Category Archives: discussion

Honesty in Narrative

I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same, but the “presence” of Simon and Burns in The Corner (the book) compared to the TV show seems much more obvious and intrusive than their presence in Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

For example, early in the novel, the authors go into detail about DeAndre’s style of clothing. They say that he’s:

“a study in urban conformity, and within minutes, he is primed and dressed to match the set: a black puff ski parka left open to flap in the breeze, a thick blue and white flannel shirt worn outside over-sized jeans that ride low on the hips, the requisite high-top Nikes that go for upwards of $125 a pair…

…By the time he gets down the block and around the corner, it’s afternoon and the fiends–white boys coming north from Pigtown, those of his own hue rolling down the hill from monroe Street…

…By and large, teh Mcullough boy is a study in a lower key” (20-21).

The writing itself seems so stilted and dishonest. I feel like if both Simon and Burns presented themselves as outsiders looking into a world they most likely had little to no experience in INSTEAD of as omniscient narrators attempting to show an objective view of the world they were in, the book would be less painful to read. Up front I want to say I most definitely appreciate the fact that there’s a popular non-fiction book about inner-city black communities that doesn’t demonize people involved, but instead I feel like the tract the authors took in this case is just tricky ground. For a subject matter like this, I wouldn’t write about DeAndre’s attire in lengthy blocks of prose that virtually takes all of the humanity out of why DeAndre dresses the way he does. Using the phrase “those of his own hue” is just awkward.

Oddly enough, I find the show to be so much more enjoyable and honest. Is it because the director is a Black man that also was born and has history in Baltimore? I feel like that most likely is a huge reason. The characters I see on the show remind me so much of Black people I’ve known in my life/in my family that often it’s painful to watch this show at all. It touches me in a way that few shows do, and it mostly has to do with the fact that I feel like its portrayal of characters is the most honest I’ve seen in a long time.

What do you think of the differences between the book and the show, as well as the issue of “honesty”?

Deleted Twilight ‘Sex Scene’

After watching Twilight versus Buffy, I was reminded of the amazing Deleted Twilight Sex Scene done by College Humor. I think it’s hilarious, but I won’t lie, the humor is more than a little sophomoric. Basically, you probably want headphones on while watching this if you’re around anyone you don’t know. Enjoy!

Are we like David Simon, all-knowing, or just another detective along for the ride?

In class on Wednesday, we talked about how David Simon’s authorial presense in Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets is strange. He acts less like a person following detectives around and more like a omniscient god hovering over crime scenes and suspects in interrogation rooms. He not only knows how to efficiently do a crime scene investigation, but also knows how to tell when a suspect is lying. He’s an all-knowing detective god that’s everywhere at once. It’s bizarre for a non-fiction novel.

In the show, we the viewers are instead put into a first-person point of view: the camera pans and shakes like the head of a person. Like Jasmine said in class, it moves instead of cuts when looking at various people, and shakes as if we, too, were wading through a foot of grass to get to a creepy suspect. It’s intersting how in the adaptation of the novel the viewer is given more of an intimate experience.

But is that fair? I would also say that the experience in Simon’s novel is intimate, but most definitely in a different way. I believe the formal conventions, as Hutcheon brings up in her article, are what differentiate between the intimacy of being a detective god like Simon, and actually looking straight into the faces of criminals like in the show. Would you say the adaptation to the show is “better”? Or simply different? What other adaptations (whether it be from telling to showing, or showing to showing) deal with the issue of the presense of the author?

Authorship Conflicts!

A wonderful letter from Hunter S. Thompson to the Production Executive at the company trying to adapt his novel, The Rum Diary. Hilarious and expletive-filled, I think it demonstrates some of the authorship conflicts we’ve been reading about in terms of adaptations and tension between creatives and non-creatives. Worth reading for the humor alone, but I think it raises those same points we’ve been discussing about what it takes to adapt to new mediums, who creates what and who has control over authorship when it comes to the medium of film and television.

I guess my question would be, beyond the humor the situation, does this letter say anything new about the process or change your perceptions of authorship? What sort of power does Hunter S. Thompson have here? Or, alternatively, what power is he unexpectedly lacking?

“Three Men And Adena”

…Might have been one of the best episodes of television I have ever seen.