David Simon Developing Series Set in Spanish Civil War

Mural Cafe Baba Reeba
Mural, Cafe Baba Reeba

Speaking of television shows I hope to watch someday, David Simon is working on a mini-series about the Spanish Civil War.

John Hopewell of Variety writes:

“The Wire” creator David Simon and Spain’s Mediapro (“The Young Pope”) are in early development on “A Dry Run,” a drama series following members of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion who came to Spain from the U.S. to fight fascism during the Spanish Civil War.

The scripts have been outlined, and George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane, both of whom worked on “The Wire,” have  committed to “A Dry Run” as writers. The show is so far conceived as a six-hour miniseries, though that could change as the stories develop, said Mediapro founder Jaume Roures.

Simon and Mediapro are seeking to raise the necessary funds both in the U.S. and Europe.

“A Dry Run” will follow the Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Battalions, both part of the International Brigade that fought in the Spanish Civil War, from their arrival in 1937 and first bloody battle in the Jarama Valley until their departure in 1939. The show offers a “compelling and tragic narrative,” Simon said, adding that the “Spanish struggle against fascism and the misuse of capitalism as a bulwark to totalitarianism” represent “the preeminent political narrative of the 20th century and of our time still.”

(click here to continue reading ‘The Wire’s’ David Simon Developing Series Set in Spanish Civil War – Variety.)

The Wire is still in my top ten of shows, thus David Simon’s new project is probably worth a closer look.

Google Shutting Google News in Spain

Ride Smarter
Ride Smarter on the Google Train.

I wonder how this new development will play out. Will the traffic plummet for Spanish publications? Or will it not matter? And how exactly does Google News move past this trend of European countries1 demanding Google pay for fair use inclusion? Does this relate to blogging Fair Use?

Google Inc. said Wednesday it will shut its Google News service in Spain because a new law will require the company to pay publishers for displaying any portion of their work.

In a blog post, Google said it also will remove Spanish publishers from the service.

The legislation, which takes effect in January, requires Spanish publishers to charge services like Google News for showing excerpts or snippets from their publications, Google said.

“As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable,” Richard Gingras, head of Google News, wrote in a blog. He said the service will close Dec. 16.

(click here to continue reading Google Shutting Google News in Spain – WSJ.)

From Google’s Europe Blog:

[Google News is] a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain. It’s free to use and includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News — and the vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues.

But sadly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.

For centuries publishers were limited in how widely they could distribute the printed page. The Internet changed all that — creating tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising Euros increased. We’re committed to helping the news industry meet that challenge and look forward to continuing to work with our thousands of partners globally, as well as in Spain, to help them increase their online readership and revenues.

(click here to continue reading Google Europe Blog.)

Daily News
Daily News

Germany already has some data on how well it works, we’ll soon see if politicians are getting angry phone calls from media websites:

A German law now requires Google to secure the rights to publish any content other than links to articles and headlines. Google refused to pay for those rights, but gave publishers a choice: offer them free or face the removal of snippets and thumbnails from its services like Google News.

German media giant Axel Springer , a Google critic, demanded payment from Google for a time this fall. But Axel granted Google a free license when traffic from Google News and Google’s search engine plunged.

“I imagine the news outlets for which the law was designed will start to miss the traffic that Google sent their way,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at R.W. Baird.

I’ve long used Google News as a primary jumping off point to read news sites, for what it’s worth…

  1. and Rupert Murdoch companies []

Picasso Considered Working with Franco

“A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 (Vol 3)” (John Richardson)

According to John Richardson, at least, Pablo Picasso was in serious discussions with the fascist Franco government to have an exhibition in Spain. I don’t know if an artist agreeing to an exhibition of his work in his own country would really destroy his reputation as Mr. Richardson asserts, but I wasn’t alive at the time. Maybe it would have, maybe it wouldn’t.

Picasso was a steadfast communist, a tireless peace campaigner, and he loathed the fascists – depicting General Franco with witty brutality in works such as The Dream and Lie of Franco (1937).

