STUPID: Novel Writing

I am not unhappy. I’m complacent. 

Under the mistaken impression that everyone was writing a novel in November, NANOWRIMO, I said, “I’ll try.” I’ve already written a novel this year: JUNKETS, iBookstore, michaelulinedwards, 99 cents, an espionage story without the flair of Ian Fleming or James Bond but funny and humorous.

Having advanced notice, I began novel writing in October with no theme and no concept, just write and continue writing. The protagonist ran through Chapters One and Two.

I can correct this in rewriting and revisions, but with the next text I began writing my thoughts about writing. Writing is what I believed my protagonist was doing. I stayed with the third person using my character’s name, rather than personalize the story to “I.”

I have 40,000 words with no iota of an idea, a particle of a plot, a fragment of fancy left in me.It’s not too bad considering I gave up on character development 30,000 words ago.

While writing it took a while to realize this is no novel [last weekend]. It’s an essay or worse. Reminiscences, a memoir or autobiography. I wrote a long book about university days [Bitch., a verb not a noun, a period not a dot, iBookstore, michaelulinedwards, Berkeley 1968-1973]. Afterward I vowed never again to write anything in that genre – autobiography, memoirs or reminiscences – true life or fibs.

Yet that is what I have in the 40,000 words, draft one. Thoughts and impressions of writing and my writing career. There’s no organization to it at all. I tossed in everything. I’ll learn whether there is an unconscious organization in my brain. A week ago upon finishing a topic, I believe I had a theme in it. Don’t ask which one or what it is about.

This week I asked myself, what to write next. I had a bunch of unrelated subjects – writing in coffee shops, intellectualism in the creative process, bookstores, and this morning, copyediting. I wrote sentences, one paragraph or multiple paragraphs, and I dumped all those unrelated subjects at the end.

Before Thanksgiving I thought, time to research. Learn what other writers have published: Library time. Books are essay-like with autobiographical overtones. Likely I’m stuck in this genre. Upon rereading something will likely make sense, and I can put all the pieces together in a massive cut and paste. It will be a masterpiece to add to two novels, already written about writing but not edited. 

That all may be a madness. I’ve gotten a lot of errant thoughts out of my brain and away from my being. That is helpful. I know, however, I won’t rewrite right away.

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TRUE BELIEVER: ATROCITY

TRUE BELIEVER by Kurt Andersen

Do not buy this book. Waste no time reading it.

Andersen has presented America with a gross self-promotion, and he flat out misrepresents that this book is about the 1960s. Author Andersen is a National Public Radio host, a New York personality and a contributor to The Daily Beast. When asked by that Internet website to compile a list of his favorite books about the Sixties, Andersen put his book as Number One.

True Believer story: Woman in her sixties is writing her memoirs. The first chapter tells of her current life (divorce, professional status, etc.) She says she saved every document about her life from birth certificate to date, but the text belies she did that or she knows what she is writing about. Because of a poorly contrived literary contrivance of this book, I’ll call this woman First Person Girl.

In Chapter One Andersen introduces First Person Girl who is writing her memoirs. The first chapter is first person. Almost every chapter for 250 pages is First Person Girl in her sixties, as a child or as a teenager, and she is always “I.” Flitting between the present day and the Sixties (and sometimes events in between the Sixties and present day) requires a reader with a very complete memory of those 60 years just to know the references. Andersen does not tell what any character is actually thinking and why she is next doing something or changing her mind. He presents no life, no character changes and no character development. The book is a recitation of unconnected events with First Person Girl among them or mentioning them, along with more current and past events. Andersen tries to connect the reader to references by making First Person Girl a James Bond fan. What Andersen accomplishes is making First Person Girl silly, supercilious and superficial.

After introducing First Person Girl in Chapter One, most novelists would drop into the life of the subject. NOPE. There are improbable conversations. A grandchild asks First Person Girl, tell about the hippies. Did you smoke marijuana?!

