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View Full Version : Say it aint so! (but it is)



Fazor
2007-May-25, 08:22 PM
I know this has been discussed before, but I saw something today that got me thinking about it again. In this article (http://http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/05/25/apontv.lenos.15th.ap/index.html)with Jay Leno, he's quoted saying this:

But literature and art are not what late-night shows thrive on these days. Paar could do 90 minutes with the likes of Noel Coward, Leno said, but today's mainstream audiences wouldn't tolerate that.

I have no beef with Jay, in fact I love his show (but don't watch late night tv). The sad thing is, his statement is true. The "mainstreem audience" doesn't want intelligence, they want gossipy beautiful actresses and actors, and fart jokes.

But the thing is, the "mainstreem audience" are lemmings, they want what society tells them to want.*** So when and why did knowlege and intelligence become undesirable? I'm not saying we all should watch Masterpiece Theater all the time--it would be hypocritical coming from a guy who's favorites include Family Guy and Simpsons. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the other stuff too. And I kind of resent constantly being told, through articles such as this and conversation with people from other countries, that if programming isn't fart-jokes and sex that I won't like it.

Sorry, just had to rant for a bit.


***side note: That's one thing I adore about BAUT, this description doesn't work well with members here. No matter what they are, you all seem to have your own opinions and can think for yourselfs. For that, I applaud you :clap:

Noclevername
2007-May-25, 08:29 PM
FART! Hahahaha...

But seriously...

It's true. By constantly lowering the standards, you constantly lower the expectations. By pandering to the LCD, you condition them to expect nothing more. I'ts like that &@%$& "Head-On" commercial; mindless, hypnotic, no-need-to-use-that-forebrain-lets-just-bypass-it-altogether repetition. Same plotless "reality (Ha!) shows", same sitcoms recycling plots that were old when Lucy did them, and worst of all, kid's shows that are just extended toy commercials. Oh, I have to stop now, my show is on!

Gillianren
2007-May-25, 09:13 PM
I have to say, the moment where I was most impressed with Jay Leno was when he subbed for Roger Ebert. He gave Miami Vice a thumbs down, even though one assumes he'd really want to have its stars on his show at some point. He still gave a thoughtful, honest, negative opinion of the movie.

For the record, I think The Simpsons can often be a very intelligent show. Less so now than it used to be, I think, but still. Even now, it's more intelligent than it was in its first season.

It's true, though, that most popular media are geared towards what I shall charitably call less-intelligent people. I loathe reality shows; there isn't one that I watch. I'd rather turn my TV off and listen to music than watch half of what's on out there--though I do still like having my TV, as there are still shows worth watching. (I've gotten very into The Riches, and I'm looking forward to its inevitable DVD release. Also a couple of shows on Showtime, a channel I don't get.)

I watch a lot of movies (as those who read my Rotten Tomatoes journal well know!), and I listen to a fair bit of music. However, even in both those cases, most of the media I use are ten years or more old.

satori
2007-May-25, 09:38 PM
Fazor, i thought your alias was a fart joke! :D....:dance::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

(see: i should write for one of those shows........(which i not even know, as i live in a happier land))
now speaking to you as your therapeut:
don't shut yourself off from society
look how happy they all are...

...and why the heck did you buy that super plasmatronic panorama tv in the first place! Learn to think of it as a............FRIEND!

Paul Beardsley
2007-May-25, 09:43 PM
As a Brit I don't know all the people mentioned, but I think I get the gist, and I share the dismay.

Here's a thought. A couple of weeks ago I went into the Portsmouth University bookshop to buy a decent book on academic physics. I couldn't find one. I asked the assistant for help. He was as helpful as he could be, but said there was no longer a physics section in the bookshop because the physics department had closed down three or four years ago.

Yeah, physics is one of those irrelevant egg-head subjects, right?

I did notice that there was a media studies department.

So, in an age where everybody has a mobile phone, everybody goes online whenever they feel like it, loads of people have cars, and loads of people watch Satellite TV (you know, bounced off a sophisticated device launched into space) nobody in Portsmouth is interested in studying physics.

But we have plenty Media Studies people. These are the people who will say "audiences are more sophisticated these days", and then, in the same breath, and without noticing the irony, they will point out that audiences will not tolerate slowly-unfolding drama because they need explosions and cat-fights and car chases and soap-operatic revelations and so on.

Oh, and they deny that there is any such thing as dumbing down.

Noclevername
2007-May-25, 09:47 PM
We'd have to go up to get to dumbed-down, at this point.

Lianachan
2007-May-25, 10:17 PM
As a Brit I don't know all the people mentioned, but I think I get the gist, and I share the dismay.

