January 2008 Archives
My reaction was -- irrespective of my politics or hers -- if you don't know how to pronounce a presidential candidate's name, you should get fired from your job at The Wall Street Journal.
Whatever you're looking for, my guess is that no cheap-ass roll-up of concepts, packages, clips, tributes, home movies, mashups, fanfic, and Photoshopped pictures of Daniel Day-Lewis making out with Javier Bardem will make you feel any better, so you know what, Academy? Don't bother with Plan B. Apply the full weight of your gilded ass to getting progress made on the strike so that everyone, in good faith, can have the show go on. You're not fooling one single person with this "there will be an Oscars even if there are no Oscars" noodling, so give it up.
What's interesting about listening to Jeff Probst talk about Survivor, as he did during an hour-long media conference call today, is that after fifteen seasons have aired and sixteen have been filmed, he remains enormously conflicted about hosting Survivor. In one breath, his manner is impossibly moist as he insists that the show is compelling because -- seriously -- everyone goes out there and experiences what he calls a "spiritual death," in the form of either being voted off or otherwise broken down. In the next, he is so reluctant to seem like a humorless stiff that he freely chuckles that the show is "corny" in that he does indeed intone the same things -- "want to know what you're playin' for?", "Immunity -- back up for grabs," and especially "the tribe has spoken" -- over and over. "That's the show," he insists, a little defensively.
He's hard to read, in this way.
I mean, don't get me wrong. I love H&HS. I guess she didn't see the recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry busts someone for taking advantage of free samples. Because it seriously was eight different soups. She also tried to cut in front of me when I went to pay for my salad, but her (I assume) assistant had already paid for her anyway. Poor girl.
And some of the shorts star our very own TC recapper, Keckler -- need to shave some time off your tomato-peeling routine? She's got the answer.
The PBS program everyone's talking about from last week is of course the Frontline special on the internet generation, which I found kind of terrifying, especially 1) the part where the teacher is talking about how the kids just don't read books anymore, and 2) the internet-bullying that goes on. We had our own analog version of that back in the day, the three-way-calling prank, but it isn't the same thing; we had our own analog version of sneaking out and keeping secrets, too, and I think it's an important part of adolescence in that, at some point, you have to get into trouble, and out of it again, on your own so that you learn how. But the special was based in towns adjacent to the one where I grew up, and it really brought me back -- because my parents would have been just as strict and zero-tolerance about my internet usage as they were about everything else.
Including TV consumption, and we see how that worked out. Heh. Hi, Ma!
Anyway: another good bit of PBS programming from last week is the American Experience episode about Walter Freeman, the lobotomist. I do not need to hear the word "transorbital" and then the word "icepick" in the same sentence, but there they were, hanging out together a bunch of times...I knew the procedure was primitive, but I thought of it as primitive in the sense of killing a fly with a howitzer, not in the sense of, you know, NO ANESTHESIA for God's sake. This is the guy, and the procedure, that turned Rosemary Kennedy from a delayed but functional woman into an infant, more or less, who needed full-time supervision.
It's a disturbing hour, but fascinating, and I didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle with all the talk about that one Frontline.
It also put me in mind of Geraldo. Geraldo is thought of indulgently now, I think, like a crazy uncle; when I was a kid, he was reviled as a shock journalist (possibly because the culture wasn't as inured to Maury-type shit as it is now), and it was a surprise to me to learn that his special on the Willowbrook institution had made his name and put a spotlight on the treatment of the mentally ill. I just wasn't used to thinking of him as a serious-story guy. I'm re-reading The Executioner's Song at the moment, and his name pops up there; already, by '76, he'd become this sensationalist gadfly people didn't want to deal with, but you forget he actually did some good. Not without an eye towards his own reputation, I'm sure, but still.
But the Willowbrook report is really hard to find on VHS or DVD; I've got an eBay search out for it, but I've never seen it and I'd like to. Anyone with some wisdom on how to get my hands on it can write me at sars at televisionwithoutpity dot com -- thanks.
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