I’m tweeting a lot about Palestine at the moment because it feels immoral to ignore it. Yesterday I shared this by Greg Shupack and it prompted a response by a Jewish friend (who wishes to remain anonymous because of all the vicious abuse he receives whenever he opens his mouth on the subject).
“Just don’t agree with you that suggesting that there are two sides involved in this conflict is “victim-blaming” or an example of being enslaved to Western ideological assumptions. For example: that article you linked to. This paragraph:
“Both sides” rhetoric means accepting the timeline the aggressor puts forth so as to make its claim to be acting defensively seem plausible. In this view, the current killing supposedly started with the June 11 disappearance and killing of three Israeli settlers rather than the murder by the Israeli military of unarmed Palestinian teenagers Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Salameh on May 15.
This article is attempting to deconstruct ideologies, as presented to us by the Western media, so that there is some kind of true objective balance rendered. If so, this is how that sentence should read:
The current killing supposedly started with the June 11 murder of three unarmed Israeli teenagers rather than the murder by the Israeli military of unarmed Palestinian teenagers on May 15.
It is totally correct to suggest a timeline which will not have started with the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers (and indeed goes back much further, as he points out). But then he fucks up any sense of objectivity. By calling the Israeli teenagers settlers, and by losing the description of them as teenagers, and by calling it “a disappearance and killing” rather than a murder, and by not calling them unarmed whereas making sure we know that about the Palestinians, he basically says “the Israelis deserved to die.” They were kids, 16, 17 and 19. They didn’t deserve to die, any more than the Palestinians.
No doubt the writer – a Jew, like many Jews, frantic with guilt about Israel – is making a point about the fact that Palestinian casualties are often not-named by reversing that expectation. But all that truly happens is a linguistic shift designed to render one act of violence OK, in order to justify another. Whereas both are fucking terrible.”
I wish he didn’t feel he had to speak about this anonymously (as I said in my reply to him, the tactic of conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is currently paying off in some terrible ways), because he makes an excellent point.
Dear CosPlayers living in the UK,
I’m looking for something special for a telly thing…
It’s quite specific, so if you can help, and it would be a massive help, we’d need to know you can help with ALL of the wish-list below:
Do you have a really elaborate, cool costume?
Can you be available for the whole of the day and evening of Friday 4th July near London?
Can you also spare half a day sometime between Mon 30th Jun – Thurs 3rd July near Fulham?
Is your outfit completely your creation? A character you’ve made up, or one from British soil we might be able to clear?
If you can answer YES to these three questions, can you email a picture of yourself with AND without your marvellous outfit to email@example.com please, with everything you want to say about your character, give us your best introduction… and we’ll be in touch.
THAT IS ALL!
I don’t know either. Here’s a compilation while you puzzle it out.
(This was originally posted on my Posterous blog. Re-upping it for @gerstaunton and anyone else who might be interested.)
People often ask me for for writing advice and I usually respond by pointing them to my DVD commentary for IT Crowd Season 4, which is a complete guide to writing a sitcom from concept to screen. Everything I knew about sitcom writing to that point in time is on that DVD, so when people ask me for advice, that’s literally the most helpful thing I can do for them. The fact that it also gives me an excuse to plug the DVD is completely beside the point, of course.
But there is one piece of advice on which I may not have placed enough emphasis, because it is almost impossible to place enough emphasis on it, and it is as follows: when someone reads your script and gives you notes, be grateful, and act on those notes.
Act on them, apply them. You are not a genius. You are just a schmuck. You need help, your script needs help. That opening you think is so hilarious? It’s not. It’s confusing. It doesn’t work. Stop pretending it’s the Odessa Steps. It’s a fucking mess.
And you know what, the scene that follows it? The one that really IS great? The one that everyone loves? That’s going to have to go too. Do you know why? Because as soon as you changed the scene-that’s-not-the-Odessa-Steps, it made that other scene not work either.
Writing is rewriting.
Rewriting is not polishing.
Rewriting is heavy lifting.
Now, there is a flipside to this rule. Unless you are lucky enough to have a real-life, honest-to-goodness, says-it-on-his-business-card script editor who has been paid to give you a full set of notes, you may well run into people who have lots of opinions on what is wrong with your script, and not one of them makes a bit of sense; notes that might as well say “This script would be great, if everyone in it was taller.”
What you do when you hear this kind of note is very simple. You nod, you say “That’s interesting”, you go home and you try to work out what the real problem is. Even the dumbest person in the room can help your script, because if that person felt the need to open his big dumb mouth, it’s because your script didn’t hold his attention enough to keep him quiet.
By now, you’re probably wondering why I’ve adopted such an aggressive tone for this piece. It’s because I’m sick of hearing from very clever friends of mine–script editors and producers who DO give great notes–that the writer they’re currently working with refuses to change anything, or sulks and whines or worse yet, explains that “No, no, you see…HE’S saying it to HER. That’s why it’s FUNNY!” (If you have to explain ANYTHING, you’ve ALREADY LOST).
I heard of a writing partnership who handed in a first draft and said “We’re not changing a word of that.” If I had been in that room, and had been in a position to do so, I would have said “OK, you’re fired” and then laughed like Doctor Doom for a week. You might as well say “We do not know how to write, and we refuse to learn.”
So repeat after me, you fuckwits who refused to implement that very simple fix that your EXPERIENCED and CLEVER producer suggested:
He is not the problem.
I am the problem.
My script is the problem.
Writing is rewriting.
Writing is rewriting.
Writing is rewriting.