Sunday, December 22, 2013

the Shetterly cut of Costner's Wyatt Earp

Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp is one of our favorite examples of trying to put too much into a story. When we watched it in the theater, a fascinating thing happened: after each sequence, I thought, "That wasn't bad, but it should've been cut." The Shetterly cut starts with Wyatt meeting Doc in Fort Griffin and ends when the last of the Tombstone cowboys are killed. Running time: One hour and 41 minutes.

Tombstone: the Shetterly cut of the director's cut, aka the Doc cut

Tombstone is one of my favorite movies, despite its many flaws. As a Christmas present for two people who love it as much as I do, I'm doing a simple edit of the director's cut. For anyone who wants to do something similar, here's what I advise:

1. Cut the opening scenes, the newsreel, the cowboys in Mexico, and the Earps getting off the train in Tucson, so the movie starts with the camera panning up to Doc. (Time deleted: a little over ten minutes.)

2. In the scene where Wyatt meets Josie in the woods, cut just after the shot in which Wyatt says, "Yeah, I'm an oak, all right" to the scene that opens with Mattie drinking laudanum. I'm especially proud of this cut. It eliminates bits where Dana Delany really needed a director who would've helped her sound less like a conventional woman of the 1990s and more like an unconventional woman of the 1880s, and it heightens the Wyatt-Josie-Mattie storyline. (Time deleted: four minutes, but for some of us, it feels like hours.)

3. Cut from Doc's death to the credits. Amusingly to me, this cut deletes George P. Cosmatos's director's credit, which, given the troubled history of the movie, may be appropriate. (Time deleted: not quite three minutes of saccharine romance and boring voiceover about what happened to some of the characters after the story was over. Really, when you get to the end of a story, stop.)

I used the director's cut because it has a couple of useful scenes that were cut from the theatrical version, including Doc's farewell to Kate. So the Shetterly cut gives you more plot, more Doc, less Josie, and less dawdling. It loses one action scene, the opening scene that's gratuitous, unoriginal, not true to history, and arguably racist in that it makes the Mexican police look incompetent. Since the Shetterly cut gets rid of more time without action, I'd like to think the most avid action fan would be comfortable with the trade.

Length of director's cut: 134 minutes
Length of theatrical cut: 130 minutes
Length of Shetterly cut: 116 minutes

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ishmael Reed on Black Peter, Krampus and the Real Roots of St. Nick and Santa Claus

Black Peter, Krampus and the Real Roots of St. Nick and Santa Claus - Speakeasy - WSJ: "Black Peter is controversial because the Dutch smear themselves with black face when performing that role. Still, Black Peter is one of the handful of positive traditional images of blacks in Europe. In the popular media in the United States, blacks are sometime portrayed as takers. Black Peter is a giver."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

about feminists who like men and their sexuality

In It’s a Man’s World, and It Always Will Be, Camille Paglia says, "A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism."

She must be speaking of prominent writers rather than all feminists, because I've known a great many feminists who like men. But what strikes me when I think of them is that liking men has nothing to do with their sexuality. Some feminists who like men, including several of my favorite people in the universe, are lesbians. Some feminists who don't like men are straight—liking cock has nothing to do with liking men.

Which should be obvious to anyone who notices that most misogynists are straight, but I never thought about the number of straight misandrists until today.

G.K. Chesterton on rich people and bribes

"You will hear everlastingly, in all discussion about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is rich." —G.K. Chesterton

Friday, December 13, 2013

class quote of the day: Orestes Bronson

"The middle class is always a firm champion of equality when it concerns humbling a class above it, but it is its inveterate foe when it concerns elevating a class below it." —Orestes Brownson

Socialism must reclaim the language of individualism

 I tweeted a link to Sara Salem's excellent Marxist feminism as a critique of intersectionality. In a following conversation, Jeremiah Aviles suggested individualism and neoliberal capitalism are essentially the same thing, and Ms. Salem agreed with him, and I think, for twitter purposes, they're right.


