A few random thoughts on television

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A few random thoughts on television

Post  cradlerc on Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:50 pm

First, I'm sitting here typing when I hear a line from the t.v. that stops me: my daughter is watching The Wizards of Waverly Place (just another Disney Channel tween show I have my doubts about) and a character wanders on the screen named "Dean Moriarty." Hello? As in Dean Moriarty in Kerouac's On The Road? LOL.

That's just my random prelude.

Anywho, last night my husband and I watched Deadwood and Oz. This caused me to go off on a very boring monologue that helped my husband to fall asleep. My take on these two shows was that, first of all, they were a little nauseating. And annoying, because they're the kind of shows that you just know other people are watching and congratulating themselves on how edgy and hip they are to be watching them. Because these shows are so truthful of course, and because listening to actors dressed up like cowboys say "fuck" every other sentence, or an actor playig an inmate bite off another man's penis really "keeps it real". Rolling Eyes

My husband commented (before he passed out from boredom) that it's like watching a train wreck, or a kind of pornography. And I agree--I think there is something really pornographic about these shows, in that they (a) provide a kind of voyeurism and (b) pretend to be real when they are so not real. For one, it is my opinion that the true postmodern genius moment in the history of the western was Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven And that was about twenty years ao, which makes Deadwood twenty years too late. What it's trying to do has been done, better, and is passe.

But mainly, I'm just kind of tired of the elevation of the crass and, of course, of atheism as the smart reponse to the universe. So seriously, when the doctor on Deadwood talks about how "God is a sonofabitch" or the pastor on Oz says that what he thought about when he was facing death was that his nose itched--is this really supposed to be edgy and new?

Really? I mean, just, really? See--these shows make you stupid even after just one viewing.
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I have basically given

Post  AustenFan on Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:52 pm

up on TV, but the times I have wandered in when my husband is watching (He Likes "Hell's Kitchen" for instance, where an English chef abuses would be chefs who want to win a position at a fancy resturant, and "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" which has odd stunts and can be oddly amusing) is how frequently the word "fuck" is just routinely part of the conversation. These people say it for emphasis. Since they are mostly people in their 20's and early 30's I'm wondering whether most people in that age bracket do the same thing? It's very off-putting to me.

I think a pastor thinking about his nose itching when he faced death could be an opportunity for some interesting discussion about how the mind works or the bodies influence on spirituality. However, it sounds like in this case it might have been used just to make religion seem unimportant.
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Cradle, I did a fun little experiment once

Post  VicarJoe on Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:44 am

I went to the Sundance Channel's web page and just cut and pasted the descriptions for the week's movies and shows into a document. And this document represented what, if you believe what people say about the kinds of stuff that channel shows, unvarnished reality. THIS is realism. THIS is reality.

Here's a sample from today:

Now Playing, The Angelmakers: Why did a group of Hungarian women poison to death 140 men after World War 1. Learn how women had no rights, their husbands were all drunks and beat them!

Lights in the Dusk, part of an "austere trilogy" from Finland about a "solitary loser"

I'm a Cyborg, about a woman who refuses to eat because she believes she's a robot, who in the end is aided by a "free-spirited kleptomaniac."

Engine 371, a wordless animated film about how mankind destroys the earth

Energy War, on the geopolitical consequences of the use of oil

Savage Grace, in which a child becomes "an unwilling pawn in the psychosexual games of his parents, and the seeds for a tragedy of spectacular decadence are sown which challenge even the most shocking taboos."

Opening Night, an "intimate journey through one woman's hell and salvation [with] a tour de force performance as an actress on the stage and on the brink of madness."

Man Push Cart, "Ahmad, a former rock star in his native Pakistan, drags his heavy cart along the streets of New York. And every morning, he sells coffee and donuts to a city he cannot call his own."

First, this was just a random snapshot--this is what you can watch today. Who knows what fresh hell tomorrow will bring.

Now let me clarify: I am NOT saying that any one of these movies is in itself bad or harmful, though a few sound perfectly dreadful. But what I am saying is that this unremitting wallowing in human misery is what passes for reality these days. A couple who meet at work and fall in love and decide to get married? That's fantasy (although most of us have some experience just like it). A woman thinks she is a robot and is aided by a kleptomaniac? Yeah, that's what life is REALLY like.

Reality, to the media these days, means wallowing in cesspools, exploring perversions, lionizing misfits and losers, etc. Meanwhile, the villain will be someone who goes to church or has a fulfilling career or lives in, God forbid, suburbia. Because what right-thinking person wouldn't trade the quiet and dignity and friendliness of the suburbs for the gritty authenticity of the inner city streets?
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Chuckle.

Post  cradlerc on Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:51 am

I really love the description for "Man Push Cart." That will have me laughing for days. And the first one made me think of that movie with Charlize Theron (sp?)--the one where she's a groundbreaking worker in the steel industry or some such. In the film, every male is putrid, of course. What's funny is the additional material on the DVD clearly shows that that was NOT the case--that the real life woman got a lot of support from some very nice men, and ran into a few putrid ones--kind of like real life is. The movie is such a manipulative smugfest.

I asm a Cyborg--LOL. That's really, really funny. And what does it mean to "challenge the most shocking taboos"? Are the taboos, themselves, shocking? LOL.
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