Shock Value

Well, I survived Oklahoma, only choking up on a couple of key songs, Oh What A Beautiful Morning and People Will Say We’re In Love. For a high school production it was outstanding, and they did the entire play without cuts. This included the complete Dream Sequence and two songs I’d never heard before; one sung by the traveling salesman, and the other a Judd Frye solo piece.

Another interesting thing about the show… they used pornography to establish Judd as a villain, with talk about how he had pictures of naked women up in the smokehouse (where he slept). Even though the pictures are considered tame even by today’s Playboy standards, it was no doubt scandalous enough for audiences of the time to draw the conclusion the authors wanted.

I’m thinking that Oklahoma was considered a little shocking in its time. Theater has always pushed the envelope. After all, when it was made into a film, the song Kansas City was cleaned up for family audiences, and I don’t recall references to the Judd’s lewd pictures, although I think the “little wonder” was there. They made Judd a villain in other ways. If I recall correctly – as I said yesterday, it has been a while since I’ve seen the film – Judd sets fire to the barn. That was something difficult to do onstage back then. Of course, back then shows didn’t rely on falling chandeliers and landing helicopters to bring in audiences. They relied on plot, character, and songs you found yourself humming as you left the theater. What a concept.

Here are my teeth brushing thoughts from this morning. I thought it was a little sad that I couldn’t just fall back on “simple” pictures of naked women to trigger character actions. Nowadays porn is considered mainstream (in the “softcore”/Playboy sense), so I had to go more toward the edge. One character in particular I thought about involving with child porn, but personally I didn’t want to deal with it. It’s just too tragic, and perhaps a little too easy. I ended up using something else that sounds mainstream but, like anything else, can be carried to an extreme. I hope it works.

Plus, this thought process led to more important notes for the back half of And/News that I typed into the outline.

Homewise, finished up the barn repair chores on the area that will house my daughter’s goats, which come to stay tomorrow. I found that I kind of liked doing the wall repairs with rocks and concrete, probably because it’s a world away from what I do in everyday life. I’ve never done it before this goat thing came up, and I told my wife that here we were trying to reinvent technology that had been around for 5,000 years.

Bookwise, it was another day of making notes and making retro repairs in the first half of the book; little dabbles of words here and there to cement one of the themes in the book. I wanted to finish the reconciled outline tonight, but am just too tired. But I still made progress.

Hoping to fly in the weeks ahead.

Today’s Scorecard
More Retro Work
292 pages (+1)
67655 words (+172)

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