Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

Read Post

Busytown: A good read

353 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 15 Newer→ Last

  • JackElder,

    Mind you, I can't imagine objecting to a portrait of an ancestor of mine that took care to notice how prodigiously physically gifted he was, especially in the trouser department.

    A few years ago there was a heavily (and very obviously) fictionalised biopic of Jeffrey Archer (Jeffrey Archer: The Truth, by the BBC). Many and varied historical liberties were taken with a variety of characters, many of whom are still living (some of whom are still members of the Royal family), all of whom are in a position to sue for defamation. The producers' main defence was two-pronged:
    1) The events were clearly, blatantly, fiction, and:
    2) They made Jeffrey being unfeasibly well endowed into a subplot. At one point, he's standing at a urinal and a black man next to him glances down, does a double-take, and says "Respect, man!" Subtle stuff, but from the heart.

    The thinking behind this was that you can say anything about someone as long as you also say they've got a big knob.

    When my mother (Lynley Hood) was researching her Minnie Dean book, she found that a British official involved with the relief effort for the Irish potato famine was Lord Pinetree-Coffin. A fiction author remarked that they could never have called a character in that role such a name.

    I commend you to the memory of Sam Duddy; by day a propagandist for the Ulster Defence Association, one of the more vicious protestant paramilitary operations during the Troubles. By night, drag queen. There's nothing so strange as the real world.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Very interesting discussion on Radio NZ just now, with some particularly astute questions from Michelle Boag.

    I'll be talking to Maggie Barry on Drive Live (Live Drive?) in a few minutes time.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    2) They made Jeffrey being unfeasibly well endowed into a subplot. At one point, he's standing at a urinal and a black man next to him glances down, does a double-take, and says "Respect, man!" Subtle stuff, but from the heart.

    The thinking behind this was that you can say anything about someone as long as you also say they've got a big knob.

    And are willing to embrace racial stereotyping to do it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    And are willing to embrace racial stereotyping to do it?

    The whole thing was an attempt at satire. While it ran for around 90 minutes, after half an hour it seemed that spoofing someone as preposterous as Archer was a tough call.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    the other one i remember is that you make a character a transparent fictionalisation, say bad things about them, and then say they have a small cock.

    'cause nobody will admit to that, see?

    (apocrypha as they all are.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Finally had a chance to read the issue in question ...

    1. Culture on the cover of The Listener, and not in a merely biographical context. Gareth Morgan peers down from the top left banner ("Our sick health system") and I cheer to myself that there is something better than his godawful prose to read this week.

    2. Jolisa, your part of the story is beautifully written. Not to say Guy's is bad, but he's kept it functional.

    3. OMG! WTF! A good backgrounder on copyright issues by Sarah Barnett follows the cover story (even thought her visiting law prof made some fairly questionable claims). By now there have been pages of ideas and questions to which there are no straightforward answers. Possibly even some ambiguity. Awesome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Academia Vs Art, it seems to me that this situation is indicative of the growing mire between the practical purpose of literature and the more heady ideologies fobbed onto me in lit class. Most people just want a good read, beyond that the average reader has scant concern for attribution of so called intellectual property.

    This whole system seems designed without forethought or consideration towards the finiteness of language in practicable terms. There is an end point. That end point will be reached within the next 1000 years when the mass of appendix, references, bibliography, acknowledgments or whatever inevitably outweighs the body of the work itself.

    The story teller/bard, legs splayed between the two schools of thought has become a pawn in an increasingly hazardous imperialist ownership battle.

    Literature flails a long way behind music in this respect. Not intending to deflate your tyres Jolisa, this being a historical fiction and by the sounds of it a chronic case perpetrated by one who is ensconced within the system, just some thoughts on where I see the situation headed within an idiom that refuses to acknowledge the limitations of its palette.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Finally had a chance to read the issue in question

    Me too, to discover that one of the plagiarised texts is one I used heavily myself producing two Condition-of-England novel essays at Honour's level. For some reason this makes the whole thing feel even shittier to me.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Finally had a chance to read the issue in question ...

    Clearly the pod people have replaced the editorial board of the Listener. It goes all the way to the top, people.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Clearly the pod people have replaced the editorial board of the Listener. It goes all the way to the top, people.

    Its all true! I wrote a wee letter to the editor of that organ, and the response I received today was signed by the significant other of our host and erstwhile columnist on this very forum.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    Snore... Denis Welch on Nine to Noon today suggested that the Listener's cover story glorifies Witi Ihimaera and his apology. What, so if it's buried instead in a small paragraph on page 96 it's more of a punishment than a front page?

    Mind you, still waiting for the university to explain its rapid investigation/conclusion! But the waiting may be in vain - my experience with their media machine when producing Frontseat was fairly typical: happy to present when it's good news, happy to simply not answer phones when it's not (but quick to follow up with tasty letters about lawyers etc etc).

    Anyway... speaking of historical fiction that knowingly, playfully toys with other literature, I'd like to recommend Rachael King's brand new novel Magpie Hall for a spunky insight into Lyttelton, tattoos and taxidermy at the turn of the last century.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd like to recommend Rachael King's brand new novel Magpie Hall for a spunky insight into Lyttelton, tattoos and taxidermy at the turn of the last century.

