The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Oscars and the Writers' Strike in Hollywood

The Oscars nearly didn't happen this year. The wonder of it is the why: because they almost didn't have any writers to tell them what to say.

I found this marvellously sad. The world's supposedly greatest actors nearly couldn't have a celebration of their own achievements because those who put words in their mouths were on strike for more money - and a fairer share of new media earnings.

I have nothing untoward to say about the strikers - for writers are, indeed, an ill-treated and often forgotten breed. Yet, at the same time, I found it rather absurd that grown adults, with great reputations in their field, had need of writers to supply them with thoughts. There is something in that which, to me, indicates that these talents are not as great as one might suppose them to be: take away their writers and they are hollow vessels with nothing worthy of their own to say. Were this not so, they would not have been frightened of a writers' strike - and would not have contemplated either a cancellation of the oscars or a change of format so that no writing, as such, would have to be on show. Apparently, a lot of canned clips of past greatnesses was likely to have supplanted the usual speech giving fest.

In a way, I find it objectionable that the performers coming up to collect their awards should, so often, have had someone else write their words for them. This means that we do not get a personal insight into the actor's genuine reaction. We do not see them as they are: we see them as a writer thinks they would look good being. It is isn't interesting, to me, to see, once again, how they perform with another person's words on their lips - I would like to see them, as they are, with just their own thoughts on their lips. If it should be that they do not have enough of their own thoughts to actually give a coherent speech, then I would like to see that too. I would like to see these people, whose lives are lived as artificial performances, as they really are. It would be much more instructive.

What we see as an actor's work, is the conjunction of the contributions of many people. We see their lighting person, at work, their make up artist, their director, their cameraman, their writer and so on - and amidst all of this, we see the actor. What would be great is, if every year, at the Oscars, we actually got to see these people as they are: sans everything. No special lighting, no-one to do their make up, no direction, no interesting camerawork, no writers to feed them lines. It would be so much interesting to actually see these feted people as they are.

Some of them would shine under these circumstances. These people would, I feel, be genuine talents with something real to offer. Others, would fade to nothingness and dullness if deprived of the support network of other talents that is always with them. The lesson would be a rich one. We would finally see who is a real talent and who is not.

Unfortunately, such a situation will never be. The non-talents of Hollywood (who have convinced us that they are talented) would never allow themselves to be seen as they really are. Those among them who wouldn't mind such an exercise - being possessed of real, solid talents, would, no doubt, be in the minority and therefore not have a sufficient voice - even if it possessed them to be so upfront about the reality of themselves. The Oscars and Hollywood in general, will continue to be an artifice - a thing divorced from reality - and we will continue in our ignorance of what these people who are held up to us for admiration, are really like.

Unless we are fortunate enough to meet and get to know one of these people in person, we will never know them as they actually are. We will only ever be consumers of their carefully constructed images. They speak - but their words are not their own. From their reaction to the writers' strike (ie. panic) it seems likely that they have nothing of their own to say - in the main. Are people with nothing to say for themselves then worthy of our collective admiration? Is a hollow vessel worthy of public fame?

Deep down, I don't think many of us think so. However, the image that is crafted for us to consume is so cleverly done that few of us pause for a moment to consider that the image has no substance and is not representative of the person we attribute it to. We come to admire that which is not truly there.

I, for one, am all for writers' strikes, therefore - the longer lasting the better. It would be best, in fact, if writers were forbidden from writing for actors who are to collect awards. It would be our only chance to see these people as they truly are.

I, for one, would definitely tune in to see such a show. As for the real oscars: I can barely watch them. The artifice is too much for me - so I tune out after a half hour or so.

Let writers show us what they do - by not doing it. Let actors be revealed as they are.

That is what I would call a show.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and seven months, and Tiarnan, two years exactly, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:01 PM 


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