July 2010
Top of This issue Current issue

Letters To The Ethical Spectacle

Spectacle Letters Column Guidelines. If you write to me about something you read in the Spectacle, I will assume the letter is for publication. If it is not, please tell me, and I will respect that. If you want the letter published, but without your name attached, I will do so. I will not include your email address unless you ask me to. This is in response to many of you who have expressed concern that spammers are finding your email address here. Flames are an exception. They will be published in full, with name and email address. I have actually had people follow up on a published flame by complaining that they thought they were insulting my ancestry privately. Nope, sorry.

Hello, Jonathan, I'm going to tell you right now that I completely disagree with your article on lying on this one specific sentance: "You shouldn't even lie to a murderer." Well I'm going to tell you now, if a murderer's next victim was a very close friend or relative, the murderer asked where that friend or relative was so the man could kill that friend or relative, you'd tell him? You'd rather let your friend or relative die, than die yourself? What the hell is wrong with you, you're a fucking coward.

Have you ever read the Bible? Well Peter(one of Jesus's deciples) denied even knowing Jesus because of the same reason, they would of beaten and crucified him as well. He was a coward just like you Jonathan.

In case you've forgotten what you wrote in there, re-read it, hopefully you see things differently.


Read the essay again. I am in favor of lying to murderers.

Dear Jonathan:

I think what I love the most about reading your Colchicine column is, I never know where you're going or how you're going to get there, but you always get me thinking. The dump as provider of culture is a great wrinkle to raise. All of us with dumps become dump pickers at one point or another; videos, pots and pans, lawn furniture, books and so forth. In Maine, we call them transfer stations now because of all the recycling, but dump pickers are part of the recycling as well.

One item that jumped out at me was the failure of Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Ridley Scott, all incredibly talented, to create a good Robin Hood film, but I have to file that with the failure of remakes generally. I don't know why anyone would want to remake The Lion in Winter, but the result wasn't just not as good as the original, it was downright terrible and I don't have good things to say about the remake of The Manchurian Candidate either. When 12 Angry Men was remade, it wasn't that bad, but it couldn't stand up to the original.

I often wonder why movies are remade. I realize it looks easier than coming up with something new, but you also have the hurdle of standing up during the inevitable comparison which with a great classic is invariably a disappointment. What was Brian de Palma telling himself when he decided to remake Blowup? I find it very telling that when anyone talks about Breathless, they assume you know they mean the original which is celebrating its 50th B-day. Who remembers it was remade? Who remembers David and Lisa was remade? Or, Goodbye Mr. Chips? On the Beach? Psycho? Sunset Boulevard? Maybe some films can't be remade. I haven't seen the High Noon remake, but I'm almost dreading it because I can't imagine it could be anywhere near as good as the absolutely perfect, original. I'm not completely prejudiced against remakes. I think both the original Lord of the Flies and the remake were equally excellent, but I'm forced to conclude that's the rarity.

The only other thing that amazes me about remakes is when something ridiculously awful gets remade like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. We really needed another version of this stupid film?

Best - Toni