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Thursday, April 08, 2010

American Idol outdone again, from Taiwan

In yet another example of how little true talent is on American Idol, there is Lin Yu Chun. Don't know who he is? Well there is little doubt that many will know his name soon.

You have heard of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. How could you not and be in America over the past 20 years (the song is originally Dolly Parton's song, written in 1973). Now think of that song, and click on the video clip... But Don't Watch the Video!



Incredible huh?

The GUY who sang this near perfect copy is Lin Yu Chun. He's Taiwanese. So not only can he sing the song as well as Whitney Houston, it's not his native language.

I dare any of the insta-pop stars on American Idol to try to sing near as well in another language. Even in Spanish, one of the most common languages on the planet. Anyone willing to take odds they can't do it?

Just another example that American Idol isn't about talent, it's about fitting a marketing mold.

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Absinthe Fairy

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The future of reality television

Everyone loves reality television right? American Idol, Survivor, Bad Girls Club, even the Housewives of wherever and the rest of their ilk continue to dominate the programming of virtually every network on television today. But you know that at some point soon (which will not be soon enough for me) there will come a ratings slump. Then what will the television execs do?

Movies have already looked at the craze for "reality" television. They have pondered the pro's and con's of the idea. They have considered the ineviable decline in interest and the subsequent efforts to spice up the programs to keep the eyeballs on theiur shows. The ultimate result, according to movies, is



or maybe an idea from 1975



Still not quite right?



I know. Not possible. That's just sci-fi movie fantasy. It could never happen.

Except that in France, 64 people on a "reality" television show gave a 'contestant' electric shocks until he 'died'.



Are you sure we are still that far away from the movies?

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Absinthe Fairy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Susan Boyle proves American Idol is a waste of time

I have been asked in the past why I dislike American Idol so much. I have explained it many times, but I think the recent debut album of Britain's Got Talent winner Susan Boyle makes it crystal clear.

Susan Boyle is not a beauty queen. That reason alone is likely why she has not been scooped up by a record label long before now. Because she wouldn't look sexy in a music video, and she isn't so young she couldn't drink in America. She is an average woman, with incredible talent.



Adam Lambert, and all the other winners of American Idol are virtually all young, good looking, and marketable to teens and young adults. They can be marketed via music videos, dressed in all manner of revealing or seductive clothing, and prance around a stage in mock acts of lacivity that just draws censors and media attention.



The difference between the 2? Talent.

There is no comparison of the American Idol winners and Susan Boyle (or another surprise winner in England Paul Potts who sings opera like a knockout punch). Not even Jennifer Hudson, who is quite good, can match her talent. But then again, American Idol isn't about talent. It's about making money.

American Idol is simply a way for people to prove that they can sell according to a set of preconceived list of attributes that American record companies find important. It's a cookie cutter mold of throw away acts that make a quick buck. They are flash in the pans that are about as important to record companies as last year's ratings are to American Idol - they only count if money is coming in.

Hell, the proof of the pudding had to be William Hung. He wasn't attractive, he couldn't sing, he couldn't even shake rythmically. But he got ratings out the buttocks. So he got a record deal, and made 2 albums before he was discarded like day old fish. His shelf life was longer than his talent, but he was a useful tool to rake in cash on a gimick.

But in Britain's Got Talent we see singers that aren't confined to just pop music. They aren't molded to quick sales and gimmicks. They aren't just a means to the next buck, but are actually able to do something special. Well at least sometimes if we are being honest.

That's the point though. The concept was to find people with talent that were overlooked for whatever reason. To give them a shot at living their hearts dream. Britain's Got Talent does that, American Idol just goes for the superficial.

Why in the world would I, or anyone, want to watch a bunch of people embarrass themselves (in the early portion), and then sell their creative souls to become just another forgettable name on the one hit wonder list? Even if they survive for a while, all they are is mediocre and pop tarts that can be replaced in a year.

If I am going to commit to watching regular people trying to make it big, I'd rather go out with friends to see a live performance. I'd rather see people trying to make it with their creative souls intact and enjoying being what they dreamed instead of the prefab creation of a bunch of accountant and statisticians. I want to see talent, not marketing.

American Idol is literally the worst of programming on television. It takes your brain cells and life and gives you back reguritated mash.

And by the way, I recommend the album of Susan Boyle. I may one day recommend Adam Lambert, if he is around in a year or 2 and has more to offer than gimmicks and the insta-fame of pop television fluff.

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Absinthe Fairy

Friday, May 22, 2009

Guitar Hero takes over television

I am sure all the gamers out there have heard this news already, but for anyone that missed this here we go. Reality television shows are here to stay, sadly, but over the past several years they have been dwindling in viewers. Shows like American Idol, Survivor and the ilk are all getting a bit old. So in a quest for television programming that requires the least effort, lowest cost, and about as much mental stimulation as sugar has nutrients a potential new craze is about to spring forward.

Guitar Hero.

Yep. The belief is that Activision will soon be announcing that the video gaming industry leading game will be hitting a television station real soon. And if that isn’t enough, expect to be able to buy tickets to watch a Guitar Hero concert in your local stadium/arena too.

