awash with writers tweeting thoughts, adages, self-help sayings and writing “rules.” Some are useful, some tiresome. This one got tweeted into my timeline the other day:

“Number one rule for fiction: Coincidence can be used to worsen a character’s predicament, but never to solve his problems.”

Never having seen it before, I googled it. Many others have used it. Although that writer tweeted it as if it were his thought (and has thus far got some 30 odd retweets with it), it was not his original thought.

Screen capture of Twitter log in page.
Screen capture of Twitter log in page.

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Blockhead On Block Island

I sat through the 4th episode of The Affair.

He took her to Block Island.

Screen capture of Wikipedia.
Screen capture of Wikipedia.

Ugh. They’ve ruined Block Island now, too.

You may have already read my reactions to episodes here and here. This post is more of a general take on how it portrays relationships. It’s more serious than the earlier ones.

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What Did Montauk Do To Deserve This?

It’s Friday. Yesterday was “heavy.” Let’s have some fun.

Before you read on, if you missed the earlier post on this subject, you may want to click here. The caveats and essential points are there, in “Part 1.” This is “Part 2.”

At the end of that “Part 1,” I promised an update if I changed my mind about The Affair. Well, I watched the 3rd episode. Update aside, I’m still not sure about it….

* * *

Presiding at his study’s massive wooden desk (it has to be massive), books on shelves behind him (evidently so we remember what he is supposed to be), the wildly successful novelist father-in-law calls “Noah” – who’s soaking wet from a swim in the pool – in for a hearty man-to-man talk: “So, how’s the writing going?”

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a stack of books and reading glasses.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a stack of books and reading glasses.

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An Affair (Not Yet To Remember)

You may know I’m rarely critical of most others’ writing efforts. That’s largely because I readily appreciate how difficult it is to pen fiction. Moreover, I never offer book reviews here because I believe they are best left to any author’s truly interested readership or to reviewers/ bloggers who review books regularly.

And I’ve got my own books to write, and being “pulled” away from your own work is any author’s biggest problem. Yet keeping an eye generally on “big success” does supply us with evidence for what must be considered the basis for that “success.” However, naturally – as with Fifty Shades of Grey – we may also not always like what we see.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a cartoon television screen.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a cartoon television screen.

Where am I headed with this? I watched another episode of The Affair. If you like the program, and choose to read on, please understand I’m looking at it only from my (one) writer’s perspective. ;-)

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