Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, and Matthew Wrather deliver an episode epic in both length and scope, covering high school reading lists classics, the Eurovision Song Contest, and Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic interpretation of The Great Gatsby.[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/mwrather/otip254.mp3]
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I only got through the Question of the Week so far, but had to post my answer: “Animal Farm” as written by Aaron Sorkin. I would watch for the walk-and-talks with the pigs alone.
**SPOILERS FOR GATSBY…EVEN THOUGH THESE THINGS ARE COVERED IN THE PODCAST EPISODE**
Fenzel blew me away with the Gatsby/Titanic reference. It seems so obvious to me now. I saw that scene in a bit more of a meta view, though.
I thought of it as Leo speaking for Baz Luhrmann with the line about “being able to change the past”. When he says that you can, it felt as though the director was telling the audience something. Baz is saying that he can re-invent iconic stories (Gatsby, Romeo + Juliet) in his own, modern mashup vision.
I also thought that it made sense for Jay-Z to be attracted to this story. Gatsby is a wealthy, popular man, loved by all for his grand displays of wealth but few, if any, really know his story.
Nick finally shares the truth that Gatsby was born poor and made his “new money” in New York on shady dealings with gangsters.
Jay-Z was born Sean Carter and sold drugs before he became a successful rapper. Now, he’s regarded as a great businessman, who owns a sports franchise, record label and clothing line. Carter is also from New York.
Gatsby’s story is also his.
I forgot though, that Jay-Z actually married his “Daisy” aka Beyonce. And that he probably has some fancy, bright yellow cars lying around.
Countdown to the new single in which he references “Jay’s gats”: 5… 4.. 3…
Your choice of words is funny since there is a Beyonce song called “Countdown” on her latest album. And the hook is her, actually, counting.
And, there was a jazz, ragtime cover of her hit “Crazy in Love” in the film.
I went to High School in Wisconsin and had to read “The House On Mango Street” and “A Separate Peace”. At the time I related to “A Separate Peace” more if only because it was two male students the same age as myself, but when I tried to reread it several years later, I couldn’t get through two chapters. Never tried to reread “The House On Mango Street”, but I do remember it was the first novel that made me hate magical realism.
As for the question, I think I’d have to go with “The Metamorphosis” directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Boom…and stuff.
So what you’re saying is you want a “so bad it’s hilarious” adaptation of “The Metamorphosis”?
So Pete, if I understand you correctly, the Great Gatsby is a story about a party. That takes place in the USA. And, if I’m also not mistaken – the Jay-Z song is on. The Jay-Z song is on.
I PUT MY HANDS UP…..
please tell me you’re channeling the Pitch Perfect version… please.
Congratulations on the informative interviews with the two misters King. Where else than on Overthinking It can one hear a shout-out to Mark Paelinck?
Pete, why did you call Nick Carraway an unreliable narrator? My impression is that we are hearing his recollection of the events and are given no reason to think he is lying. Someone like Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects is, to me, the epitome of an unreliable narrator. We hear his version of events and think he is telling the agent the truth, but at the end, we realize we have no idea which things he told us were actually true. What part of Gatsby are we supposed to think might not be true? Or am I misunderstanding your use of the term?
I’ve always been under the impression the unreliable narrator is one who is unable to see or relate portions of the tale he should have observed. Nick thinks everything he says is true, but his understanding of human relationships leaves a lot to be filled in by the reader or viewer. Nick as Fitzgerald is a drunk, and he is only able to write, not speak, suggesting greater opportunity to filter out truths. His stated willingness to keep secrets (e.g. affairs) as well as his repeated mentions of being within and without the action makes us question his experience. He doesn’t need to deliberately mislead the audience to be unreliable. He just need not give us the whole truth.
Yeah, as phizzledd said, being an “unreliable” narrator isn’t an insult or an indication of ill intention. It just means the narrator is giving you an idea for the story that is altered — maybe by malice, sure, maybe by ignorance, maybe just by his perception.