Talk about the lowest common denominator. For people too lazy to actually purchase and/or play a Guitar Hero game, and too much of a couch potatoe to change a channel, the ability to watch a person play a game has now come. I can hear the Simon Cowell equivalent for this show berating someone for improperly mashing their fingers to a song that actually required talent and skill to perform in the first place.

I can’t wait until there are crowds of people screaming out ‘yellow, yellow, red, blue!’ Or better yet talk shows and pundits glibly chatting about the ‘skill’ and 'quality' of a Guitar Hero program. Probably will call the show ‘Are you a Hero?’

And I wonder what in the world the winner of this reality snore fest will receive? A trip to Disney? A box of band-aids? A spot in a television commercial for the umpteenth version of the Guitar Hero video game?

Seriously, the only thing I could imagine is that the aforementioned concert is their next option. But would you really want to pay top dollar to watch some kid mash a bunch of buttons to your favorite band? Think about it, you might pay some $40 dollars to watch someone, hopefully play correctly, a song you have on CD or a MP3 that you paid $5 for. And it isn’t even the originals you are watching.

Hell, you can go to a local bar and get more out of watching a cover band.

Do I hate reality television? Oh Yeah! Do I think that this idea is only good for the people least likely to reproduce? Our global genetic DNA pool would seriously be improved if that is the case. Do I think that if this show comes on, it’s only a matter of time before television hits the ultimate lowest common denominator of just flashing random colors on a screen? If they do, I bet the text votes will go to the color blue.

If this becomes a reality, I seriously fear for the human race. Honest.

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Absinthe Fairy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

So Adam Lambert has lost American Idol

Considering all the hype and anticipation, I’m left with the same feeling I have every year after American Idol ends. Relief and a hope that it won’t be back again.

Separate of all that though I will mention 2 things. I caught a glimpse of a woman in a bikini, and some other woman that seemed to be battling her – who then exposed a bikini. There was no sound, and I don’t watch the show so I have no idea what it was all about (I was inbetween matches at my pool league) but if that was a regular event on American Idol, I just might watch it regularly – minus the sound.

The other thing is what I have started to hear about the Lambert loss. It seems that some are saying the loss was because Lambert might be gay. Which I think is stupid.

First, as I stated earlier this month, the question of Lambert’s sexual preferences have nothing to do with his ability. For anyone to juxapose sexuality with singing is wrong. In addition to that I will add what I stated before

“Adam Lambert should not win American Idol if his sole or main qualification is the perception of his sexuality. If his current position is being bolstered or altered due to the hype and mystery of his private life, which some want to use to advance a political agenda, then he must lose. It's just that simple.”


So if the only reason some think that Lambert lost was because he is whatever he is, then that means he is not a good enough singer. Such distractions should not exist about a singer doing their job. If you can daydream about these other questions while listening to him, then he was not good enough to win.

Second, I truly believe that if it was known that Lambert was gay then he likely would have won. Because such is the nature of Hollywood and the entertainment industry these days. The Perez Hilton incident, and the reaction of the media, has made it clear that the media would rather support a bias than dare to be fair. Thus if Lamert was gay, he would have won. And that would have been just as wrong as if he lost because he was gay.

Now I realize that I have no idea how anyone on Idol sounds. So I am speaking objectively about music and not this situation. Given. But I did hear one other theory that might explain the loss of Lambert.

Because of the contracts that the winner gets, and the ability of the runner-up to get a substantial contract as well, it makes pure business sense to have the most popular guy take second. It creates hype for both singers. I creates an environment where the battle will continue at least into the first album of each, reaping tons of money for the record companies.

Because lest you forget, American Idol is about business in every aspect. The goal at every step is to find a way to make more money for record labels. That goal, and the process does not end with a winner being declared. It just goes into another phase, which really brings in the profit. Controversy therefore is beneficial.

So did Lambert lose because he is whatever his sexual preference might be? No. He lost either because he wasn’t good enough, or it makes some executive (Simon Cowell I believe) significantly more money. Some things in life are just simple.

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Absinthe Fairy

Friday, May 01, 2009

Will Adam Lambert win American Idol? If so, for what reason.

So here is a question that I recently was pondering. Does it matter if a contestant on American Idol is gay?

I personally find the question to be dumb. Seriously there should not be a question on this subject. Because it really does not matter. Not even in the slightest.

But it seems that there are some out there that find this to be important. Why is quite beyond me. I suppose they are the universe balancing out all those incensed by the response of Miss California. Which itself was an issue that should not have grown to the extent it has.

No matter the private sexual preferences of Adam Lambert, he is a singer. Since I take it that he is in the running to win American Idol (I don't follow the show as I like my brain cells) I would assume he is quite good. Thus until technology exists where listening to music will instigate direct sexual intercourse with the music, only his voice is important to the competition.

Still there is a flip side to all of this. Adam Lambert should not win American Idol if his sole or main qualification is the perception of his sexuality. If his current position is being bolstered or altered due to the hype and mystery of his private life, which some want to use to advance a political agenda, then he must lose. It's just that simple.