Here's a thought. A couple of weeks ago I went into the Portsmouth University bookshop to buy a decent book on academic physics. I couldn't find one. I asked the assistant for help. He was as helpful as he could be, but said there was no longer a physics section in the bookshop because the physics department had closed down three or four years ago.

Yeah, physics is one of those irrelevant egg-head subjects, right?

I did notice that there was a media studies department.

So, in an age where everybody has a mobile phone, everybody goes online whenever they feel like it, loads of people have cars, and loads of people watch Satellite TV (you know, bounced off a sophisticated device launched into space) nobody in Portsmouth is interested in studying physics.

But we have plenty Media Studies people. These are the people who will say "audiences are more sophisticated these days", and then, in the same breath, and without noticing the irony, they will point out that audiences will not tolerate slowly-unfolding drama because they need explosions and cat-fights and car chases and soap-operatic revelations and so on.

Oh, and they deny that there is any such thing as dumbing down.

If it's any consolation, you may as well write "Media Studies Degrees - Please Take One" above a toilet roll holder.

Noclevername
2007-May-25, 10:21 PM
Three words:
"Bread
and
circuses".

Peter Wilson
2007-May-25, 10:22 PM
Say it aint so!
Butt it is!

Paul Beardsley
2007-May-25, 10:30 PM
If it's any consolation, you may as well write "Media Studies Degrees - Please Take One" above a toilet roll holder.

"Hello, I'm a Media Studies graduate."

"How nice to meet you - I'm a couch potato as well!"

Doctor Know
2007-May-26, 01:34 AM
Yup. And the biggest movie of the summer is being released in the USA this weekend. A sprawling pirate epic based on an authentic Disneyland amusement park ride.

And the beat goes on. :rolleyes:

Noclevername
2007-May-26, 01:51 AM
And, of course, the worst aspect of our beloved Vast Cultural Wasteland is the so-called "news". They scare or thrill you with trivia, then gloss over or ignore the truly important (but "boring") events and real information. We don't have a "free press", we have for-profit press, who make their money by selling advertising and putting butts on couches. Newstainment.

Lord Jubjub
2007-May-26, 02:08 AM
That's been true for the last two centuries. 'Yellow journalism' was a term invented over a hundred years ago.

Noclevername
2007-May-26, 02:23 AM
Yeah, but now they can do it with the added mindrot of passive entertainment!

Can't remember where, but I heard at least one study showed that the brainwave patterns of a person watching TV were the same as those of someone in a hypnotic state. Having been in that "TV trance" state myself, I don't doubt it.

danscope
2007-May-26, 03:27 AM
I know this has been discussed before, but I saw something today that got me thinking about it again. In this article (http://http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/05/25/apontv.lenos.15th.ap/index.html)with Jay Leno, he's quoted saying this:


I have no beef with Jay, in fact I love his show (but don't watch late night tv). The sad thing is, his statement is true. The "mainstreem audience" doesn't want intelligence, they want gossipy beautiful actresses and actors, and fart jokes.

But the thing is, the "mainstreem audience" are lemmings, they want what society tells them to want.*** So when and why did knowlege and intelligence become undesirable? I'm not saying we all should watch Masterpiece Theater all the time--it would be hypocritical coming from a guy who's favorites include Family Guy and Simpsons. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the other stuff too. And I kind of resent constantly being told, through articles such as this and conversation with people from other countries, that if programming isn't fart-jokes and sex that I won't like it.

Sorry, just had to rant for a bit.


***side note: That's one thing I adore about BAUT, this description doesn't work well with members here. No matter what they are, you all seem to have your own opinions and can think for yourselfs. For that, I applaud you :clap:

Hi, Your point is well made. But take heart, for new age is at hand.
As bandwidth expands and the age of the fibre optic finally dawns,
we shall have access to "UNLIMITED CHANNELS". Yes, what ever you are interested in, you will have access to in real time, independent of the
"Noble sponsors " and the cigar smokers. You have seen an expansion of digital music as a revolution in just a short while. There was a time that you needed big bucks to cut wax and make records. Now, we can do it at home and on line. Real time video is just getting it's legs. And yes, we may have an astronomy channel, an physics channel, a Kit Planes channel, EAA channel
etc.... Broadcast is a dinosaur followed by cable. Fibre optic dwarfs it in speed and all parameters. The age of 85 channels and nothing is on is passing.
Anything but csi and wf wrestling and home shopping network. Sheesh!!!
"All ahead, warp factor 5 ".
Best regards, Dan

Chip
2007-May-26, 03:33 AM
If you want to see how far American TV has dumbed-down, just watch a rerun of "What's My Line?" - of all things, a quiz show from the 1950s. The panel and guests on a typical show were engaging, articulate, intelligent people and funny too.

