John Wayne

‘Fill your hand, you son of a bitch’

The recent revelation that U.S. interrogators in Guantanamo Bay used a horrific video of John Wayne beheading a detainee to shock other prisoners into talking has reignited a long-standing debate over using
clips of dead movie stars for roles they never signed off on while living.

Advances in digital filmmaking in the 1990s led to the use of deceased idols, primarily for advertising. Humphrey Bogart graced Pepsi commercials, Gene Kelly danced with Paula Abdul, Groucho Marx shared a Coca-Cola with Cary Grant, and John Wayne helped sell Coors beer.

Savagery on the Listserv

I was regularly involved in neighborhood politics and served as a steering committee member for my neighborhood association. I found the rather strict guidelines for no commercial content on the neighborhood’s Yahoo Group listserv rather stupid. In particular, the list’s moderator—who had the power to add or delete members—often took harsh stances to violators. After watching one poor woman, a neighborhood massage therapist, get booted from the list for posting her services, I decided to create two fictional neighbors who get in a rather nasty dispute over commercial content.

The Anglo Window Decal Project

What can I say other than I always yearned for my own surname in Old English type on my rear window. (I didn’t have a truck, but I did have a Pontiac Bonneville passed down from my late grandfather.) But “D’Amico” sounded almost Latino, so I opted for an experiment to try “Smith.”