Monday, June 11, 2018

Dustin McNabb asked my opinion about heredity and training so I dug this up

Monday, June 11, 2018

More and more, I think we can underestimate the power of training in instilling attitudes that are passed down in families--but of course there is probably a genetic reason the first person in the family formed the attitude he or she passed on as well as a historical reason.  I do think it's significant that cousins like me and Kevin Costner who never met each other and whose immediate families never met after 1930 would make such a point of taking an unpopular public stand on a major aesthetic issue--which is also a fundamental issue about human needs and wants, which may be attributable not to a remote ancestor but a battered Confederate soldier who knew just how much less "less" had gotten to be. I am posting a series on "What the Devil are you trying to do to me?"--Meriwether McGehee's words after he sat up in his coffin, shoving off the glass lid. Well, long before his time, 250 years or so, the English crown had tried to destroy the MacGregors--had banned the name, so that anyone who used it could be slain instantly. One son got to Virginia, the family said, and oh I laughed at the vanity of the McGehees thinking such a story lay behind the young man's flight to Virginia.  Ho ho ho at me--I was wrong to be skeptical: DNA shows that we are MacGregors, cousins of Rob--Rob Roy, that is. Doubt family stories, OK, but never disregard them: there may be a basis for them, however askew it may be. When a family has been disadvantaged for generations, maybe there's a repressed need all along to say what Meriwether McGehee said so memorably. Maybe there is a compulsion to speak out for abundance, excess, even, as Kevin and I did in the 1980s in defying the new law of aesthetics. And in dealing with academic power, maybe there is just a compulsion to speak out from knowledge earned by hard work and difficult thought.


When the long-delayed shoot actually began and the scenes came to life, the frustrated Vallee only half-jokes that he wanted to die. "The first week, I said, 'I'm going to commit suicide, I'm directing a stupid, big and bold film,' " says Vallee. He was after a sense of stillness, and McConaughey was giving him larger-than-life, huge moves on camera -- as was Leto. "I wanted stillness, and Matthew's into movement. I'm 'less is more,' and they were 'more is more.' " But when he got into the editing room, Vallee had a revelation. "They were f---ing right! I found the balance, so 'more is more' doesn't look stupid and too much. And Matthew told me, 'Jean-Marc, Texas is movement.' He was my Texas 101 class teacher.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Genetics, of course[?]--Kevin Costner and Hershel Parker saying "More is More"

Please see the 3 following posts about "More is More."

In RESOURCES FOR AMERICAN LITERARY STUDY Autumn 1981 (printed late in 1983) I made a big argument that sometimes "More is More." The Chicago Tribune on 16 April 1989 printed an article in which Kevin Costner declared likewise that sometimes "More is More." On 1 May 1989 I received a clipping of this article from Brian Higgins, who remembered the RALS article and thought it an interesting coincidence. Calling Higgins on several matters, I mentioned that of course this advocacy for "More is More" was genetic, since my mother was Martha Costner. Brian had not known I was a Costner. "Ho ho ho," we laughed. Then I asked my last Costner uncle (Andrew Costner) if he knew anything about one of our Costners becoming an actor and he said, "Sure do, he's one of Uncle Mode's grandson Bill's sons." That is to say, my second cousin once removed.

Now, what do studies of families show about such similarity of attitudes in the descendants of two brothers? To be sure, these two brothers were closest in age and went off from Mississippi together into the wilds of the Oklahoma Territory panhandle and homesteaded there, so that their many children knew only one uncle. The Costner cousins there in Guymon knew no other relatives for ten years or so. How much of the "More is More" attitude, if any, could be genetic reinforced by family tradition?

My mother, one of the children born in Guymon, Oklahoma Territory, in her youth was known as "Bull Head Costner." That sort of thing, plainly, cannot be inherited or instilled.

I am only half joking here, because I want to test the limits of what's inherited and instilled when I write ORNERY PEOPLE, about the American ancestors I have found through the Internet, beginning at the end of 2002.

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