A Life with Bears

I grew up in Texas, which might be seen as part of the problem. Football was the deity, whiteness was dominant if never supreme, and guns were the answer, the final punctuation to any disagreement.

I want to make something beautiful. I believe these are the very words spoken by the earnest and nerdy playwright-turned-screenwriter Barton Fink in the eponymous film, a movie in which—atypical for America—I recall no handguns appearing for the simple matter of a sagging plot. Perhaps because the Coens are good writers and in no need of guns, save for a weird dream sequence that spoofs private-eye noir. (And now that I think more about it, the devil, as played by John Goodman, does make a brief appearance with a machine gun. Ah, well.)

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