jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrellBy John Ruberry

It’s time to take a break from politics.

Many times while surfing on Netflix I came across a recommendation to watch the seven-part 2015 BBC One miniseries, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is described as such: “In 1806 ambitious magician Norrell leads a revival of practical magic in England and ignites a fierce rivalry with bold young conjurer Strange.” If that sounds like a dopey show, well, that’s what I thought too. But I yielded to the luring and tuned in. I’m grateful that I did.

Magic in the alternative universe of Strange and Norrell is not smoke-and-mirrors and rabbits being pulled from hats, it’s a neglected scientific discipline that for unexplained reasons was abandoned in England in the early 16th century. But Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsan), a magician from York, becomes a national sensation when he brings to life the statues of  York Minster Cathedral and, in his only use of dark magic, brings back from death the future wife of a prominent member of parliament, Lady Pole (Alice Englert).

But just as in another alternative universe where humans can sell their soul to the devil, the dark side, in this case a mysterious being known as the Gentleman (Marc Warren), sabotages the transaction and establishes Norrell’s second rivalry.

Norrell offers his services to fight the French and their allies in the Napoleonic Wars, although only Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) directly utilizes magic at the side of the Duke of Wellington (Ronan Vibert), who is initially skeptical of him. Included in the broad historical sweep of Strange and Norrell is the blind and mad King George III, and although not by name, the anti-industrial Luddites.

The rest of the cast is wonderful, particularly Ariyon Bakare as a mysterious butler and Vincent Franklin as the duplicitous promoter of Norrell and Strange. The special effects, with the exception of the ravens in the last two installments, are first rate.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a welcome diversion from the usual, and it’s a particularly good series for binge-watching.

Besides Netflix, the mini-series is available on many on-demand systems and on DVD.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  This post will be free from any commentary regarding last night’s debate or any discussion of the current state of the American presidential race.  You’re welcome.

If you haven’t watched Marc Levin’s documentary, Class Divide, now running on HBO, you should. It is beautifully and poignantly done.

The documentary explores gentrification in New York’s Chelsea area and the educational divide that exists between the luxury “world school” Avenues, and the schools available to the kids in the housing project right across the street from Avenues.  But there’s more there: the documentary shows how community activists banded together to save “the High Line” – an abandoned elevated rail track, and turn it into an elevated park and track that runs through the neighborhood. The documentary shows how hope can survive in people in even the worst circumstances. And it shows the promise and innocence of youth.

This subject is very personal to me as I teach in a high-poverty school; we aren’t in as big a city as New York, but poverty is poverty wherever you are and these kids face the same problems.  Further, there is a gentrification project (on a smaller scale) underway in my school’s neighborhood.  My students are seeing houses torn down, houses loaded on trucks and hauled out, and expensive businesses and housing brought in – far outside their reach.

Kids coming from high poverty areas face learning challenges that upper socio-economic kids don’t face. These students live so “in the moment,” as they wonder if the electricity will be on when they get home, will there be food there, will there be an adult home?  They carry their important possessions with them in their backpacks to school because either they feel like they have to for safety, or because they don’t know where they’ll be sleeping that night.

How are kids like this supposed to concentrate on algebraic equations?

So, I understand kids in poverty and the educational challenges that presents.

Class Divide artfully explores this issue and ultimately what we see is that money can’t buy happiness (trite, but true):

The main thrust of “Class Divide,” is to look inside these two very different worlds namely, Avenues: The World School, and the Elliot-Chelsea public housing projects, as seen through the eyes of the kids (“Sheila Nevins idea”) and see how it feels to them. In the film, we go inside Chris Whittle’s remarkable private school, Avenues: The World School. We see what a privilege it is to be a student there (pre-K to 12th grade tuition is $40,000 per student) and meet some of the kids who attend the school. However elite, The World School is to be admired for its mission to produce students who will flourish and compete globally (every child takes classes in Mandarin or Spanish). We meet Yasmin, a curious, empathetic young female who wants to create a bridge of understanding with her 115 Step Project (the amount of steps between her school and the public housing). We meet Luc, a sensitive, caring young male, who, tragically, takes on the economic divide tipping in his favor, as a painful weight to bear.

The heart of the documentary rests in 8-year old Rosa who lives in the projects and sees the shiny new school through the bars on her windows. She’s smart as a whip and her potential is unlimited, yet a school like Avenues is far outside her reach.

The documentary makes you think hard about the American education system.  It makes you think carefully about values, too.

If you get the chance, be sure to watch it; it’s currently running on HBO and HBOGo.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

p12079367_b_v9_acBy John Ruberry

Without the phenomenal box office success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, HBO’s Game of Thrones series may not have ever launched. And without GoT’s ongoing critical and audience raves, The Last Kingdom would almost certainly never have been giving the green light by the BBC.

I just finished binge-watching the first season of The Last Kingdom, which like Game of Thrones is a television version of a series of books, in this case Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories. I might not have ever heard of the BBC series had not the ninth season of the Doctor Who reboot had been bombarded with Last Kingdom trailers. I guess that’s the point of promos.

Season two of The Last Kingdom is currently in production.

So how is it? Well, in a few words, LK is pretty good. After all, I kept watching, didn’t I?

Here’s how the series is set up–with spoilers for the most part that cover only the first half of the first episode:

The action begins in the late ninth century as Danish invaders–the word “vikings” is never used–have transformed themselves from coastal raiders into a disciplined army who have conquered each English kingdom save Wessex. The lead character is Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), the son of a Northumberland noblemen who as a child witnesses his father fall in a battle against the invaders. After he humorously attacks a Dane, Uhtred is taken as a slave. Losing his Christian faith, Uhtred the Godless, much in the matter of white characters captured by Indians in Old West movies, seems unsure of his loyalties, but he’s determined to reclaim his family castle from his duplicitous uncle.

