Excerpt from the letters page in last weeks Adelaide Advertiser:
The scales are weighted against women’s books in the same way they are for women’s films, in that men won’t go to chick flicks any more than they will read a book written by a woman. However, women will read books by men and see blokey movies. – Virginia Taylor
Phil: Is Virginia right? Will men only read a book written by a man?
The publishing industry certainly thinks so. It’s why Jo Rowling became JK Rowling. George Elliot also suffered the same way many years earlier.
I’d like to think we have moved on, even in Australia. I’ve no problem with the sex of an author but then perhaps this isn’t really the issue. It’s more to do with the look of the book and the genre it is published in.
I’d suspect that while they might not mind the content, most men wouldn’t be comfortable with the pink and frilly covers wrapped around the contents. I’ve certainly been there!
Sadly though, Ms Taylor is arguing for separate male and female literary competitions and here I think she is wrong. In a competition, the judges should be adult enough to ignore the writers gender. Ideally, they shouldn’t know the name at all so the decision is made entirely on the plot and story.
We both hope to be judged on our writing merits. While we’re going to sit on the fertile, and crowded, chick-lit shelves, let’s hope that once his wife or girlfriend has finished chuckling along to our plot, the macho man can put down the mammoth he has single-handedly brought home from the hunt, turn down the testosterone and just enjoy a good, funny, read.
Filed under Phil, Writing
Phil: It’s a simple fact that the real heroes of any film, television or theatre performance are the writers. Without them, everything you see in the way of entertainment would be rubbish. The problem is that actors are generally perfectly capable of walking and not bumping into the furniture, but if you ask them to speak without someone telling them exactly what to say, it all goes horribly wrong.
The proof of this is arriving thick and fast thanks to the awards season. Every few days, some thespians are stuffed into smart dinner suits, or diaphanous dresses, and then let loose on a stage with a microphone and no script. Then you get proper car-crash stuff such as pretty much every acceptance speech by Kate Winslett. Who else says “Gather” out loud to themselves before starting ? Or has the organisers winding up the music volume in a less than subtle effort to say, “Sit down love and shut up before you embarrass us all”.
But this years doozie, has to go to Christopher Plumber. At the Screen Actors Guild awards he said, “Actors are gregarious and wacky are they not? I love them dearly. When they honor you, it’s like being lit by the Holy Grail.”
Is it really ?
Well, after a little bit of research (looking at Wikipedia and watching the third Indiana Jones film) I find that the Holy Grail is “cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper”. That’s a cup Christopher. You are being illuminated by a cup. Now I don’t know about you, but having checked all the cups and mugs in my house, none of them provide any form of practical illumination. Fine though they are as vessels for containing tea, should the lights go out, you aren’t going to get any help finding it from them.
Chris has obviously confused cups with light bulbs. It’s an easy mistake to make, I’m always stuffing a 40 watt’er in my gob instead of a steaming mug of hot chocolate. No, hold on, that’s wrong, I’ve actually never done that. Because I can tell the difference. In the same way my favorite lifeboats mug never finds itself screwed into a light fitting.
So the division of labour is simple; Actors read stuff out loud, walk around a bit and pull faces then congratulate themselves on being clever. Writers do all the brainwork, make everything good and get hardly any of the credit. Or the money. Or the groupies. Humph.
Filed under Phil, Writing