In Cold Blood & Capote – Or why you should never trust a writer…

Welcome to season 2 of The Frankenpod in which we will be looking at Truman Capote and his “literary non-fiction” novel In Cold Blood (1966).

  1. You can listen here
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The media that we focused on included;

  1. The 1966 novel In Cold Blood: A true account of a multiple murder and its consequences by Truman Capote.
  2.  The 2005 film Capote directed by Bennett Miller and starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the title role.
  3. The 2011 collection of critical essays Truman Capote and the Legacy of In Cold Blood by Ralph F. Voss.
  4. The 1967 film In Cold Blood directed by Richard Brooks and starring Robert Blake as Perry Smith and Scott Wilson as Dick Hickcock.

In this episode, we touch on some aspects of the real events surrounding the murder of a ‘nice family’ from Kansas by two complex and dangerous men who have been recently paroled and believed that the father, Herb Clutter, kept a large amount of cash in a safe in the home. No such safe existed. We don’t go into great detail so if you are looking for a more comprehensive look into the murders of the Clutter’s I would suggest the In Sight Podcast episode on the case.

In Cold Blood was the last book ever written by Truman Capote and was first published in 1965 as a four-part series for the New Yorker and was published as a novel in 1966. Capote was an acclaimed writer of fiction and perhaps his most famous book after In Cold Blood was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He was controversial largely due to his flamboyant self promotion and the brutal confronting honesty of his prose. Truman Capote promoted the book as an entirely new genre of book, the “literary non-fiction” novel. But it didn’t come out of nowhere, these things seldom do, historical fiction and non-fiction accounts that embellish and twist the truth to suit the author’s needs have existed for centuries. He claimed that In Cold Blood was an accurate account based on years of correspondence and investigation into the horrific murders of the Clutter family and Capote certainly spent an enormous amount of time researching and interviewing those involved. The issue that many critics have with the book is Capote’s embellishment and manipulation of the truth, often including scenes and quotes in the novel that never happened. Another contentious issue was Capote’s obvious attachment to one of the convicted men, Perry Smith and his story was given primacy when many thought that the book should have focused more on the victims and the impact the crimes had on others.

The efficacy of the creation of In Cold Blood and the scandal that surrounds it is almost as interesting, if not more so than the book itself as evidenced by films like Capote and the critical work of Voss. After the film adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s Capote was determined to exercise more creative control over the film of In Cold Blood and the director Richard Brooks worked with him to create a beautifully shot if the somewhat narratively choppy film that they were both happy with.

 

 

  • Brooks, Richard, 1912- & Blake, Robert, 1933- & Wilson, Scott, 1942- & Capote, Truman, 1924-. In cold blood & Columbia Pictures et al. 2003, Truman Capote’s In cold blood, Widescreen ed, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, Culver City, CA
  • Capote, Truman 2000, In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences, Penguin, London.
  • Miller, Bennett, (film director.) & Baron, Caroline, (film producer.) & Vince, William, (film producer.) & Ohoven, Michael, (film producer.) & Futterman, Dan, 1967-, (screenwriter.) et al. 2006, Capote, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Culver City, California
  • Voss, Ralph F & ProQuest (Firm) 2011, Truman Capote and the legacy of In cold blood, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.
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Four Days to Go!

It’s 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight savings time on the 27th of October 2018 which means The Frankenpod season two starts in just four days on the 31st of October!

Halloween Spppooooookyyy.

Not really intentional it just seemed as good a time as any.

We have some amazing episodes coming with Melissa of The Brook Reading podcast on a particularly divisive and controversial book and I don my tinfoil hat with the ladies of Wives Tales to talk about a cinematic adaptation of one of the most popular conspiracies based novels of the 20th Century.

But for the first episode of season two Brent and I tackle a little true crime by examining a masterpiece of “literary non-fiction”, some of the controversies surrounding it and it’s cinematic adaptations.

We’ve recorded a short promo just to keep everyone in the loop and you can find the initial relaunch blog post here.