An adult Uhtred, after his Danish family is killed by other Danes, makes his way to Wessex where he pledges loyalty to King Alfred and joins the Saxon cause.

Attractive in a Jon Snow sort of way, Uhtred doesn’t have a vow of chastity to hamper his romantic pursuits.

Religion greatly drives the plot, The priest who baptizes the young Uhtred–twice–has also made his way to Wessex, where he serves as a counselor to Alfred. Refreshingly, the Christians in The Last Kingdom are pious, but not portrayed as foolishly pious. The only religious character treated with disdain is a Danish sorcerer.

Alfred (David Dawson), the devout king, doesn’t let his sickliness damper his resolve to save his realm and drive the Danes out of England.

Besides Alfred, other historical characters who appear in The Last Kingdom are the Danish chieftains Ubba and Guthrum, Saxons Odda the Elder, King Edmund of East Anglia, Alfred’s nephew Aethelwold, and Welsh monk Asser, the biographer of the Wessex ruler. A glaring oversight is the omission of Ivor the Boneless, the Dane whose name still perplexes historians. Ivor was the half-brother of Ubba.

The show plays homage to the legend that Alfred, asked by a woman to keep an eye on loaves of bread being baked, allows them to burn as his mind wanders to pressing matters of kingship.

The cinematography is superb although the filming of the series in Hungary, rather than England, might be the catalyst of one of LK’s noticeable shortcomings, cheap-looking wardrobes and crowns that appear to be plastic. If the series was shot in Britain, or even Northern Ireland where some of Game of Thrones is filmed, I’m sure the costume department of The Last Kingdom could have scrounged up more convincing crowns some better period clothes from a regional Shakespeare company.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

If you are looking for one more Game of Thrones comparison, then I won’t let you down. While gratuitous nudity is absent from The Last Kingdom, the brief glimpses of bare flesh amid the armor and swords appear forced as if someone is screaming at the directors, “We need naked bums for better ratings!”

I’ll be back for season two, hoping for more. (More meaning better shows, not bare buttocks.) After all, the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood didn’t hit its stride until season two and it didn’t achieve consistent greatness until The Children of Earth in season three.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit
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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  Anyone watch the season premiere of True Detective last night?

Let me just say at the outset that I’m very biased.  I loved every moment of Season 1, so before the opening credits last night, I knew that Season 2 would never match up.  That being said, I also went into the opening episode knowing that Nic Pizzolatto is trying to do something a little different with this season.  Key for me is his Vanity Fair interview in Rich Cohen attempts to explain the separation yet sameness between the two seasons (italics mine):

Early in the history of film, when the big-time writers of the day, Fitzgerald most famously, were offered a role in the movies, they decided to write for the cash, forswearing deeper participation in a medium they considered second-rate. Perhaps as a result of this decision, the author came to be the forgotten figure in Hollywood, well paid but disregarded. …This situation began to change with the emergence of a new kind of television show and a new kind of auteur—a writer who takes on the role of the big-time director, involved in every aspect, from casting to editing. … Pizzolatto is now attempting to take the next evolutionary step. …Credit and power are shared. But by tossing out that first season and beginning again, Nic has a chance to finally undo the early error of Fitzgerald and the rest. If he fails and the show tanks, he’ll be just another writer with one great big freakish hit. But if he succeeds, he will have generated a model in which the stars and the stories come and go but the writer remains as guru and king.

I get that – the writer is the important figure here.  Okay.

I hope it works.

Given that, I know it’s wrong to compare the two seasons, but how can you not?  Season 1 was dynamite – yes, it was the chemistry of Matthew McConaughey and Wood Harrelson, but it was also the deeply symbolic and literary writing, it was also the magic of Cary Fukunaga, the cinematography and the soundtrack.  Season 1 was the green Louisiana swamps, the weird people (I’m from Louisiana, I can say that) and The King in Yellow.

It was magic.  At the end of the first episode of Season 1, that moment when Rust Cohle sits back, flicks his cigarette, and tells the detectives, “Start asking the right f****ing questions,” and the credits came up.  You wanted more and you wanted it right then. That rush that was, “Oh yes, this is about to get good!”

Which brings me to last night’s premiere.  There was no rush of excitement.  No dying for more.  If I didn’t turn the series back on next Sunday, I probably wouldn’t care.  There is nothing redeeming about any of these new characters.  They are beyond damaged.  Many reviewers today are saying they are corrupt.  They probably are, but they are also boring.  I don’t care about them and I don’t like them.

Is that Pizzolatto’s point?  Is that what he wants us to feel today?  Everything is disjointed?  If so, he achieved that.

The basic story, as I see it right now anyway, is that Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro is violent and angry, Vince Vaughn’s character is shady and damaged, Rachel McAdams as Ani has anger issues, daddy issues, and sexual issues, and Taylor Kitsch as an Iraq war vet is suicidal and damaged.  Most of them drink too much – and I’m not talking about just a six pack of Lone Star here, some of them are violent, and none of them have any redeeming qualities.  There is a lucrative land deal with guaranteed federal funding attached that just got jacked up with the murder of the city manager, who in a scene out of Weekend at Bernie’s – is hauled around in a car throughout the entire episode and found in the end in his Sperrys, Bermuda shorts, and sunglasses, sitting in the dark along the roadside, facing the ocean, quite dead.  His eyes have been burned out and no telling what else with all of the other deviant sexual perversion in this episode.

It was at this point that Nic Pizzolatto finally brings his lead characters together, but by then I no longer cared.  Much.

As episode 1 closed last night, and the soundtrack swelled, the first line in T-Bone Burnett’s lyric was “California is a brand new game.”  No kidding; it sure is.

Of course I’ll stick with the series – the brilliance of Season 1 has earned that much from me, anyway.  And I have (some) faith in Nic; I think he might be able to bring this around.

