Saturday, January 23, 2010

To Conan: "forget the wax and feathers, and do a better job on the wings"

There has been a lot written about the current NBC/Conan/Leno debacle so I won't go into detail about the situation and where it's currently at and possibly going. I do, however, have one piece of advice, from the great Stanley Kubrick, to give to Conan. The following comes from Kubrick's 1998 D.W. Griffith Award acceptance speech:

Griffith was always ready to take tremendous risks in his films and in his business affairs. He was always ready to fly too high. And in the end, the wings of fortune proved, for him, like those of Icarus, to be made of nothing more substantial than wax and feathers. And like Icarus, when he flew too close to the sun, they melted, and the man whose fame exceeded the most illustrious filmmakers of today, spent the last 17 years of his life shunned by the film industry he had created.

I've compared Griffith's career to the Icarus myth, but at the same time I have never been certain whether the moral of the Icarus story should only be, as is generally accepted, 'don't try to fly too high,' or whether it might also be thought of as 'forget the wax and feathers, and do a better job on the wings.'

You've already dropped the wax and feathers. It's time for some new wings.

Here's a link to the video of Kubrick's speech for anyone interested.

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