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Posts posted by Sgt_Markoff

  1. I can't venture a guess as to why they sold out. But it changed their music for the worse (according to the way I see it, anyway) even if it boosted their career or made 'other types of fan' happy. Me, I'm a rocker and I was very disappointed in their decision. I wouldn't change my seat if they were in my row on a plane flight but I'd have to bite my lip not to say something awkward.

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  2. Quote

    We wouldn't expect a Walmart clerk to be an expert on rocket science. How can we expect a white person who has no cultural understanding of slavery from a black person's perspective to say anything relevant?


    This may be true very often in practice --even 99% of the time in practice --but what I'd like to point out is that its also still just a bias, merely being reversed. Its not impossible that a Wal-Mart staffer might ever have anything valid to say. We'd be making a stereotype if we believed that 'absolutely'.

    Look at a guy like Mezz Mezzrow. Technically white. At what point could we say he ought not to talk about the black experience?

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  3. Quote

    "The sons of slaveholders quickly recovered their fathers' wealth".


    Quickly? I wouldnt agree with that based on what I've read this month from Foner. The plantation system was far too devastated. By the age of the Great Fortunes (late 1800s, turn of the new century) yes, I would agree that wealth had resurged. Enough time had passed.

  4. Quote

    An Italian American director might pretend to think she knows what the black experience in America is like, but she cannot really know what the culture is all about


    But like the old saying goes, an author doesn't actually have to murder anyone in order to write a murder mystery. TopB you may be insisting (in your last post) on enforcing the standard of 'direct experience' from the best of intentions; even though its the obverse proposition. Its rather like, applying a 'negative restriction' instead of a 'positive' one.

    If I say "I wrote this murder story" you could put me on the spot by asking me whether I have any murder experience. If I don't, then what right do I have to pretend? Well ...who is to say I am pretending? I'm not going to go out and murder merely to suit what you deem my authenticity level ought to be, right?

    Stephen Crane didn't have any actual battlefield experience, yet he wrote 'Red Badge of Courage' by a variety of means as best he could. Interviews, etc. No one ever said he wasn't a valid war novelist.

    We hear a lot more dubious accusations these days (Beryl Markham, or the 'How Green Was My Valley' scandal, etc) but this just may be a factor merely of our new era of yellow journalism.

    The accusations leveled at Henry Steele Commager by a black critic fall out the same way. Was Commager any less of a historian because he wouldn't coddle an ethnocentric, biased, special-interest style of writing  history? Whether yes or no, we don't restrict his career opportunities.

  5. Vautrin's remark rings true. 1865, 1866, and 1867 were huge crop failures in the South. Former slaves forced from economic necessity to return to their old masters for work often received less 'means' (in the form of the new wages system) to live on --ironically--than under the plantation system where they had guaranteed vegetable gardens. I was surprised to read that on a plantation, slave quarters were communal; meals were potluck and elderly slaves took communal care of infants while the adults and children worked the field. Once thrown onto the free labor market all of this became incredibly hard to manage in single family dwellings. Of course, the freedmen were still overjoyed to be able to set their own work hours, no corporal punishment, managing their own lives and households, travel, education, etc. 

    El Cid, if anything I'm mulling aloud here is poorly articulated on my part please say so. I'd be glad to be corrected. I've never lived down South so I may not be as attuned in as you are to this subject matter.

  6. here's an example of the current wisdom going around the market:



    ‘authenticity’ is the buzzword of the moment. It’s for this reason ‘Own Voices’ narratives are so popular, because they are about first-hand experiences. It stands to reason that a writer with more personal knowledge would have more credibility writing about the struggles they have faced.

    Though this might seem common-sense, this has not always been the case … What’s more, for all the whinging about diversity by aggrieved writers like Lionel Shriver, it is still not the standard now. Men still write women’s stories as standard. White people tell the stories of people of colour. Straight people of the LGBT community’s. Non-disabled people tell disabled people’s stories … And so on.

    This is why the notion of ‘cultural appropriation’ is part of the conversation. Effectively, we are talking about  highjacking others’ experiences and passing them off as our own. But by the same token, insisting diverse writers ONLY write ‘Own Voices’ narratives would also be an issue. We would be forcing them into a box, saying their experience is the only thing of value they offer. This, too, is absurd



  7. Those are worthwhile inputs Cid Man. I'm going to pass on your tip to my various reading groups. I sure wasn't aware of any such organization (SHA); and I frequently devour all sorts of history books. I have to reckon that most men-in-the-street have probably had even less opportunity to become apprised of this kind of resource. The Civil War itself has gotten some big theatrical play in contemporary times; but as we all know Hollywood needs some kind of 'succinct' story to dramatize.

    When I suggest that the era suffers from lack of widespread familiarity in today's marketplace of ideas, I think thats a safe statement despite the work of this really-interesting looking research outfit. Here's one example: Henry Steele Commager, who influenced a generation of American historians.


    But because he insisted on trying to write as 'unbiased' history as possible, this got him in hot water with both Right and Left. Look what happened to his reputation later in life (3/4 way down the page). To me, the ire he received reinforces the idea that people want to make up their own minds about Reconstruction. The legacy of the 1800s --despite best intentions of groups like SHA--is still perhaps the most befogged and bedeviled period of our country.

    By the way your question: 'why not get a white Southerner to direct?". This is mighty incisive point. What you and TopB are both probing is the common problem of 'FAE' error. The supposition that 'what' someone is, indicates how they think.


  8. Quote

    or if Coppola had directed SHAFT instead of Parks...wouldn't that affect the way the story is told? I think so.

    I also think these kinds of projects are often politically motivated. And are they really covering new ground?