We will see.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.

William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism (1959)

Martin Rittenhome: Young man I sell over $14 million dollars a year worth of Geritol, Geritol, that’s the kind of businessman I am. That show twenty-one, cost me 3 1/2 million dollars year in and year out. Sales went up 50% when Van Doren was on. 50%! So the very idea that I was unaware of every detail or aspect of that show’s operation, well frankly it’s very insulting.

Quiz show 1994

British Tommy:  Takes time, it do. But you’ll get the hang of it.

Sgt York 1941

With my oldest moving home I recently upgraded internet package to get more speed. Part of the upgrade included something called Streampix which comes with a selection of movies and TV which includes The Good Wife, the popular CBS Sunday night show that my wife enjoys that I’ve been watching with her lately.Every episode is available on StreamPix so I as I came to the series late I took the liberty of watching it from the beginning.

It’s been an experience not only because it caught me up on a series that has a fair amount of reoccurring characters and motivations that are carried over from previous seasons (there was a time in TV when that was rare, now it’s almost mandatory)  but because the liberal spin was just so pervasive.

A lot of it was subtle, for examples a surrogate wanting to make the choice to keep the child (supporting “choice” by having a child the opposite of the reality of the “pro-choice” mantras.  Other bits less so the use of Religion as a phony thing in a campaign foiled by the St. Alicia decides to embrace her atheism in public.  The evils of big pharma, the NSA, Obamacare, the GOP candidate for Governor as the consummate liar.

And the deal isn’t just to influence the public to liberal causes or inclinations as right.  On occasion the show nudges the left slightly away on issues that might hurt them.

A character Kurt McVeigh was introduced (Gary Cole) , a ballistics expert, with strong pro-gun views conservative views.  Uber liberal Dianne Lockheart (Christine Baranski) slowly falls for him culminating in their marriage this season. She is seen shooting guns and her liberal friends are intolerant of him. It’s a good piece of writing but it makes the play to the left that perhaps we have to go easier on those gun nuts.

Oddly enough moves against the 2nd Amendment have been politically costly for the left as evidenced by the successful recalls in Colorado which I’m sure had nothing to do with the decision suddenly push the idea of getting along over guns.

It doesn’t take long for a political type to see each message carefully packaged to paint a the picture the left wants painted and it’s no coincidence that some high powered leftists have appeared as themselves on the show.

Before I go further let’s  make something clear, propaganda aside the writing here is all first rate.  The plots are powerful and subplots hold you (The best being Kalinda & her ex played magnificently by Archie Punjabi & Marc Warren).

And the acting is even better.  The leads are all played well,  of note is Chris Noth who may be an ass concerning the Tea Party but makes a spectacular Peter Florick (Why is he listed as a “special guest star” when he’s in almost every episode?).  The Supporting cast is strong particularly Alan Cumming as Eli Gold, Mary Beth Peil as Jackie Florick and the vastly underrated Zack Grenier as David Lee the lawyer we all love to hate.  Finally the reoccurring characters (Nathan Lane as Clarke Hayden , Jerry Adler as Howard Lyman and Carrie Preston who’s Elizabeth Tascioni who might be able to carry a series of her own) are so well acted that it’s no wonder the show has won awards from the Casting Society of America 3 of the last 4 years. These actors, writers et/al have earned every single accolade they’ve received…

….and that’s precisely why the propaganda is so effective, you are so taken in by all that you are seeing and characters you care about, or hate or wonder about or laugh at that the liberal cultural message is almost subliminal.  If you want to know why conservatives lose the low information voter, this is it.

Until we decide to take this fight to the left, with shows and magazines to match  we will always be playing defense.

Yesterday at 9 PM two giants of TV from the 70’s & 80’s went up head to head. Michael J. Fox went up against Robin Williams head to head as their two new series premiered on opposite ends of the Television dial.

The victory went to Robin Williams as The Crazy Ones 4.0 rating was almost double of The Michael J. Fox’s respectable but comparatively unimpressive 2.1.

Ironically the tactic that was used to bring Robin Williams a victory was employed 35 years prior using his old show to prevent another classic series from establishing itself as a rival. Gilligan’s Island.

While the classic 60’s sitcom running on MeTV Monday-Thursday from 8-9 PM EST remains popular people who have not read Sherwood Schwartz’s book Inside Gilligan’s Island might not be aware that Gillian’s Island nearly returned as a TV series in 1979.

After three successful years where it won three different time slots in three years Gillian’s Island was unexpectedly cancelled in order to give the spot to the ailing series Gunsmoke in the hopes of reviving it (it worked) leaving its popular audience base wondering if they missed an episode when they were rescued. Schwartz after shopping the idea of the TV movie Rescue from Gilligan’s Island for years and being rejected high, low and in-between finally convinced NBC to give it a shot. The TV movie socked everyone pulling a 52 share and dominating the ratings as the castaways were rescued and thanks to Gilligan’s ineptitude re-shipwrecked again on the very same Island.

After the phenomenal success of Rescue From Gilligan’s Island the companies that balked at backing it were falling over themselves with offers to Schwartz for a revival series.

Despite the offers. Schwartz was hesitant to agree citing the physical demands of a series on the 15 year older cast, and how such a series might affect the highly profitable and popular syndication of the old series and finally if the joke might get old after all those years. He proposed a compromise that he had intended with the base series in case the ratings started to drop.

The plan was for the castaways to be rescued again and the Howells build a resort on the Island for people who want to get away from technology & the world with the rest of the (former) castaways as partners. This way guest stars could carry part of the load while keeping the story fresh.