But the Picasso who consorted with Soviet officials, who was photographed examining pictures of Stalin, who received telegrams from Fidel Castro, is only part of the story.

According to John Richardson, the biographer of the artist who knew him from the 1940s to the 1960s, the Spaniard secretly undertook negotiations with Franco’s representatives in 1956.

Richardson and his collaborator, art historian Gijs van Hensbergen, have discovered that the Spanish art critic José María Moreno Galván was dispatched to the Côte d’Azur, where Picasso was living, in order to open talks about holding a retrospective for the artist in Madrid.

The critic reported back to the Spanish cultural attaché in Paris, José Luis Messía, who responded: “What a pity García Lorca [poet, dramatist and theatre director] isn’t alive, we could have killed two birds with one stone.”

The point was that had Picasso accepted the proposals it would have been a major coup for the Falangists, “destroying Picasso’s status as a hero of the left; he would have been regarded as a traitor to the left for going back to Spain”, according to Richardson.

As it happened the negotiations – which, had they continued, would have been conducted by Messía and involved the director of the Madrid Museo de Arte Contemporáneo – ground to a halt because they were leaked to the press.

The talks were conducted on a basis of secrecy and the Spanish minister of foreign affairs had decreed that if the news leaked the whole affair would be denied, according to van Hensbergen.

But they were sufficiently far advanced and known among a small circle for a concerned group of Spanish notables to send a letter to Picasso entreating him not to be tempted by the proposal – as recorded by Jean Cocteau in his diary.

According to Richardson and van Hensbergen, who are working together on the fourth volume of Richardson’s biography of Picasso, the point is that Picasso’s views were “10 times more subtle than you can imagine … nothing about his views were black-and-white; the history of this period is a history of grey areas”.

(click to continue reading Picasso nearly risked his reputation for Franco exhibition | Art and design | The Guardian.)

Apologize Pull out his eyes

I’m suspicious of people who have views simply of black and white1, without subtlety; the world is complex, people’s minds should be flexible enough to parse nuance.

  1. George W. Bush, remember him?? []

New Doubts Raised Over Falling Soldier Photo

Photography is not the map of the territory1 – part the 23423th.

After nearly three-quarters of a century Robert Capa’s “Falling Soldier” picture from the Spanish Civil War remains one of the most famous images of combat ever. It is also one of the most debated, with a long string of critics claiming that the photo, of a soldier seemingly at the moment of death, was faked. Now, a new book by a Spanish researcher asserts that the picture could not have been made where, when or how Capa’s admirers and heirs have claimed.

Robert Capa -Falling Soldier.jpg
Robert Capa/Magnum Photos

Robert Capa’s “Falling Soldier,” from the Spanish Civil War has drawn both acclaim and questions over its veracity.

In “Shadows of Photography,” José Manuel Susperregui, a communications professor at the Universidad del País Vasco, concludes that Capa’s picture was taken not at Cerro Muriano, just north of Córdoba, but near another town, about 35 miles away. Since that location was far from the battle lines when Capa was there, Mr. Susperregui said, it means that “the ‘Falling Soldier’ photo is staged, as are all the others in the series taken on that front.”

Experts at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan, where Capa’s archive is stored, said they found some aspects of Mr. Susperregui’s investigation intriguing or even convincing. But they continue to believe that the image seen in “Falling Soldier” is genuine, and caution against jumping to conclusions. “Part of what is difficult about this is that people are saying, ‘Well if it’s not here, but there, then, good God, it’s fabricated,’ ” Willis E. Hartshorn, the center’s director, said in an interview. “That’s a leap that I think needs a lot more research and a lot more study.”

[Click to continue reading New Doubts Raised Over Capa’s ‘Falling Soldier’ – NYTimes.com]

I want Errol Morris to write a 40,000 word monograph examining the evidence for his New York Times blog, like he’s done on previous historical photographs2

  1. a horrible butchery of the phrase: The Map is Not the Territory by philosopher Alfred Korzybski []
  2. link to a three part Morris blog discussing Roger Fenton’s photograph: Valley of the Shadow of Death in the Crimea []