~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tom Stoppard: Astute man

Playwright Tom Stoppard pens an interesting (and beautifully written, of course) editorial in the London Times on his estrangement from the 60's counterculture:

By the mid1960s young people started off with more liberty than they knew what to do with, but confused it with sexual liberation and the freedom to get high so it all went to waste – wasted, that is, in a cultural revolution rather than social revolution.

On a related note, good art resists translation into another medium, or so my old film professor said. Ace hints at this here:

By the way, I have to be honest: [Stoppard's film] Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is good, cheeky fun, but it's a bit too cutesy and Pinteresque in its meta-ness, and, I have to say, a bit overrated. It's one part pure whimsy (Lewis Carroll does Hamlet) and one part intellectual airiness with a dollop of existentialism mixed in as a thickening agent. Good, but not great. Funny, but smile-funny and not laugh-funny. I like it, but I can't bullshit you and say it's the greatest movie ever made just because the author/director is on our side.

While I like the movie, R&G works much better on the stage, where the willing suspension of disbelief is easier. Much of that expectation of disbelief is written into the text, I think. Take Michael Crichton, whose novels always read like screenplays waiting for the camera to roll. Contrast Sunset Boulevard, which works better as a film than as musical farce. Finally, consider Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Fantastic work of radio fiction, works well in print, too. But I was ready to kill everyone involved with that disastrous movie!

It's not the only standard by which good art is judged,but "resists translation" is a good starting criterion.

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