1. “The Brave Open Letter Graham Greene Wrote Defending Charlie Chaplin from McCarthy.” To mark its 100th anniversary, The New Republic is republishing a collection of its most memorable articles. This piece, an open letter from Greene in defense of his friend against McCarthy and his cronies, was published on October 13, 1952.
“I can’t figure out why other people like it. I know why I like it. I know the things that were interesting that kept coming up in conversations. And then also, to work on a script with the person who wrote the novel, that can be a gift. There can also be a lot of frustration. Or certainly it can be perceived that way. Will this person be able to see the forest for the trees? Or will they be so wed to how difficult it was to make this storyline work that they’re not willing to jettison certain elements when it doesn’t? I know that’s a commonly-held philosophy about novelists. But with Gillian, it couldn’t be further from the truth. She has—and David Koepp has it too—that love of where the audience is in the narrative. She was very good at taking things that were 13 chapters into the book and saying, well that could be in the introduction. She picked out the traits that needed to be dramatised, but didn’t necessarily put them in the same chronological order.”
2. “My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.” Vulture publishes an excerpt from Yamma Brown’s Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me (co-written with Robin Gaby Fisher).
“I swear that during those fights, I could feel the whole house shake with my father’s crazy rage. Whenever he’d start, my sister Deanna and I would run for cover, usually in a closet or under our beds, and cry quietly into our cupped hands. I shook a lot as a kid. My hands. My face. My knees. A 5-year-old with tremors. As my grandma used to say, ’Ain’t that just the saddest thing?’ Sometimes the fights lasted only minutes. Sometimes longer. The monster would appear, wreaking havoc on our lives, and then the rumbling would stop and we’d hear our mother’s muffled cries. After that, the house would go completely quiet. The sound of the silence was the worst because that’s when Deanna and I would wonder if our mother were alive or dead and if we would be next.”
3. “My ugly inner battle: How jealousy poisoned my friendship with John Green.” Nathan Rabin knows he’s not the first writer to be wracked by envy. But still the Fault in Our Stars author’s career haunts him.
“While Green’s career skyrocketed, I struggled. I was thrown into a deep depression by the news that, despite a huge amount of press and attention, my debut memoir had only sold about 5,000 copies. For a long while, I imagined my fondness for John would protect me from the ugly poison of jealousy, and that’s what jealousy is: an ugly poison. I told myself that if it had happened to anyone else, someone less worthy or likable or kind, I might be jealous, but not when it happened to John. How could I be deeply envious of someone I had only positive feelings toward, someone who deserved that astonishing level of success as much as anyone possibly can? Even now, I see my envy as a warped form of respect, as a toxic form of flattery.”
4. “Adrian Peterson and what our fathers did to us: we have not turned out fine.” The toxic effect of discipline—abuse, self-delusion or both—is that you almost have to move on. But we can never move on. The way of the belt lasts lifetimes.
“The pernicious, toxic and inescapable lifelong effect of being disciplined physically—either to the point of abuse, or to the point that the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable blurs in your mind—is that you almost have to say you turned out fine, just to redeem the fact of being who you are. That you ’turned out fine’ is the only way to make sense of having once felt total terror or uncontrollable shaking rage at the sight of one (or both) of the two people expected to care most for you in the world. The thought that you might have ended up relatively OK or perhaps even better without all that fear is almost unbearable: the suffering only doubles if you admit that it truly had no purpose.”
5. “7 new fall TV shows to watch—and 3 to avoid at all costs.” Todd VanDerWerff has sampled some of the best and worst of the upcoming fall TV season.
“The stories of transgender people have been dancing around the edges of some great TV shows over the past couple of years, from Orange Is the New Black’s Sophia to Glee’s Unique. But Amazon’s brilliant new Transparent builds its story around a trans woman for the first time in television history. The show’s central character is Maura (Jeffrey Tambor, in an Emmy-worthy performance), a woman who’s spent most of her life living as Mort. Now, as she enters her 70s, she’s beginning her transition, which causes ripples throughout her family, particularly with her three children. But the show is about more than just Maura’s journey. In creator Jill Soloway’s vision, her transition leaves everyone in the show’s universe questioning what it means to pursue happiness.”
Video of the Day: Terry Gilliam and Rian Johnson in conversation:
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