There was resistance to the idea and a compromise was made. Another movie The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island was made based on Schwartz’s idea. The cast and publicity was all set the movie filmed and publicity set to promote it and the series that would follow when NBC unexpectedly moved broadcast 11 days AHEAD of the schedule despite all the publicity for the old date, even TV Guide couldn’t be changed in time.

Seemingly the move was made to counter the CBS movie Ike a highly promoted film about the ex president at a time when there was a lot of living memory & interest in him.  With an 8:30 start time, it’s likely the idea was to have people already watching Gilligan a half hour before Ike could get off the ground and they would stick with Gilligan right through the end.

Unfortunately for the network & Gilligan was prepared.   The normal Thursday night lineup for ABC was Robin Williams Mork & Mindy one of the most popular series on Television followed by Benson.   Rather than risk losing part of the Mork audience to Gilligan ABC scheduled back to back episodes of Mork & Mindy.  Not only did that solid lead in protect Ike but despite the best efforts of the Gilligan & Co which managed to more than double the ratings of their 8 PM lead, their 26 share while respectable was no 52.

Suddenly the money that people were rushing to throw at Schwartz dried up and Gilligan was reduced to one final TV movie special The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island two years later and a short-lived cartoon series Gilligan’s Planet.

Apparently CBS knows it’s TV history because rather than risk the lead from their new series the Millers, they put that off a week and started The Big Bang Theory’s 7th season with their first two episodes back to back.

In addition to absolutely crushing ABC’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D (which they might have hoped would take some of the comic book geek audience away from Sheldon & Company Big Bang gave 5.8 lead-in spotting Robin Williams 19+ million viewers already tuned in.

The Crazy ones only kept 15 1/2 of that 19+ Million but that was still more than double of any other network show that night except for Big Bang.

It was a VERY funny show and Robin Williams still has it all except for money after two divorces which is why he did the series.  His sad loss will have the side effect of a lot of laughs for a lot of people (Kelly Clarkson cracking up at the end credits was worth it alone).  But he didn’t get those rating alone.

But while I’m sure Williams & Geller will earn plenty of ratings on their own they should tip his hat to CBS execs who were smart enough to help make sure plenty of new eyes see the old dog’s new trick.

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Olimometer 2.52

I’ve been much luckier than Robin Williams in marriage but i’m still $56 shy of this week’s paycheck with no daily series in site.

The only people who can change this is YOU, by hitting DaTipjar below.

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It’s no secret at this blog that I have been watching Morning Joe for years.

For years it’s been an entertaining & informative show. Joe & Mika are one of the best pairings I’ve ever seen on television in such a format. Willie Geist works very well. Barnicle is from my home town and all of them are extremely gracious in person.

They never forget the viewers. At public events I’ve seen them give of their time to and never treat themselves as above the people who spare a part of their weekday mornings with them.

This core makes the show and it makes the people around them better. You get a real sense that you could enjoy a meal & conversation with these people.

Their willingness to be open about opinions is also important, I’d trust Mika for example over many of the MSM simply because she doesn’t pretend her opinion is coming from anyplace other than where it is.

But there is a more mercenary / practical reason why I tend to watch.

As a 6 AM Morning Joe they are pretty much the best source of the left’s daily talking points. If I want to see where the left will be going during the day, and if I want to see the arguments I’ll have to consider or rebut (depending on their quality) Morning Joe provides it.

Unfortunately lately this has been less and less of the case.

Since December it’s become guns, guns, guns, guns. There might have been a day when gun control has not be a topic on Morning Joe since Newtown, if so I don’t remember it.

Now it could be possible that this HAS been the entire daily talking point of the left. Given that nothing else is working for the White House it might be the line of attack for the left for 2014, but what is the point of waiting to see the left’s argument if it’s the same argument every single day that I can recite backwards.

At the end of each show they ask: “What, if anything, have we learned today. Increasingly the answer to that question has been: Not a damn thing.

And if I’m not being informed, then why invest hours of my time that I’ll never get back?

I’m not going to give them forever to figure that out.

On Tuesday’s when I’m not with I hang out with the same group of guys that I’ve been hanging with for 20 to thirty years playing Board Games from Avalon Hill, Eagle Games and more.

Because the host sings we used to have American Idol or some singing show on. I never cared for it and it was always a pain, but lately the dial has gone to the Food Network (our host was also a chef once) and I was introduced to Chopped.

This has to be the most creative show I’ve seen on TV and is an incredible distraction when we play.

The concept for those who do not know is this. You have four Chefs and three judges all high level chefs.

There are three rounds Appetizer, entree and Dessert the contestants are given opaque baskets of ingredients. When the round starts they open them for the first time and have a fixed time (Usually 20 appetizer, 30 entree and 20 dessert but it can vary per show) You must use every ingredient you are given and have four plates set at the end.

Each Round one person is “Chopped” and eliminated. In the final round the two remaining contestants are judged on the full meal. Meals are judges on taste, presentation and creativity.

It is one of the most creative shows on television and some of the ingredients used are so weird that you are amazed at what gets cooked. In fact there was a single episode where all the ingredients were Leftovers.

This is a political blog but when it comes down to it, all politics and nothing else can get old, plus everybody’s gotta eat.

And it’s a fun show, gotta love fun.

And it beats American Idol every time.

Sherlock Holmes: People have died.

Jim Moriarty: [shouting] That’s what people do!

Sherlock The Great Game 2010

Jim Moriarty: STAYING ALIVE!!! SO BORING, ISN’T IT??!! Just staying…all my life I’ve been looking for distraction. You were the best of distraction and now I don’t even have you. Because I’ve beaten you. And you know what? In the end, it was easy. Yeah…t’was easy…now I have to go back to play with the ordinary people.

Sherlock The Reichenbach Fall 2012

A few days ago I got an e-mail from Joy McCann about a new blog she had called Tea Cozy Mysteries and the current post is on the plethora of new Sherlock Holmes series/movies out there, the best of which is the BBC’s Sherlock that I quote above.

