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Why David Lynch Backed Down From Adapting Kafka

Photo by Didier Descouens, Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: Pretending to be Emily Dickinson on OKCupid, and the problem with “strong female characters” on Stranger Things. It’s your Daily Blunt!

David Lynch is every bit as much of a Franz Kafka fan as you might expect, and at one time he even had a yen to make a film based on The Metamorphosis — even going so far as to write a script — before realizing he would never be able to do the printed version justice. In addition to the special effects budget required to convincingly film a story about a man transforming into a giant insect, the filmmaker decided that some stories are just most effective in their original medium. “Kafka’s beauty is in his words,” Lynch told a live audience in Italy last week. “That story is so full of words that, when I was finished writing, I realized it was better on paper than it could ever be on film.” If you ever change your mind, David, we promise to watch it anyway, book in hand.

“Stranger Things” gets lots of praise for its assortment of so-called “strong female characters,” but have you ever noticed that the characters in question — Nancy, Joyce, Eleven, and now Max — almost never cross paths? As Caroline Siede points out, this is a handy example of sexism in genre writing. Among the many problems with this style of writing, Siede points out that it’s wildly unrealistic. In a world where women make up half of the population, they are inevitably going to end up talking, working, fighting, and playing together. Keeping female leads isolated subtly informs the audience where the story’s priorities are, no matter how much screen time any of these badass characters end up with.

Dark Horse Comics elbows its way into the lineup of superhero shows with the announcement that Ellen Page will star in Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” based on a comic that explores the toll that the superhero lifestyle takes on families as well as individuals. The source material, created by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, won the Eisner Award in 2008, so a live-action version (however modest the budget) has bigger shoes to fill artistically than your average mainstream superhero schlock.

We all get creative when writing profiles for dating sites, but this person went all out, deciding to answer the question: “How would Emily Dickinson fare in the world of online dating?” The results of her experiment with impersonating the famous (and long-dead) poet are interesting to hear, particularly since it appears to have increased her overall positive reactions, in addition to the depressingly negative ones that are so common on such sites. On top of that, she had a difficult time keeping Dickinson’s profile photos from being deleted: “Apparently, on OkCupid, you’re allowed to be a harassing perv, but under no circumstances can you pretend you’re a dead poet.”