Bayard Rustin reads.
Tennant, Cavaliero, Cook, Kriby, and Lailey read, sound like law firm.
David Tennant (as Malvolio), Rosie Cavaliero (as Maria), Ron Cook (as Sir Toby Belch), Vanessa Kirby (as Olivia), and James Lailey (as Feste) recording in the studio for BB3’s Radio production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 2012.
[…] At 40, Tennant seems too young (and frankly, too attractive) for the part of Malvolio, the deluded hypocrite who sighs after his young mistress, but the actor makes a spirited case for the casting.
"I’m making him slightly puritanical, and I think he can be any age, really. He’s often played by an older gent, but there’s nothing in the text to tell you to do it that way. He’s the butler, and I think it’s the social divide rather than the age gap that matters. That’s what he dares to presume he might be able to traverse, and I think it’s really interesting in that he might believe himself to have a chance."
If Viola is some hot young thing and Malvolio’s being played by some septuagenarian, that seems rather less likely. “Not,” adds Tennant, hastily “that there aren’t relationships like that which work. Take my wife!” [in January he married 27-year old Georgia Moffett]. “But,” he argues, “I’d say they’re quite rare. Though obviously if I finally play Malvolio aged 75, I’ll be arguing against that.” (x)
Thank you to everybody who took time to share their thoughts with me on the whole diversity issue. Responses were all over the map, but the most common shared points were that people would prefer APR go on and accepting submissions could help. So, keep an eye open for that. If you have other ideas or comments, as always, I’m all ears.
Now back to what this tumblr is meant to do …
To start this long story, I’m horrible about checking my tumblr message box. I could generate excuses, but that’s crap. I’m just really bad at it. Why is this important? Because today I did one of my semi-bi-annual checks and found a message from fellow tumblrer-er (whatever the form of that would be) legionsofme asking why Awesome People Reading was so very very white. Then LOM stated that there are lots of people of color in the world and that they read.
Does Awesome People Reading skew heavily white? Yeah. I believe it clearly does. Certainly I have featured images of folks all over the racial, age, gender, whatever spectrum, but overall APR is definitely a little pale.
Why is APR so very white? I have no doubt some of that is a reflection of my own subjectivity. My own likes and dislikes must, I think, inevitably be shaped somewhat by my own racial experience and that, in turn, must impact who I post.
(And it’s not just a race thing. There’s clearly a bias toward figures from the English-speaking world. If you asked why I never featured, say, Belarussian authors, I’d have to honestly tell you that I didn’t know any. There’s a bias towards leftist political figures. If anybody’s curious why I’ve never posted, say, Ayn Rand, it’s because it’s my blog and I don’t like her. Because they get photographed incessantly, there’s a bias towards entertainment figures – too much of one, really, and I wish we photographed other important people half as much as we photograph actors. And so on and so on.)
Though, honestly, I think it is also a lot less than that. Long time followers already know this story, but I started APR as an exercise in using the tumblr platform. Part of my day job requires using social media, so I have to play around with various platforms and usually do this by launching temporary projects on them. APR was just such a project. But, surprisingly, APR kinda took off. So I’ve kept it going as a fun side thing I believed folks would continue to enjoy it. I can keep it going because it takes almost no effort on my part: I basically stumble across images and post them, it’s pretty low maintenance. It has to be, or I couldn’t do it. I’ve got actual responsibilities elsewhere and this tumblr, due to intellectual property laws and my own inclination, will never grow into something I could do as a gig. The lame truth is that I simply never make the effort to craft the overall representation on my tumblr because I post stuff on a picture-to-picture basis and I find these posts in a haphazard, unplanned way. This blog skews white ‘cause I’m either too lazy or too unable to dedicate time to it (take your pick) for it to be otherwise.
That said, I’m not unsympathetic to LOM’s point: I’m not exactly fighting the good fight by just following my inclinations and posting willy-nilly, allowing an unplanned but, I think, very real bias to develop in the posts.
Here’s the situation: I’m never going to have the time – nor, honestly, do I have the will – to turn APR into the sort of thing where I plan and track the posts to meet clearly defined diversity goals, however noble and worthwhile those goals are. That’s not in the cards. I couldn’t do it, even if I wanted.
So what do we do? Is there still a value in APR if all it does is represent my single worldview, with all the limitations that necessarily entails? If I can’t meet certain standards for representation, should I shut this thing down as inherently, if unintentionally, oppressive? Should I ask followers to send me links to tumblrs and other resources that expand the representation of readers in ways APR doesn’t? Other solutions? I’m open to suggestions? Let me know. I’m somewhat at a loss for ideas myself.
Mos Def, reads.
Thanks to orangeschmorange for the reminder to be considerate and correct. It’s important.
So, this is APR breaking format to remark that several well-informed followers hipped me to the fact that Balls: A Novel is, in fact, the entire title of the shelved book in the Olivia Wilde picture. I just had to share that.
(A couple of folks also pointed out that Miss Wilde is reading in McNally Jackson, a wonderful bookstore in SoHo, founded by Sarah McNally, who was previously featured on APR. Good eye.)
Also, I hope that Julian Tepper’s next book is from an MS he was writing as he wrote Balls, so that he can explain that, even though it’s his second novel, it’s actually old as Balls.