Hollywood loves to show a face of ultra-liberal beliefs. It glorifies those that agree with it's ideals and/or supports them. And those that diverge in any way from its dictates find themselves shunned. Just read what the late Ron Silver stated. Look at how the major media backed Perez Hilton in his attack on Miss California.

This of course flies in the face of what Hollywood does. Like the disparity of people of color in front of and behind the cameras. Plus the promotion of various stereotypes, like the gangsta rap genre as an example, without shame. And the non-stop love affair with President Obama, as opposed to the critiques of virtually every President beforehand in my lifetime.

Hollywood would love to have an openly gay, or bisexual, American Idol winner. It matches the showboat of ideals that it flourishes daily. It flies in the face of those that have whatever issue on sexuality (which is itself wrong), and reinforces the views that caused Perez Hilton to attack Miss California over.

By the way, the actions of Perez Hilton were upsetting. To attack someone for having an opinion you don't like is no less wrong if the person is Archie Bunker or Perez Hilton. It's a small minded way to dismiss someone, for something they should be free to choose. The First Amendment works both ways.

But back to my point. Who cares what Adam Lambert does in his private life. Beyond selling extra teen magazines, there is nothing worth knowing. And anyone that would judge him, either way, on that basis is biased. Either he is a good enough singer or not.

So will Lambert win American Idol? I could care less. That is up until the point where winning is more of a political statement than proof of ability and performance.

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Absinthe Fairy

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dr. Kutner’s dead, blame Sean Hannity

I’m sure that at some point a liberal nutjob will utter (or type) those words. And when they do they will be partially correct.

The first thought I had, when I was the news of the death of Kal Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, on House was that Penn in fact had died. I was shocked at the thought he would commit suicide. That was just the way the article was being presented in headline form. But my relief was short-lived.

House is a great television show. I love the re-runs and have seen many episodes. But I rarely get to see the first-run shows. So I have not been quite up to date on what was happening to all the characters. Still I was unaware of any problem that the Kutner character was having. In fact, there seems to be no problem.

This troubles me. There are many things that television says to the public these days. The show Bad Girls Club celebrates depraved actions of a group of MTV wanna-be women, I Love Money celebrates the degradation of individuals for the chance to win cash, American Idol primarily entertains with the embarrassment of thousands winding down to the insulting and occasional humiliation of just a few. And now we have a character that is doing what they love, being paid well, is respected, who just kills himself. Wow.

Yes, I do realize that the intent of all the shows I mentions, and many I did not, are not what I stated. But their effective communication is that, if only on a subliminal level. Which is dangerous.

Add to this another thought I have. While I applaud the desire of Kal Penn to be involved in public service, and to support deluded actions that he believes in, what is his presence in the Obama Administration saying?

Kal Penn is an actor. While he will be associate director of the White House Office of Public Liason, ostensibly a pitchman for the Obama Administration, he will not be targeting people in my generation. He is useful to the Obama Administration because he is known for his role as Kumar of Harold & Kumar movies. And that means he is targeting a young generation.

So the Obama Administration is trying to gather more support and attention within Americans that recognize Penn primarily as a pot-smoking, junk food nay-do-well. This is the face of the Obama Administration that is being used to gain political attention.

Again, like the sudden and illogical death of his character, I have issue with the message being sent.

Now some will say I am reading too much into this. That this is entertainment, and that the American public can discern a character from reality. Yet if this were true, why are there so many programs on television that must state that you should not do what you see in your own home? Why is it that as television programs and movies that highlight the promiscuity and drunkenness of teens have coincided with the increase in single parents and teenage pregnancy? Why is it that the debauchery of Girls Gone Wild is seen as fun and something to be attained, as opposed to any number of other things?

Because all of this, especially in combination, is not all harmless. Were there no effect, there would be no commercials on television. It’s just that simple.

So the fact that Penn’s character was removed in such a manner disturbs me. And the fact that his main claim to fame is the tool that will be used to promote a President and a social agenda that actively seeks to destroy the America I grew up in troubles me. Maybe it won’t upset the general masses of the public, but then again that same mass buys up Girls Gone Wild and vegetates to American Idol regularly.

Again I commend Kal Penn on following through with a public service agenda that he believes in. I just don’t like the path that agenda leads to, nor the means by which it will achieve its goals. At least I hope Penn has paid his taxes.

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Absinthe Fairy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The worst show to ever be on television

Well this is what you learn if you are on the net at 1:30am. A list of the worst television shows ever. It won’t change your life but it will entertain you a bit to know that there are worse things you could have been watching.

I am no fan of most of the television shows on broadcast television these days. The attempt to find the lowest common denominator in programming overwhelmed by ability to vegetate right about the time that “reality” television took hold – specifically Survivor and American Idol. Call me a purist, but I enjoy a show that requires someone to have made a thought at some point past the title.

That said I had to look over this list and see if they had my all-time (in my lifetime so far) worst television show. This program was so bad that it died a quick death. Luckily most people were spared the chance to see it. And it was the first clue of the demise of the network that spawned it. I won’t give any more clues yet.

Shows in the list from the Chicago Tribune include:

    My Mother the car
    Mr. T and Tina
    The Ropers
    Joanie Loves Chachi
    Cop Rock
    The Jerry Springer Show
    The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer

The last of which somehow had a video of it preserved. Hopefully its video is a warning to Hollywood executives of programming never to dare try again.



