This week is the 45th Anniversary of the termination of Tom and Dick Smothers from CBS.  According to court documents, on April 3, 1969, CBS terminated their contract with Smothers Brothers, ending the successful run of the Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour.  The Brothers responded by filing suit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, California, complaining that CBS’s “purpose and intent…was to impose a censorship over the content of the material in the programs…although [they] knew that the content was expression entitled to protection under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Their case was not universally supported, as evidenced by a letter from Maude Lobdell of Loma Linda, California, filed in the case.  ”I hope you lose all suits…Your show needed to be censored,” she complained, “You offend.”

The Brothers won their legal battle, and opened the door for contemporary political comedians such as John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

This case is held by the National Archives at Riverside in our holdings of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Plot and Story

I sat in on a lecture recently, at that writer’s conference I went to, which other than being one long advert for the guy’s book, the speaker discussed act structure and the need for an inciting event for every story. He discussed the difference between character arcs and story climaxes, and he spoke of the old theory of beginning, middle, and end. According to this guy all protagonists must either be likable or the reader must aspire to be them.

Dude could stand more education on all those subjects. In short, I disagreed with everything he said. The conference runners videotaped the lecture, and I’m likely in the background shaking my head, mouthing the words, “Nope. No. Wrong. No. Jesus.”

I’ll discuss his misconceptions another time. For now, let us concentrate on plot. Story and plot are two separate things (unlike what that dude was teaching). How is plot different than story? This is super important when you’re writing for movies and television. In simplest terms, story is what happens. Plot is how it happens.

Confused? I’ll start with a story you may know.

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

It’s a log line and summary of the story. Of course we could also use the pithier summary.

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.

The first one sounds a bit like plot (“in a tornado”, “who can help her return home”). It’s also a poorly written log line because it does sound too much like plot points. Common mistake. We want to put events in a sequence which is why plot exists. Story doesn’t care about causality in the way plot does.

Plot is the events that link together to create the story. How does the girl get to this other land? How does she kill a woman? Why does she embark on a quest? How does she team up with a group of strangers? How does she meet the Wizard? What happens when she meets the Wizard? Why will she kill again? When an agent asks you to write a synopsis they’re asking you to summarize your plot points, your who, why and how.

Story is your what. A girl is transported to another land and attempts various ways to return home.

 Next time, why beginning, middle, and end are not three act structure.

I recently attended a writer’s conference, and I’ve been stewing in my own little quandary ever since. The lack of diversity among attendees was shocking. Finding people under 50 was rare and people of color almost nonexistent. In fact, out of 500 odd attendees I could count on one hand the attendees that weren’t white. I realize people find it strange that I, a white person, notice this and am upset by this but… how do people live a world without a mix of races? or cultures? or ages even? Like that must take so much effort.

I know some white people get upset that I notice other races because as white people we’re told not to notice because somehow that’s racist. Don’t be dumb. Judging people for the color is racist. Noticing is called paying attention. You’re allowed to notice when your white co-worker changes their hair color. The idea that you can’t notice skin when hair takes up less space (normally) is ludicrous. Stop.

What also put me off the conference were books in my round tables which included a bit of mild racism that people liked. I’m not talking about the obvious, cross-burning racism. I mean someone, the writer, didn’t bother to understand another culture/ethnicity so their characters are based on stereotypes. You know, that insidious type of racism that holds us back and motivates us to start wars on the other side of the planet. I really “love” the story about the Palestinian suicide bomber with a Jewish name. By love I mean why was I the only one upset?

I don’t know that I’ll be going back to that conference. But I do know if this is considered a norm, things need to change. Any suggestions on how to help that change along are quite welcome.


Amy Pond on Apalapuchia in The Girl Who Waited - series 06 - 2011

Missy in ‘Heaven’ in Deep Breath - series 08 - 2014

I’ll just leave this here.

One of us is lying about our basic programming.

I loved the bit where he said that the mirror was giving off an angry vibe. Which all mirrors would seeing as Ten trapped a little girl in every looking glass.

(via sy5starplaty)



Video of the Police shooting that killed 

Kajieme Powell  in St. Louis 08/19/2014

(I hate posting things like this but it needs to be seen!!)



Kajieme had been standing there waiting for the police. They shoot a man who could have easily been taken down by other means. Then as he’s dying do they call an ambulance? No. I can’t even say this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen a cop do. We need to take guns out of the hands of our police because obviously they’re not responsible. That was an angry man not a threatening man. As a woman, I’ve had to learn the difference. They should, too.

After all, the rapist is also someone’s son. If only parents decide to put as many restrictions on their sons as they do on their own daughters.
Indian prime minister uses biggest speech of the year to slam rape culture. (via think-progress)




somebody should write an essay comparing and contrasting tina from bob’s burgers and meg from family guy and explain why tina hit the mark for respectfully portraying the awkward teenage years and why meg is a huge fucking insensitive joke that isn’t even funny

Tina is a character, Meg is a punchline. 

wow that’s a pretty concise essay

Seth McFarlene has publicly admitted that he screwed up the character of Meg owing to the fact that he doesn’t understand teenage girls. He used to be and still sort of is afraid of them. He’s also stated that he welcomes criticism and suggestions on how he can improve the character.

(via wilwheaton)

Writer. Music lover. Practitioner of extreme honesty. Keeper of random factoids.

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