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Less is More. More or Less.

02/08/2011

When is less more and more less? In the performing arts, you will hear the phrase ‘less is more darlings’ being uttered by directors and producers who heard it from someone else but have little idea what that means unless they started their career performing.

Constantin Stanislavski’s system (1911-1916) is often confused with what it spawned in the US: the Method System (1930. 1940s). The reason the Stanislavski System did not work so much had more to do with the fact that Russian sounding names were not getting a good run in the USA. The method system, for example, found its feet in Hollywood in the 1930’s and the 1940’s by directors such as Elia Kazan who in the 1950’s were accused of being communists.

The Stanislavski system is really simple at its heart, and if you have ever read a play by Anton Chekov, it was vital. You see Chekov had the annoying habit of writing a whole lot about nothing. At least on the surface. His plays put ordinary people in ordinary situations doing ordinary things. It seems.

Underneath the tip of this iceberg character is a raging roaring human being who’s actions are dictated not so much by the situation or the people they are interacting with, but the entire history of that person from their first conscious moment till the point they are now on stage. No longer would the good guys be in white hats fighting bad guys in black hats. Instead, all characters interchange hats.

You probably have heard some actors talking about what is my motivation and what is my objective. The thing an audience does not understand is how objective and motive is NOT usually shown at all.

For example, say your objective of a morning was to get to work as early as possible. Your motivation maybe either financial with your boss going to give you a raise today. Or it can be more internal. That is you want to get to work early because it is at this time of the day you get to see a beautiful woman/handsome man at the kiosk. You see them daily and today is the day you are going to talk to them.

However, in your keen rush to get downstairs to make coffee, you slip and twist your ankle. Now your immediate objective (get coffee) is now replaced with a new objective (tend ankle). Remember that your original motivation re either the raise or the sexy person at the kiosk is still in play. But now you have a more immediate objective that is preventing you from getting to that meeting.

In fact, this is the reason people see movies. If real life let everyone get to their objective in the first 10 pages of a novel or a play or a movie, then the book, play or movie would be boring as. It is the stuff that happens that becomes more important then the stuff you wanted to happen. Like wanting to fulfil promises made before an election and then having to use the members of parliament that were elected to do it, so having to compromise on some to get others in.

Method acting though went a little further. A prized rumor in the acting field is a little joke often shared by those who prize the emotional minefield of an actor and those who share the Method Acting system which not only examines the emotional minefield but also the physical minefield and its emotional effect. IE say you want to slam the desk all Murdoch like with your hands, but you don’t have hands.

Doesn’t this  mean you are not only affected by the issue itself that makes you want to slam the desk but will that anger grow or lessen as you also now confront the older incident that left you with no hands to do this.

All this flashes into a person’s mind in milliseconds and an actor must allow this to happen, even if the result is a millisecond of screen time. Which is the anger to the issue and which is the anger to the accident? And will an audience tell the difference?

There is an incident that supposedly occurred on the set of ‘Marathon Man’ with Dustin Hoffman and Lawrence Olivier. The scene to be shot that day was a scene where Dustin’s character has been tortured. So to get in the feel of this, it was rumoured that Hoffman spent a night or two without sleep so he can (and this is another acting phrase) ‘be in the moment’ and feel tired and not with it. Olivier asked him what was going on and Hoffman, it is reported, said it was part of his method acting.

Olivier, (less of a method actor, and more of a Stanislavski follower responded with (reportedly)

‘Try acting dear boy. Its much easier.’ 

A story circulated for a long time that Dustin Hoffman (being a “method actor”) stayed up all night to play a character who has stayed up all night. Arriving on the set, Laurence Olivier asked him why he looked the way he did. Hoffman told him, to which Olivier replied in jest, “Why not try acting? It’s much easier.” Dustin Hoffman repeatedly denied the story, and finally cleared up the story in 2004. The torture scene was filmed early in the morning, Hoffman was going through a divorce from his first wife and was depressed, and had spend the previous two nights partying hard. Hoffman told Olivier this and his comment related to his lifestyle and not his “method” style of acting.

– IMDB

See the method system is fine if you are playing the role of a baker and therefore learning to bake is a bonus. But if you are playing the role of a mass murderer, then the method system has problems. Where Stanislavski would have advised you to find a link in your life where you took something away from someone and play that through in your imagination to the taking of a life, Method actors visit abattoirs and some of the more out there ones may drown a litter of pups or kittens.

So what does all this have to do with the price of fish and chips? Or more topically, carbon? Well bugger all really, but I am sure I can find a link.

When a government formed after the election of 2010, the government had to immediately do more with less. That is having less MP’s meant that to get policies out there, they had to do more with the numbers they have.

They still had big scale issues. The NBN. Climate change. Health reform. Tax reform. Mining tax etc. Perhaps in a way, the promoting of big issues takes people minds of their reduced numbers in the parliament on forming.

Conversely, when the opposition came into parliament in 2010, their numbers were more. However, their policies are less.

They have a Mickey Mouse broadband policy; a Mickey Mouse climate change policy; a Mickey Mouse tax reform etc etc. While they have more numbers then before, they offer less.

Always a tough sell for conservative parties really. While campaigning against the way the country is run, their real policy is not to change anything. Luckily for the opposition, the government is planning heaps of reforms so its much easier to just say no and offer nothing. 

One little know fact of coalition Direct Action policy is that intends to fine heavy emitters.

Unlike Labor’s emissions trading scheme, businesses will not be penalised for continuing to operate at ‘business as usual’ levels.