I truly think that Kenneth Chi McBride was lied to about what the show would be like. I am sure he will forever be upset that I have found and presented this piece of trash from the depths of TV hell he hoped it was securely locked in. But I forgive him. I just hope he got paid a lot for this.

Still the worst show I have ever seen (besides and maybe slightly worse than the mind-numbing American Idol), which also made the list, has to be …

Homeboys in Space

Aired on the thankfully defunct UPN Network, the title was the first clue on how bad this show was. Darryl M. Bell should have pimped slapped his agent for this one. Considering he has had little work since tells you how badly it affects those that watch the program.

To protect the minds of my readers I have found the intro to the program, and that alone. I also really did not want to relive the pain and revulsion of the full episodes, so I didn’t search harder to see if more is out on the web. You’ll thank me for that.



But like any list everyone might recall something they consider worse. Though I don’t know how.

What was the worst television show you have ever seen? And if you agree and saw Homeboys in Space, I know your pain.

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Absinthe Fairy

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Idol is for pikers, Harlem is for talent

With all the people that go out to American Idol each year I have to wonder why those that are serious actually show up there. Because when you think about it, it is one of the least successful avenues an entertainer can take to get recognized.

I came to this understanding the second I saw something most probably skipped over today. The announcement of the 75th year of the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night. For longer than any of the judges on American Idol have been alive this one venue has been grooming and introducing talent to the nation. And many of those that have gotten their start at the Apollo have become bigger stars than all of the American Idol contestants (and judges) combined.

The Apollo was the start for:

    Women

    India.Arie
    Pearl Bailey
    Josephine Baker
    Mary J. Blige
    Brandy
    Blu Cantrell
    Diahann Carroll
    Faith Evans
    Eve
    Ella Fitzgerald
    Celia Cruz
    Roberta Flack
    Aretha Franklin
    Billie Holiday
    Lauryn Hill
    Lena Horne
    Etta James
    Alicia Keys
    Eartha Kitt
    Stephanie Mills
    Chante Moore
    Nina Simone
    Jessica Simpson
    Angie Stone
    Leslie Uggams
    Sarah Vaughan
    Dionne Warwick
    Dinah Washington
    Ethel Waters

    Men

    Harry Belafonte
    Tony Bennett
    Chuck Berry
    Ruben Blades
    James Brown
    David Byrne
    Ray Charles
    Chubby Checker
    Nat “King” Cole
    Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs
    Sam Cooke
    D’Angelo
    Chico DeBarge
    Bo Diddley
    Fats Domino
    DMX
    Marvin Gaye
    Ginuwine
    Al Green
    Isaac Hayes
    John Lee Hooker
    Ja Rule
    Michael Jackson
    Jay-Z
    Jadakiss
    Jaheim
    B.B. King
    Ludacris
    Johnny Mathis
    Maxwell
    Brian McKnight
    Prince
    Lou Rawls
    Otis Redding
    Busta Rhymes
    Sisqo
    Keith Sweat
    Muddy Waters
    Barry White
    Jackie Wilson
    Stevie Wonder

    Groups

    Bob Marley & the Wailers
    Buddy Holly and the Crickets
    Dru Hill
    El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
    Fugees
    George Clinton &
    Parliament/Funkadelic
    Gladys Knight & the Pips
    Isley Brothers
    Jackson Five
    Jagged Edge
    Korn
    Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
    Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
    O’Jays
    Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles

    Musicians

    Louis Armstrong
    Charlie Barnet
    Count Basie
    Cab Calloway
    John Coltrane
    Miles Davis
    Duke Ellington
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Benny Goodman
    Thelonius Monk
    Charlie Parker
    Louis Prima
    Tito Puente
    Buddy Rich
    Max Roach

    And others

    Sammy Davis Jr.
    Bill Cosby
    Redd Foxx
    Whoopi Goldberg
    Dick Gregory
    Steve Harvey
    Jackie “Moms” Mabley
    Richard Pryor
    Chris Rock
    Sinbad
    Flip Wilson
    Ossie Davis
    Ruby Dee
    Kid Capri
    Doug E. Fresh
    Sidney Poitier
    Paul Robeson


And I have cut the list down massively. Yet if you are between the ages of 25 to 80 you know names on this list. In fact you probably know a couple of dozen of them.

Now with all that talent focused from one source you might think that the Apollo Theater would be the biggest thing out there. The proving ground for up and coming entertainers. That American Idol would make homage for a legend, and that someone would be highlighting the importance of the place. But you know that won’t happen.

American Idol is a great gimmick. The purpose is not to find great lasting talent, but to make a quick profit off of manipulated fame. William Hung never deserved fame, yet Idol gave it to him, and we were the worse for it. Thousands of performers that might have a shot at some kind of career in entertainment have their spirits crushed on national TV and never go forward. It’s a shame.

Now I don’t know the numbers, but considering American Idol has 2 winners a season out of tens of thousands, compared to several categories of entertainers numbering in the hundreds competing at Apollo (dance, groups, individual singers, comedians, ect) each week; I don’t need rocket science to tell me where the better odds are. And looking at the ultimate success of the Idol winners versus the Apollo again Harlem wins.