Today Cynthia Yockey argues against gun free zones and their danger and makes a point that needs making

Most mass murderers include suicide in their attack plan. This fact is extremely useful in preventing mass murders and reducing the death toll of those that occur. Why? Because we need to accelerate the killer’s scenario for the circumstances in which he has planned to kill himself. Isn’t that always when the armed responders have arrived and he’s cornered? That’s why we need plenty of civilians in schools, universities, churches, theaters and shopping malls who have concealed carry permits, weapons and the skill to use them. The sooner there’s return fire, the sooner the suicide is triggered and the killing stops. In addition, I predict that there will be a tipping point when there are enough people with guns and concealed carry permits that would-be mass murderers won’t like their odds and will give up on their plans.

This is a powerful argument for my school protection plan but it raises an important point.

People have talked a lot about the various psychological roots of killers such as the one in Ct. When these events occur the question is asked over and over again: What was in their mind? What drove them? What did they have inside them that took them over the edge? What made them so bored, so in need of distraction so void of purpose that they see no point in “Saying Alive” or any moral imperative in not ending the lives of others?

Strangely enough I find the answer to this question in…MeTV

About two years ago MeTV. Memorable Entertainment Television joined the ranks of the hundreds of TV networks out there. Locally there is a Boston and a New Hampshire version in my cable package and they show a vast collection of shows from the 50 thru the 80.

I’ve been looking at the shows from the 50’s and early 60’s such as Daniel Boone, Donna Reed, Gunsmoke, the Big Valley, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, The Rifleman, Star Trek and Hogan’s Heroes.

Television was still fairly young and these programs influenced the culture if you don’t believe it ask Russell Johnson how many time he was told by people their move toward science started with the Professor, how many people thought of space sciences after seeing Mr. Scott or how many young people today see NCIS and think Law enforcement & forensics or the Big Bang Theory and think Physics & science.

But there were other values reinforced, honor, the virtue of hard work, perseverance, respect particularly for women and the role of faith in life.

In short they reinforced a moral base, the Judeo-Christian Cultural moral base and the values it advanced.

Now two generations later after that most narcissistic generation, the baby boomers banished the values of their parents from schools and TV and our popular culture by people like the Metal Group Lamb Of God, whose lyrical themes are described in Wikipedia: They frequently use biblical references, but often convey anti-religious sentiment was shocked SHOCKED by their absense:

a disturbing number of concertgoers made noise, talked and generally disrupted the otherwise peaceful moment.

That moment being a requested moment of silence for the dead in Newtown

I am so disgusted right now- if you were one of those who wouldn’t shut up for SIXTY LOUSY SECONDS to honor twenty MURDERED CHILDREN- go look in the mirror. You are looking at a piece of sh**.

Your parents are obviously pieces of sh** too, because they raised you to behave with no dignity.

Dignity? Dignity is defined by culture, the culture of dignity has been rejected by many like yourself and replaced by the one where mainline online magazines defend sex with Donkeys.

The truth is very simple, one of the things that Christianity and the Judeo Christian Culture provides is a society that has positive values. That individuals and institutions haven’t always lived up to those values doesn’t make the values any less valid than a corrupt cop means the police should be disbanded.

For the last 50 years our media, our pop culture and those celebrated by both have told us over and over again how the Judeo-Christian culture that was once the norm has led to oppression and held people back. Those who have for generations urged and promoted its abandonment for the sake of narcissism now are shocked that young people with no center, no faith and no culture that reinforced those positive values are so anxious to kill themselves either on their own or via suicide by notoriety?

People are talking about how first person shooters may have an influence on people, violent lyrics, suicide wishes, misogynistic rap, and more has on the culture today. Obviously if these things alone were the root cause of this type of stuff we would have more shootings then we do, but for some who are weak or disturbed or in despair Judeo-christian values provided a cultural firewall that can help restrain those who need restraining, even if you don’t buy the underlying religion behind it.

Marx once said that religion was the opiate of the masses, even if you don’t believe in religion in general or Christianity in particular I think a stronger dose of this opiate might have done some real good here.

I think Cynthia Yockey’s point above is very valid, but wouldn’t it be nice if it wasn’t? Wouldn’t it be better if we had a culture where the very thought of suicide among youth, let alone suicide coupled with mass murder wasn’t even on the table?

I submit and suggest that the return of those values represent a greater horror to those baby boomers leading our culture, crying for the disarmament of all but their bodyguards, than the shootings in Newtown ever will.

They will accept gladly inflict a new generation of Moriarty wannabes than admit their parents were right.

In my last post I explained how TV shows like last week’s The Good Wife is used as liberal cultural propaganda.  Now lets look at how it would play if it was done the other way around.

What if even one scene from that show had been written with a conservative slant instead a liberal one?

Let’s re-set the stage  Supreme Court Lawyer Jeremy Breslow (Bruce McGill) is arguing for spousal privilege on a wiretap involving a gay couple in a federal tax fraud suite.   He has just finished cross-examining the former US AG who maintains it’s the Administration’s opinion the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against same sex marriage and is unconstitutional  and therefore is not enforced.

We pick up the revised action just as Breslow finishes and Judge Claudia Friend (Cheers’ Bebe Neuwirth) turns the witness over to the Federal prosecutor Bucky Stabler (played by Brian Dennehy)…

Attorney Breslow: I tender the witness

Judge Claudia Friend:  Bucky.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: (getting up from his desk walks toward the witness) So Attorney General Shipton it is the opinion of the current administration that Defense of marriage act discriminates against same-sex marriage and it should not be enforced?

Fmr Attorney General Shiption:
Yes sir as I said.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: So, tell me Attorney General Shipton, if this is the case why has the administration not removed the law from the federal code?

