Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dramatizations Verus Novels: The Compulsion To Change Things

I've been re-reading, some would insist I say listening since I am discussing audiobooks, Ellis Peters Cadfael mysteries. I first became acquainted with the stories through the PBS series Mystery! when it brought the shows across the Atlatnic from their original BBC airings back in the mid-90s. Sir Darek Jacbi played the role of Brother Cadfael and while at times I always wonered at his ability to divine forensic details from what he observed I was more than willing to suspend disbelief for the show. What gets me about the TV series compared to the novels though is not so much how much is left out as that has to be done when you are creating a dramatization designed to fit in a meager 90 minutes but what the screenwriters actively change. They might argue that the change is dramatic license and I cannot dispute that but why do it when the key points in the novel furnish what what, to my mind at least, make excellent television. Let's look at one example: St. Peter's Fair (for obvious reasons their are going to be spoilers ahead). We can start right at the outset if we so desire with the initial scene in the TV show set at night in the abbey hall and the townsfolk insisting on a poriton of the profits from the fair. I suppose the screenwriters have to assert CAfael right then and their but he doesn't speak up for the town in the story and it's hard to believe even a monk such as he would really have done so to Abbot Radulfus. Worse we see young Philip raging forth which he doesnt do in the novel. The novel stages that whole scene with dignity and it is not until the next day when Philip, along with other youth of the town, confront the traders setting up shop and start the row that leads to Philip being clouted roundly by Master Thomas and provides entrace for all the other key characters of the tale. Perhaps we can ignore all this as minor differences and let the story go forward as it does. We can also ignore, I suppose, minor differences like the absence of the court exchanges in town where scenes are set to cause people to further believe Philip did indeed kill Master Thomas late at night. Even though by doing so we lose in the tlevision drama a sense of the strength of character of people like Emma.

But worse to my mind is how things come to a head. It must be a TV truism that the damsel must be saved when she is in distress. I'll leave aisde how Cadfael comes to the conclusions he does and also leave aside the fact that Philip plays no role whatsoever. But why deny Emma, in this case, her chance to do what she does in the novel. That act of bravery, dare I say heroism, stands her in superb stead. Their is no reason for Hugh and CAfael to burst in suddenly and save Emma. Their is less reason for them to come to near blows about the letter (which they don't really know about anyway). Why do we as an audience, because surely we must drive the writing styles of screenwriters, feel the leading man (or men) must save the day always?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rolling Sculpture, 2009

I don't know how long this car show has run here in Ann Arbor but certainly it has been several years. It is worth noting that I don't really know anything about cars. Sure I know in broad terms how it car works but I don't have an intimate knowledge of cars. I certainly don't have experiential knowledge beyond being a passenger in automobiles. I'll never know the deep love drivers have for their cars and I think it must be that knowledge that drives the deep love so many people have for their cars. I can't tell you if every car in the show is a design paragon or represents a major shift in thinking about car as they have evolved over the past century. But perhaps it does not matter. Perhaps what matters more is that these are cars that their owners clearly love and care for with great respect. Perhaps what really matters here is that the cars present show the breadth of history not only of car design but opinions in the culture about what is beautiful and what is worth focusing attention on. Join me for a quick stroll through Rolling Sculpture, 2009.

Rolling Sculpture, 2009


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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Kayaking

There is something special about spending tine on the water. Even a short couple hours on a busy, though blessedly low powered, boat filled cove can be a real treat. My parents and I rented two recreational kayaks, a tandem for them and a solo for me, to paddle around Wickford Cove. Sure this is hardly wilderness paddling but you still get a chance to see your world a little differently. If you are lucky you even catch a glimpse of a Snowy Egret. Life slows down on the water in a kayak. You move to the rhytm of the water. If you are lucky you make a day of your trip and maybe take time to stroll the lands of Cornellious Island (I had to forego that this time). Some mught argue that a paddle is dull compared to a hike. After all on a gentle paddle things do not change much as far as the act of paddling goes. On a hike terrain underfoot can change quickly. But don't dissmiss paddling on this account. Shoreline is varied and you do see things from a wholly different vantage point. That difference makes all the difference.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Baseball and Community

We had a lively time at the Pawsox game. There is something about the shared experience of a live event that makes it all the more fun. This is hardly an unknown happening. It happens all the time but I do think baseball games mix a relaxed and yet exciting air better than most anything else. It helps when the game is a good one but even if your team has fallen on hard times the joy of going to the game remains.
No homeruns came our way this night but we all had fun. It matters little if you actually care about the game. My brother's 9 year old son certainly does not but if you ask if he had a good time he will say, "yes."

A panorama shot and stitched with my phone. The weather was near ideal which given the rainy weather of the last month and especially last two days was remarkable.

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A Summer Night of Baseball

I've got a rare chance to enjoy a night of baseball with family at McCoy stadium. Minor League ball can be so much fun. It is lighthearted and serious and fun for all.
I am settled in on the lawn beyond the outfield and who knows maybe a homerun will come our way.

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