Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ray Carney, bad analogy to abusive adoptive parents

Well. Ray Carney still hasn't handed over the stuff and Jon Jost has posted that he's given up on him.

I kind of like Ray Carney's writings. I veered sharply from siding with him to Jon Jost to Carney again and back to Jost. Each time I switched sides, I felt deeply ashamed of my previous position.

As I understand it, Mark Rappaport was moving to France. He happened to run into Ray Carney in New York. He told Carney he didn't know what do with some of his stuff. He had already donated prints of his films to different archives, but he had this last bit of stuff. Ray Carney jumped at the chance to take it.

According to Carney, it was stuff that Rappaport was going to toss in the dumpster otherwise. His good prints had already been donated. And he had a bunch of old scripts,  prints of films and digital masters.

Rappaport's version is that Carney was going to store it for him and he could get it back when he wanted.

This was ten years ago. I don't think either one anticipated Rappaport ever wanting any of it back, so my guess is that neither one bothered remembering exactly what was said at the time. But I think Carney had a point---that he stored this stuff for ten years and it could just as easily have been twenty years before Rappaport asked for it back. He was supposed to store this stuff into perpetuity?

I tended to side with Carney on his battles with Gena Rowlands. I'm not sure why, but my initial impulse was to side with Carney on this, too, although I did in fact side with Rappaport and Jon Jost.

The whole thing is none of my business. I would have donated a couple hundred bucks to any fund to take care of it----to either pay off Carney to return the stuff or to pay for more digital masters to be made----but I don't know the people involved and, like I say, it's none of my business.

It sort of reminds me---and this is a terrible analogy, I know---of the parents in central Oregon. They adopted a bunch of kids, and had to raise money to take care of them. At first people were happy to donate, but it went on and on. They adopted all these children with no means to take care of them and they weren't becoming self-sufficient. People got tired of raising money for them. Then the parents were arrested for child abuse.

With Carney, even if you kind of side with him, how long is this going on? Even if you thought he was right, you still figured he'd give the stuff back.

For God's sake, he could photocopy all of Rappaport's papers,copy the digital masters and take the films down to Costco and have some DVDs made. He can have his cake and return it, too.

And I'll tell you what has always bothered me about Carney.

Look at the pictures of him. He's always smiling. The bastard has dimples. But look at the picture of him smiling. There's nothing in his eyes. How does anyone smile that much without wrinkles around his eyes? He's 66-years-old.

Plus there are the bow ties and suspenders. I lived in Boston for a short time and bow ties were more common there, but he looks like a college kid trying to play a crusty old country lawyer in a school play set in the 1930s.

I thought his students would have some influence on him, that it would be settled once he got back to class.

It could be, even if his reputation is damaged-----here's another analogy----it's like what they say about presidential debates. Being on stage with the President of the United States makes the challenger look presidential. Even if Carney looks like a jerk, he's going head to head with Mark Rappaport, an artist Carney clearly admires.

I would feel great if I got in a public feud with someone big. Like Frankie Muniz or Marjoe Gortner. I would feel like I hit the big time even as they ridiculed my lack of achievement and millions joined in their attacks on me.

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