Archive for December 23rd, 2011

December 23, 2011

Schreiber Theory

David Kipen by Don Bachardy


The Schreiber theory is a writer-centered approach to film criticism which holds that the principal author of a film is generally the screenwriter rather than the director. The term was coined by David Kipen, Director of Literature at the US National Endowment for the Arts. In his 2006 book ‘The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History,’ Kipen argues that the influential 1950s-era Auteur theory has wrongly skewed analysis towards a director-centered view of film. In contrast, Kipen believes that the screenwriter has a greater influence on the quality of a finished work and that knowing who wrote a film is ‘the surest predictor’ of how good it will be.

Kipen acknowledges that his writer-centered approach is not new, and pays tribute to earlier critics of Auteur theory such as Pauline Kael and Richard Corliss. He believes that the Auteurist approach remains dominant, however, and that films have suffered as a result of the screenwriter’s role being undervalued. Kipen refers to his book as a ‘manifesto’ and in an interview with the magazine ‘SF360’ stated that he wished to use Schreiber theory as ‘a lever to change the way people think about screenwriting, and movies in general.’ In seeking a name for his theory, Kipen chose the Yiddish word for writer – ‘schreiber’ – in honor of the many early American screenwriters who had Yiddish as their mother tongue.

December 23, 2011

Auteur Theory

François Truffaut by Luis Grañena

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a director’s film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary ‘auteur’ (the French word for ‘author’). In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur’s creative voice is distinct enough to shine through all kinds of studio interference and through the collective process.

In law, the film is treated as a work of art, and the auteur, as the creator of the film, is the original copyright holder. Under European Union law, the film director is considered the author or one of the authors of a film, largely as a result of the influence of auteur theory.

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December 23, 2011

In Living Color


In Living Color was an American sketch comedy television series, which ran on the Fox Network from 1990 to 1994. Brothers Keenen and Damon Wayans created, wrote, and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions. The show was taped before a live studio audience in Hollywood.

The title of the series was inspired by the NBC announcement of broadcasts being presented ‘in living color’ during the 1950s and 1960s, prior to popularization of color television. It also refers to the fact that most of the show’s cast was African-American, unlike other sketches comedy shows like ‘Saturday Night Live’ whose casts are usually mostly white.

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December 23, 2011

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

tim and eric

dr steve brule by homeless cop

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is an American sketch comedy television series, created by and starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, which premiered in 2007 on Cartoon Network’s ‘Adult Swim’ and ran until 2010. The program features surrealistic and often satirical humor (at points anti-humor), public-access television-style musical acts, bizarre faux-commercials, and editing and special effects chosen to make the show appear camp. The program has featured a wide range of actors such as Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Zach Galifianakis, as well as alternative comedians like Neil Hamburger, and television actors like Alan Thicke, celebrity look-alikes and impressionists.

The creators of the show have described it as ‘the nightmare version of television.’ The show expands the genre of the live-action material featured in Heidecker and Wareheim’s previous show ‘Tom Goes to the Mayor,’ such as Gibbons, the ‘Channel 5 Married News Team,’ and the Cinco Corporation with its variety of inefficient and tasteless products. New recurring characters and sketches include ‘Uncle Muscles Hour,’ a Public-access television variety program hosted by a gravelly-voiced ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and Channel 5 News Correspondent Dr. Steve Brule, played by John C. Reilly.

December 23, 2011

Radium Girls

radium girls by erik opergeist

The Radium Girls were female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with glow-in-the-dark paint at the United States Radium factory in Orange, New Jersey around 1917.

The women, who had been told the paint was harmless, ingested deadly amounts of radium by licking their paintbrushes to sharpen them. Some also painted their fingernails and teeth with the glowing substance. Five of the women challenged their employer in a court case that established the right of individual workers who contract occupational diseases to sue their employers.

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December 23, 2011



Undark was a trade name for luminous paint made with a mixture of radioactive radium and zinc sulfide, as produced by the U.S. Radium Corporation between 1917 and 1938. It was used primarily in watch dials.

The people working in the industry who applied the radioactive paint became known as the Radium Girls, because many of them became ill and some died from exposure to the radiation emitted by the radium contained within the product. The product was the direct cause of Radium jaw in the dial painters. Undark was also available as a kit for general consumer use and marketed as glow-in-the-dark paint.

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December 23, 2011

Market Failure


Market failure occurs in economics when the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not efficient. In such cases the pursuit of pure self-interest leads to results that can be improved upon from the societal point-of-view. The first known use of the term by economists was in 1958, but the concept has been traced back to the Victorian philosopher Henry Sidgwick.

A market failure can occur for three main reasons: if the market is monopolized (a small group of businesses hold significant market power), if production of the good or service results in an externality (a cost or benefit that affects an unaffiliated third party), or if the good or service is a ‘public good’ (a non-excludable good like air).

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