The Wikipedia definition of “unreliable narrator” is _very_ harsh — “a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised” — and the source they use is not exactly authoritative (some book called “How to Write a Damn Good Novel, Part II”).
I think that’s just off-base. The classic and most unfluential unrelaible narrator in the American novel is Huckleberry Finn — and I don’t think it’s fair to impinge on his personal character in that way just because his telling of events is colored by his youth and his attitude, and because he tells his story with intention (also, he’s not a real person, but whatever).
The Wiki for the International Study of Narrative out of Georgetown University has what I think is a more reasonable definition of an unrealiable narrator: “An unreliable narrator works under the constraints of limited knowledge to convey information that may seem justifiably suspect to the reader.”
Still I don’t think that quite nails what it means to me — because limited knowledge isn’t the only reason a narrator might be unreliable — but the idea of “information that may seem justifiably suspect” is a better characterization of the boundary of it than “whose credibility has been seriously compromised.”
Nick Carraway is starstruck by Gatsby, and most of the time knowing him Nick is spiraling out of control into alcoholism. It’s reasonable to suppose that Gatsby in both the book and the movie The Great Gatsby isn’t a naturalistic description of a real-ish person, but an impression derived from a combination of his colored, limited perspective and his projection of his own hopes, fears and anxieties onto this stranger.
The mood and details of The Great Gatsby are more than a little fantastical — caught up in the culture, certainly, and in the moment, and in the energy of being a novel. Its unreliability is not necessarily “incorrect” or “a lie” because it is how being a person tends to work, and because all attempts at “realism” are necessarily frauds.
“influential” rather than “unfluential,” obv
Take this famous descriptive passage, for example:
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
I think it’s reasonable to question here whether somebody else looking at Gatsby’s smile would have described it the same way Nick did — whether Nick is imagining things about Gatsby and augmenting his own idea of him either in the moment or after the fact, in his recollection. Maybe he _needs_ Gatsby to be this person who smiles at him in this way.
You would be surprised to learn that Belarus name is a huge issue even for us. The name, Białoruś, is pretty new, it entered into usage just after they got won an independence. After Łukaszenko came into power in 1994 the issue of a proper name went away and some Russian politicians and journalist started using the old, pre-independence name, with a “proper, Russian spelling” — Biełorussija. Add to that a sociological split between older generation who speaks and “thinks” in Russian and a youth who wants to speak Belorussian.
The name itself can be translated as White Russia and some people are ticked off by it.
So, you can pronounce it whatever you like. It’s not like there’s consensus among Europeans how to spell it.
Help, help, I need edit button! I can’t English good today, so sorry.
You English WAY better than I Belorussia. Thanks for the info, and best of luck on Saturday! We’ll figure out a Twitter thing so you can hit us up.
Uh, I’m Polish, I just know their story because we do share a border and a common history (they where once part of Great Kingdom of Poland).
I am late to the party, and it has been a few days since I listened to this, but I want to see a Quentin Tarantino version of To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus Fitch can’t get justice in court, so he and Scout get vengeance in the streets. Chistoph Waltz wins the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Boo Radley.
The only other thing I recall wanting to mention after the podcast, as somebody who has never read The Great Gatsby, is when Kid Rock was mentioned as being some sort of emblem of Southern music. This is kind of odd since, of course, he is from “Detroit.” I recognize some of his music has a sort of country bend to it, but that isn’t enough for him to really personify the South, right? Of course, Kid Rock shouldn’t even really represent Detroit either, since he grew up in Romeo, which is the last city before you hit rural Michigan. It barely qualifies as Metro Detroit, if it qualifies at all. This is probably only relevant to people from Metro Detroit like me, but I figured I’d mention it anyway.
I would like to take your interview with Martin seriously but the lyrics for Solayoh are awful.
My favourite part of this podcast was the way Pete pronounced Baz as if it was a posh, English word, “Bohz” almost, and not Baz in the proper Australian pronunciation, as in “Bazza, maaaaaate!”