Saturday, September 5, 2015

This Is Your Mind On Pop Kulcha

According to one of the Brite Lites of the Eschaton Brain Trust  "MAD MEN. BREAKING BAD. THE SOPRANOS" are the equals of Hamlet, MacBeth, Othello..... 

Hey, I saw some of The Sopranos and I also saw Omerta, La Loi du Silence from Canada, which The Sopranos copied and Omerta was, by far, better.  And it waren't no MacBeth, never mind Hamlet.  And August Wilson was better than either of them. 

Update:  Now I've really pissed him off because I contradicted the wisdom of Raymond Chandler who claimed to know what the author of the Shakespeare plays would have been doing, writing for TV.  Well, Chandler was speaking from the vantage point of TV before 1959, when he died, back when they were still going through the motions of putting on live dramas and commissioning composers to write stuff, something that wouldn't outlive Chandler by more than about five years.  And I saw some of that "golden age of TV" stuff,  a lot of which is embarrassing to look at now.   He had no idea what he was talking about, then, and had no idea of just what a nose-dive TV would take.  Less that two years after he died, Newton Minnow gave his famous "vast wasteland" speech, in which he said.

Like everybody, I wear more than one hat. I am the chairman of the FCC. But I am also a television viewer and the husband and father of other television viewers. I have seen a great many television programs that seemed to me eminently worthwhile and I am not talking about the much bemoaned good old days of "Playhouse 90" and "Studio One."

I'm talking about this past season. Some were wonderfully entertaining, such as "The Fabulous Fifties," "The Fred Astaire Show," and "The Bing Crosby Special"; some were dramatic and moving, such as Conrad's "Victory" and "Twilight Zone"; some were marvelously informative, such as "The Nation's Future," "CBS Reports," "The Valiant Years." I could list many more -- programs that I am sure everyone here felt enriched his own life and that of his family. When television is good, nothing -- not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers -- nothing is better.

But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.

You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly, commercials -- many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you'll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.

And that was 1961, before Ronald Reagan got rid of any vestiges of public service requirements.   And the year after Playhouse 90 was canceled.  

If the author of the Shakespeare plays had worked on TV while Chandler was alive he'd have gotten canned about the same time that hack died. 

Update 2:  It's so funny how outraged my antagonist is that I referred to Raymond Chandler, the inventor of Philip Marlowe, as a "hack".   I can certainly imagine Marlowe calling someone who wrote for hire, on deadline, as his creator did, a "hack".  That's what the term means and all Hollywood writers were hack writers, by definition.  So funny how those fans of cynical, hard-boiled, tought-guy who-done-its are the first to get all outraged by someone poking fun at the inventors of the genre. 

Update 3:   No, this is me writing hepped up on high power cold meds.  I got the beginning of the school year cold first thing, been running a fever all day, otherwise I'd be doing something productive.  I don't drink.  

Update 4:  It's a holiday weekend, that's my excuse, I know all the buttons to push and I'm pushing them all at once.  I suppose if I hadn't given up the boob tube I could be rewatching all of The Twilight Zone for about the fourth time. The one with Billy Mumy kind of makes me think that it was Simels' childhood fantasy, the one he never got over.   Or maybe it's why he's OC about me. 

It's all right, Sims, I wasn't an only child. 

Update 5:  No, I called Chandler a "hack" because a. he was a hack writer, b. I knew it would piss you off, c. I knew it would piss you off and you'd say how pissed off it made you and I could then make fun of someone who mistakes Raymond Chandler as a great auteur who gets pissed off at calling him what Philip Marlowe would call him, a hack writer. 

I hustled you just like I hustled your buddy last week.   You guys are such push-overs. 

Update 6:  I had a request.  Apparently someone finds it funny when I make fun of you guys.  And it's a holiday weekend, nothing much gets done on holiday weekends.   I'll entertain requests on major holidays and Flag Day.  

Update 7:  I don't take what the BB frickin' C says in an entertainment program, especially a frickin' podcast, not even a broadcast,  as being any more reliable than what the Wikifrickin'pedia says.   I take their news programming with a grain of salt since the Hutton Inquiry reigned them in.   The glory days of the BBC are gone, and they always were. 

Update 8:  Geesh, I must have hit that button one time too much, it's stuck and if I keep laughing this hard I'll get a stitch, I'm taking a break. 

Update 9:  Ha, ha, the joke's on you.  I'm not a shitty writer, I'm not any kind of a writer.  I don't pretend to be.   I'm a musician and a math tutor, that's all. 

1 comment:

  1. Chandler was wrong about TV and Shakespeare, and Minnow was right, no question.