And---it shouldn’t be too taxing for astronomy buffs to enjoy; after all, we're looking back in time; something we do every time we observe the sky.

novaderrik
2007-May-26, 03:54 AM
nobody cares about the "brainy" stuff any more because we already have so much cool stuff, and people don't really care how it works. all they care about is that it works.
as for "dumbed down" tv- there aren't too many new shows i really truly enjoy.
i'm really on a Scrubs kick lately. i watched it back when it first came on- but, since i have worked night shift the whole time, i kind of lost track of it. now, this winter after i got laid off i started watching it again- and i can't get enough of it.i watch 2 syndicated episodes every night, and watch the newer stuff on thursday nights. i've got seasons 1 and 4 on DVD, and almost bought season 5 yesterday (but i got the Venture Brothers season 2 instead).. can't find seasons 2 and 3..
Scrubs just has it all- off the wall comedy, realistic human interactions, real characters, clever stories, and a lesson learned at the end of every episode..
and Sarah Chalke..

Matherly
2007-May-26, 04:10 AM
Yup. And the biggest movie of the summer is being released in the USA this weekend. A sprawling pirate epic based on an authentic Disneyland amusement park ride.

And the beat goes on. :rolleyes:

And one of (if not the) most famous plays in the English Language is a ripped-off story about two teenagers who end up killing themselves because their family say they can't date.

So, what's your point?

Damien Evans
2007-May-26, 04:45 AM
Ripped off from where?

Tucson_Tim
2007-May-26, 04:49 AM
Ripped off from where?

I assume we're talking about Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet here. Yes, from whom was it ripped-off?

Doctor Know
2007-May-26, 05:24 AM
And one of (if not the) most famous plays in the English Language is a ripped-off story about two teenagers who end up killing themselves because their family say they can't date.

So, what's your point?

I'm just pointing out that when we do get big films based on historical events (Pirating in the Spanish Main in the 17th Century for this one) they're not based so much on history, or actual events, but in this case, inspired by the theme park ride: Pirates of the Carribbean at Disneyland. Perhaps an overlabored point as the Pirates film franchise is tongue in cheek anyway. But I guess it saddens me that much of history is put through a cartoony filter nowdays to make it more entertaining and dumbing down the audience in the process. The film '300' would be another example. A film based on a graphic novel based loosely on a historical event.

In retrospect, most of your average gunslinging Western took great liberties with history too, so I guess it's nothing new.

HenrikOlsen
2007-May-26, 09:35 AM
I assume we're talking about Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet here. Yes, from whom was it ripped-off?
Pyramus and Thispe :)

Ok, fun apart, the reason why 'tis a good joke in A Midsummers Night to have the rude mechanicals play that piece was that it had already been hacked up by almost everyone before Shakespere took it on in Romeo and Juliet.

Don't make the mistake of considering Shakspere original in all his stories, he took.

His Hamlet is a retelling of a Germanic story from several centuries earlier.

Damien Evans
2007-May-26, 10:01 AM
Pyramus and Thispe :)

Ok, fun apart, the reason why 'tis a good joke in A Midsummers Night to have the rude mechanicals play that piece was that it had already been hacked up by almost everyone before Shakespere took it on in Romeo and Juliet.

Don't make the mistake of considering Shakspere original in all his stories, he took.

His Hamlet is a retelling of a Germanic story from several centuries earlier.

Never do, and IIRC the first Hamlet stories were made in the early 13th or late 12th century, correct?

HenrikOlsen
2007-May-26, 12:41 PM
They where written down by Saxo around 1200, but there is an inscription using the name as early as the 700's, which indicates he may have been based on a historical person from that period.

Noclevername
2007-May-26, 06:57 PM
But I guess it saddens me that much of history is put through a cartoony filter nowdays to make it more entertaining and dumbing down the audience in the process.

You mean Pocahantas didn't really get advice from a talking tree?!

Gillianren
2007-May-26, 07:05 PM
Yup. And the biggest movie of the summer is being released in the USA this weekend. A sprawling pirate epic based on an authentic Disneyland amusement park ride.

And the beat goes on. :rolleyes:

And I saw it, midnight showing and all. (Because, yes, I'm just that geeky. I love midnight shows, especially since I'm awake anyway.)

I have to say, while I think most people will miss it in the midst of the twenty-minute-long ship battle at the end, it was a very intelligent movie in a lot of places. Yeah, the history's rubbish. I ceased expecting Hollywood to get history right long ago; it makes me so pleasantly surprised when they do. However, it had quite a lot to say on the nature of death, trust, Gods, and even, I think, Hell. (Apparently, for Captain Jack, Hell is being tied to your ship in the Utah desert.)

