Doc Holliday

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Oct 192010
 

Ok, I gotta say it, I’m totally disappointed that there was no, “I’ll be your huckleberry” from Doc.  It was in that other great movie, does that not prove that Doc was so clever and whitty?  And another thing (I’m on my soap box) does Clementine have ANYTHING to do with the movie, other than being in the title and making a cameo appearance????  I do believe that she wasn’t real and they just put her in so they had reason to use the name Clementine.  Man, I was disappointed in that.  So, now I will step off my soap box and see what I can learn from you all.  Am I the only one feeling this way?

The new Superwoman

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Oct 022010
 

Before the wind blows us too far past Scarlett O’Hara, I want to point out that opinions about her have changed as women have challenged their role in society.  GWTW was released on the cusp of a decade that dispensed a raft of movies featuring strong, even ruthless women; Joan Crawford epitomized this type, with her mannish shoulder pads and hard-edged face.  In an essay about the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the fair’s science director Gerald Wendt outlined social problems the Fair hoped to address—among them was “the ambitions of women” (Dawn of a New Day, published by The Queens Museum).  So, while modern viewers might call Scarlett obnoxious, it was her drive (her very narcissism) that appealed to contemporaneous movie-goers.   The movie allowed her to be every bit as ambitious as a man.  That was a big boost to women.  Plus, some Depression-era women thought men had screwed up America, and should now back off and give women room to fix it.

Memorial to 54th Regiment

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Oct 012010
 

Here is a link to a bas relief commemorating Robert G. Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment (the subject of next week’s film).  The memorial is at the National Gallery of Art in D.C.  If you click on different places within the photo it will enlarge that part of the relief so you can see details.  The artist did place Shaw in front, and on a horse—traditional elements of a classical-style piece such as this.  However, the artist also took care with the soldiers, to show range of ages and even traces of personality.  If you have time, the links below the image of the relief lead to interesting information, and don’t take long to read.

Memorial to 54th Regiment

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Oct 012010
 

Here is a link to a bas relief commemorating Robert G. Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment (the subject of next week’s film).  The memorial is at the National Gallery of Art in D.C.  If you click on different places within the photo it will enlarge that part of the relief so you can see details.  The artist did place Shaw in front, and on a horse—traditional elements of a classical-style piece such as this.  However, the artist also took care with the soldiers, to show range of ages and even traces of personality.  If you have time, the links below the image of the relief lead to interesting information, and don’t take long to read.

There were women who behaved like Scarlett!

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Sep 302010
 

There were historically women, like Scarlett, who had independent minds during this era. For example,in “A Southern Aristocrat’s Diary During the Civil War,” Mary Chesnut disapproved of men who mixed up the Bible to support their passions. Also, she wrote that her husband had been right to lose their plantation since he had a hand in starting the Civil War. -A. Brudno

Mel Gibson Ruining History

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Sep 252010
 

Thought this comic from the Washington Post comics was appropriate after Thursday’s discussion.

Slaves drowning

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Sep 232010
 

I know we all have plenty of disturbing images in our minds from the Middle Passage scenes in “Amistad.”   But I think it’s important to see that, although the way art is delivered to us has changed over the centuries, artists have always found ways to engage and arouse us.

Here’s a painting by J.M.W. Turner, done in 1840, one year after the Amistad events.  You may already be familiar with it from an art class.  It is nearly indecipherable at first glance, but if you look closely at the foreground you can see black bodies in the water, having been tossed from the slave ship in a group.  Turner used his medium of painting for the same purpose Spielberg used his medium of film—to unveil cruelty and make us see unspeakable truths.

Amistad means friendship

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Sep 222010
 

According to www.merriam-webster.com, the word “amistad” is a feminine noun meaning “friendship.”   Ironic considering the ship’s use in the 1900s.   But things have changed.  A nonprofit organization called Amistad America built a replica of the Amistad schooner, and is dedicated to cultivating diversity and erasing racism.

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