Monday, 26 March 2012

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Dan Riehl admits, openly and proudly, that he's a racist. Not that we didn't know this already, as this is the man who once claimed that all black kids, even when they’re “pretty young [and] not that big,” are “technically thugs," but his latest statement welds the deal shut in such a way that no excuse or apology will ever be able to escape it: As Media Reports Conflict, Why Was Trayvon Martin Photo Altered? Among a few interesting items uncovered in trying to examine the facts behind the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin without drawing any conclusions, was that a widely viewed photograph of Martin appears to have been altered, somewhat. Here is what appears to be the original via the Miami Herald. The one below has been observed in the media and at forums such as Democracy Now. Clearly, it has been lightened, or softened, somehow. Along with other possible alterations, he looks far more, perhaps innocent is the right word, in the altered image. Dan Riehl believes that if you "lighten" an image -- that is, if you contribute to the impression that there's a possibility that the person in the photograph may be white -- that person "looks far more ... innocent." So: White people? Innocent. Darkies? Guilty. Just look at them. They're "technically thugs," and therefore deserve to be shot by gun-toting racists who've made 46 calls to 911 complaining about "suspicious" darkies engaging in activities such as walking in and out of their parents' open garages or playing soccer in the street. I won't republish them here, but I exchanged a series of emails with Riehl -- who's more than welcome to republish my replies, if he so desires -- after I called him a racist for being afraid of seventh graders who were only "technically thugs." His defense was that I would've been afraid too, which tells you all you need to know about Dan Riehl. That he worked for and admired Andrew Brietbart and supports the political theater of James O'Keefe is entirely beside the point, except that it isn't. He's a racist parading his denial with all the subtlety of someone who dons a "GOD HATES FAGS" sign at a Marine's funeral. And just as classy, too.
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Filming the sausage being made is very, very expensive, my friends. My promised follow up post about Peter's sad descent into the trappings of Draper's life is nearly half-complete, but I wanted to address something that's come up in the comments first, because I encounter variations of it every time I teach. Uncle Ebeneezer March 27, 2012 wrote On a tangent–a friend of mine read your post and remarked that they doubt that THAT much thought really goes into it. I disagree, but I’m sure you must hear that sort of sentiment all the time and I’m just curious how you usually respond. He's correct in that I encounter this all the time–frequently as a back-handed compliment about me putting more thought into the show than the people who made it–but it's usually the person doing the slapping that has no clue what they're talking example. For example, in an interview I can't relocate, Christopher Nolan was discussing the logistics of using an IMAX camera to capture Christian Bale hanging off of a skyscraper in Hong Kong. The joke of it was that between the helicopter, its pilot, safety equipment, those equipped to use it, Nolan and Bale's salaries, the insurance policy on Bale, the rental cost of the IMAX camera and its crew, every single syllable was costing Warner Brothers $300,000, "so if everyone would quit fucking cursing they could fucking film this fucking shot for under three million dollars." And that's pre-production. So do I occasionally hazard into a situation in which I over-read some last minute practicality? No doubt. But should the wizards with the duct tape see my analysis and note that I missed their wizardry, don't you think they'd be proud that they'd done their job so well I couldn't imagine it having been done differently? But if your friends are still unconvinced–and if my students are any indication, many of them will be, send them to the "full credits" listing of a show like Mad Men. John Rogers—friend of the blog and showrunner of Leverage—can add to any of the many things I’ve forgotten, but keep in mind that all of the following people must be paid, eat, have their equipment plugged in and powered up, etc., and remember as your friend’s scrolling down that very, very long list, there are a number of unusual positions, such as: hair stylist/background hair stylist hair stylist/key hair stylist hair department head special effects makup artist on-set dresser art department coordinator greensman set decoration buyer second assistant camera “a” cameria/ second assistant camera “b” camera best boy rigging electrician genny operator post-post production assistant coordinator colorist dailies final colorist I’ve chosen that list a little randomly, but it’s also a little representative of the collaborate work involved in any significant production. Odd as it may seem, the burden of proof that something isn’t in a particular scene should fall to the casual viewer, who thinks television is magic and all you need is a camera, some costumes, and a few pretty pictures to make it work. Granted, that’s...

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