Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

But Can Still Use Swear Words

January 22nd, 2014 No comments

link Violence In Movies — Who Will Stand Behind Harvey Weinstein?.

Often we will hear of an act of violence or crime committed in real life which will then be blamed on inspiration derived from  a movie.  Real life experience tells us that there are weak minds out there that will emulate almost anything that they see on TV or the big screen. The Jackass franchise is exhibit ‘A’. In defense of the ‘art’ however, the creators will claim that the depictions are only reflective of real life scenarios, therefore derivation, not causation.

This great fallacy exists even to this day despite ample evidence to the contrary.  Anybody who still thinks media has no knock-on effect on culture is probably a Japanese soldier resolutely hiding in the Philippine rainforest.

Sharp people in the entertainment business know that catering to the lowest and darkest elements of the human psyche is infinitely more lucrative than uplifting and sunny themed shows.   Literary history is rife with classic stories anchored in gruesome murders, beheadings and dismemberment, from Shakespeare to Beowulf to Poe.

In our time, Harvey Weinstein is one of the sharpest and most successful at catering to that appetite.  Much of his entire legacy and substantial fortune has been made off of such classics as Rambo, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill (vol. 1 and 2) and Reservoir Dogs.  Anyone familiar with such films knows that violence, especially glorified and stylized gun violence are major elements of the plots.  Certainly he’s not alone since for example the exaggerated violence depicted in the whole Zombie franchise and horror film genre also compete successfully for audience money.  But apparently, he’s had an epiphany on violence and guns and now doesn’t think that anyone should have guns.  This is as if Colonel Sanders were to announce that all of his restaurants would now be vegan. It’s as if Russ Meyers came out against breast implants.  It’s the same as Hugh Hefner preaching chastity or Michael Moore speaking out against forks.

Guns have been around a lot longer than Weinstein has  been glorifying their use.  In fact, the ability for citizens in the U.S. to possess firearms has a specific utility which is famously enshrined in their constitution.   His new found opposition to guns after amassing fortune and fame from depictions of their use is perhaps a tad disingenuous.  Many of the Hollywood action star set have made their marks as a result of  portraying  gun toting heroes, including noted peacenik Matt Damon.  In fact any promotional trailer for this season’s TV offerings invariably include someone holding a gun.  Moreover, for Weinstein to impose his views on gun ownership upon the entire nation and to attempt altering a fundamental constitutional mandate is particularly galling since depictions of glorified gun violence has been such a staple of his career.

It’s fine if Weintstein’s new direction in film production moves away from gun violence and towards dramas in which the plots surround people behaving badly and calling each other rude names.  Let’s see how that sells commercially.  Oh wait, we already have that model.  MSNBC.


But Is It Art?

December 19th, 2013 Comments off

link What happened to Lady Gaga? | New York Post.


The reason that the product of many artists is so revered and timeless is because their works were often poignant reflections of the particular zeitgeist of their era.  Through their respective media, they brilliantly capture and convey their observations and perceptions.  It was the resonance with the audience that would determine the timelessness of their work.  The medium didn’t matter; painting, sculpture, literature or music.  While we know that many works of art were commissioned by patrons during their time, most ‘true’ art has no real correlation with financial value…at least not at the outset.  It’s a fair guess that nobody commissioned Pablo Picasso to create cubist paintings for financial gain.  In fact, when the patron first saw the result, he probably refused to pay.

With the passage of time, the appreciation of high artistic expression has been driven by those who have been  mysteriously appointed as arbiters of value.  Today, works of art are sold through Sotheby’s and Christie’s  for tens of millions of dollars or more because essentially, somebody convinced somebody else of their value.  Music of course is a general exception to this.  If it doesn’t catch on with the masses, its value is truly only esoteric.  Music isn’t better because it costs more.  As far as other forms of high artistic expression, the general public wouldn’t know a Cezanne from a Monet.  Or Walt Whitman from Walt Disney.  The masses are happy with their velvet Elvis’ and their paintings of bulldogs playing poker.