So if you want to see the future superstar entertainers of America, I suggest you turn off the television and take a trip to Harlem. Because that’s where the real talent will be.

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Absinthe Fairy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The new 90210 - is it cancelled yet?

Ok. Please stop. I’m speaking to the CW network.

The CW network is the channel that has brought us such hits as Hidden Palms, Aliens in America, and Online Nation. If you don’t recall those television shows don’t worry, no one else did either – even when they were on the air. This network was the reheated remains of the corpses of the WB and UPN networks (birthplace of Homeboys in Space - thank god they went bankrupt). It’s only successes to date being Smallville, Supernatural, Everybody Hates Chris, and America’s Top Model each from the old networks that went out of business.

So in search of new ideas that might sustain this still miserable network there has been an nearly unending hype about the new 90210. Yes sheer joy will fall from the heavens and ratings records will be set anew when the sequel to the original 1990’s television show hits the airwaves. Or so the CW keeps using all kinds of media to let us know.

Honestly, do they think that the return of Jennie Garth, and Shannen Doherty will cause some kind of uproar? Neither of these women have had a success in years. Unless you count the short stint Doherty had on Charmed (before she reportedly was fired and the series really took off) or her season of work on “Sci-Fi” Channel’s Scare Tactics [which has nothing to do with scifi and does not deserve to be on the channel]. That says nothing of the fact that the fan base left their teens over a decade ago.

But let’s look at what the show has to offer the youth of today.

The most notable change to the show is that suddenly the Beverly Hills area has a touch of color. And I do mean A touch. Tristan Wilds will play the adopted brother of Shenae Grimes – essentially the Brendan and Brenda of the old show.

So the only way that a Black kid can get into Beverly Hills is via an adoption, or so the show seems to present. Because the original certainly had as many Blacks as were to be found on Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Friends, Seinfeld, and E.R. combined. Oh wait, that’s not true because there was 1 African American on E.R. at it’s start. Well at least the new show follows the far more enlightened and standardized format of 1 Black, 1 Latino, and at least one woman. (Well at least one of the women in the show looks sortof Latino so that counts right? And Asians? They don’t exist in America)

Well it won’t matter. The show has good looking rich people (everyone can relate to that right?), and they have Youtube in the show too (they are just like you, just in a Ferrari - if you are also White). It must be cool. And just for added effect they threw in an alcoholic/addict grandmother (because who doesn't have one). It's just a good wholesome television show, with drugs, and drinking, and sex, and paparazzi, and clothes that cost more than what most parents make in a year.

I think Brian Austin Green, who is among virtually all the old cast that refused to be on this program – except for Tori Spelling who dropped out because she thought she was worth more money like she has an acting career now that nepotism is not an option – stated it best

“The new ['90210'] could be good. Or it will suck terribly."


The odds stack up that it will suck. But in a world engorged with American Idol and ‘reality’ television shows, drivel might just pass for drama and entertainment. Unrealistic views of American population or success, a deep need to exploit real issues, and a drive to suplant style for substance. No wonder why I avoid broadcast television.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Christian Slater to get TV show - 3.14.2008.2

Well television may just get a bit more interesting soon. It’s not because American Idol is about to get canceled (I can only dream of that day so far). The reason is that there may be a new television program starring Christian Slater.

Now I am a fan of Slater. His work in Heathers and Broken Arrow were good. He has done many roles with a Nicolson-eque flair and a dark demeanor. It works, on the big screen and small. Similar qualities were brought to his work on The West Wing, a show I really enjoyed and virtually the last network television program I followed.

The new program is described as a Bourne Identity meets Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Now I’m not exactly sure how that can work. From what I understand the main character has an alter-ego that is a spy, and that he is unaware of. From what I can gather he is not playing a comical role but more in line with a 24 style.

I’m not sure this can work. But I want to give Mr. Slater the benefit of doubt. I look forward to seeing what this program might be like. Look for this in the fall.

Not much else to say about that.

But I know many people are hearing a lot of different things about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Senator Obama. For those that don’t normally follow politics but want to know my review of one of the speeches of Rev. Wright as opposed to the 5 and 10 second soundbites in the major news media you can go to www.mvass.com

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Coming to a movie theater soon: Monopoly - 2.20.2008.3

The Writer’s Guild strike is over, but the damage may have already taken its toll. Not that there has been any exceptional stories in movies or television in years if not decades. In fact were it not for comic books (X-men, Spiderman, Wolverine, Iron Man, Batman ect), real life events (American Ganster, Hotel Rwanda), and the ever present ‘revisioned’ remake (The Invaders, The Honeymooners, I Am Legend) the quality of ‘original’ movies would be on par with American Idol. And to compliment that vacum of thought or creativity is Candy Land.

Now if you are thinking that I mean some kind of strip club, take your mind out of the gutter. Candy Land is the children’s game made by Hasbro. Yes, this game intended for ages 5 (or is it 3) and up will soon be on the big screen. I can see all the parents lining up for the tickets now.