Fmr Attorney General Shiption: Excuse me?

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
Well you have testified that it is the opinion of this newly re-elected President that this law is unconstitutional. If it’s Unconstitutional why hasn’t the executive branch used it’s authority to simply removed this law from the books as Unconstitutional?

Attorney Breslow: (Rising) Objection your Honor: Basis

(the shot briefly flashes toward the judge)

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: (Turning to Judge) The Basis your honor the Attorney general is stating the law is unconstitutional surely he can explain to the court why the administration does not declare it so?

Judge Claudia Friend: Sustained. Bucky the court is aware the executive does not have such authority.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
Attorney General Shipton as the law can’t be declared unconstitutional by the executive branch, surely it can impose a new law to replace it?

(camera pans briefly to AG Shipton looking uncomfortable)

Attorney Breslow: (Rising) Objection your Honor

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
I withdraw the question, your honor.

Judge Claudia Friend: (annoyed) Mr Stabler let me remind you one more time we are not before a jury. I know the powers of the executive branch, you don’t have to explain them to me.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
Very well your honor, (wearing a slight grin walking toward the witness.) , So Attorney General Shipton it is the opinion of this administration that this law is unconstitutional and while you can’t unilaterally change the law or remove the law you can decide not to enforce it, is that right?

FRM AG Shipton That is correct.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: Tell me what is the administration’s opinions of the current Federal Gun laws?

(AG Shipton taken aback)

Attorney Breslow: Objection your Honor Relevance?

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: (Approaching the bench looking entirely serious )Your honor the defense asserts because the administration has an opinion that this law is unconstitutional based on the position of the administration it is entirely proper for the law not to be enforced. If the administration claims such power is valid we would like to establish what other laws this administration believes it doesn’t have to enforce.

Judge Claudia Friend: (Surprised, Pausing, serious and thoughtful) Overruled. (Turning to AG Shipton) You may answer.

Attorney General Shipton: I, (pausing) I’m not currently in the administration so I certainly can’t speak for them on such a matter.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
Well you certainly has no problem speaking for them on Gay Marriage…

Attorney Breslow: Objection…

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:  I withdraw the statement.   Attorney General Shipton can you speak for the time you WERE in the administration.  What was the administrations opinion on current gun laws at the time you were there?


Attorney General Shipton:
It was our opinion the Gun laws was not strict enough.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
So those laws were enforced?

Attorney General Shipton: Yes.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: What about laws involving Religious Freedom?

Attorney General Shipton:
Of course we enforced the laws.

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: Really, the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church would disagree.

Attorney Breslow: Objection!

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: (before the Judge can rule) Withdrawn. What if a subsequent administration believed Social Security or Medicare or the Voting Rights act was unconstitutional? Could they simply ignore them?

Attorney General Shipton: Ah..

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler:
What about the The Freedom of Information act? Did you enforce that law for everyone or only the people you agreed with?

Attorney General Shipton: I resent that implication…

Attorney Breslow: Objection, counsel is badgering the witness!

Judge Claudia Friend: (Looking Exasperated) Sustained! Bucky…

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: ( ignoring all else)Tell me Attorney General it’s the function of the executive branch to enforce the laws lawfully passed by the people’s representatives, What were the other laws you as Attorney General, decided just weren’t worth enforcing?

Attorney Breslow: Your HONOR!

Federal Attorney Bucky Stabler: (going to the Bench and speaking with passion) Your Honor if the Executive branch can arbitrarily decide what laws count and what ones don’t, why bother having a legislative or judicial branch at all? Why bother having elections? Why bother having you at the bench? This is civics 101, (turning to the crowd and toward the camera) either the laws of the land mean something or they don’t, if the administration doesn’t like this law they can submit a repeal bill to the congress and push for its passage, either this republic and our constitution means something or it doesn’t!

Judge Claudia Friend: (All business). That’s enough! (She pauses to Composes, Camera briefly goes to Bucky and the Defense table, she turns to the Former AG.) Attorney General Shipton, you are excused. Thank you for your time. (the now rattled AG gets up from the stand and laws out , the camera follows him as he stare at Stabler with a look of disgust) I’m ready to make my ruling.

Judge Claudia Friend: ( Looking very serious and speaking in a tone lower than before.) During the late election I supported this administration. Their opposition to DOMA was a part of my reason for that support but if this administration was defeated at the polls, I would have expected its replacement to enforce the laws as written even the ones like the abortion laws, they disagree with. If a law passed legally by the elected representatives of the people and signed by a duly elected president, ANY president can simply be discarded on a whim then we have ceased to be a representative republic and a country of laws.

Until the congress repeals this law, or it is struck down by a qualified court DOMA is the law of the land and it will be obeyed. It is the ruling of this court that under federal law as written recognized Marriage as the Union between a man and a women and spousal privilege is NOT allowed. The wiretap may be played.

Imagine for a moment what the effect of such a scene acted out by quality actors would have on the viewing audience? Well that is what we are fighting every week on every channel on the Television.

I submit and suggest that this has to be fought and I have a proposal to do so.

I would suggest a weekly show, a web cast where the three or six scenes like this from various shows are re-written from the conservative view, shot and presented as a parody/alternative. Such speech would be protected by the first amendment.

I think fans of these shows would watch, I think it would be a YouTube sensation, I think the MSM and Hollywood would go nuts objecting and I think it would generate more buzz than a beehive hit by a baseball bat.

You can’t change the culture until you get the attention of the people in it. I say it’s time to do so.

One of the functions of the liberal control in Hollywood the to pass on the liberal mindset hidden within drama. It’s done with some subtlety, to make sure it is not too obvious, but like Joe Morgan and the pitchout one you know the signs you spot it every time.

