I am way too busy these days for long political rants. But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I’ve become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their…allies control key seats of power. It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds… that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.
I really wish the Peacock would be honest and say “we paid so much for these rights that we have to air the ceremony in prime-time only and not stream it so we can dominate ratings and maybe make some of that money back.”
That’s annoying but at least mildly understandable. Better that than insulting your audience. We Left Coasters are used to this treatment because even when the Games are in our time zone, they’re tape-delayed and live only on the East Coast.
So be honest. Don’t say you need to delay it to provide expert context from the likes of Bob Costas, Matt Lauer, and Meredith Viera, who truly managed to distinguish herself by not knowing who Tim Berners-Lee was.
(Also: don’t cut a memorial segment so you can air a hard-hitting one-on-one between Ryan Seacrest and Michael Phelps.)
Television’s greatest appeal is that it is engaging without being at all demanding. One can rest while undergoing stimulation. Receive without giving. It’s the same in all low art that has as goal continued attention and patronage: it’s appealing precisely because it’s at once fun and easy. And the entrenchment of a culture built on Appeal helps explain a dark and curious thing: at a time when there are more decent and good and very good serious ﬁction writers at work in America than ever before, an American public enjoying unprecedented literacy and disposable income spends the vast bulk of its reading time and book dollar on ﬁction that is, by any fair standard, trash. Trash ﬁction is, by design and appeal, most like televised narrative: engaging without being demanding. But trash, in terms of both quality and popularity, is a much more sinister phenomenon. For while television has from its beginnings been openly motivated by—has been about—considerations of mass appeal and L.C.D. and proﬁt, our own history is chock full of evidence that readers and societies may properly expect important, lasting contributions from a narrative art that under- stands itself as being about considerations more important than popularity and balance sheets. Entertainers can divert and engage and maybe even console; only artists can transﬁgure. Today’s trash writers are entertainers working artists’ turf. This in itself is nothing new. But television aesthetics, and television-like economics, have clearly made their unprecedented popularity and reward possible. And there seems to me to be a real danger that not only the forms but the norms of televised art will begin to supplant the standards of all narrative art. This would be a disaster.
Hey guy complaining at Starbucks this morning about being out of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins …. YOU KNOW THE RULE.
eff all the other sitcom crap about “manning up.” the only character I trust to tell me ANYTHING relevant about masculinity (even when he goes crazy over his ex-wives, and maybe partially because of that) is Ron Swanson.