If you want a bit of a refresher on what we define as gothic you can find our introduction to gothic literature here and we will be updating this definition soon to include some of the things we have learnt along the way. There is also our everything is gothic unless it’s not and then it’s something else which might be useful if you are looking for more specific information about what we include as part of the gothic genre.

This season we will be featuring creepy stories submitted by listeners and some classic gothic short stories you may not have heard before. It doesn’t have to be frightening, it doesn’t have to be dramatic, just a little something that can be read in 5 minutes. If you like you can send it to us as the text for us to read or you can read it yourself and send us an audio file. If writing isn’t your thing we are also happy to accept music.

Make sure you let us know if you want us to promote your project, podcast, writing or anything. It is literally the least we could do.

If you want to come on the podcast and have a chat about your favourite gothic book, movie, television show, graphic novel, poem, character or author you can email us at thefrankenpod@gmail.com.

We can’t wait to be back!

http://thefrankenpod.libsyn.com/season-2-starts-on-the-31st-of-october

 

Promo Music: Swing Gitane by The Underscore Orkestra is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Image: A digitized image of the original painting American Gothic that Grant Wood, a master artist of the twentieth century, created in 1930 and sold to the Art Institute of Chicago in November of the same year.

How do women writers in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries use the essay form to interrogate the implications of progress for gender roles? By Morgan Mushroom 

Women in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century began to utilize the persuasive power of the essay in order to put forward their ideas about what values and rights women should have. Whilst many women were beginning to write and philosophize outside of the domestic sphere, the persuasive writing of women gained an audience when utilizing topics relating to domesticity as a springboard for discussing broader subjects relating to gender and morality. This often means that discourse surrounding the role of women in society was approached as it relates to the notion of the ideal woman. This essay will attempt to analyze “The Milliners” (Jameson, 1843) and “The Girl of the Period” (Linton, 1862) as these essays were written by women of the nineteenth century and allow their authors to advocate for a particular role and ideal woman of their time. To a lesser extent this essay with also examine the impact of a particularly notable excerpt from Mary Wollstonecraft’s introduction to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Wollstonecraft, 1792) that also interacts with notions of fashion and what that means for evolving gender roles.
As the perennial face of women’s rights in the eighteenth century, Wollstonecraft advocated for the education and emancipation of women citing their enlightenment as key to their value and progress within society. In her introduction to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman she pointedly condemns the female obsession with silliness and fashion, an obsession which leads them to neglect the more noble pursuits that are considered inappropriate for their gender (Wollstonecraft, 18). Wollstonecraft’s disruption of these gender roles that keep women uneducated and subservient comes at the end of the eighteenth century setting a radical precedent for the criticism of the ideal woman that is inextricably linked to the value she places on fashion and the domestic.

Anna Brownell Jameson 

Increased literacy amongst both men and women of all classes and the cheap manufacturing of texts during this period (Wilson, 58) meant that the reading audience grew dramatically and diversified. This new diverse audience left room for more diverse writing perspectives, leaving the door open to female authors particularly in the publication of periodicals (Wilson, 59). This new space for female authorship gave those who had limited scope for the proliferation of ideas a platform by which to advocate for their viewpoint in essay form. A common preoccupation of the persuasive essay as written by a woman of the 1800s is the criticism of the impact of progress on women and the role of the woman within society. Linton and Jameson both address perceived crises facing young women and girls of their time but in vastly different ways. Whilst Jameson addresses the plight of exploited factory girls, Linton bemoans the loss of the domesticated, homebound, British girl. Both texts also condemn the contemporary obsession with fashionable excess and what the female preoccupation with fashion means for the morality of society as a whole.
Jameson’s essay, “The Milliners”, paints a picture of the modern working-class girl being all but drowned by the wave of progress as her youth, gender and lower social standing leave her vulnerable to exploitation in the manufacturing of luxury garments and fashionable accessories. Jameson compares the experience of the fashionable society ladies who wear the garments and the malnourished, exhausted and sickly girls who produce them, pointing out that they are “fantastically and horribly coupled” (Jameson, 1). This clear condemnation of excess at the cost of another is not only condemning the society that lets these factory girls be treated so poorly, but it is also calling upon society women to forgo some of their excesses in order to advocate for better working conditions. Jameson also posits an alternative to the oppressive millinery workhouses, highlighting more ethical conduct of a particular manufacturer. The female manager, in this case, has shown not only a capacity for creative and competitive business strategy but morality to treat her workers with a degree of respect not afforded to girls in other factories. Jameson is putting forward the ideal of rights for female workers as well as more socially conscious women of means. In doing this she is carving out a role for women in society as both a valued worker and a socially responsible critical thinker. In this way, some of Jameson’s discourse in her essay is a slightly altered echo of Wollstonecraft in the way that she views fashion as being an obstacle to women achieving freedom, knowledge or morality.