    These are really murky waters to chart a course through. Its tempting to draw assumptions. All I can mention is that these issues are beginning to gain a lot of attention these days in the writing market, thanks the climate of general uproar over sensitivity. For example, Hollywood right now has a trend of insisting on 'authentic voices' (as well as 'new' voices) and diversity (or perhaps just tokenism) is clamored for. The very question you raise here is coming more to the surface than ever.

    Regarding your last question I've reprinted here yes I would say that this particular timeperiod between the Civil War and the 20th Century is widely under-studied and yet is one of the most crucial episodes. Begging be understood better.

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  9. It's a mistake to frame the struggle in simplistic terms like this: 'deal with the backlash of how they oppressed and marginalized other human beings'. For instance, take a look at something like the draft riots in New York City in 1863. That wasn't plantation owners. The whole country was torn apart and only slowly being put back together.


    Despite the work of abolitionists, even northern states and border states only slowly changed their laws regarding treatment of the negro. For years after the war, streetcars were segregated, blacks could not serve on juries or testify in trials against whites, or vote. All sorts of backwardism.

    Plans and designs for how to reconstruct the nation --once the union was restored --began in the middle of the war and had a direct influence on the handling of the conflict. It was an extremely complex situation and although many people might be unaware of this, Lincoln vacillated quite a bit on how to go about it. There was even (briefly) a plan to relocate all former slaves to islands in the Caribbean.

    As far as backlash: no one got off scot-free. There was misery enough to go around for everyone. The chapter I'm currently reading deals with a few aspects like this:

    • the US Government initially promised to grant every slave family 40 acres of land as a reparation; (but then the offer was withdrawn). Origin of the phrase 'forty acres and a mule'.
    • an enormous agency was established to manage the entirely new system of free-market labor that the South had to adapt to. In many cases, former slaves continued to work for their former masters, but now merely under a wage system. You can imagine the strife and confusion.
    • as the Union Army took possession of more of rebel states, blacks took to the roads in huge numbers. Under the plantation system of course, blacks could never travel anywhere. They now took huge delight in 'roaming at will'.
    • massive internal divisions in the black community itself: 'freedmen' vs 'former slaves' did not always see eye-to-eye on how to get along
    • Education: former slaves were rapacious in their hunger for books and reading. They devoured books and attended school in huge numbers
    • the growth of southern black Baptist churches took place in this era, many black congregations forming because (astoundingly) white churches still practiced segregation years after the war
    • former slaves were possessed of much misinformation. They believed their old masters were going to be tried in courts, they believed they now owned all the land they had ever worked on, they squatted in the plantation houses, etc etc etc
    • US Reconstruction was the largest ever dispossession of property and land, ever taken by any government towards its citizens. Plantation owners lost fortunes, and were never recompensed.
    • leading newspapers of the day were not always spearheading liberality; some headlines even in Northern papers were outlandish; wondering 'if freed slaves would work or if they would just lay around and expect to be taken care of', etc etc etc. This was the beginning of the country's welfare system and welfare problems.
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  10. This happens to be close to the title of a history book I'm currently reading; ("Reconstruction: 1863 - 1877 America's Unfinished Revolution", 773 pps)  and I chose it because it is authoritative in the field. Author Eric Foner is preeminent in this subject matter; I hope they consulted his materials when they produced this series. Foner is the son of another famous American historian I enjoy: Jack D. Foner, who documented the long struggle of America's labor unions.

    Anyway the timeperiod in question is indeed, extraordinary in the vast, sweeping changes wrought upon the face of the country. America (prior to the Civil War), was a sleepy, agrarian nation much in the model that Thomas Jefferson once envisioned. Outside the cities, just a motley patchwork of scattered farms. Prior to the war, the USA had no standing army; no national debt; no taxes, no large-scale financial institutions; hardly any bureaucracy. All that was transformed between the Civil War and the dawning of the 1900s. Tremendous change.

    I'm 160 pages in so far, and its really an eye-opener. So many of the insoluble social problems we grapple with today, stem directly from this crucial era when a lot of hasty decisions had to be made.

    Hard to imagine how to turn it all into an entertaining multi-media presentation but I hope they do a good job. I wonder if the source credits are available on IMDb?

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  11. Okay maybe 'Persuaders' doesn't need to be included in the list above; after all its more action-comedy than dramatic. Moore is made for light roles; I can enjoy him in 'the Saint' (although I prefer Patrick McGoohan's series 'Secret Agent' or 'Prisoner' far more). But he almost always lacks credibility in any more taut thriller (at least for me anyway). I can barely even defend him as Bond and only then if forced to remind the hideous fans of contemporary EON about the merits of classic EON. Otherwise Moore has soured too many flicks for me to admire him. Sorely limited actor; although I agree he was quite a nice guy and a professional. I'm glad he won the esteem of his colleagues.

  12. 'going for a buggy ride' or 'just got back from a buggy ride' used to specifically mean, coming back from likely, a sexual rendezvous of some sort where both parties were willing. If you phrase this question the wrong way it could sound as if you're implying ...impropriety.

  13. Roger Moore with just about anyone in any film. He's played with Michael Caine ('Bullseye'), Lee Marvin ('Shout at the Devil'), Tony Curtis ('the Persuaders') and Stacy Keach in something-I-can't-recall. It rarely works unless his co-star has the same accent, (like Susannah York in 'That Lucky Touch'). Almost the only film I like him in, is 'The Wild Geese'

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  14. Well...prostitutes, pimps, strippers; accordion-playing hobos murdering little blind girls...I guess its not hard to see why it might not be to Fred's taste. Not sure what to say about it though, I heart Fred Astaire.

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