Last Sunday’s  episode of the The Good Wife is no exception. The primary storyline of this weeks was a case of a spousal shield in a federal court. You have two execs who are accused of defrauding the IRS, After an objection a gov wiretap of the CEO’s conversation with his wife is disallowed under spousal privilege, a second wiretap of the CFO’s conversation with his gay spouse causes a dispute because of DOMA.

And of course this is the week when the protagonist, lawyer Alicia Florick Gay brother happens to show up saying how proud he is that she is fighting this.

A well-known Supreme Court Lawyer Jeremy Breslow (Played by Bruce McGill) wanting to overturn The Defense of Marriage Act volunteers to join the defense as it is considered an excellent chance for overturn the law. This leads to an interesting exchange where Judge Claudia Friend (Cheers’ Bebe Neuwirth) and both sides argue the “validity” of both the law and of the gay couple’s marriage.

There is a sequence where Breslow brings in a former Attny General to testify about the current administration’s opinion of DOMA. The Fmr Att General states the Administration considers the law unconstitutional and therefore it should not be enforced.

The Federal prosecutor (played by Brian Dennehy) then comes back with a litany of benefits that the federal government doesn’t allow showing the government enforces the law when it comes to money.

The judge seeing this asks for evidence as to the “marriage” of the gay couple.

This is a clever moment, by listing the benefits “not allowed” it paints a picture of an evil government denying equal protection to people because of sexual orientation rather than a group of people redefining an institution for their own narcissism. It allows the show to attack the law in the guise of defending it.

In the end after during testimony over fidelity and “Free Fridays” the judge (Bebe Neuwirth) rules that DOMA is the law of the land and the wiretaps can be played.  Of course considering her argument the entire sequence asking for evidence is meaningless, but the point was to argue the unfairness of DOMA  to the viewing audience not to make a realistic court drama.

So the point is made Violins play and the audience is shown just how HORRIBLE DOMA is. The liberal writers had done their work.

And that is what we are fighting against 100 times a week on Network TV.

How would this work if things were different? How would this pay out if it had been written by a conservative?   Well that’s my next post…

 

Update:  How a conservative would have written it

Update 2: Removed the words “on a regular basis” from the 3rd to last sentence.

Sir Charles of Bixby: (to his fussing son) “It’s simply a case of someone climbing up a tree an em…

Reeve: “..and risk a broken neck for a cat?”

Sir Charles: “Devoted liegeman YOU are!

Bailiff: One of the serfs?

Sir Charles: (pointing to Tom the serf) C’mon you, up there fetch him down…

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Final Tax 1957

There are two aspect of the entire “Obama daughter vacations in Mexico” story that I really object to.

The double standard concerning the coverage of Obama’s daughter vs the coverage of the Bush Daughters. It would seem that when their Lord wishes to change the rules of the press, the media facilitates them:

Bailiff: If I might suggest Sir Charles, by common law he can be declared legally dead by a corner’s jury.

Sir Charles: Really? Good. I appoint you corner, and your you’re a juryman and you.

Serf: (interrupting) Excuse me my Lord, doesn’t it have to be after a certain amount of years?

Sir Charles: I’m not going to wait about for years, you’re a juryman…

If the Bush White House asked the press to scrub stories concerning their daughters the media would be screaming about an “imperial presidency” and “freedom of the press”. Under liberal feudalism the press owes Obama service and MSM nothing is too good for their Liege Lord who rewards them.

This is of course egregious but it is Claudia Rosett (via Glenn) who beats me to the punch of the real outrage of this story:

…these Secret Service agents have been sent to provide security in Mexico, where the State Department warns that due to transnational criminal organizations, “crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country” including “homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery.” State reports that “gun battles have occurred in broad daylight on streets and in other public venues, such as restaurants and clubs.” Of particular concern are “kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico,” with local police in some cases implicated. State adds that U.S. government personnel and their families “are prohibited from travel” to some of the most dangerous areas. And though the holiday destination reported in the vanishing new stories is not on the list of Mexican provinces totally taboo for personal travel of government personnel, State warns that in Mexico, “even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, crime and violence can occur anywhere.”

…and for this vacation whim of his daughter two dozen secret service agents plus support personal are dispatched to a country that the state department warn against travel against. Ms. Rosett asks the question about both this and the disappearing stories:

In the terrible event that State’s warning proves relevant, and in the course of doing whatever it takes to provide security, any of those 25 or so American Secret Service agents are wounded or even killed in the line of fire, would the White House still consider the context a non-story? Would it be irrelevant that they had been asked to run such risks not to safeguard official business, but to enable a personal holiday trip to a place under a U.S. government travel warning?

I can see the speech that the president would give at the funeral now. I suspect it would sound something like this:

Sir Charles: ” What can we say of poor Tom Joyner? That he lived out his life in that station he was born, and that he died the finest death that a bondsman can die, doing boonday work for his lord.”

This is the real story here. To the White House, these secret service agents are just serfs (Remember Ron Silver’s: “Wait a minute those are our planes now!” at the time of Clinton inaugural?) and as serfs any risk that they take are simply the proper service a serf does for his liege Lord. Our friends on the left style themselves the protectors of the weak but I suspect if you take a peek at this episode Sir Charles and his crew will look awfully familiar:

I suggest that after Jan 2013 with a Republican in the White House the treatment of government workers as serfs will abruptly cease and that the press will join the side of the outlaws in the forest and loudly trumpet their courage in doing so.

For Doctor Who fans the gap between the end of the season and the Christmas special is a time in the wilderness, made slightly worse because Rich’s Comic Blog is also on hiatus until 2012.

However there is joy in the Doctor Who Universe as two episodes that have been lost for over 45 years are as the BBC has announced lost no more:

The broadcaster announced to fans last night that the two episodes had been uncovered at the Missing Believed Wiped event at the BFI in London before it was released in a series of messages on Twitter.