I don’t know what is worse. That Hollywood is so devoid of ideas and has remade all the quality films and televisions shows that now children’s board games are the next source of inspiration. This must be connected to the Transformers movie (that contained more plot holes and blatantly stupid characters than anything that comes to mind at the moment). It was that fiasco of a movie, that had just enough explosions to numb the minds of viewers, that must have given Hasbro the thought that they have movie worthy material.

Of course the Transformers was originally a childrens cartoon, and then became a comic book. It had depth, of a sort, in the various versions of the cartoon series and character development in the tomes. There was something to build on. Not that any of this made it into the actual movie.

But I cannot fathom a movie based on Monopoly. Or Ouija which is also planned. Though the game Battleship does have potential. In that at least there is some sense, but I would expect it to turn out to be a modified remake of Run Silent Run Deep or The Enemy Below. Modified to be less than heroic or patriotic which is the current trend in military movies, sadly.

The truly sad part? Once these movies come out, and the inevitable sequels and prequels, what is next? If this is not scaping the bottom of the barrel for ideas to base a motion picture on, I’m sure Hollywood will find the bottom. But do you really want to see Doggroomer – the story of Fifi on her daily walk down 5th Ave.

Don’t worry though, a ‘revisioned’ American Idol – The Movie is sure top be out soon.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Golfweek sought attention on Tiger Woods lynching - 1.19.2008.1

Tiger Woods. It is a name that when uttered brings up images and thoughts of success, achievement, dedication, fame, recognition, respect and wealth. To some. For a few the only image is that of a Black man in a White sport. Like Fuzzy Zoeller who’s only comment about the success of Tiger winning his first green jacket (an honor few professional golfers ever get – and Tiger now has several) was a stereotyped reference to fried chicken. Or Kelly Tilghman who envisioned Tiger Woods hanging from a tree.
Photo found at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/sports/golf/19magazine.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Before I go further I want to take a moment to reflect on something. In 2007 there were several events that stood out. A few were highly covered by the major news media; others were followed and discussed in blogs like this one. Those events included Don Imus verbally attacking the Black members of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team without provocation, Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman hurling the N-word as he rebuked his son for the interracial relationship he was in, the kidnapping torture and sexual abuse of Megan Williams in West Virginia, the reports of roughly 50 nooses throughout the nation, and the Jena 6.

Let’s focus on the Jena 6 and the nooses. It was a noose that caused the inflammation of that event. In fact it caused multiple events, all racially based, across the country. The sight of a noose from a tree, implying the potential lynching of African Americans, evoked violence and highlighted the imbalances that exist in the application of the law in America.

All of these things are facts.

Given these facts, it should be obvious to most that a noose is little different than the swastika or the confederate flag to most African Americans. They are all symbols of hate and violence unleashed for the pleasure of people too absorbed with the skin tone of those around them. These small minds needed big symbols to evoke the fear they felt and they made them huge.

How powerful are these connotations? Considering that the conservative counts of African Americans that were lynched numbers at least 3500 over 93 years (which ends in 1958). That after 7 years of debate and stalling, lynching became illegal in the United States in 1922. That given those numbers and the recent timeline, most African Americans need only look back 2 generations to find members of their family that were affected directly by either lynching or the Jim Crow laws and prejudice that fueled it. That’s 2 generations, even if you are just 20 now.

So yes nooses are not jokes or objects of laughter any more than say Nagasaki, or a concentration camp, or the Japanese internment is. It is a visceral reminder of violence against Blacks merely because we exist. And there is no equivalent that I am aware of that White Americans have ever known.

Perhaps it’s the fact that there is no equivalent that makes it so easy for some White Americans to minimize the impact of a noose, or to call for lynching a person. Perhaps the fact that far fewer White Americans can point to any time in America and their family trees when they were considered, by law, property or less than human or deserving of death because they exist. IF a nuclear bomb had destroyed Kansas City, I’m sure they would understand as I do. IF from say now until 2254 every White American was hit with a whip, 5 times every day for a half-hour each time, I guarantee they would understand.

But the fact is most don’t understand and never will. And that is why Tiger Woods is involved in a news story that deals with golf in the most meaningless way. That is the reason that Ms. Tilghman said the remarks she made (which I discussed previously – Tiger Woods comment impacts Dr. Martin Luther King birthday), why she only received a 2 week suspension, and Golfweek thought a noose on the cover of their magazine was appropriate.

Because if anyone stopped to think about it, or the events that filled the hours between intense discussion about Sanjiah still being on American Idol, how Anna Nicole Smith died and why (it was a drug overdose and she was an addict – seemed simple to me), and Ellen DeGeneres crying on television about breaking a contract and losing a puppy she had no right to give away, then you might have noticed that the prominent display of a noose pisses off most African Americans.

Obviously the editor at Golfweek missed all the abovementioned events, though I would bet that they know about American Idol. I would have thought the comments by the Golf Channel and the reaction of most (not Tiger Woods sadly – he missed a huge opportunity to make a valid and needed point) Blacks would have been a clue. Obviously they took that, and the entire Jena 6 situation among others, as the elephant in the room.