    Being a believer in the afterlife, it wouldn't be too lame to say that Michael should be looking down on his children pretty chuffed that they;re living what he wrote about -- a Pakeha culture that is mature enough not to lapse into cultural cringe or it's equally noxious inversion; that look at the painful truths of the past without flinching, and walk into a future tall and unafraid. And even capable of laughing at itself, now and them.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    There does seem to be a feast of historical fiction at the moment, which is a treat. Gemma mentioned Magpie Hall and Craig mentioned Wolf Hall, and I'd like to mention Barbara Kingsolver's new novel The Lacuna, which is top of my bedside table heap. Other than The Poisonwood Bible which included the real-life Patrice Lumumba she hasn't gone in miuch for including real characters so it'll be interesting to see how she handles Kahlo, Rivera and the Trotskys.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    But Nicholas Reid's review in the SST is pretty much spot on.

    I've wished for a long time that this wasn't the case, but I've found almost everything Witi Ihimaera's put out -- ever since his early short stories -- to be lamentable tripe. Sounds like The Trowenna Sea won't go anywhere near improving that view.

    Wouldn't wish this current plagiarism debacle on anyone though. Sucks to "make mistakes".. sucks to be caught out making them.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Oh, and another POV from Pointless and Absurd:

    So I reckon Witi should tell those po-faced motherfuckers to fuck themselves. Take a leaf out of Hone Harawira's book!

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I've wished for a long time that this wasn't the case, but I've found almost everything Witi Ihimaera's put out -- ever since his early short stories -- to be lamentable tripe.

    I haven't read all of his work, as the cloying piety that pervades The Whale Rider (not so much the film, mercifully) pretty much killed my interest. While I don't wish Ihimaera any undue ill, the current revelations seem to be a healthy symptom that, when it comes to art and things indigenous, we've moved beyond the need for sanctimony.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Oh, and another POV from Pointless and Absurd:

    Yes, let's display our dull ignorance of the specific nature of the medium of writing! Let us assimilate it to other media totally different in process! Let us ignore the generally prevalent standards of an autonomous community of creators in favour of a particularly stupid yay me-ism!

    (I Am Not A Fan.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Yes, let's display our dull ignorance of the specific nature of the medium of writing! Let us assimilate it to other media totally different in process! Let us ignore the generally prevalent standards of an autonomous community of creators in favour of a particularly stupid yay me-ism!

    But those are interesting points he raises. Why authorship is so sacred now -- it once had no real meaning. Why do notions of plagiarism exist in writing but not in visual art or film-making? Film-makers borrow and reference, but they are seldom considered to plagiarise. Why is "found" poetry not plagiarism (cf the current Andrew Motion debate)? And so on.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Film-makers borrow and reference, but they are seldom considered to plagiarise.

    I am fairly certain that if a director inserted unedited footage from sone else's film into theirs, or a script-writer lifted dialogue verbatim, and didn't credit the original film, then there would be tears before bedtime. It's more difficult to plagiarise film, because of the medium, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable.

    Why authorship is so sacred now -- it once had no real meaning.

    Because if your reputation, let alone your livelihood, is based on your creative output - it damn well better be your creative output. Or your reputation is a lie. And your livelihood is a fraud.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Why do notions of plagiarism exist in writing but not in visual art or film-making?

    Um, I should say they do exist in visual art and film-making; they are merely different in those media, because, surprisingly, concepts express themselves differently in different media.

    Pretty much all his points boil down to the rather dull observation that different things are different. (Mainly in terms of reproducibility and attribution, but in other ways too.) Does he go on to do anything with that? Nah, he just witters.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    But those are interesting points he raises.

    Perhaps they are, within that reified and sterile world of art-referring-to-art-referring-to-art. To me it's mostly an elaborate justification for the elevation of the talent-free, and relates to life much as masturbation does to sex. Although Ihimaera's work may be constrained to some degree by academic mannerism, it's not simply a game played within the limits of his erudition.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    and relates to life much as masturbation does to sex.

    So... a lot?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Why authorship is so sacred now -- it once had no real meaning.

    Really? That's a bit ambitious. Is authorship sacred now? When did it have no real meaning? Are you comparing apples to apples?

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I quite like the idea of remixes and mash-ups of written works.

    Not cut-ups -- more like artistic rewrite subbing, making plain what you're doing.

    Does anyone do this? Not in a cut-up way, but in the sense of something you'd actually want to read?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Not cut-ups -- more like artistic rewrite subbing, making plain what you're doing.

    Does the software exist yet? Polly Frost once did a great piece for The New Yorker that's turned up in a couple of anthologies, and is online for subscribers. Turbotome was a guided walkthrough of a word processor that produced guaranteed literary classics direct to final draft, by combining elements from genres of the user's choice. The resulting monstrous offspring of A Passage to India and a Larry McMurtry-style western was hilariously hideous.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 4 5 6 7 8 15 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.