They're right because right-libertarianism and neoliberalism both cast the conflict between socialism and capitalism as a conflict between the group and the individual. To capitalists, people under socialism are cogs, robots, disposable parts, interchangeable elements of a system designed to benefit only a few....

Which is to say, what they are under capitalism.

The first socialists and most socialists today are individualists in the casual sense of the word. The goal of socialism is to free individuals from economic desperation so everyone may enjoy the promise of the US Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of happiness. Oscar Wilde wrote in The Soul of Man under Socialism:
Socialism itself will be of value simply because it will lead to Individualism.
(Irrelevant factoid: "Individualism" appears 50 times in that short essay.)

The capitalist philosophy called individualism would be better called robberbaronism, slaverism, or oppressorism, because the individual's power it celebrates is the power to exploit.

Socialist individualism takes a different form. In The Soul of Man, Wilde said:
Art is Individualism, and Individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. Therein lies its immense value. For what it seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
Wilde could not have known that he sensed what Marx and Engels wrote in The German Ideology, a then-unpublished book: soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
Wilde's individualism is the individualism I love. Marx's society in which we all may pursue happiness is the society I want for everyone.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I (sort of) have a character in Milestones, an art show about African American Comics!

A few years ago, Vince Stone and I created Life Force - a short comic for a good cause to encourage people to sign up as bone marrow donors. In honor of Heal Emru / Aide Emru, we updated some public domain superheroes and made the majority black.

Kristopher M. Mosby liked what we did with our main character and did his own version:

That piece will be in Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond:
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum President Melissa Geppi-Bowersox announced the Museum’s collaboration with Inkpot Award recipient Michael Davis of Milestone Media on a historical exhibit featuring numerous artistic examples of African-Americans’ contribution to pop culture throughout America’s cultural revolution.
This makes me ridiculously pleased. If you'll be in Baltimore while the show's running, check it out!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Black Sci-Fi: bits from a 1992 documentary with Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Nichelle Nichols, Steven Barnes, and others

a point about "derailment"

You cannot "derail" a conversation. Conversations flow freely. You can derail agendas, lectures, rants, indoctrination, and propaganda, but if someone says you've derailed a conversation, you weren't in one.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Identitarian unity photo: American Nazis at a Nation of Islam rally

In "Bigotry and the English Language", Ta-Nehisi Coates notes that Nazi George Rockwell praised the Nation of Islam for having...
gathered millions of the dirty, immoral, drunken, filthy-mouthed, lazy and repulsive people sneeringly called ‘niggers’ and inspired them to the point where they are clean, sober, honest, hard working, dignified, dedicated and admirable human beings in spite of their color.
Historically, segregationists approve of segregationists. I wish I could find a picture of Marcus Garvey's meeting with a head of the Ku Klux Klan. Garvey said, "I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together. I like honesty and fair play. You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman, as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying."

If you're a Critical Race Theorist, you may be inclined to agree with him. But if you do, you'll be at odds with W.E.B. DuBois, who said, "Marcus Garvey is the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world."

And this is probably a good time to repeat what Malcolm X realized after he left the Nation of Islam:
I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being–neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there’s no question of integration or intermarriage. It’s just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Socialist Bible Verse: Luke 12:15

"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." —Luke 12:15

Brother Will notes that bit about covetousness should be considered by all self-proclaimed Christians who complain about taxes that help poor folks.

today's news for identitarians

I stumbled on two stories that made me think about the identitarian belief that race matters more than class in the US.

The first, for people who think the Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride cases must be racist: Alzheimer's sufferer Ronald Westbrook killed in 'stand your ground' shooting.

The second, for people who think only black people get railroaded: 25 years gone: Texas inmate Michael Morton cleared in wife's murder. If Morton had the resources of O. J. Simpson, he would've been found not guilty. Instead, he had to wait 25 years for DNA evidence to clear him.