Galaxy Four, part three, was first broadcast in 1965 while The Underwater Menace part two, was aired in 1967 and both had been thought to be lost.

The returned episodes originated from the ABC Channel in Australia.

If you are an American sci-fi fan, just imagine if 1/4 of the original Star Trek series just didn’t exist in video anymore, simply the sound tracks.

Of 253 instalments transmitted in the 1960s (when William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton played the Doctor) 108 were – until now – missing from the BBC archive. Indeed, all the original black-and-white videotapes were wiped long ago;

Since these episodes are all serials we neither completes a story, In fact the Galaxy four episode gives us the first glimpse of the episode that has been unseen since the British paid their bills in shillings and pence.

More details are available here but the bottom line: 2 down 106 to go.

You know it when you dream that your wife has taken you to a shop that specializes in Doctor Who stuff and in the dream the owner hands you a 14 foot Tom Baker Scarf and you wake up just as he hands it to you and am about to put it on!

You would think at age 47 I wouldn’t wake up with a huge smile at that point but I did. Sometimes I think men at heart never stop being kids. (The proof is yesterday my youngest got the Complete Three Stooges Yesterday and when he went to call his 55-year-old uncle to tell him his delight that same uncle shared his own delight at the very same gift!)

Speaking of which don’t think we didn’t notice that during yesterday’s Doctor Who Christmas special A Christmas Carol (which BBC America sneakily put on at the same time as my show, so I had to watch the steam online several hours earlier) that the little kid was wearing a Baker scarf at one point given to him by the 11th Doctor.

Other than the opening which makes Christmas simply the “winter solstice” (consist with the praying to Santa nonsense in The Eleventh Hour and the ignoring of the consequences of non-timelords meeting themselves in a time-line (Maudwin Undead) it was a cute sentimental story that is very enjoyable.

However I didn’t find it timeless, I have a nasty feeling that Steven Moffat is stuck on the same gimmick and can’t get off of it. You will like it but will you want to watch it again and again?

There’s the rub.

…”would you be so damn tolerant then?”

Those are the words of Kitty Pride in the old X-Men Graphic novel: God loves, man kills that came out in my college days. They are provocative words and I use them uncensored deliberately and without apology for two reasons in this post.

#1 Because I loathe this N-word nonsense, I’ll not be intimidated by any word.

#2 Because of the important point that is to be made.

There are times when we allow the shifts in culture and rules to take place unchallenged. We allow what is crass and wrong a pass because we have reached a point in culture that we are so used to it that we don’t notice it. We say it is no big deal and decide that we are being humorless if we take offense.

Part of the blame and credit go to the Genius of Monty Python. They created some of the best and most timeless comedy that has ever or will ever be created by ignoring every sacred cow that has ever existed and doing so with such intelligence that it affected a generation of comedy writers who frankly are unlikely to ever achieve the level of sheer greatness that they did.

Unable to match their intelligence they have attempted to out-gross them. They have not decided to just ignore sacred cows, they have decided to slaughter them and serve their steaks in a white wine sauce with shallots, oysters and a sort of fine pureed beets that are rarely made available for the average table.

The end result is that people recognize the carcass of the sacred cow and admire the audacity of the act of slaughter, the neatness of the table setting and the boldness of serving white wine with a beef dish…without realizing that although they have surpassed Python in the abattoir; in the respect that matters for comedy, actual humor they fail remaining lesser sons of greater fathers.

Which brings us again in a very round about way to this post by Cynthia Yockey.

Gov. Palin ALONE, of ALL politicians, is expected to be gracious and/or silent when her children and husband are attacked by the Left. Then, regardless of how she responds, she is then attacked by everyone else. Basically, everyone thinks it is safe to attack Gov. Palin through her children. No, no, a thousand times, NO! We are entering the campaign season — we must not permit the tactic of getting at our candidates through their children to go unchecked and unpunished.

Instead, what conservatives must do is commit to protecting our politicians’ families. Making a big show at the beginning of such an enterprise saves untold labor later. So I suggest we vaporize anyone and everyone who even looks at our candidates’ children funny until the correlation between unacceptable behavior and immersion into a world of pain is clear to all and sundry.

We must protect our politicians children and families not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because our best candidates will leave public service and its marketplace of ideas, or never enter it, if we do not protect their loved ones. They simply cannot do this alone.

It is a very rare time when I take any person’s side over a person as wise as the anchoress but after talking to Cynthia today and after re-reading what was written I have to come to the conclusion that Cynthia is correct here.

One of the left’s most valued methods is to allow a standard that would normally not be allowed otherwise to stand. It is a standard that has actually been used against us in the war on terror, to wit: Al Qaeda has the ability to decide to fight outside the rules of the Geneva convention (which they have not signed) while we are expected to fight within them although they as a non signatory have no rights under the treaty.

I was prepared to allow this because Family Guy does all kinds of things that I don’t like, it is just the way they are, but then that’s when it hit me, by giving this pass I am desensitizing myself to it and allowing the standards that I operate by to be altered without question.

Cynthia raised the relevant point: If this was President Obama’s children the media would NOT have given it a pass, but more importantly Family Guy (unlike southpark) would not even dream of doing that, they would self censor before allowing such an insult. In addition the media and the left will not give her any credit for giving this a pass, instead they will consider it a bound that is acceptable and then push the next one. As a former person of the left Cynthia recognizes this and will not permit it. She is correct.

So in this case I have to have the same reaction that Stevie had after Kitty made the statement that is the title of this post:

Peter Rasputin: “Kitty was upset Stevie, she didn’t think about what she she was saying. She didn’t mean…

Steve: (From within a thought balloon) Of course she did my friend, she meant every word. And she was right

We are simply not going to win any political arguments by hoping to earn brownie points for decorum.