Businesses that undertake activity with an emissions level above their ‘business as usual’ incur a financial penalty. The value of penalties will be on a sliding scale at levels commensurate with the size of the business and the extent to which they exceed their ‘business as usual’ levels. (PAGE 14)

http://www.liberal.org.au/~/media/Files/Policies%20and%20Media/Environment/The%20Coalitions%20Direct%20Action%20Plan%20Policy%20Web.ashx

That is if they do not reduce their emission outputs, they will be paying fines, probably in the billions. The reason the coalition do not mention this is they want to talk less about their policy as that somehow makes it look more then it is.

The truth is, while the government’s pricing of carbon will have a flow on effect, so will the coalition’s. But while the government’s plan also offers compensation, the coalition’s does not. Presumably, business will be nice and not pass on this extra cost because the coalition are nice. Where as if the evil government passes their plan, then business will immediately pass on the costs.

The coalition plan does not cap emissions. That means what ever they are going to fine business in their first year will continue to rise as business can just produce as much emissions as they like. And someone will have to dertermine what ‘business as usual’ means.

The government plan does put a cap on emissions. That means for a business to actually produce more emissions, they need to abate more or pay a fine.

In other words, the government policy is forcing business to do more with less emissions. Where as the coalition policy is doing less about the emissions and more about the fine. If you can’t pay the fine, then I suppose its a case of tough titties.

The government plan allows business to plan ahead with these abatements and can reduce their fines into the future. However, this is expensive to originally implement for some. Yet when implemented, there is nothing wrong with a business that actively seeks to lower its emission outputs. By so doing, they actually pay less. Under the coalition plan, only big business will get to offset emissions as they have the money to do so.

Which FINALLY gets me round to why I started this piece in the first place.

Currently, the print media in Australia is 70% under the control of the Murdoch empire. On the face of it all, this really should not be an issue. But it is. It allows one man to decide public debate.

Oh don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to be sinister. It’s simple. You get to decide who manages a paper, who that paper employs, and therefore you LIMIT the debate to the pieces you publish. If the guy owns 70% of all papers, then he can also use stories from those papers as fillers.

That means you can employ less staff per paper as you don’t need to send a journalist and a cameraman to a story another of your papers have already covered. It also means that whatever that journalist writes will be spread on all national papers as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Even though it is not.

Rupert will tell people it is clever business and a way of doing more with less. I see less with less actually, but that might be just me. Mind you, nothing speaks journalism to me like a Harry Potter wand collection.

The big problem that Julia Gillard is painting for Tony Abbott is he really cant argue against doing more with less. Productivity is a huge problem and has been for decades or more. So getting a nation to do more with less is vital! Problem is the people being asked to do more with less is the business world. And they want to hear much less of that message and more of the message that consumers do less.

While media ownership and how more or less of it you control seems to be a seemingly ordinary thing, there is a iceberg underneath. Should we look at if owning more media outlets leads to less quality and variety on issues and debates?  Because I don’t think it offers more. In fact they are less and less newspapers and more and more opinion papers. But should that be an issue? And if not why not?

While some are complaining about the duopolistic motives behind Coles and Woolworths, there is little concern it seems that a media empire controls 70% of the published written word in this country. Add to that the control of television and cable, and you got yourself much less for more Murdoch profit. A profit he happily takes, but refuses to take responsibility for scandals such as the phone hacking in the UK.

If there is an issue with the concept of more or less, it is summed up in this. The government is pushing the more for all(eventually) angle, while the opposition is playing the less(now) angle. While Julia wants us to see the more in possibilities, Tony is talking up the less even when that less is totally unrelated.

Taking action re bat populations for example becomes linked to pink batts and climate science science. And Abbott is actually winning votes with this. While the science is opposed to what Abbott stands for, he attacks the science as opposed to explain his cause. If asked about his Direct Action plan, he says its on the website. That’s it. Why? Cause he knows less of us will actually want to do the more needed to get it. See what I did there? More or less?

However, someone should tell Mr Abbott to stop using the words weight and less in a sentence in reference to CO2 as his own plan, as I said, plans to fine emitters and to do that, then CO2 needs to have a weight. Tsk Tsk Tony. It is also more and more likely that we will get less and less information about the difference of pricing carbon between the government and the opposition in our media because more and more of that is owned by less and less people who, while owning more, employ less opinions.

So what am I trying to say to people? More or less? While owning more media lets you use that media more for your own political views, it also lets you use less and less of that media for contrary views.

You can then make the grandiose statement that since 70% of all the papers have the same opinion on the government, media outlets in the other 30% are obviously biased and have an agenda as their opinion is in the minority.

This allows some journalists in the Murdoch stable to attack the ABC as being leftist. This is aimed at lowering the ABC (minority views) audience with their more (majority views) on issues. They achieve this with the clever manipulation of POLLS which they run daily on issues and ones the commission weekly.

No longer is there an issue of what is right and best for the country in the long term, but what is more and more ‘popular’. And popularity is more and less, utter bullshit. I offer as an example the Gold Logie winner for 2010.

So regardless of ‘more or less’ and ‘less or more’ policies, the REAL information is ‘more or less’ and ‘less or more’ chopped up and stuck into chaff bags and pronounced ‘dead, buried’ and then finally ‘cremated’.  In response, radio announcers take great pleasure calling for the return of the guillotine as they reach into the bag daily.

The thing I found is if you want to find out what is really more or less out there, you have to more or less get off your more or less fat arse and more or less do it yourself as the media you are plugged into is more or less a farce.

A. Ghebranious 2011 (All Rights Reserved – expect for the bits that are not)

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One Comment
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Thanks Ash Debt celing raised in USA.

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