WRITING AND LANGUAGE - 11.01.2021
November 1, 2021
Good Monday morning. I'm author Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMAN SERIES posts.
I can't believe it's already November. Yes, 2021 has dragged along because of all the terrible things that have happened, so maybe I should be saying thank god this year is almost over.
For writers, November and particularly the 1st of November have added meaning. It is National Novel Writing Month, and today has been designated as National Author's Day.
I can attest that writing can be good for the sole, and I love to encourage others to write for this reason. National Novel Writing Month was established by a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that promotes creative writing around the world. Its flagship program is an annual, international creative writing event in which participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript during November. Well-known authors write "pep talks" to motivate participants during the month.
National Author's Day was conceived in 1928 by Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, the Illinois Women's Club president. She was inspired to create this celebration of authors after writing a letter to author Irving Bacheller telling him how much she enjoyed reading his book Eben Holden's Last Day A-Fishing." Bacheller responded to her letter by sending her an autographed copy of another of his works. Thrilled by Bacheller's gift, she came up with the idea of a special day for authors. National Author's Day was officially recognized in 1949 by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Please take time today to recommend a beloved book to someone and encourage young people to write.
Writing is a unique process developed by humans that relies on language, a system of symbols that make up words. This is not a static process but rather one that changes or expands over time. One of the keepers of this expansion is Merrian-Webster which has just added a whopping 455 new words to its dictionary. Many are the result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are a few that caught my attention –
First, the obvious ones like "contact tracing," "social distancing," "contactless," "PPE" (personal protective equipment), and "WFH" (work from home).
Then there are some other new words and some new interpretations of words that have taken on new meaning because of the pandemic experience, such as "Breakthrough": an infection occurring in someone who's fully vaccinated against an infectious agent — often used before another noun (as in "breakthrough cases" or "breakthrough infection"). Long Covid is a condition marked by the presence of symptoms that persist for an extended period following a person's initial recovery from COVID-19 infection. Vaccine passport: a physical or digital document providing proof of vaccination against one or more infectious diseases. And, Super-spreader: an event or location at which a significant number of people contract the same communicable disease — often used before another noun (as in a "super-spreader event").
This post was initially planned to be just about writing and how language is a kind of living thing that morphs and transforms our feelings and the world around us. Then I noticed a statement that took me back to my recent tangent.
I didn't really mean to get caught up to the degree I have with the Alec Baldwin shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Rust" in New Mexico. I only started writing about the "Rust" incident when the local Santa Fe New Mexico FBI office and the FBI Crime Lab in Quantico were brought into the investigation. I thought tying this high-profile case in my posts to my character FBI Special Agent Hartmann, would create interest in my crime novels.
I admit to getting caught up in the story and developing a gut feeling there is more to it than meets the eye. After my lengthy last post, I was ready to move on to something else. Then Alec Baldwin uses language in his statement Saturday to a group of reporters that included, "We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened."
I watched the video of his "rant" to reporters over and over again. There was something strange about his expressions that interested me. It started with his rudely brushing off his wife, who was trying to stop him from talking. He then continued with a non-sensible rant about the number of historical movie industry shootings. The rant then tied the numbers to the incident – "one-in-a-trillion episode."
I realized it was exactly the same format or style he used in 1998 when he shocked NBC's Late Night Host Conan O'Brien. – "Shut up" No, shut up! I'm not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death, and we would go to their homes, and we'd kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families (stands up screaming). What is happening in this country? What is happening" UGHHH UGHHH!!!
He is either living in Mark Zuckerberg's "Metaverse" or his frequently described own little crazy world. Goren Veljic, the witness to Alec's beating of a Daily News photographer, said of him, "He was like crazy, you know? There was an eruption of mad. I think something's wrong with him."
There was no VERY, VERY well-oiled crew on the set of Rust. In fact, the experienced union crew had left because of so many problems with the production. And, when the "accidental" shooting was reported to the police 911 line by script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, she could be heard talking with someone on the set saying, This fucking AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherfucker. . . He's supposed to check the guns. He's responsible for what happened." And then there is the language following the incident by the on-set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed that indicated "untruths have been told to the media." Alec, I think your Saturday statement falls into this category.
The production staff for Rust were not professional and often treated it as a joke. The standard practice in Hollywood of sending out safety bulletins with call sheets was ignored. Requests by the crew for equipment, hotel room, and meals were responded to by the production staff by ordering custom black long-sleeve T-shirts, with "Error 404: Housing Not Found" and "ABQ is an hour away" printed on them, mocking the crew's requests. I wonder how much that cost the production?
When the production was being shut down, one of the line producers said, "Any remaining alcohol donated to row and gabby!" I wonder if sobriety tests were made by law enforcement of the three principals involved in the shooting?
A HOLLYWOOD REPORTER article by Gary Baum and Chris Gardner states, "Long-standing safety protocols clearly were violated."
Come on, Alex, there were many things on the set of "Rust" that were VERY, VERY wrong. One of them was a very un-oiled crew that failed to discover a live round in the gun you held in your hand that killed a crew member. If the crew had been well-oiled, Halyna Hutchins would still be alive today.
My gut still tells me that there is more to this story than just an accidental shooting based on the language I have heard. I would love to have a recording of what was being said on the set just before the shooting. It appears several crew members had been rubbed the wrong way to the point they neglected to function professionally.
Enough of my speculation. It's now in the hands of law enforcement and the DA. We will all watch with interest as to what they determine.
Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright©2021 by Richard V. Rupp