John Wilson is a freelance editor and award-winning feature writer, based in Toronto. His work has appeared in On The Danforth, Broadview and Today's Parent.
Junior Contributor III
Separating Art from Artists
Earlier this year, Hachette Book Group came under significant criticism for picking up the rights to publish writer-director-actor Woody Allen’s memoir. Much of the criticism was centred on the seeming hypocrisy of the same firm that published Ronan Farrow’s "Catch and Kill," a definitive account of the #MeToo era. This was just the latest in a string of filmmakers, writers, actors and other artists being "cancelled" by the court of public opinion. I propose an article that will address, in a balanced and sensitive fashion, the extent to which people should separate the public work of these artists from their alleged private misdeeds.
Asian Americans in Films of the 1930s, '40s and '50s
I propose an article examining Hollywood’s depiction of Asian American characters in the early years of American film. Such portrayals have long been a subject of controversy because they have frequently dealt with stereotypes rather than authentic representations of Asian culture.
Art in the Time of a Pandemic
After witnessing the devastation of the 1918 flu pandemic, Virginia Woolf made the titular heroine of "Mrs. Dalloway" an influenza survivor, embracing life with flowers, friendship and a dinner party.
In recent weeks, we have all seen images of the doctors, nurses and other frontline workers, saving lives in hotspots like Italy and New York. Their faces, tired and worn out, call to mind Edward Munch’s "Self Portrait with the Spanish Flu" and "Self Portrait After the Spanish Flu".
I propose a feature on the lessons we can learn from the art of past pandemics.
If interested in learning about the background and history of film scoring, check out the recent documentary Max Steiner: Maestro of Movie Music. While not the inventor of the film score, Steiner was an early innovator and adopter of film scoring after the transition to sound films in the late ’20s, and his influence on modern-day film composers cannot be overstated.
You should check out actress Louise Beavers in the 1939 film Reform School, a Black-cast film intended for a segregated Black audience. It is interesting to watch Beavers’ commanding presence in this film as a progressive probation officer and contrast her authoritative performance with her basically supportive, stereotyped roles in mainstream classics like Imitation of Life or Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
It’s interesting to me that author Clare Boothe Luce, a very conservative woman, by all accounts had decidedly mixed feelings about her reputation as an early feminist.
Great essay. Have you read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket? It’s Poe’s only novel — it drags a bit and is very different from much of his work, but it’s an interesting read to be sure.
An enjoyable piece, but poorly fact-checked. Lorne Michaels was 30 when the show premiered, not 32. Getting something like that incorrect makes me question a writer’s credibility, unfortunately.
I would also recommend “Primary,” the 1960 documentary about the Wisconsin primary election between Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.