Tuesday News: David Bowie, Locus Magazine, and 103 films by women
Remembering David Bowie through his 100 favorite books – One of the best things about this article is the throwback to the David Bowie “READ” poster. But the list of books is pretty interesting, too. And eclectic. A great reflection of how broad-ranging and deep Bowie’s intellectual interest, cultural literacy, and imagination ran.
In 2013, Bowie left the world something other than his groundbreaking albums to remember him by — a list of his 100 favorite books. Bowie’s favorite books list was featured in an exhibit honoring the musician at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.Bowie’s list is as eclectic and surprising as he was. He paid tribute to the classics, including Homer’s “Iliad,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” George Orwell’s “1984” and D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.” But he also had a love of contemporary authors. He listed among his favorites Michael Chabon’s “Wonder Boys,” Sarah Waters’ “Fingersmith” and Junot Díaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” – Los Angeles Times
Something Happened on the Day He Died: A Tribute to David Bowie – There have been a lot of touching tributes to Bowie posted online in the past two days, but one of the reasons I chose Lou Anders’s essays is that it articulates a very personal paradigm shift in the young college student and his “particular Deep South mentality.” There are also some great tweets collected in this BBC piece.
David Bowie, and his scifi ambisexual ambiguity, was the hook that snared my imagination and dragged me from out of my particular Deep South mentality and reeled me kicking and screaming into the light. (My South isn’t Deep anymore and is full of wonderful people. It was full of wonderful people even when it was. That’s why I said “particular.”) Along that journey, I fell into the Talking Heads, the Cure, the Smiths. My horizons were being broadened in every direction, from a multitude of influences (not the least from cinema), but the Lady Stardust was certainly a primary one. . . . While other artists were content to repeat the formula of their success over and over again for decades, he viewed the triumph of any one avenue of his creativity as a trap that was anathema to his next endeavor. He cast off personas, musical styles, artistic influences like a snake shedding skins and dove headfirst into unknown waters time and time again. That philosophy of change, not just its assumed inevitability but its vital necessity, was a profound contrast to a mindset mired in conservative dogmas about the unchanging nature of the world but also a challenge to a young man coming to grips with his own desire to be a creative individual. – i09
Lois Tilton Leaves Locus Online – Mike Glyer reported on File 770 that Lois Tilton had resigned her position as reviewer, alleging that the publication started “deleting material they considered negative from my reviews” without informing her. Tilton later clarified her comment as follows:
To clarify some of the issues raised here, there seems to have been an editorial policy change for the website, in the course of which some negative commentary was removed from my upcoming January column. I had not been previously informed of this editorial change, but I discovered it when querying the delay in publishing the column. At this point, I withdrew it prior to publication. – File 770
Not surprisingly, a lot of speculation ensued, including a fair amount of ‘good riddance,’ which, as an outsider to all the parties involved, surprised and concerned me. Was this about a controversial individual or an “editorial policy change”? If the announcement had been made by someone more broadly popular, would it have been so easily shrugged off?
Today, Liza Groen Trombi of Locus responded to Tilton’s announcement, confirming that
To clarify, Locus made a decision this month to change how editing future online review columns was to be managed — folding the online columns in to the existing Locus editorial stream and applying the same standard to online reviews as the magazine. – File770
Trombi’s statement didn’t really contradict anything in Tilton’s clarifying comment, which leaves the nature of the “change” open to question and speculation (unfortunately). I’ve seen Tilton roundly criticized for her initial characterization of the removal as “censorship.” Not seeing what, precisely, was removed makes it very difficult to know how to characterize it. But again, I was kind of surprised to see a number of people suggesting that “editorial oversight” is categorically not censorship. Of course it’s not Censorship, because a magazine isn’t the State, but if, say, a literary magazine starts unilaterally removing critical contributor material it fears would imperil its relationship with, say, publishers, (NOT saying it is, just offering a scenario for discussion) then they could be shimmying toward small-c corporate censorship.
Editorial oversight is a broad category and can cover everything from collaborative editing with the contributor to copyediting to reshaping the work to fit a completely different purpose. None of which means that Locus is doing anything nefarious in its editing. But neither does it mean that people concerned with protecting honest opinions in online reviewing — even snarky reviewing that publishers and authors may disdain — should refrain from asking questions and discussing the issues around how professional industry publications “oversee” contributor material, independent of the personalities involved (aka, if they wanted to get rid of Tilton, they should have done so. If this is really about editorial policy, then what, precisely, is that policy?).
103 Essential Films By Female Filmmakers: Clueless, Lost In Translation, Ishtar and More – I would have linked to the original post referenced in this Open Culture piece, but it’s very graphics heavy. However, I encourage you to do so, in part because all of the movies are represented by great screenshots. Marya Gates “polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers” to make up her list of films directed or co-directed by women:
Gates presents her list in reverse order of votes earned, each with a still frame, a scrolling experience certainly worth enjoying in its entirety. But if you’d like to take a glance first at what ended up on the top ten, here you have it:
- Clueless, 1995 (dir. Amy Heckerling) – 147 votes
- Lost in Translation, 2003 (dir. Sofia Coppola) – 144 votes
- The Piano, 1993 (dir. Jane Campion) – 120 votes
- Selma, 2014 (dir. Ava DuVernay) – 118 votes
- American Psycho, 2000 (dir. Mary Harron) – 110 votes
- Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962 (dir. Agnès Varda) – 93 votes
- The Hurt Locker, 2009 (dir. Kathryn Bigelow) – 92 votes
- Fish Tank, 2009 (dir. Andrea Arnold) – 84 votes
- The Virgin Suicides, 1999 (dir. Sofia Coppola) – 84 votes
- Winter’s Bone, 2010 (dir. Debra Granik) – 75 votes – Open Culture