Eliza Lynn Linton

Linton, in sharp contrast to Wollstonecraft in particular, refers to fashion as being, not the obstacle to enlightenment and emancipation, but a symptom of greed and selfishness that draws women away from the traditional domestic sphere. Linton is very clear about her expectations of gender roles, looking to the normative family dynamics of the past in which the wife is subservient and only exists to nurture both her husband and children (Linton, 3-4). She insists that a fashionable or independent woman lacks maternal instinct only offering her children a “stepmother’s coldness” (Linton, 3). The essay argues that the modern is woman useless in the domestic sphere meaning that she is not fulfilling her gender role within society to the detriment of both men and women. The fear of the woman in her role as an empowered individual rather than as a demure and subservient homebody drives much of both the criticism of fashion and the cultural isolationist viewpoint in “The Girl of The Period”. The condemnation of fashionable dress and less conventionally privileged British modes of dress (Linton, 3) provides an opening to heated and impassioned discourse regarding the decaying morality of “the girl of the period” (Linton, 1).
Whilst Linton’s arguments for the regression of women’s role within nineteenth century to a state of domestication and servitude are anti-feminist and actively condemn the emancipation of her gender (Fix Anderson, 134) she employs similar condemnation of the frivolous excesses of the fashion of the time as Jameson’s uses in her opening and closing arguments. Jameson is chiefly concerned with ending the terrible conditions of working-class women, however, Linton’s concerns borne of preserving traditional gender roles that are gradually becoming obsolete as women move gradually outside the domestic sphere. In this way, the luxurious indulgences of privileged women are highlighted by both writers as socially irresponsible and contrary to the best interests of their gender and its role in an increasingly industrialized and modern society.
Many movements that sought to redefine the role of women in a world that was changing rapidly due to the explosion of industry were intrinsically tied to an ideal form of dress. As Linton calls for more conservative dress and Jameson calls for more socially responsible, less excessive means of dressing, so too did other female writers of the time push forward their agenda by using the fashion and dress of women. Elizabeth Smith Miller, a proponent of the dress reform movement pushed forth the idea that more practical dress was a means of empowering women and allowing them to abandon the restrictive clothing, such as corsets and long sweeping gowns that caused extensive health problems and limited the activity of the women wearing them (Kesselman, 495). As a means of opening a dialogue about the role of women in society the critique of women’s fashion not only opens the door to discourse regarding the moral values exhibited by the chosen dress of women but also serves as a means to advocate for the rights of women and a changing role for women in a progressive society. Linton, Wollstonecraft and Jameson use the form of the persuasive essay to push forth their reasons for less ornate and fashion dependent modes of dress, but their criticism of this style of dress is used as a vehicle to push back against the role that a changing society has pushed women into.
In the face of the changing social and industrial landscape of the eighteenth and nineteenth century were being called upon to fill traditional domestic roles whilst the practicalities of their modern lives require a flexibility of gender roles. Women’s role as subservient and homebound is being questioned by many writers, whilst others push back against the new freedoms being afforded the modern woman. Despite the differing agendas of the female writers examined (Wollstonecraft, Jameson and Linton) they all utilize, to varying degrees, a critique of what is proclaimed to be the female obsession with appearance and attire. As an aspect of women’s essay writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth century the preoccupation with fashion and its implications for the rights and morality of women should not be underestimated as it is often a powerful mode of discourse employed by a diverse range of prominent writers, to great persuasive effect.

