Lousy 21st Century Ideas
Monday, January 9, 2017 83 Comments
Ego-fueled ideas from
already wealthy “just business” people
(with too much money and too little heart-centered education)
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Back to the Monday-Grumpy-Monday Series
Are 21st Century Capitalists Taking America Backwards?
Each year during the Christmas Season I seek out my favorite classic Christmas films to watch again: White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, and many other films that have stood the test of time with a jaded American public.
This year I finally located one of my lesser-known favorites, “A Christmas Memory,” adapted from a short story by Truman Capote, originally published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1956, and reprinted in The Selected Writings of Truman Capote in 1963.
The largely autobiographical story takes place in the 1930s, beautifully recreating a period in the lives of the seven-year-old narrator and an elderly woman who is his distant cousin and best friend.
The evocative narrative focuses on country life, friendship, and the joy of giving during the Christmas season, and it also gently yet poignantly touches on loneliness and loss.
Now a holiday classic, “A Christmas Memory” has been broadcast, recorded, filmed, and staged multiple times, in award-winning productions. ~ From Wikipedia
I don’t particularly care for remakes. It makes me sad and more than a little unsettled almost every time the marketing for yet another remake darkens my horizon.
There is SO much writing talent that studio executives could hire to create new films. Piles of potentially brilliant new films languish unread or are returned unopened by those hot-shot decision makers.
I suppose there are remakes that improve over the original production but, for the most part, it is only through the corrupted lenses of ego and corporate capitalism that I can understand the rationale behind remakes at all.
However, I strongly prefer remakes to the rude and ham-fisted
alteration of the originals I see far too often today.
For those who don’t know
Classic black and white films were crafted by professional cinematographers – artists – who understood the interplay between light and shadow and used it to visual effect to underscore the themes of each of the scenes in those films. Some of those old films (and old black and white photos) are visual masterpieces.
Many of the films I still adore were created at a time when the use of color was either nonexistent or a new and novel technology that had not yet proven its worth as a studio investment.
I cherish the dramatic nuance in those old black and white films, which is obliterated in the colorized versions. Actually, one of the worst things about the colorization of black and white films is that what works beautifully in black and white may not necessarily work at all in color.
Related: Read more about the artistic merits of black and white films below
25 Black & White Films for People Who Don’t Like Them
Unfortunately, it is getting more and more difficult to find classic films that have not been colored over — “thanks” to money-rich and education-poor “entrepreneurs” obsessed with acquiring more wealth than most of us would spend in several lifetimes, selling their colorized versions to new “markets.”
And, since art education is no longer considered worthy of inclusion in our common-core public education curriculum, much of the American public actually considers the colorized versions better.
They actually seek them out, eager to purchase or rent – further lining the pockets of those narrowly educated, 1% just-business capitalists.
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Why they do it
It’s easy to see why studios loved colorization. What business wouldn’t like a little trick where it could nearly double its investment just by dusting off an old product it had sitting on the shelf?
Filmmakers weren’t as crazy about it, though. They had spent hundreds of hours painstakingly crafting their films, and they didn’t want anyone mucking around with their visuals.
Ted Turner was perhaps the most visible proponent of colorizing films throughout the 1980s. Turner International owned a gigantic library of old films, and Turner … saw these old movies as a potential cash cow.
In 1985, Turner announced that he was considering colorizing Citizen Kane. Orson Welles was in failing health by then, but just a few weeks before he died he asked a friend, ‘Don’t let Ted Turner deface my movie with his crayons.’ “
Common Core – a recipe for a “common” populace
It is a heartbreak that our American educational system has been so limited for so long that art and artists from a great many venues are now disrespected in a manner where colorizing is considered a GOOD thing, and by far too many Americans.
I am so grateful that I was fortunate enough to be educated at a time before political pundits decided that programs for art, music and theatre education were superfluous.
God forbid America should have a reputation for a broadly educated populace taught to appreciate the brilliance in others, or to think for themselves, or to recognize mediocre or cruel ideas bandied about for what they truly are. (Horrors, it might even show up in how they vote every four years! We can’t have THAT, can we?)
What’s your next gazillionaire Big Idea, 1% hotshots?
- Hey, why don’t you buy an art gallery with a fabulous collection so you can hire someone to paint over the pictures in the “colors of the year” to attract more visitors? People would pay to see them, no doubt, and some would even buy them — and that’s ALL that matters to you, right?
- How about buying the rights to the works of Shakespeare so that you could “modernize” the language for a dumbed-down populace that barely reads anymore anyway? Or, hey, let’s overdub the voices in all the classic films with the voices of the Little Mermaid and the Snow Queen or a currently trending rapper?
- Maybe you could purchase the rights to classic recordings so you can replace those tired old voices with rock stars or popular entertainers whose singing lacks depth, but whose images will look good on the cover of whatever today’s version of a record jacket happens to be?
Do you REALLY want to leave an ego-fueled legacy that’s not yours to leave and will, ultimately prove to be an embarrassment to your memory?
Or has life become ALL about money these days?
Here’s an idea
If WE don’t buy, they can’t sell. Maybe they’ll move on to create the next barely-literate iPhone addiction format or something, STOP nonsense like this and START purchasing to protect rather than destroy – like the amazing Loretta Hines Howard, who donated a priceless Precepeo to the Met.
It’s worth a shot – especially during the next four years. The 1% now in charge will most certainly need our guidance in a language they are likely to hear: profit and loss.
ABOUT the Angel Tree & AMAZING nativity
(a video tour narrated by Linn Howard, the daughter of the woman
who donated it to NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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- The Monday Grumpy Monday intro post (‘Sup with this Series?)
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‘Round the ‘net
- How – and why – are films colorized?
- Stills from “A Christmas Memory” (Perry 1956)
- 25 Black and White Films for People Who Don’t Like Black and White Movies
- About “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote
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