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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

A Word (or Several) on the Technological Renaissance

Happy Wednesday, folks. For your pre-Thanksgiving pleasure reading, I’d like to share with you this most excellent interview with my old friend Hank Stuever, twice-nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, TV critic for the Washington Post, author of two books (actual books! printed on real paper and everything!), and all around brilliant, dapper fellow. And just to clarify, when I say “old,” I don’t mean that Hank is old, per se (although I guess at 43 we kind of are approaching oldness), but that I first met Hank our freshman year at good old Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City waaaaaaay back in 1982, back when I was still a good-girl preppy chick, before I discovered ditching school to party and hit my “Desperately Seeking Susan” fashionista phase (and in spite of knowing me when I was dressing like that, Hank still at least pretends to like me).

Hank has a lot of smart things to say about being a working journalist and author at a time when the very existence of print is threatened by this whole internet revolution, and I thought that you, like me, might glean something useful out of it. Here’s a little excerpt:

I don’t think things like the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prizes are going to survive the renaissance. That’s another tradition that’s going to have to be solved by people 100 years from now — how to discern quality from everything else. Also, there will be this notion that nothing is ever done. You can always go back and improve a novel and re-upload it, based on reader suggestions. You can keep building a non-fiction piece after the first upload, when new information comes to light. You can’t give a Pulitzer to a moving target.

You can read the entire piece right over here.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, don’t overstuff yourselves with turkey and such. I plan to have a very productive weekend involving much watching of awards season screeners, and much writing on a new screenplay. Or maybe, just much being lazy and napping and taking hot baths. Probably that’s more likely.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon