Reposting Political Article

I’ve been dying to write about politics this entire year, but since I just started this site really this year, I wanted to avoid the controversial stuff. This early article, where I compared the election to a story and why that is important in our American worldview (actually, even though some of this is dated I still believe much of it), is one of the few times when I had no choice and gave in. And, to be honest, I still stand by a lot of what I say in this post and believe the result will still be in Obama’s favor.

Here are other things I have considered:

• I wanted to write about truth and how it really, really bothers me that people could justify changing the truth for the sake of the result and how others can go along with that untruth fully knowing that it is a lie. Without truth, what do we have?
• I even started work on a comedic piece about why I think conventions are usually structured like a bad high school award night. (It’s why I was inspired to reblog this post for those curious.)
• I even had to fight myself from at one point comparing Romney—and the fact he has run away from his past and old beliefs (pro-health care mandate, pro-choice, supporting gay rights, believing in global warming, etc.) to achieve his goal—to a Greek tragedy. Think about it: when you abandon everything you have done in the past and changed all of your beliefs for the sake of a victory, who are you in the end since you are no longer yourself…. See classic Greek tragedy. God, it could be one heck of a play! You would just need someone next to him telling him that he is making a mistake (probably the narrator of the play, maybe the character can be one of his sons?) and he would have to abandon that person… and after he loses that one person comes back to remind him that it is gone, and no one (including himself) knows who he is anymore.

Who knows? Before November they might appear on the site. For the time being, they are on my list of possible future topics.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

As children we are raised to think of our history as a story.

I’m not sure when this way of teaching American history began, but it was definitely prevalent throughout my education. Textbooks would present events, not as simple linear moments but as stories with beginnings, middles, and endings; each with their own book or chapter.

Consider, for example, how we look at the Civil War: The Civil War has a beginning with the election of Lincoln and Fort Sumter; a middle with Gettysburg; and an ending with Lincoln’s assassination. Everything else that occurs is seen in the context of that storyline. You can do this same trick with other wars and major events and you will see how it has affected your view on history as well. We all do it, we were taught to do this; we probably just didn’t realize it at the time that is what…

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Does Art Need Truth? My Concerns With The Social Network

A new editorial on film is up at  Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

In 2006, when Oprah attacked James Frey about his book, A Million Little Pieces, many of us in the arts stood behind her in the attack.  It was deserved. He was changing his life, not only to increase the drama, but to make something more of himself than was actually true. Oprah said she felt “really duped” and went on to talk about how he betrayed millions of readers.

That episode in literary history haunts me and begs the question when the subject of a story is still living, who owns that story? Who owns that life? And who is to say what changes can be made for the sake of a book or a movie?

In 2002, the Academy awarded A Beautiful Mind with an Oscar for Best Picture. A film based on the life of John Nash; and, like A Million Little Pieces, changes were made in the life of Nash for the sake of drama. At the time, I remember reading the book that the film was based on and being floored by the differences in the main character and his life. Yet, instead of questioning his writing integrity in an Oprah-attack fashion, the Academy decided to award Akiva Goldsman for these changes with a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

Now it is 2011, and we are still unclear about what is acceptable to do around a living person’s biography. This year, one of the frontrunners for the Best Picture Oscar is The Social Network, and again moments in living people’s lives were changed for the sake of drama.

You can read the rest of the editorial here.