Clare Graham’s Wonderland of Cast-Off Riches

by E.C. McCarthy on Medium Oct 27, 2014

There’s an early scene in Warren Beatty’s classic film REDS when a couple of great writers have their first lovers’ quarrel. The backdrop is 1916, on the eve of World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the first Red Scare in America, a time when it would be undignified for two top-flight political journalists to go head-to-head over tardiness for dinner, or whose turn it was to take out the trash. As such, Louise Bryant and Jack Reed naturally, bitingly, opt to level each other over the relevancy of their work and the all-consuming question ofwhat to write. Jack shouts his way through this appraisal of Louise’s choices in light of current events:

Why do you even expect to be taken seriously if you’re not writing about serious things? I don’t understand that! I’m not even sure I know what things you’re serious about! One day you’re writing about the railroads and you don’t even finish the piece. The next day you’re doing a piece on an art exhibition that happened three years ago. Look, why do you give me anything to read anyway. If I criticize it at all you tell me you like it the way it is, and when we’re out with other people, if somebody doesn’t ask you a direct question you tell me you feel ignored! But with everything that’s happening in the world today you decide to sit down and write a piece on the influence of the goddamned Armory Show of 1913? Are people supposed to take that seriously?
The answer is yes.

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