Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jules Dassin and more.

Jules Dassin was kicked out of America in the 1950s allegedly for being a communist. While in exile he directed two of my favorite movies, "Rififi" and "Never on Sunday," which he also starred in, playing across from his future wife, Melina Mercouri.

Before the land of liberty expelled him, he shot a pretty good movie called "Naked City," which ended with this narration: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

That's where I fall out of bed with Jules Dassin.

The idea that every one and every thing has a story.

I've seen it said about carpets at Bloomingdale's, Starbuck's coffee and bottles of wine. They all have stories. Just as we're told--ad nauseam--that every brand has a story. And every client. And every agency. And every smiling dweeb that was electioneering for my vote as I walked to the polling place this morning.

We are being bludgeoned to death with the idea of stories.

It's not enough to have a story.

The story has to be good. It has to "take." It has to resonate.

Take the "Arab Spring" story for instance and consider how it failed.

It was doing fine for us when it appeared it was Twitter-fingered-youth overthrowing totalitarian zealots.

We could deal with that.

But that story wasn't real and didn't take.

Oligarch vs. Despot vs. Zealot vs. Junta is not nearly as interesting.

No interest, no story.

The same is true of most of what you see on TV.

Poorly wrought bullshit with no truth.

Not a story.

Personally, I don't believe there are eight million stories in the naked city.

I think there are about eight.

That's all anyone's taken the time to create.

And all I have time for anyway.

If you're going to proclaim yourself a storyteller, make sure you can tell a good story.

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