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References
• Anderson, Nancy Fix. “Eliza Lynn Linton, Dickens, and the Woman Question.” Victorian Periodicals Review, vol. 22, no. 4, 1989, pp. 134–141. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20082411.
• Jameson, Anna. “The Milliners” The Athenauem (1843) in Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors: Victorian Writing by Women on Women. Ed. Susan Hamilton. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2004. Print.
• Kesselman, Amy. “The ‘Freedom Suit’: Feminism and Dress Reform in the United States, 1848-1875.” Gender and Society, vol. 5, no. 4, 1991, pp. 495–510. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/190097.
• Linton, Eliza Lynn. “The Girl of the Period.” Saturday Review 14 March 1868. Rpt. in Criminals, Idiots, Women and Minors: Victorian Writing by Women on Women. Ed. Susan Hamilton. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2004. Print.
• Wilson, Cheryl A. “Placing the Margins: Literary Reviews, Pedagogical Practices, and the Canon of Victorian Women’s Writing.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. 28, no. 1, 2009, pp. 57–74. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40783474.
• Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman. [Auckland, N.Z.]: Floating Press, 2010. Print.

Call out to clever cloggs

Got an idea you want to chat about?

Obsessed with something niche?

Are people tired of hearing about it?

Do they get that glazed over look in their eyes?

Do they sigh loudly when you mention it?

Do they cross the street when they see you coming?

Do they start screaming when you open your mouth?

Don’t stress we’ve got your back!

Starting this May our podcast gives a voice to the obsessed, the fanatical and the heartbreakingly earnest. We want to hear what you’ve got to say and if you can say it in 2 minutes we can give you the proverbial floor to convince us all that we should care about your thing.

What we need from you:

  • A 2 minute “pitch” for your idea, cause or obsession explaining why we should care about it too.  You can mention a specific project if you like  before your 2 minutes but it isn’t an ad so we can’t really take pitches that are just promotional.
  • 10 minutes of your time
  • A photo of you and/or the thing you care about

OR

If you are a performer you can share a song, poem, play or short story.

So if I can’t promote my stuff what can I talk about?

Well you can expand it to talk more generally. For example, if you have a podcast about true crime you can promote it before your 2 minutes, but in your 2 minutes you might talk about why people should care about wrongful convictions. Or if you have a small business you might want to talk about the importance of shopping local or buying handmade instead of mass produced. We are totally happy to plug your stuff, but the point of the 2 minute pitch is to squash as much information about the stuff you care about into it, your promotional message can be given pride of place before or after it when listeners will have time to process it.

No matter what you love we want to hear from you

Email morgan.pinder@gmail.com

Or message this blog!

 

Writing about Film and TV (Writing for the Arts 2)

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Neill, Rosemary. “Cable TV box sets spark a cultural revolution.” The Australian 8 December 2012 :
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/cable-tv-box-sets-spark-a-cultural-revolution/story-fn9n8gph-1226531292299
The first thing I have to say about the article is that the word “hip” sticks out like a sore thumb. But then I guess the demographic for the Australian is not one that I particularly fit, so after I stopped cringing the main thing that I took away from the article was how much our viewing habits have changed in the past 3 years since this was written. Since then we have had the paid online streaming which has picked up where cable has left off with netflix and “binge watching? taking the place of dvd marathons. This article in pointing out the way that industry and consumers have evolved to meet new formats is peculiarly reminiscent of current articles about whole series drops such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” that have taken the telivision series in a new direction which does not rely on recaps and reintroductions of complex plot points and characters to keep viewers engaged and up to speed.
I decided to watch and review the new Doctor Who episode this week, which I’ll be honest, I didn’t hold high hope for as last this season has been pretty unspectacular thus far. I’m not sure why they have chosen to have the Doctor mirror Capadli’s percieved personality so closely when they have such an amazing character and dramatic actor at their disposal. It was an effort not to delve into “epic fan girl” mode when writing about this so I wrote 2 versions, one aimed at casual viewers and the other aimed at “whovians”.
Buy Books So I can buy coffee!

