Tag Archives: Media

The Channel Channel

As of late I find my television set tuned to the repetitively monotonous channel known as “The TV Guide channel.” Despite the extremely annoying programming located above the scrolling channel list, I continue to switch to a channel that merely shows what is on other channels. Why am I inclined to stare at the color coded boxes and listen to the unbearable weight loss adds and Michael Jackson tributes?

Perhaps I do this in hopes to find an enriching, entertaining program on the air. It seems to me that there is a lack of interesting programing available for viewers  throughout the day. Viewers used to be (and perhaps still are) enticed by people eating bugs and quarreling amongst themselves but even those programs seem to have become less popular.

When I see a good movie or a television program that I am already familiar with and enjoy, I will jump to that channel and sit back and relax. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a television addict. I watch less than one hour of television a day (unless a good movie is on) and spend most of that time watching the news- or the TV Guide channel.

I wonder if other people suffer from the same minor obsession of scrolling words and no message. Maybe that is what the media is coming down to- no messages, no meanings, only words and images meant for the sole purpose of entertainment.

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Boehner Taking Advantage of FOX’s Rejection Of Fact-Based Journalism.

Fox News has lost its credibility when it has the House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner write a story on its blog starting with the phrase, “With Democrats now firmly in charge of Congress and the White House, Washington is increasingly out of control.”

Who even wants to read it with an open mind now, besides the far right?

Let us address the issue that Republicans have in which, as Boehner puts it, “government is crossing lines [Americans] never thought they’d see their government cross.”

Really, John Boehner? This is who you chose to voice your opinion through?

Really, John Boehner? This is who you chose to voice your opinion through?

In the wake of an administration that nearly destroyed the reputation of the Republican party, it’s pretty ballsy to say that.

The only thing that can be referred to in this statement is the amount of money spent in the bills passed since January 20. And yes, it is an incredible amount, and yes, it is unprecedented. But as far as lines being crossed, it is worth looking at what lines were crossed from 2001 to 2008.

Vastly increased anti-terrorism operations that caused massive controversy–seemingly for not at times–allowed the Bush administration to cut back important programs to increase military spending and start a war justified by the anger and frustration of the Western world after September 11.

Incredibly anti-democratic policies allowed the institution of Guantanamo Bay, whose controversies are well enough known to invite UN leaders to suggest that the US committed war crimes in hosting it. Fortunately this is the U.S., and that probably won’t go anywhere.

Radical education policies angered teachers and parents all around the country, and put into place funding that relied on controversial testing techniques, and allowed schools and students to slip through the cracks, all at a time when the United States’ student output is lagging far behind that of India and some other Eastern powers.

So these are only a few of the talking points here. This could be an entire post in itself. But what is more important is that all this seems to be forgotten for the attempts of the 111th Congress to revitalize the economy. It’s like the kid that bullies until he gets picked on, and then tries to criticise. It just doesn’t work.

Tainting your policies in favor of making the other party look bad will get nothing done. I’ve said it before, but apparently John Boehner doesn’t read my articles in the Pendulum.

What is more interesting about all this to me is the implication that Republicans using new media is a radical and great change in the way Americans are informed. Sure, government was a bit behind on that concept. But trying to piggyback off the success of Obama in that light is not only ignorant, but is an insult to the intelligence of the internet community. They know well enough that Republicans aren’t the only ones utilizing blogs and media.

So it seems like FOX is more of a forum for right wing media men to make vast statements in lieu of any contradicting argument. It’s a style of op-ed that basically assumes that its audience won’t know enough about an issue to be able to disagree. And while none of it is an outright lie, it is littered with implications that are just not true.

O’Reilly and Ann Coutler bank on this all the time. However, politicians should have the pride not to group themselves into such a disputed organization.

Overall, the Republican party has done a good job of making its feelings known with regards to spending. And it has been effctive in mediating the bills for the most part. But it is throwing away its credibility with statements that try to demonize an administration that’s been in office for under 100 days.

And, most of all, Mr. Boehner, please try to pick a more credible outlet to give your opinions through. Even if a large amount of your constituency watches and lives by the word of Rupert Murdoch, it lends itself right off the bat to dispute.

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Filed under Government, Jack Dodson, Media, Obama

Props to Mr. Jonze.

Taking on childhood storybook gold, Spike Jonze is getting to do what every modern director wants to. At least any with that childish sense of adventure and fun still inside them; something tells me Tarantino wouldn’t want this project.

Watching the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, it’s hard not to feel that same giddy pleasure you did as a little kid. Staying true to the book, the costume design is surprisingly similar to that of the artwork, and allows the photography to provide a sentimental and still professional feel.

See what I mean about the monsters? Theyre kinda cute.

See what I mean about the monsters? They're kinda cute.

Jonze is capitalizing on a popular concept within the modern movie industry; this almost postmodern likeness for things like books for children and making them bigger stories of humanism. It’s like a industry-wide movement rejecting the practices of big-budget, money making movies like Fast and Furious.

The film world has seen an increase in these types of movies, from the power of the indie movement to the noticeable difference in tone of the industry, allowing for gaining popularity of movies that mean more than just being a blockbuster. And it’s this sort of simplicity that has come about, through directors like Michael Gondry and Wes Anderson with their quirky and seemingly stylized realities that contrast sharply the big-budget feel.

In fact, the style of filmmaking that practically serves as the anti-Hollywood American film industry has turned into a concept being utilized by none other than the big-name studios, allowing for subsidiary companies like Warner Independent and even Focus Features, which is owned by NBC.

So Jonze’s new project is essentially the epitome of this concept, taking the beloved childrens’ bedtime story and turning it into a feature. And with a B-side Arcade Fire single to give it an extra punch, Jonze has whet the appetite of indie fans all over the Internet.

So there are certain ways to pull a thing like this off. First, reject the cliche premises. A movie based on a bedtime story is the perfect example of this. Second, get the backing of a powerful studio with an independent feel. Enter Warner Independent. Third, get big names to be involved, preferably people who are known for big-budget movies. The out of place actor will always attract attention.

With actors like Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini and Forest Whitaker, Where the Wild Things Are is promising to be a knock out success. People like to see Tony Soprano in a movie like this.

And who wouldn’t want to do it? Jack Black should be kicking himself for not getting on this one. This alternative-type film can only help an image, at least if it is as welcomed as this is.

Boasting ideas of hope, fear, love, and adventure throughout the trailer, Jonze shows off the film’s ability to attract both children and adults alike, applying concepts that engage the human race as a whole. And this is where these movies are effective–it’s often this idea of paradoxical unification, this seeming oxymoron of ideas that shouldn’t work. But it does, and it’s a beautiful thing.

And on October 16, we’ll find out if it was pulled off or not.

So, Mr. Spike Jonze, you’ve got indie-lover gold at your fingertips and the sky’s the limit with this one.

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Filed under Hollywood, Jack Dodson, Media