Interestingly, there is an attempt to transplant the high art model into the pop culture business. In the world of pop culture, what passes as artistic is usually overwhelmed by what is marketable and profitable.  No one went broke capitalizing on the very brief lives of teeny pop stars.  From the David Cassidys and Leif Garrets of yesterday to the Taylor Swifts and Justin Biebers of today, the teeny girl demographic will always be a dependable source of pop star mania.  Of course, in order to market the young phenoms, at the very least, they need to have some semblance of talent, however  limited that might be.  The fact is, much of the reason that pop stars become pop stars is because of promotion, not unlike the art auction racket.  Once they begin to market that boy band “A” is the flavor of the day, then the public believes it and the process becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.   If any art or talent is truly involved, it’s a happy coincidence.  Come to think of it, that’s how politics works.  Hmm.

In the case of Lady Gaga, her ascension to pop culture icon status is truly a mystery.  Bereft of any vocal or observable entertainment talent, her shtick seems to be dressing as if her outfits were picked by seeing eye dogs or designed by 3 year olds in art class.  Full credit to her team of promoters, over the past 3 years or so, she has managed to place herself front and center in the pop culture business.   This is exhibit “A” of what happens when entertainment is pursued as a marketing exercise rather than as artistic expression, (Exhibit B being Miley Cyrus).   It’s hard to imagine that years from now, people will listen to a classic Gaga track and then say “hey that’s good, play it again!”

So the question posed in the linked article is, what happened to Lady Gaga, as if some great talent has disappeared.   Nothing has happened to Lady Gaga.  It’s more likely the audience has moved on.  In the absence of talent, the shelf life of weird can only last so long.  Unlike in the high art world, it’s much harder to convince the plain folk that a sow’s ear is a silk purse.  Sometimes weird is just weird.



That Crosses The Line

November 21st, 2013 No comments

link MSNBC yanks Baldwin show for two weeks over gay slur.

MSNBC, which by they way actually stands for Misogynists Spewing Nonsense and Buffoonery Channel, have found a line over which even they won’t dare cross.  For over a decade and most recently with increasing venom,  the uber left network’s business model was to disparage in the most unhinged terms,  conservatives of all types and particularly conservative women.  In the case of Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman, it was a two-fer as the puerile minds at that network spewed their taunts like pimply drunk frat boys hurling at their first college party.

Martin Bashir, soon to be fitted for the same suit with the long arms that tie at the back once worn by the deposed Keith Olbermann, was forced to retract and apologize for a particularly vile comment against Sarah Palin recently.  We won’t repeat the comment here, but here’s some free advice for his wife or girlfriend or partner.  Let’s just say that if a flock of seagulls flies over head, keep mouths closed.  His suggestion for Palin was so vile, even Taliban viewers tweeted their disgust.  Still, he did not receive any sanction from the network.

As for the distinguished actor Alec Baldwin, whose ratings for his new show on that network are so abysmal that it should be named 30 viewers, his big crime was…to heave a gay slur.  This is the guy who goes all Rob Ford on his daughter and TV reporters threatening violence to them but is only censored when he publicly utters a gay epithet.  As is the case with many actors, his ability to put together cogent thoughts and have intelligent discourse disappears if there is no script to follow.  So instead of the articulate characters he portrays, his vocabulary is revealed as somewhat more street. For this vile transgression, he was suspended for two weeks from the show.   Insult the women all you want, but not the girly men.

So now, there’s another word to be censored from common use, henceforth only to be referred to as the ‘f’ word.   That of course joins the ‘n’ word, the ‘c’ word but not to be confused with the other ‘f’ word.  As time goes on, this reference may even be too offensive and people will have to resort to hand gestures in place of those letters.

Like rap videos, MSNBC is devoid of any real content, it has become the Miley Cyrus of the news and information business.  It’s shock TV.  It’s the same tribal beat of misogynist and violent views over and over again masquerading as free speech and liberal thought.   Interestingly, two of these newly offensive letters are found on MSNBC’s call sign.  If we wind up getting the other letters banned, we may have to call it ***** , or the asterisk network.  Of course, for ease of discussion, it will simply be referred to as the ass network.