Writing about Music (Writing for the Arts 1)

Buy Books So I can buy coffee!

Kent, Nick. “Sid Vicious – The Exploding Dim-Wit.” The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music 1972-1993. London: Penguin. 1994. 179-87.
The reading was a quite brutal close up look at one of the most iconic moments in the 70s punk movement. I found that it might be a bit emotive for my tastes but then I did not have to behold the offense spetical of Sid and Nancy’s downward spiral close up. The article paints a pretty bleak picture of the kind of grotesque behaviour that the punk movement was sometimes involved with.
For my thumbnail album review I listened to Kingswoods album Microscopic Wars. Even though Kingswood’s sound has matured since their days as an undiscovered unearthed band I still find myself ultimately reminded of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Songs for the deaf”. This is by no means a negative and Kingswood certainly add an Australian flavour to the stoner rock genre.

Buy Books So I can buy coffee!

Coping (or pretending) to cope with polite rejection…

Whilst I realise that a rejection with a request for more writing is better than simply being ignored, I’m still feeling that stinging sensation that comes with knowing nobody want what you are selling,,, nobody is picking up what you are putting down… no one finds your ideas intriguing and wishes to subscribe to your news letter… Shall I continue…

No.. no you are right best leave that be. Here are 5 ways I am attempting to cope with an almost across the board auto-reply-zoning of my submitted work at the moment:

  1. Liquorice; I didn’t get to the size I am without some serious and pointless junk food binging. Liquorice is my indulgence of choice this time around.
  2. Getting snippy with acquaintances; Nothing puts things in perspective, and fills me with regret like inadvertently burning bridges with people you just met or barely know for reasons that are wholly unrelated to anything they are even slightly connected with. Rampaging Morgan turns into angry she-hulk at the slightest provocation.
  3. Making lists; This is not a good example of my list related neurosis. The lists I am talking about are definitely private, embarrassing, and one of the few ways I am able to convince myself that I am in control of my life… to any extent… at all.. ever… (you can tell this isn’t one of those because there are; a. no times jotted down and crossed out along the margins and b. no tiny arbitrary jobs that I can tick off without trying to make myself feel better)
  4. Crochet; Or any yarn related hobby. It gives the illusion of productivity without having to face the reality of the situation.
  5. Making excuses to play games; Oh I’m just going to play this game for 5 minutes then I’ll get to work…. look I even set a timer… *snooze*…. *snooze* actually I should keep playing this because I can review to for the blog….. Well I’ve finished that now… hmmm it was released a while ago maybe I should look for a more recent release to review…. and so on….

Buy Books So I can buy coffee!

Topic 5: Writing the Report (Zeitgeist Genres 4)

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Bringing them Home. Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. April 1997.

The heartbreaking “Bringing them home” report introduction powerfully states the case to be answered by the Australian government in emotive but not overstated language. Rather than overstating the need for the inquiry the introduction include direct submissions from individuals in order to demonstrate the true, and very personal impact of the actions taken. The seriousness of the findings means that the words must be factual, but because of the enormity and scale of the injustices and cruelty that occurred simply invoking the humanity and vulnerability of the victims is enough to make this an incredibly powerful text.

Topic 4: The Blog and the Zeitgeist (Zeitgeist Genres 3)

Keen, Andrew. “Introduction.” The Cult of the Amateur. New York: Doubleday, Currency. 2007.

Keen’s “Introduction” paints a pretty bleak picture of what is expected of blogging and social media journalism. He invokes the “infinite number of monkeys” who will eventual write Shakespeare to emphasize his view of the hit and miss (and miss again) nature of putting media in the hands of the people rather that having the system of old media, in which the news was generated by the 4th estate, separate from other classes.

I have to say I found his alluding to open online media as “mob rule” a little bit retrograde. It’s almost as though his implication is that not everyone should have a voice, or that some people’s voices should be louder than others. I post on a blogs from time to time so I went with a topic that I used to write about for a British blog, urban exploration, in particular about abandoned mining towns. It’s a niche topic but does attract a fair amount of curiosity from people who travel or are interested in alternative lifestyle and tourism.

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