And, of course, the Keith Richards cameo was worth the anticipation.

Paul, Jay Leno's one of the two biggest late-night talk show hosts in America. He took over Johnny Carson's job, if that means anything to you. Roger Ebert is probably America's best-known (living) movie critic. He's been in the job for 40-odd years. However, right now, he's got salivary cancer and can't talk, so doing the TV show's not really going to happen. For the last year or so, he's had guest critics filling in for him, and occasionally, they've been celebrities not best known for being film critics. (Kevin Smith has subbed for him a half-dozen times!) About the first one they had was Jay Leno.

The Backroad Astronomer
2007-May-26, 10:03 PM
Paul, about the physics courses not being offered at that university, in general a lot physics departments are have fewer and fewer students due a lot of them opting to go into computer science instead.

Tobin Dax
2007-May-28, 05:30 AM
If you want to see how far American TV has dumbed-down, just watch a rerun of "What's My Line?" - of all things, a quiz show from the 1950s. The panel and guests on a typical show were engaging, articulate, intelligent people and funny too.

And---it shouldn’t be too taxing for astronomy buffs to enjoy; after all, we're looking back in time; something we do every time we observe the sky.

I actually watched "1 vs. 100" this past week (paying attention to it for the first time), and those questions were horrible. Mostly questions on what passes for pop culture these days. There was hardly anything intelligent asked. The most intelligent question I saw tied in to "Deal or No Deal," asking how many multiples of three there were from one to twenty-six. I'm really not sure if I was more upset about the stupid, tie-in way they asked the question, or that the contestant really wasn't sure of her answer (even after counting it off a second time to get it right). How can you not know your times-tables for numbers less than ten! :mad: (Watching Tom Hanks calculate the area of a circle on "Castaway" tonight makes me that more upset about the contestant.)

Maksutov
2007-May-29, 12:55 PM
I'm proud to say that I have not see one second of a "reality show", other than "passing thru" with the remote. And that includes any of those "idol" shows. I'd much rather sit outside in my lounge chair and watch the stars and planets rise. In fact, I'd rather tackle another item on the "Honey, do" list.What's a "reality show"? Is that the one where they've got the torches burning as part of the logo?

I watched about 5 minutes of something called (IIRC) "The Real Life" and then, after getting bored with the spoiled teenagers, realized that the title was (hopefully) ironic, just before switching it off.

I've heard about the "Idol" shows, but thought that, with the US being mainly of a certain persuasion, such things were morally forbidden.

Meanwhile, I like the various science channels as long as they stick with science. But DVDs seem to be even more attractive.

Noclevername
2007-May-29, 02:17 PM
If you don't know what a "reality" show is....

...I envy you.

CJSF
2007-May-29, 02:56 PM
I like watching Dancing With The Stars, but that's not really a "reality show." I've enjoyed several BBC and PBS reality shows. One was Castaway, where they put a bunch of folk on some rocky islet off Britain. There was no cash prize, no incentive for backstabbing... they just had to pull off surviving together. I only saw it air in the US once a few years ago. Not sure what the latest installment is like. Hopefully they haven't "Surviorized" it.

Another good one was Rough Science (I think), where they put a group of scientists out somewhere where they have to use only the materials the can find in a remote area to build certain devices or reach a goal. Again, no cash prize, no backstabbing.

I also liked the 1900 house, and Colonial House.

CJSF

Jim
2007-May-29, 03:42 PM
I don't care for the "reality" shows, primarily because they're not reality. They take a bunch of people and stick them in an artificial environment... a place the group would never go if left to their own devices. Then, if nothing exciting (read "worth airing") happens, the producers make something happen.

There is one reality show that lives up to the name, The Deadliest Catch. It's the actual day-to-day events of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. Nothing is staged (well, the "flour in a garbage bag" bit was staged, but that's a standing joke on the rookies). At the end of one trip, the ship's captain opened the Suggestion Box; one suggestion was "no more camera crews."

As for the "game" shows, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader has turned out to be mildly interesting. It's scary how many adults are not smarter than a fifth grader; but it's encouraging at how much those kids know.

CJSF
2007-May-29, 04:50 PM
Except, in about 30 years or so, those 5th graders will be in the same position as the adults are now. It's amazing how much of that kind of stuff I've "forgotten" since then, and I was generally considered smart back then.

CJSF

Tobin Dax
2007-May-29, 06:54 PM
As for the "game" shows, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader has turned out to be mildly interesting. It's scary how many adults are not smarter than a fifth grader; but it's encouraging at how much those kids know.

I like that one too (relative to the others, at least). I haven't watched it too much, but it is one of the better game shows of the last few years.