Of 428 pages of text about half is present day stuff, and the remainder about the Sixties and references to facts in between (Princess Diane’s death). When writing, Andersen opened a reference book of events by year and asked himself: What am I going to put on the page from which year? The Mall March, August 1963, Harry Belafonte wasn’t identified as being there, but the lesser known in 1963 Sidney Poitier was. Next in that chapter was the “first real conversation about the Negro question with a Negro,” the family’s cleaning woman.(page 102) Violet complains, gives impressions and tells aspirations of the Civil Rights Movement, but it conveys nothing. Violet is not a real person; she’s a token stuck in so five pages can be devoted to Civil Rights exposition. First Person Girl next summarizes Violet’s conversations over “hundreds of hours…over the previous decade.”(105) [Which decade and when did First Person Girl have the conversations? Violet dies at age 51 within a decade.] Nothing is learned from the bald recitation of facts and impressions in the contrived, counterfeit drivel. Readers have no insight into Violet’s life, the life and times of the Sixties in general or of the Civil Rights Movement broadly.

It finally became apparent that First Person Girl grew up, in the Midwest, likely Northern Illinois. There are a few lines about listening to the Cubs game but no mention of Ernie Banks. There is a reference of going to Milwaukee, but not to Milwaukee Braves games or seeing Hank Aaron. On page 111 I thought these people were Canadians – a reference is made to “Canadian sophistication.” I was mistaken.

The idle and frequent references to events in the Sixties have no order, no significance and no relevance. They don’t put the reader in the human lives of those times, and they don’t tell what Americans were thinking. While flitting between 2012 and the Sixties, Andersen mentions Le Bron James (305) but fails to mention New York kid, Lew Alcindor [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar], UCLA basketball [nine championships in eleven years] or Cassius Clay [Mohammad Ali]. If Andersen were interested in young forwards playing basketball in the Sixties, he might have mentioned Rick Berry or Julius Erving. NOPE. In an appeal to the modern crowd but conveying nothing, Anderson mentions Mark Zuckerberg (308). The name dropping adds nothing; it tells nothing. It is a waste of ink, paper and distracts from any story of the Sixties. Indeed, while relying heavily on cliches and name dropping, it is important to get everything right and imprudent, lazy and i!rresponsible to use slogans twice: “Hey, hey, LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?” (187, 328)

What wasn’t mentioned about the Sixties? A good economy but not much about the World or even Vietnam. Sports wise omitted were the Boston Celtics, Wilt Chamberlain, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, the New York Mets and the Packers. Movies were mentioned but not Doctor Zhivago, The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Joe or The Last Summer (excellent, brutal, cruel story about social pressure among teenagers). “The Smothers Brothers” TV show is mentioned but not Pat Paulson for President. There are no other presidential candidates in 1968 other than Nixon and Humphrey. There were no gays and lesbians in the Sixties. Andersen apparently was not part of any rioting; he mentions riots but not what it is like to be inside a riot. The April 1968 C!hicago riot is not mentioned.

The research for True Believer is poor. It reveals Andersen had his ears closed; his eyes shut; his mouth covered, his hands in mittens. He was a sheltered teenager who went to Harvard University in 1970 after that school had its campus student uprisings. A book was written and published within a year of those events; it tells of the low-key protests. The other excellent book from 1972 gives a decade’s events at Harvard: The Fall of the American University, Adam Ulam.

Approximately page 250 to page 370 First Person Girl, who has juvenile diabetes, fades. Andersen more or less slips into a third person story. First Person Girl goes to Radcliffe, so is an adjunct of Harvard. A Harvard-Radcliffe “cult” (Andersen’s word) forms, is secret, purportedly disciplined, supposedly motivated, presumably knowledgable, financially capable and with the means to change the world. They use artistic license from The Theater: Since everyone in the cult is highly educated, there are show-off references by cult members about other cult members – characters from Shakespeare’s plays like Mr. Indecisive of the cult, Hamlet. That is an idea for use in a movie, but it does not reflect any reality of cults or from any group of the Sixties. The Shakespeare references indicate Andersen’s abysmal failure to research any revolutionary or radical movement or group which was successful. He could have started by reading the writings of Harvard professor, Adam Ulam.

