Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rachel's Dad's Cancer

Last November, a Georgetown University master's candidate named Rachel Plotnick wrote to tell me that her father had recently died of lung cancer and she was working on a thesis on the topic of comics and cancer. She asked me some questions and we exchanged correspondence that amounted to a mini-interview. The results of her work are now available at Gnovis, Georgetown's online journal of communication, culture and technology. It was also posted in two parts on YouTube, to which I've linked below.

(By the way, Rachel explained to me that the YouTube images are grainier than she'd like and she had to swap out the music she really wanted to use to avoid copyright concerns. She promised to send me a "good" version; however, I think this one is fine, and also the only one I can link to, so....)






There are two things going on in this video, which runs about 17 minutes total. At the beginning and end, Rachel takes a scholarly look at how and why people tell stories like Mom's Cancer, and why comics is an apt medium with which to do it. She writes about the role of families as stewards of memory and tradition, and the responsibility within families to tell our unique stories and pass them down. At the end, she writes about the power of cartoons as icons that allow readers to project their own lives into, and more closely identify with, the story they're reading. I certainly think that's true.

The heart of the video shows Rachel applying her academic insights to her story of "Dad's Cancer." I wouldn't be writing about if I didn't think she did an extraordinary job. Purely from a creative standpoint, it's interesting for me to see how Rachel approached and solved some of the same questions and problems I faced. As I mentioned to her, I'm envious of the tools of motion and sound she has at her disposal that I didn't, and I think she puts them to good use. It's nice work, and Rachel was very gracious to acknowledge my work as part of it.

It won't be to everyone's taste--nothing is--but if you appreciated Mom's Cancer and have 17 minutes to spare, I think you'll appreciate "Dad's Cancer" as well.

7 comments:

Sue said...

I don't always agree with you, but I see that you are objective in your
postings.

Brian Fies said...

I'm not sure what you're referring to, Sue, but I try to be an even-handed guy. Thanks.

Namowal said...

I smell a splog- it's when a spambot posts the same reply on multiple blogs to increase traffic to their website. The link below (no, it's not mine)has mentions the very same comment:
http://www.tourcms.com/blog/2007/08/27/weve-been-splogged/

Namowal said...

Then again, the splogbot has a better command of English grammar, compared to my post...

Sherwood Harrington said...

Then spambots have better luck with the wiggly letters than I do, evidently.

Brian Fies said...

I figured. But I take my compliments where I can get 'em.

Dr Jeff Aitkin said...

Although personally I have not been aflicted with cancer yet i have had a number of close friends who have had breast cancer, including my sister. The best advice i was able to give them at the time was do what the best medical and dietitian advice says: eat and drink lots of fresh food and water, daily exercise, be around positive people, and to keep up a high dose of metabolic cell support - http://www.mc-s.com.au - which has worked wonders at bringing up their white blood cell count post treatment. You are putting great detailed posts in your blog, well done, keep up the good work, it's informative.