This really does feel like the end of an era. On Saturday, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger died at the age of 86. That’s him above, with another American media giant, Katharine Graham, proprietor of the The Washington Post, in 1995 (credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times). Sulzberger was publisher of The New York Times from 1963 to 1992 (and chairman of the company for another five years), and not too many newspaper men get the kind of tribute that President Obama paid yesterday, calling him ‘a firm believer in the importance of a free and independent press, one that isn’t afraid to seek the truth, hold those in power accountable and tell the stories that need to be told.’ Sulzberger’s 1971 fight to publish the Pentagon Papers is the defining moment of his – and his paper’s – story, but as is clear from the paper’s compelling obituary, Clyde Haberman’s Publisher who transformed the Times for new era, there is so much more. The NYT also has an evocative online slide-show, from which the image above comes. Across the jump… more links to more stuff (and now with further links added since Sunday).
• The wayward charms of Cinerama: a typically great – really great – David Bordwell essay on the glories of the 1950s’ ‘prototype of what IMAX has become’.
• Trapped in the total cinema: New York Review of Books blog runs an extract from J. Hoberman’s new book, which he asks ‘Can we speak of a twenty-first-century cinema? And if so, on what basis?’
• Michelangelo Antonioni – centenary of a forgotten giant: a welcome essay by Peter Bradshaw for the Guardian celebrating Italian cinema’s greatest filmmaker; Bradshaw suggests that he is ‘a bit unfashionable’ these days, but hardly ‘forgotten’, given that almost all of his films (including the early ones) are available in very good DVD editions (as Bradshaw notes) and there’s an excellent recent book: Antonioni – Centenary Essays, edited by Laura Rascaroli and John David Rhodes.
• Sculpting the real – Michelangelo Antonioni studies in the centenary year of his birth: … and while we’re with the maestro, this excellent collection of links from Catherine Grant’s essential Films Studies for Free blog is, well, essential…
• On acid aesthetics and contemporary cinematic stylistc ‘excess’ – in memory of Tony Scott (1944-2012): … and while we’re with Film Studies for Free, here is a terrific collection of links (posted in August, when this blog’s attention was distracted) concerned with the late Tony Scott’s work and aspects of contemporary Hollywood filmmaking …
• Cinemetrics: Re-Taken: Zach Baron at Grantland does a great job musing on the career of Liam Neeson.
• The great Ealing film challenge by Keith M. Johnston: … and here’s another invaluable FSFF service – individual links to each of the 95 blog posts from the past year by scholar Keith Johnston about each of Ealing Studios’ 95 productions.
• Shutterbugs: an engaging blog post by Keith Moore for The Royal Society about the first X-rays in Britain, which were taken in 1896 by Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton, who was later to be a key figure in the early development of television.
• Television and the civil rights movement – an interview with Aniko Bodroghkozy, part one: a really rich and interesting interview by Henry Jenkins with a scholar who has written a nuanced study of the the media – news, documentary, drama and comedy – in and after the 1960s, Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement; see also part two and part three.
• The Wire is NOT like Dickens: Laura Miller for Salon:
I review novels (among other books) for a living, and yet despite being enthralled by The Wire from its first season, I never once felt that watching it was like reading a novel, any novel. It’s hard to sell novices on The Wire precisely because it’s notreminiscent of fictional works in other forms, and it’s also not like most serialized TV dramas. This is what makes it so remarkable. And, trust me, that’s more than enough.
• Roux with a view: I’m a big fan of The New Yorker‘s television critic Emily Nussbaum (would that this side of the Atlantic there was someone as smart doing such considered and informed criticism), and this is a new piece that’s freely available (as opposed to many that are for subscribers only) – about season three of Treme.
• Clare Danes’ second act: Anne Helen Petersen at celebrity gossip, academic style reflects on the career of the star of the returning Homeland…
• Former Lebanon hostage John McCarthy slams US drama Homeland: … while the Independent reports the excellent John McCarthy’s responses to the series’ depiction of being held hostage.
• The mutual benefits of engaging with industry: Cathy Johnson at CST Online on why media academics should work more with practitioners – it’s a no-brainer surely, but there’s still a lot of suspicion on both sides – and Cathy does a great job at explaining how it can work better than it often does…
• Why we need more collaboration between academics and culture professionals: … and Clare Reddington’s guest blog for the DCMS is a really interesting complement to Cathy’s post.
• Shakespeare’s other screens: Luke McKernan lucidly explains why he is interested in ‘amateur’ Shakespeare videos on YouTube and Vimeo – and highlights five of the best; comparing these often oddball productions to early cinema adaptations of the Bard, he says
you don’t film the whole play; rather you give expression to how Shakespeare has inspired you. The online Shakespeare video is about reinterpreting his works, and sharing in the culture of Shakespeare, through the media of our times.
• Letting the cat out of the bag – help us reinvent theatre criticism: a really intriguing experiment from the Guardian and West Yorkshire Playhouse, addressing the following:
How do we apply our principles of open journalism to theatre reviewing? What would happen if everyone in the audience shared their views of a performance – as well as the critics? Is it possible to have a conversation about a show for the duration of its run and beyond, rather than just on the first night?
• Pickled plays – why won’t British directors set classic texts free?: A spot-on Lyn Gardner post for the Guardian arguing for a more radical approach to Chekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare and the like; her starting-point is the wonderful Three Sisters at the Young Vic directed by Benedict Andrews – rush to get a ticket if you’ve not already seen it.
• The world behind Shakespeare’s art: Souren Malikian in The New York Times waxes lyrical about the importance of the (stunning) Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibition at The British Museum: ‘the most innovative undertaking in the museum arena yet seen in the 21st century… has laid the foundations for a new artistic and literary genre. It may inspire imitations but it will not easily be surpassed.’ (!)
• Audio early modern drama – a proposal: Stuart Ian Burns highlighted his August contribution to The Hamlet Weblog in a Comment to my Better read post this week, but it deserves more profile than that – it’s a cogent expression of what many of us long for: an audio series of readings of plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries.
• Do bad things happen when works enter the public domain? The data says… no: a valuable Techdirt report on academic research engaging with the commercial effects of copyright works entering the public domain – the upsum is that there are no good arguments for copyright extension.
• Best practices for journalists: Mark Luckie on the Twitter blog has some brief, useful thoughts which can also help the rest of us Tweet better,
• Does ‘media’ still exist?: an extract from Lev Manovich’s forthcoming book arguing that the pioneers of the digital revolution in the 1960s and ’70s were as much media theoreticians as computer engineers.