Cults exist through psychological and physical coercion and force, and emotional dependency. Add ideology and there is an political dimension. In the 1960s drugs were used to create submissive, compliant beings, following a Leader to Earth’s end. But drugs and diabetes? First Person Girl does drugs and gets by. Another cult tool was sex, especially with the Leader. Sex sealed relationships and secured devotion. First Person Girl had a boyfriend. I infer he was a Leader of some sort, so he had her exclusively. Anderson doesn’t tell his cult-sex-life, but no doubt Boyfriend was actively porking everything he could. Was there an emotional toll on First Person Girl?

It is difficult to determine which true beliefs anyone in the cult had because there seems no Leader, no herald, no Joshua. The cult decides to assassinate LBJ, President of USA. Because of this limited goal Andersen’s cult is mislabeled. It is closer to a cell. The cult plans, gets prepared, gets into place: LBJ gives his quitter speech on March 31, 1968, and everyone in the cult realizes the assassination should no longer be carried out. Members listen to a Bob Dylan song, and one or two cult members sing along.(336-337) That’s not much of a cult, a cell or any other type of group, except a bunch of spoiled, rich Ivy League Ivory Tower morons occupying this asshole story.

Andersen, though, does not give up. The story is wanting, but he wants a longer book. He drops in more events, and more names. Page 393 students of Harvard (I believe) chant: “Dare to struggle, dare to win, Charles Manson, live like him.” It is extremely doubtful this was chanted in the fall of 1968 or any other time in public. Charles Manson was completely unknown in 1968. The Tate-Labianca murders happened in August 1969. Manson and those murders were anathema to the New Left. When Bernadine Dohrn [name dropped along with Bill Aryes in True Believer, 110] praised the death of Sharon Tate, Leftists said about Dohrn, Aryes and their followers, “The Weather Vain:” “You don’t need to be a Weatherman to know who the assholes are.”

The next page, 394, Andersen bounces to March 1970 – townhouse in New York City explodes; it is a bomb making factory. He regresses to November 1969 with revelation of the massacre on My Lai, Vietnam. He rushes into the future to the killings at Kent State, May 4, 1970. This whipsawing is nonsensical, word wasting, page filing and reveals Andersen is not writing a novel but is listing events and is making up crap about each happening.

I looked for evidence of research. None. In ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Andersen writes condescendingly, “…there were things I needed to learn about…young women in the 1960s.” [Men have penises; women have vaginas.] “I am grateful to all the women I’ve known – in particular to those I know and love the best [names omitted to protect the unwary] for their specific suggestions and corrections, and for splendidly teaching me day in and day out how the other half lives.”

None of Andersen’s female sources appeared to be around during the Sixties, and Andersen read nothing: Not Betty Friedan, not Robin Morgan, not Valerie Solanas, nothing about SDS and the New Left and not Alice Echol’s excellent book, Dare to Be Bad. A defining moment of the women’s movements occurred at a New Left meeting during the summer of 1967. New Leftists were droning on about issues, agenda and dogma. Shulamith Firestone, a tiny, determined woman, got to the microphone with points she wanted raised and discussed. A guy dismissed her (paraphrased): Don’t bother us little girl. We’re talking about real issues.

From that time on, the New Left, radicals, revolutionaries and other groups had difficulty obtaining women. It was fatal to those causes because women were the oil that allowed the machines to function and keep relations civil. Women, who were conscious [not First Person Girl], were unwilling to be mothers to men their own age. They wanted to be women and adopt other roles as opportunities arose. There were arguments over this stance, and especially about no kitchen duty, no cooking duty, no housework, no typing. None of these female concerns were mentioned in Andersen’s cult or in True Believer. It is too bad because if the women he loved had informed Andersen, True Believer may not have been published.

