Panel Discussion – Film & The Imagination
The panel will feature Jonathan Miller and Faculty members Tom Lewis (English), Marc-Andre Wiesman (Foreign Languages and Literatures), Erica Bastress-Dukehart (History), and Skidmore student Sean Mattison ’08.
The pub was a good choice: good pub grub and there was time enough for a couple of Boddingtons before the panel. We arrived to find the auditorium well-filled. After some technical difficulties, things got rolling with a response to the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice. Miller began somewhat crankily by arguing that good books should never be make into films, that bad books make better films. While I’d agree with the latter, I certainly don’t agree with the former — and I thought, Miller (director of a fantastic version of Alice in Wonderland, mad tea party image above) didn’t really either.
So when questions were solicited, I raised my hand and asked about this. Miller admitted that this was very “contradictory” of him and that he indeed thought Alice a good book, but he wasn’t so much filming the book as a kind of essay about it. I didn’t get a chance to ask whether other directors of films from good books might not be doing the same thing, as there were many other eager questioners. I did talk to Erica Bastress-Dukehart afterward, who felt that Miller had dismissed her interpretation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail a bit too quickly. So, we bonded over Python, bad medieval movies and their usefulness in the classroom.
Today we have James Collins here on campus which ought to be a lot of fun. There’s still the interview with Miller at 4.30, which I might be able to swing between the Collins events. We’ll see how much energy I have by this afternoon. Tired, over-busy and feeling a bit cranky myself (and unappreciated).
That’s academic life: surrounded by insecure people who know how to find the weak spots in others and exploit them in order to prop up their own timorousness. Yeah, I chose this line of work — and it’s still better than working 9-5. I have no plans to ever go back to that soul-sucking life, but at times I do have to suppress the temptation to carry a cricket bat for corrective measures (only, of course, “to threaten them with a spanking when they’re sulky”). Life is a glorious cycle of song, a medley of extemporanea…
(Oh, and my academic email address has been hijacked for spam — yay!)