The Dead and the Naked

Journal Entry. Montreal
Sunday night, May 18th, 1980.

Late...late...late. Too tired to write coherently. A high stress day.

Harron and GMD (EDITOR'S NOTE - that would be Gary Michael Dault our Executive Producer) are in town ... went out for dinner to talk over the show. Drank too much. Argued too much. Came back to the hotel pissed and pissed off.

The show is full of holes. 30 hours ‘till we go to air and we STILL don’t have a first block.

I want to do a tape montage - a from-the-streets-of-Montreal kind of item. Gary wants a studio interview with Jason Moscovitz. Don doesn’t care.

Hubie’s back working for Sunday Morning and without him we’re lost. Literally. Tried to find the studio -- couldn’t. Finally found it. No piano. We forgot to ask for one. Not my fault – GMD is doing music.

I spent most of today wandering the building with boxes of tapes in my arms and coffee stains on my shirt. I don't exactly look like a Montreal kind of guy.

Cut my finger editing too. Goddamn.

Tomorrow’s run through has been CANCELLED. We’ll be going to air with no rehearsal which will undoubtedly lead to much more pain.


Journal Entry. Winnipeg
Friday. November 16th, 2007.

It would be easy to riff on the CBC Falun Gong story. But there’s been lots of voices on this already.

What we need is an insider's perspective -: was any of the producer’s final “upon-acceptance” payment at stake? Or had it all been paid out months ago upon delivery of the original cut?

If so, what leverage did the Corp use to make the film-maker open up the cut ? Who paid for all the new On-lining, the re-mix, the re-striping, the creations of new masters. How much did this re-think cost ? And what was the point of the re-cut anyway? Has anyone done a comparison between the script and clips in the original RDI version against those in the re-worked cut?

What WAS lost in translation?

And then of course there’s the “big” question -- did the Chinese really threaten to restrict the number of visas issued to the CBC army heading to Beijing?

If so – did they get a preview copy ? They didn't blink at the RDI broadcast. They must have missed it. So did someone slip them a screener of the English language version ? Seems hard to believe the Chinese embassy would go to all this trouble over a couple of small newspaper articles about the film.

There's a good insider's-type of story here which will never see the light of day.

Especially now that it’s been washed away by the CBC’s TERRIFIC coverage of the killing of that poor Polish guy at Van airport.

Is it only me or did the phrase “Fascist Bastards !!” come to mind as I watched Canada’s finest taser him?

What I really wanted to note in this little blog however was the passing of Norman Mailer. "The Naked and the Dead" is one of my favourite books because it’s written so visually. If you haven’t read it – go out today and buy it. And remember it was written in 1948 almost 20 years before “Dispatches” or any of those mau-mau writers showed up.

I once went to a seminar where Mailer spoke. He told a funny story about the use of the word ‘FUG’ throughout the book. (As in “I don’t wanna get my fuggin ass shot off). You gotta remember the book was published in the days before the F-bomb became a tee-shirt marketing tool.

Mailer’s original draft was full of “fuck this” and “fuck that”. So much so that the publisher baulked and sent a telex telling Norman he’d have to change the language. Mailer, who was driving through Spain at the time was so incensed that he stopped at a small Spanish telex office and sent a two word reply -: “fuck you”. However (so his story went)....the Spanish telex clerk didn’t speak much English and telexed New York -- “Fug you”.

The publisher was delighted. And that’s what went to print.

If you’re a young documentary maker – read this book and then go rent Bloody Sunday. They’re both fuggin brilliant.


Anonymous said...

During the 'Referendum' did you have technicians from Toronto or did Montreal supply them? If yes, who where they?

The Book of Don said...

stick with the story for another day or two...you'll see.

Anonymous said...

hey dad, i wrote a pissy email to cbc about pulling that piece on the Falun Gong, and they wrote me back! Given it was a totally formulaic and shallow reply, still...
-daughter #1

Amanda said...

When I was in tenth grade English class, we had to do a book report on any book of our choosing. "But I'll have to read the book too," my teacher said, "so pick one I've already read or one that isn't too long."

Most of the other students were happy to hear this, but I was a bit offended, so I went out and picked up the biggest novel we had in our school library, Norman Mailer's 1000-paged monster "The Executioner's Song." I had read "The Naked and the Dead," and I considered this my own little fug you to my lazy English teacher.