What sort of research should Andersen have done? I cannot tell which sources are available today. When I wrote Bitch., a period not a dot, a verb not a noun (iBookstore, Michael Ulin Edwards), the Berkeley campus housed the one library with the collection of liberationist and feminist texts which had existed in Berkeley since 1970. I wrote the first draft of Bitch., and I returned to that library for research. It was gone. The books (about 10,000) had been moved.

Whereto? Berkeley was going through a spring cleaning trying to free space for new groups with new interests. Women’s issues were passé, especially the thoughts and imperfect expressions from the late Sixties and early Seventies. The books (and I suppose magazines, articles and pamphlets) went to the main library where they were culled. Not many went into the library collections; some went to other UC libraries. Many of the women’s books were mass market paperbacks, and those were put up for sale, a nickel a piece. If there were no buyers, the books were recycled. I paid five cents, found books in libraries, in used bookstores, in library bookstores and at garage and yard sales. I likely read 500 books and looked at another 500.

Reading True Believer, I have no inkling, no sense, no impression that Kurt Andersen researched any issue on any point he mentions: Hippies, Street People, the New Left, Harvard student protests, women, Vietnam, anti-war movement and marches, and liberation issues. He didn’t live among any of those people, so he lacks experience on that level. He may have vast experience with one issue: drugs. 

In True Believer an issue of writing arises. Any author, especially someone writing a memoir as a novel, has a voice separate and apart from the character in the novel. Mark Twain did it as well as can be done in Huckleberry Finn. In True Believer there is no indication that Andersen keeps himself separate from First Person Girl’s voice. Andersen never abandons the author’s voice. Indeed none of the characters have his or her own voice. An example:  

                     “As the Movement grew, and antiwar protests became regular bi-annual festivals of rage,

                   and we learned from the Seed, Chicago’s new underground paper, that Negro riots were

                   actually black rebellions, the adults grew less indulgent. I saw a poll showing that in the

                   last two years, Americans’ support for civil rights demonstrations – civil rights – had dropped

                   from 42 percent to 17 percent. Which meant push was coming to shove. Alex had mentioned 

                   McGeorge Bundy, President Johnson’s national security adviser, because I’d just written an

                   editorial for the school paper arguing that New Trier’s speaking invitations to him and the White

                   House press secretary should be withdrawn. ‘These two men,’ I wrote, ‘share responsibility

                   for the death’s of eight thousand American soldiers and the murder of untold thousands of

                   Vietnamese women and children. While freedom of speech is important, refusing to condone

                   needless death can be more important. As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

                   once said, if words ‘create a clear and present danger [such] that they will bring around…

                   substantive evils,’ they should be prohibited.’ My mother called my article ‘extremely well

                   written.’ That was also what she’d said about my editorial in the fall approving the assassination

                   of South Africa’s apartheidist prime minister. But this time she said that my argument struck

                   her as ‘nutty as a fruitcake…’”

                   True Believer, p. 211-212.

Mamas are prone to undue, unwarranted praise. It’s good that this family cliche is in the text for a personal touch. This paragraph begins with the Movement (Leftist, anti-war, civil rights, Black – which one?). It races onto Negro city riots and Underground Newspapers. It mentions Americans ebbing support for civil rights. There’s push “coming to shove,” a cliche with references to nothing in the book and nothing during the Sixties or in the present day. There are invitations to Presidential aides, and how wrong those invitations are. Next is First Person Girl’s editorial, mentioning freedom of speech and Oliver Wendell Holmes. There is apartheid in South Africa and the assassination of a prime minister, the family reaction and the potential Generation Gap.

There is a lot going on in this paragraph, too much for a 16 year old girl(210). It’s 1965: First Person Girl graduates in 1967; she goes to college. If she is referring to anti-war protests, the first large scale “festivals of rage” happened nationally after she graduated from high school. The American death toll in Vietnam reached 8,000 in the Spring of 1966. Chicago had its first large scale race riots after she was at Radcliffe. And it is inconsistent for a James Bond fan in 1966 to be editorializing about the Vietnam when alternative lifestyles may not have been part of her life. Indeed, First Person Girl seems uncomfortable describing any alternative lifestyles as well as living within them. Her life at Radcliffe in the cult seems sterile. Take something as simple as hair. Did First Person Girl have long hair? Did she thread-braid it? Moreover, would First Person Girl think this paragraph should be in her memoirs, thus representing any part of her life? Certainly her mother wouldn’t say it was well-written. 

