Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Highly linkable - on high-minded steriods

I want to go to there. And while we're at it, here too.

So let's talk about misled people doing selfish things. But perhaps it is not as bad as it seems.

Here is a different example of the same kind of high-minded nonsense as above. I particularly like the quote: "It’s time for the altruists to get over themselves. We cannot afford the price of their convictions."

The high-minded Fed controls interest rates, right? Wrong.

Just how bad are the effects of rent control--one of many forms of high-minded real estate planning? Maybe to the tune of about $1 billion dollars on a $3 billion neighborhood. Dr. Evil would be proud.

Lenin was a prohibitionist!?! Shocking . . . well, no; that makes sense. He was high-minded enough to want to help every aspect of Russian life.

Speaking of turn of the 20th century garbage, apparently my Spidey Sense was correct when it picked up on something rotten in Downton. The George Will piece quoted in the previous link deserves its own link. Still a good show; let's just not romanticize how hard life was for most everyone in prior generations.

Enough negative stuff, for the moment. Let's think about a cool new business idea. While we're at it, let's think about how fabulously wealthy cool new business ideas continue to make us.

Okay, moment's over. You know, college football isn't a business; hey, stop laughing! Like all NCAA sports, it is about pure amateurism.

Sticking with sports, I think I am being consistent when I believe both (1) that Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart was potentially justified in pushing a Texas Tech fan (if the fan had been injured and I was on a jury, I would be giving heavy consideration to a self-defense argument in favor of Smart) and (2) people in public (state-owned) spaces or attending official-state-functions have wide latitude to say nearly whatever they want in the act of cheering. The First Amendment doesn't have a carve-out exemption for your or my high-minded respectfulness or proper etiquette. You don't like cussing, hatefulness, and otherwise ugly slurs coming from the crowd? Quit funding sports arenas and sports teams with taxpayer money.

When it comes to sports and high-mindedness, you don't get any higher than the Olympics. And you'd have to be high not to see through the veil of virtue and right into the corruption, state run-amok wastefulness, and panglossian denial of oppression that is the Olympic gathering. I very much like the stories of so many of the athletes. I like the history of competition. I detest the desire to pretend there hasn't been and doesn't continue to be intense nationalism (an illogical and evil conception) at the heart of The Games. Don't get me wrong. I root for Team USA, but I also root for others. These sports aren't my sports, and some aren't even sports. These are interesting curiosities that viewing for just a few moments will satisfy my interest for four years at least. But if you're really into it, great! Just don't tell me we are obligated to root for our country. And don't tell me it is "us" versus "them". And PUH-LEASE don't tell me how great The Olympics are for world peace, the economy, or NBC ratings.

Saving the best for last, Megan McArdle busts the high-minded bubble of paint-by-numbers educational excellence cum success. "Let your kids fail!" is perhaps the best advice one can give a parent.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I want to go to there.

This past week the sitcom "30 Rock" aired its final episode. I believe I saw every one. I'd rank it on my favorite list in the top 50 but not the top 10. I was a fan. Some thoughts:

  • Though I'm sorry to see it go, it had run its course. It is good to see a show end in stride rather than jump the shark. And of course some jump the shark, get up, and jump the shark again. Another show still on the air that comes to mind is "How I Met Your Mother". HIMYM is dangerously close to getting on a surfboard. It is also a show in my top 50 if not in my top 10. It definitely has had top 10 moments as did "30 Rock". Put in that same category "The Office". I still like it and watch it, but I believe the shark may have been jumped some time around the departure of Michael Scott.
  • While most of the shows I like tend to have multiple very good characters that nearly stand on their own, I felt like this show was dominated by two: Liz Lemon played by Tina Fey and Jack Donaghy played by Alec Baldwin. These characters were brilliant. Their lines were consistently laugh-out-loud funny and clever and their delivery was tremendous--not surprising given the quality of those actors. Tracy Morgan's character Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski's character Jenna Maroney, and Jack McBrayer's character Kenneth Parcell were at a few times awesome but at most times only good. Probably the design of the show to have them and so many others as extreme caricatures limited their reach. 
  • The extreme caricatures was fine for most characters, but I found it problematic in one respect. I thought that Jack Donaghy versus Liz Lemon was a bit of unequal caricatures. Jack was generally all knowing and a step ahead, but he was portrayed in a way that was less charitable to his supposed political group, rich Republicans, than Liz's supposed political group, progressive Democrats. Of course, Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey are both rich Democrats. Perhaps the unbalanced approach was intentional. If so, I think it was unwarranted. But my hypothesis is this treatment where a more disdainful side comes out in one character is what I would expect if I asked a person not well versed in opposing viewpoints to create a satirical portrayal of two politically opposed characters. For a more thoughtful approach, I point to "Parks and Recreation" where the libertarian Ron Swanson is equally shown against the progressive Leslie Knope. These characters are truer to their represented group and the comedy and satirical exaggeration does not show contempt for either's group.
  • I was always impressed by how far they could go on the show toward satirizing if not denigrating GE and NBC. This was to the parent company and the network's extreme credit to allow such self-deprecating comedy. I believe FOX gets credit for breaking this barrier back in the early days of "The Simpsons".
Expect more on this topic of TV shows. It seems that many of my shows are ending and several are getting up there in age, but I have started very few in the past few seasons and none in the current season going back to the fall. Perhaps I will find more time to read . . . and blog.