"...we consider Golfweek's imagery of a swinging noose on its cover to be outrageous and irresponsible. It smacks of tabloid journalism. It was a naked attempt to inflame and keep alive an incident..." - PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem


There is no justification for the noose on the cover. It was a blatant attempt to profit off of a serious and offensive event. It seems apparent that they must have felt that since golf in America is so predominantly White their actions would slip through the cracks and the major news media would ignore it. Mostly they are correct, but not enough thankfully.

Let me say this clearly, I hope many in the major news media hear this and remember it. A noose is required for lynching. Neither is a positive nor funny (as many in Americas past felt they were). Both evoke memories of a time in America when we were not the land of the free, not for all not for a long time. Both evoke thoughts of words whose only use is the degradation and minimalization of an entire race of people for no reason other than their genetic birthright. The use of either of these things is no more worthy of profiteering than using videotape of 9/11 to promote political gain or an air ionizer.

There is a manner and way of using both the term lynching and a noose such that a positive is reached. That would be education and sensitivity on what those things mean and what they involved. That would help fill in some of the missing parts in American history, where African Americans are concerned.

But that would involve an understanding that I mentioned previously is missing, and that Golfweek seems far too obtuse to understand.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

BuzzologySurveys has viewers choice awards for best television commercial in 2007

Was there a television commercial in 2007 that’s stuck in your head? Something that had you talking to your co-workers at break, or made you cringe everytime it started? Something that made you feel good about yourself, or insulted your race, religion or family values?

You are not the only one. Especially if you are African American. There are many commercials that piss me off. I’ve spoken about a couple that I particularly dislike due to the portrayal of Blacks, and the not-so-implicit stereotyping that occurs within them.

To that end, a blogger I know and respect (writing for BuzzologySurveys) is holding a Best of 2007 Awards. These will feature television commercials submitted by you the reader. Commercials promoting your favorite celebrity and entertainer. Ads on your favorite product. Sexy ads, dumb ads, television commercials that blatantly assume Black consumers are less intelligent than any other. Good or bad, the submissions are up to you.

My thought of a funny television ad came from Verizon, a good idea that isn’t worth the time from laptopgiving.org just made me sad. And Time Warner just pisses me the hell off.

"The boss is standing next to a water bottle with a clock in the background that shows 9:20 or 9:23 on it. Up walks a tall 20-something, perhaps thirty year old Black woman. She’s dressed well and holding a coffee cup. She walks right up to the boss and states, “Is 9 am a starting time, or is it a guideline?” Thank you Time Warner. Nothing like throwing in a stereotype for absolutely no reason."


But that’s me. Submit your own ideas and see if the rest of the internet agrees with you. You have noting to loose, and it’s more entertaining than all those reruns and American Idol.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

3 parts of real success - 11.26.2007.1

Talent - a person who possesses unusual innate ability in some field or activity.

Work ethic - is a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character.

Intelligence - the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience.

Which of those 3 terms is the most important? Does it matter what they are being applied to that makes the difference?

Why might I ask that? Because as I finally took some time to rest over the holiday, I watched a bit of television and spoke to people around the country. I heard several people complain about their work/pay. I heard several tell me how they intend to be stars. I noticed how much attention is focused on individuals in the media. And I realized that almost everyone had no idea about the above 3 items.

Of the 3, I have noticed that most people work on talent. Especially African Americans and minorities. It’s the E-ticket that gets you on all the rides. It’s the get-out-of-the-ghetto card. It’s the single most important factor ever. And it’s a lie.

Talent is like hope in Pandora’s Box. Perhaps the worst thing to afflict people en masse. It’s a tool that far too many without it use to become rich.

When I mention talent, most think of Michael Jordan or Snoop Dogg. They imagine Beyonce or 50 cent. But you don’t hear people say that Oprah Winfrey has talent (not speaking about her acting, but her ability as CEO of Harpo) or John Thompson, Myrtle Potter, Stanley O'Neal, Kenneth Chenault. Why not?

What about intelligence? You never hear that mentioned. You never hear anyone ask Ja Rule, Dr. Dre, Kobe Bryant, or Tiger Woods if/where they went to college. Because they have talent right?

And work ethics are likely the least discussed item of all. It’s like a plague when it is mentioned.

But when you consider the real successes, the people that really are meaningful and at the top of their game you find, more often than not, that they got their with this combination:

  • 1. Work ethic
  • 2. Intelligence
  • 3. Talent (if any)

Best in the NBA? Michael Jordan. Practiced constantly, played with a 103 fever, and gave 110% every game. Mr. Jordan is a college graduate, and a better businessman than sports entertainer. While he may have made roughly 15 million dollars a year as an athlete, Mr. Jordan makes roughly 2x that a year now, with a net worth well in excess of $200 million, without ever touching a basketball.

Much the same can be said of Spike Lee, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and most every CEO that the average public couldn’t name if you paid them $50 a name. Each of them worked hard, every day with a plan in their heads. Each of them had an advanced education. Allowing them to understand business, contracts, money management and more.

If you want to know the difference between real success and a fad, look at the work ethic and education. 50 cent will be lucky to be around in 5 years, odds are. Tiger, Oprah, Michael Jordan, Stanley O'Neal, Kenneth Chenault, and others will be making money years after they are dead by contrast. And more of it.