Instead it is the author’s voice the reader is hearing.  

WOMEN: PERFECT HALLOWEEN CHARACTERS

On Halloween, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Section, page 1, had the following sentences, “A spate of supernatural series that has the TV industry spellbound simply fulfills need for strong female characters.” That caption to the picture read, “Julia Ormond’s character projects authority and power while protecting her daughters in Lifetimes ‘Witches of Eastwick.'” The article is further aglow about powerful women characters: “Witches, Crones, Harpies, Furies and Amazons.”

Really?

Since Harry Potter began, the Milleniums and the IC [Internet-Cloud] generations have gone gaga over supernatural figures, and heroes and cartoon characters found in comic books. That’s real life. It’s the reason why many twenty-somethings are living at home after college. They’re deep in student debt, have financial obligations and no income. They have the next sequel of Batman, Ironman, Superman and Spider Man to save them from evil forces, and everyone will live happily ever after in a world of soft goodness and complete understanding. Miracles happen. The Second Coming of who or what is upon us.

Nowadays there are women wanting to get ahead, whether they are at the hairdresser, watching DVDs in their parents’ TV room, following football and basketball games, at work in a job for which they were overqualified, or she is studying mathematics to understand economic theories.  According to current culture and society, her heroes are witches, crones, harpies, furies, Amazons, as well as the usual vamps, vampires and vixens.  It’s a great time to be a man because every man knows that’s what women are. Women must use supernatural, extraterritorial, overarching, spiritual communion, and so on to make her way in the world: Be a she-women to overcome the he-men. Be a wedge to our maneuver a hunk. Be a ball buster in a testical world. Huba-huba, buba-baby.

Monica Lewinsky tried that with Bill Clinton, and I’m not sure where it left her as a human being. We are centered on human beings, not supernatural beasts with male or female genitalia, both or none. What do the grunting-grubbing producers in Hollywood say? Getting and maintaining status for women is not in the paycheck. It is in the message. When a female superhero acts, she is open and obvious. Women do not have to coo, coax, wile or suggest. That’s passé, from the Fifties. Human beings have evolved beyond implications and inferences. Be upfront. Appear naked on the Internet! Show the world the woman you are!

When a woman has quiet time with husband or boyfriend, and things need saying but you don’t want an argument: You want his thoughts and hopes about you and the relationship, devotion and warmth – signs from him that he spends as much time as you have given to him and the relationship. It has always been a problem of communication – suggestion, implication, cajoling, teasing – but NOT today. No one expects subtlety. Be Xena instead, exerting authority, exercising power, exorcising demons and emasculating…

Are the Mistress of the Universe movies today better than films about human relations from the Fifties? Consider Crime of Passion, Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, Raymond Burr. Stanwyck is a successful journalist in San Francisco with an Ask Abby column. She meets Hayden, Lieutenant LAPD on a murder case in Frisco. She beats him to the suspect. He proposes, and she leaves her career to become wife in LA. 

Although well-thought of and promising, Hayden is willing to wait for promotion. Being a housewife Stanwyck is bored. At a party she wants to join the conversation of the men where the conversation is about the police department. But she is relegated to the officers’ wives talking about casseroles. Stanwyck uses her abilities to move him high in the department. She sleeps with his superior, Burr, and because Burr refuses the promotion to an open position, she kills Burr. Hayden learns is wife killed Burr and walks her to booking in a poignant final scene.

Crime of Passion is a movie showing human issues, women living demeaning lives and never using their abilities. Today Stanwyck’s part would be held by a supernatural woman or a psychologically damaged woman to show her fallibilities and provide reasons for her actions. Stanwyck would never take the modern part especially if she had to cast a spell. That act and that bit of acting would diminish Stanwyck as a human being and as a woman. Stanwyck would take roles like Crime of Passion because she had to meet life as it came to her character and work through the problems.

