Archive for the ‘tv’ Category

Some of the writers of the Show formerly known as Daily got together and produced this video from the front lines of the writer’s strike with a well made point:

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In case there is any remaining doubt that Fox news is just ultra right-wing neoconservative propaganda, here is Roger Ailes (aka Fat Bastard). And you know what, if Al Gore and Michael Moore’s weight is fair game, then this tub of shit certainly should be as well. I think Jabba AND Pizza the Huts had better complexions and jowel configurations than Ailes.

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I was reading the letters section of my latest issue of Harpers, and one responding to Through a Glass, Darkly caught my attention (emphasis mine):

Perhaps evangelical Christians are predominant among homeschoolers, but they are not the entirety. Many people have kept their children out of school so that they would not be indoctrinated or “dumbed down,” to use a phrase of former New York State teacher-of-the-year John Taylor Gatto. Compulsive schooling, the brainchild of industrial magnates in the late 1800s, had the repugnant goal of creating a docile, easily exploited workforce. Schooling was, and is, intended to create parameters within which we are allowed to think. My children, whom I homeschooled can think independently, expressoutrage when it’s appropriate, and find time to read Harper’s. They’re a minority in the homeschooling world, but they are also a minority in mainstream America.

There are, of course, some excellent schoolteachers. But schools themselves are antidemocratic and bear great responisibility for the sheeplike behavior of our compatriots. To dismiss homeschooling itself as dysfunctional is to eliminate a potentially powerful tool for redressing the greater dysfunction of society. To assume that homeschooling belongs to evangelical Christians is no more accurate or fair than to assume that the whole country does.

Penny Teal
Mystic, Connecticut

Other respondents pointed out that while it may be true that many Christian homeschoolers may be teaching their children a skewed version of history, it is equally true that our secular public schools are not teaching history full or accurately themselves. If they did, then why would Howard Zinn have needed to write A People’s History of the United States?

I also strongly agree that schools and the authoritarian systems that govern them and standardized expectations can be quite detrimental to some people’s development. I speak from experience here as someone who simply cannot learn in the standard educational environment. I don’t know if it’s because I am diagnosed with ADD or some other psychological factor, but the only way I can learn is by following my own interests.

This is a topic that I want to write about expansively, specifically my own story of educational successes and failures as well as some of my friends. The theme of this is something that The Wire has brought to my attention, which is the failure of institutions to allow for individual freedom and mobility due to their need to maintain the status quo through varying degrees of conformity and often at the expense of the very people that they were established to help.

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I’d been a fan of the show since the beginning of the second season. I was fortunate enough to be stuck home one weekend with a bad cold and HBO OnDemand. I watched the entire first season straight through and was extremely frustrated when I could only watch three episodes of the second. Of all the shows I’ve been a devoted fan, includikng Six Feet Under, Carnivale & Deadwood, none has truly gripped me as much as The Wire and none of those have I rewatched as often.

The most ringing endorsement I ever heard of the show came from an actual low-level stree-thug drug dealer I happened to strike up a conversation with in NYC. We both loved the show for the same reasons, and he was just as taken aback as I was in the writers’ ability to show the true nature of crime and punishment in a major U.S. city, along with all the messy connections, ironies and motivations that the ‘good’ guys and ‘bad’ guys are entangled in.

HBO should be applauded for giving the show a fifth season. The show’s creator, David Simon, has always had a five season arc in mind, the first dealing directly with the drug trade, the second with the death of the working class and it’s intersection with more criminal elements, the third with politics, fourth is education and the fifth will zero in on the media.

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Best of The Wire

I’m rewatching season one of The Wire while I work today. This scene came on and it jumped out at me as a perfect introductory glimpse into the genius writing of this show. So if you’ve never seen The Wire, enjoy this gem, then go rent the first season.

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Yo Boston:


I bet you can guess where I think you should put that. That’s right Boston, an anus joke. That’s what you get.

Damn, this is boring. Let’s go bother Cleveland.

Seriously, folks. I bought 5 shares of Time Warner stock just to make sure they get the message that the Adult Swim franchise should not be touched. They are the monolith of creative comedy in the 21st century. See the Aqua Teen Movie, several times, if necessary.

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Jess and I have decided to ban TV. For now it’s purely a voluntary ban. That is to say that we still subscribe to our cable, but we are electing not to use the 200+ channels and digital InDemand® as time-killers. We permit ourselves to deliberately watch specific shows such as Exras or The Wire (most HBO), but no more aimlessly wandering of the guide in search of anything but an original thought. I want to cut it out entirely, and save us the $80 it costs us for HBO and the digital package and just keep the high speed Internet. Hell, we can still watch and rent DVD’s and I can download just about anything that comes to mind.

Hopefully that is what this blog will become, the new occupation for my mind. Whereas I used to spend days filling it with whatever happened to be on the tv, I’m hoping to start dumping out some of the crap.

We just had a minor spat because Jess really wants me to come and watch Rome with her and I said no. She really wants to watch it now, but I had to say “No”. I started this blog posting damnit, and I’m gonna finish it.

The TV ban is cutting into deeper issues. Now that my mind is desperate for some sort of occupation, I’ve been dragging out my old journals. I realize that I’ve gone through this cycle for years, I get sick to death of spending years not moving towards my aspirations or distracting myself with trivial horseshit that I end up dumping out all this crap into various journals that I’m rarely lucky enough to lose. So i’m going to sift through them and start posting anything of mild interest or relevance to my current life.

This is sort of an inagural post for this blog, and a true purpose will eventually merge, but for now it’s purely a dumping ground for anything I can force myself to record.


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