I’ve been having lots of thoughts about generations at the
conference. Maybe this comes with being
an old geezer. Easier to think of the distant past and with nostalgia than
remember the film title or name of someone I recognize (or fail to recognize)…call
it the Emeritus Effect.
Old friend Patricia Erens told me that she thought that
Maureen Turim and Scott Nygren’s child might be presenting, and when I saw
Maureen, she said yes, her daughter Mika, who is now a grad student, was giving
a paper Sunday morning on Yiddish cinema.
Wow, I thought, remembering that I first met Maureen when she was an
undergrad back in the 70s.
At breakfast with and Julia Lesage and Jyotika Virdi, we
talked about how two young scholars of South Asian cinema told Jyotika after
her presentation that her book The
Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History, was
foundational to their work. "They called
me Professor!” she said, and I said, "well those are your intellectual
children, and Julia’s grandchildren.” (Since Julia directed Jyotika’s
Last night Julia and I had drinks with our niece and nephew,
Leigh Duck, who is now at Ole Miss, and giving a paper the same time as mine on
Friday….darn! Her husband, Michael
Lesage filled us in on his side of the far flung family. We hadn’t seen them for a decade. (Sudden illness kept us from attending a key
wedding.) So it was great to catch up, fill in, and appreciate.
Had lunch time with Barry Grant, who’s busy as ever editing
books and collections, and in the middle of republishing the late Robin Wood’s
work, which brought on more nostalgia for Robin’s feisty and smart and
(sometimes pure ornery) temper.
I remember trying to attend my first SCMS meeting in the
mid-70s. It was at Northwestern, and I
was living in Chicago, driving a school bus for a living and starting up JUMP
CUT. I showed up, and was told I
couldn’t attend because you had to pay a faculty membership and faculty
conference fee, and since I had my PhD, I couldn’t have the student rate. I pointed out that I wasn’t faculty. I knew a few of the people attending and
finally they said I could stay for the day since I was there, but I couldn’t
attend the next day. I complained, and
later Calvin Prylock tjold me privately that the progressives were trying to
change the situation. A few years
earlier they had changed from the Society of Cinematologists, and being a group
you could not join: you had to be considered worthy by a member, and then
nominated for membership! Old Boys Club
That meeting had two concurrent sessions: the Film
Historians on one floor and everything else below. Cinema
Journal at that point only accepted article on Film History in an attempt
to seem worthy of being in the academy.
Well, times have changed.