For today’s films – fantasy, wonderment, fairy tales, comic book flicks – I suspect actresses capable to playing human beings like Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis need not apply.

ME, A HERO

Another website said Casey Affleck claimed to rescue a repairman. He made this rescue self-award announcement on late night TV, all to enhance his image and to gas his career.

The world should know of my rescue efforts, successful and unsuccessful, so the human race will flock to the iBookstore and buy my novels and one history, Michael Ulin Edwards, Author.

I’ve rescued a fireman, a police officer and a civil servant. I don’t know the details about the fireman, but I saved an officer from complete embarrassment by writing a court brief after he gave me a ticket for jaywalking. The charge was dismissed. I raised the self-esteem of a civil servant by asking a question “no one has ever asked before.” For the remainder of the day that government employee felt useful and fulfilled.

Last week I helped an old lady, a vegan, cross the street, and two weeks ago I held a door for a woman pushing a stroller. I didn’t see the kid. I held a ladder for a repairman so he wouldn’t fall on me.

I tried to save last summer’s goldfish before they sailed down the drain into the LA sewer system.

I’m a good person. Buy my books on the iBookstore. Michael Ulin Edwards, Author.

EDIE – Jean Stein, George Plimpton

Edie (1982) tells its biography by interviews with friends, acquaintances and business associates of Edie Sedgwick. She is from a wealthy family with roots long into New England, although her parents – heretics, black sheep, apostates – moved to California where Edie was raised and where easy money was made in real estate. The East Coast contacts remained. George Plimpton’s parents were friends of the Sedgwicks.

As a biography Edie doesn’t tell much about the girl, young woman, woman. She has no voice except bits of dialogue from an Andy Warhol movie staring Edie, Ciao! Manhattan. Edie had no education, no writings, no letters, nothing other than being an earlier version of Paris Hilton, letting others document, dissect and distort her life. With friends and acquaintances like the ones interviewed, she was a throw away person. The book slaps together small talk from persons with no interest or with vague recollections of Edie: I was at this party or this place. Edie was standing in a corner with Andy Warhol. What do you remember Andy? I was there and Edie stood next to me because she was afraid and didn’t have anyone else to stand next to. It is no wonder that Edie died of a drug overdose at 28 years, the end chapters of the book. Next comes the philosophical imponderables: Did anyone see it coming? What happened? Was it suicide or accidental?

Edie is 428 pages long, and obviously published because big name people were involved. No one wanted to memorialize or tell about Edie except for a buck: Do a little genealogy about the family and make money from Edie’s existence. Nobody else will. What better tribute could be made to a girl who never made womanhood in her mind, who hung around and was tolerated because her family knew big people and they had contacts. Toss in a couple of topless photos and one fully nude (can’t see pores), and it’s a best seller. She won’t care. She wasn’t modest in life. She’s dead. Rest in peace. 

Edie is empty, crass and cheap. It has been identified as a book about the Sixties; it is not. Edie didn’t go up the river from where she was living in New York City to Woodstock! Edie is emblematic of the long time state of American publishing houses – slap together something to sensationalize to sell shi-. Promote names of undeserving, poor writers – they’re the bunch, our bunch that we can sell like laundry detergent.

HIPPIE – Barry Miles

A picture book (nine by twelve inches) of the Sixties’ music and hippie scenes.

Author Barry Miles is on the inside back cover. A photograph has a biographical caption of one sentence which reads in part, “Barry Miles was a central figure in the development of the hippie movement…”

Everyone can stop laughing now. Although there are photographs, hippies were no longer hippies by 1968. They were street people, dealers, run-of-the-mill petty thieves, drug addicts, counterculture-artists as well as students, radicals, revolutionaries, communist anarchists, women belonging to various women’s groups, gays, lesbians, ecology-earth freaks, commune people and minorities.

