Tuesday, August 12, 2008

JohnD; Who Knew

From one of my favorite writers and favorite people Judi Rohrig:

Morning, Ed. Hope all is well with you. It surely feels like fall here in the big toe of Indiana.

Anywhooo... Thanks for keeping JohnD's name out there. Sadly, the Bibliophile ceased when EdH died. Several people (including me) offered to keep it going, but lots of it was tied to the University of South Florida where EdH was professer emeritus. Cal Branch has done the best to hold onto the JDM group, but mostly they've evolved to embrace living authors, people I'm sure you know (like Michael Connelly, Kristy Montee, Tim Dorsey, Jonathan King) offering a gathering in June in Lido Key (off Sarasota).

The last time we stayed on Siesta Key, we took a sunset cruise out of Sarasota where the anticipation of that flas of green occurs just off shore from JohnD's home. Sadly there wasn't any mention of JohnD at all. But it was meaningful and sweet to see the sun set as JohnD might have seen it. Not so sweet was seeing the lopped down mangrove growth just north of his home. I read later that the people had been fined for hacking job, but... Well, you know what an environmentalist JohnD was.

Okay, there may be a lot writers can learn from JohnD, but I know he didn't write for writers: He wrote for readers. Like the best do. Just doing his job, spinning some yarns.

Like you.

Thank you for the gift of your words. And for keeping JohnD's name out there.


----------Who Knew?

On Salon. com this morning writer Louis Bayard claims that The Wild, Wild West (first season out on DVD now) is "The 1960s' gayest show" (And here I thought I always thought that honor went to Bonanza!)

Aug. 12, 2008 | "West. James West."

"Oh, let me come right out and say it. To a kid of the late 1960s, "The Wild Wild West" was as gay as a show could get. Like "I Spy," like "Batman," it was a portrait of two men in domestic partnership. Jim and Artie didn't just work together; they lived together, rode together, celebrated together. Of course, the show's creators took care to give Jim a vigorous and straight lifestyle. Virtually every episode finds him seducing -- and, in the same hot breath, reforming -- some busty blond minion. But more than heterosexual, Jim West is truly sexual, in a way heroes of westerns usually weren't. See how snugly his clothes are tailored to his form -- the bolero jacket, the extra-tight trousers (not to mention Season 4's leather chaps, which would not be out of place in a gay pride parade). And see how readily he takes those garments off at the slightest incentive. See how he carries that fine body of his. Jim West is a man who enjoys being desired.

"And who is in a better position to appreciate that effort than Artie? Ross Martin has a rip-roaring time playing the character "in character" -- Artie's a master of disguise and dialect -- but in his scenes with Conrad, he becomes softer and more tranquil. Watching them together, you realize that while Jim is often focused inward, Artie is always looking at his partner. Where else would he look? He has no girlfriends to speak of (a fact he sometimes complains about). Then again, he doesn't seem to need them. It's a token of the two men's understanding that Jim can go off on his amorous rampages, safe in the knowledge that Artie's waiting back at the train, with the champagne magnum and the freshly chalked billiard cues.

"I didn't quite grasp it as a kid, but "The Wild Wild West" showed me how two men could live together and love each other without forfeiting any of society's prerogatives. Which makes the show even more of a fantasy -- and even more of a pleasure. Long live Jim and Artie, in their train bound for trouble."


Anonymous said...

There were plenty of episodes that showed Jim and Artie with two sexy women.


Cap'n Bob said...

I guess this was supposed to be funny, but it reminds me of Dr. Wertham's condemnation of comic books with the assertation that Batman and Robin were "the wish dream of two homosexuals living together," among other inanities.