So if you want to know how to become successful, there you are. Make a plan, work at it every day and get an education. If you have a talent you will just help boost your odds. But if you think that you bounce a ball, hum a tune, or sashay better than anyone and that’s all you need, be prepared to be let down.

Only 1 in 10,000 make it to professional level sports, even worse odds to make it in music or acting (how many people get rejected in the first 3 qualifiers of American Idol every year?). A professional entertainer has a career of maybe 7 years, regardless of the realm. Why limit your chances? Why give someone else the upper hand?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Black entertainer thrown off plane - 6.26.2007.1

Here is something not getting any press so far. Considering the millions of fans of American Idol I will presume that everyone knows who Ms. Frenchie Davis is. I’m sure millions are familiar with her, as even I recognize her photo.

Photo found at http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur34579.cfm
It seems that there was an incident on a plane with her. So far there is only her side of the story, but it does sound odd. I’ll summarize but all the reported news can be found at EURweb.com. Essentially, Ms. Davis was on an Alaska Airlines flight and had fallen asleep prior to take off. A man and his son are seated next to her. The son apparently doesn’t like her due to her size and race. The father tries to wake up Ms. Davis by “violently shaking” her. Ms. Davis wakes up and tells him to get his hands off her. The father then gets the attendants, who ask Ms. Davis to move without any question of what happened. She refused and then somehow the plane gets turned around, and Ms. Davis is kicked off the plane.

Now I’m not sure how Ms. Davis knows what was said while she was asleep. I do know that if I were asleep and someone had hands on me, I’d probably clock them upon waking. I’ve done it in the military, and I have no doubt I’d do it on a plane. That’s just normal.

Were the attendants right to not find out what happened? Not sure. Was it racism? Maybe, Maybe not. Did the plane need to be turned around, and her kicked off? NO.

If you ask me it seems there were a lot of hyper sensitive people on that plane. Over-reactions seemed to happen like dominoes falling. Who was right? To some degree none of them. I don’t understand why the father and son didn’t just change their seats, exchanging them if there were not enough of them.

Why the pilots reacted as they did seems odd. Something seems to be missing in this. I’m sure Alaska Airlines will reply to the reported Thursday press conference. Of course they will say it’s not racism, and the blame will be on Ms. Davis. But how will the media play this out?

What are the chances that Thursday there will be news on Alaska Airlines response, and not on Ms. Frenchie Davis? What chance that the media will frame this from the first moment as a spoiled Black entertainer having a tantrum for no reason?

Here is a chance for the media to prove there is no bias in reporting. Let’s see how many mention this without input, or side with Ms. Davis from the start. I’d love to see an outpouring of support for Ms. Davis like that for Paris Hilton, who was guilty of a crime.

I’ve mentioned it many times, most recently in the Jessie Davis case, and the Nifong/Duke rape case, something is wrong in the news media. The days of Mr. Edward R. Murrow are long gone and what has replaced it bodes ill for many Americans.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Odd, Addams, and I'm out - 5.23.2007.1

Time for a few bits of the odd and little covered. Now there was a story out of Germany recently that amused me. It seems that a man in a wheelchair was pulled over for… wait for it… drunk driving. Let me clarify, he was not in a car. Literally the man was in the road and the police pulled him over. They then decided to test him for alcohol levels and he was 10x over the limit. Now I have to imagine that this was incredibly funny to watch. I wish there was a video to this. Can you imagine the police, lights flashing, pulling this guy over? I suppose he was asked to roll his wheelchair in a straight line before they gave him the breathalyzer. Ok, that may be crude, but the mental image made me laugh.

Speaking of the odd, how can I not write about the Addams Family? Now why would I write about them? If you have seen the television show, or the first movie (the second wasn’t as good sadly) I’m sure you can understand. I’ve wanted Gomez Addams explosive train set since the first time I saw it on TV. But alas, I am far from his wealth, so I will have to settle for re-runs, DVD, and a Broadway play. That’s right; there will be a new play that is drawn from these most unique New Yorkers. We can only hope that it will fare far better than Suessical, a good dose of exploding trains may help. Too bad we can go back in time and have Mr. Raul Julia, or even better Mr. John Austin, play their roles again. [Yes I’m a Fan of his work, and no he isn’t dead. He’s still working too. As for Ms. Carolyn Jones, she was a babe few today can match.]

And on the tail end of this post is the real trash of the day. The good news, there will be several months without the incessant talk about American Idol. The bad news, at least a week of conversation about who won the ‘reality’ program. The worst news, it will be back again next year. Obviously I’m no fan of the program. It bores me. I find it about as interesting as plodding through hot lead. Face it folks, it’s the mental nutritional equivalent of crack. If you think it’s too harsh a comparison, just look at how much time is wasted in the media to discuss this useless program. But since I often pick my winners in various contests I pick the girl, Jordan I think her name is. Never heard the show, seen a couple of soundbites, and she looks good.

If I’m wrong on the American Idol thing, it’s ok. I’ll get over it. Matter of fact I already did.

That’s what I think, what do you think?

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