I appreciate the pictures, graphics and artwork in Hippie, but showing them only does not distinguish among the lifestyles and goals among the various peoples. That sort of story, fiction or non-fiction, would take a long time and a long book put together with great care. By showing pictures only there are mistakes. Women’s movements (1968 to the present) ended much public nudity for the mass of politically in-tune women. Indeed, by the Spring of 1973 the underground newspaper, The Berkeley Barb, which had made a living on naked women stopped printing those photographs. Yet in Hippie Miles has photos of naked women at music festivals to support the idea that there were hippies later.

The mix of Hollywood and youth music is not well told in pictures or in the slight editorial comments. Much too many pages are devoted to Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary and people prominent in the mid-Sixties when their influence justly faded after a year. One page mentions The Beach Boys – surfing, girls, ocean, beach: California Culture. The Beach Boys were in California before The Beatles, the Stones and everyone else. And California, its beaches and the Pacific had a lot to do with hippies, pot and youth music. No pictures and no words explain, tell or reveal any of this.

Hippie makes a passing glance at Charles Manson, musician hippie. His murders are mentioned, but it is Manson personally who is responsible, not hippie culture of peace and love which Manson embraced and lived, had disappointments and professional set  backs. Something should have been written. Anyone familiar with hippie culture knows how mean, degrading and violent it was. Explanations are difficult but not an impossible analyses for “a central figure in the development of the hippie movement” to narrate about hippies, Manson and murder.

Finally, while there are many photographs, graphics and artwork, collected in one volume, not much was presented that I had not seen before. The book yielded insignificant facts – Bill Graham’s beginnings. But there is no explanation in Miles’ broad brush of hippies and the culture. Did hippies disappear (1) because they no longer had anything to oppose; (2) because life was becoming more difficult to support that lifestyle; (3) because the youth of America [not English youth] were less naive; (4) because hippies could not solve anything in society with their lifestyles; (5) because hippies were predatory leeches on society; (6) because women stopped being hippies because it was primarily chauvinistically oriented and women were interested in liberation or feminism?

None of these questions or considerations are solved by showing pictures, artwork and graphics. Hippie is disappointing.

NO SEE MOVIES

Fortunately, these are available at libraries, but why waste time.

THE SONG OF LUNCH. This movie is about Alan Rickman having lunch with Emma Thompson. He is a failing writer who works at a publisher as an editor. Emma is an old girlfriend now married to a successful writer. They haven’t seen one another for 12 (15?) years.

There is a Voice Over from Alan Rickman who looks pained as it is read. I took the Voice Over to reflect his character’s imagination, the quality of his English, the expression of his English and representing a style that would show up in the character’s writing. There are far too many adjectives. Thereupon it is easy to see why Alan Rickman’s character is a failed writer.

I wondered what Emma would do to overcome the Voice Over, carrying on while they’re having lunch. Nothing. The Voice Over is overwhelming, distracting, dull and drab. 

RESULT: I turned the DVD off.

A WRITING PROBLEM in The Song of Lunch did not happen in this film. If the story is about a character who is stupid or mediocre, the author has to write the story smart. The author cannot join the character who is stupid and be stupid or mediocre himself; that idiocy shows up in the writing. The author has to separate himself and be smart, lett the stupid player go his own way.

COUGARS. This is about middle-age women who find fun among the boys at a private boys boarding school.

Extremely poor casting. All the young men, boys, including Kyle Gallner look old. Ballner appears to be 30 plus years. His prep school buddies all look mid-twenties. When they hustle girls who look like teenagers, they struck out. Duh!

Katheryn Morris is one of the women. This is a loser of a movie; her TV show was much better. This movie suffers greatly from its format, a kindergarden script – asking questions and next writing the scene to attempt answer imperfectly through drama – extreme mediocre dialogue – and music that can be heard on any street corner.

Gallner should know if he gains another 25 pounds, he’ll begin looking like Charles Laughton. Whether the talent is there to act is a mystery.