TALKING ABOUT TV – CONVERSANT ARE WE

CONVERSANT ABOUT TELEVISION?


We are not too sophisticated to watch TV. Despite Karl Marx who said “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people,” somehow this got translated into “Television is the opiate of the masses.”

Personally, I think that would be cell phones. Heavily opiated.

We watch television. Sometimes, we watch a lot of television, depending on what’s on to view. Right now, we’re watching a movie. It’s “The Candidate,” one of the better, sharper, more intelligent political movies.

Made in 1972 starring Robert Redford, it’s an education about how getting elected has a price tag, even if you aren’t a pawn of the NRA or the Koch brothers. Despite the years, it is still surprisingly relevant.

Last night, speaking of relevant, we watched “7 Days in May.” Kirk Douglas. Burt Lancaster. About how the U.S. government stood in imminent danger of being taken over by a military junta — run by Burt. Brilliantly scripted by Rod Serling.

If you haven’t seen it, do. Not the recent new version of it which wasn’t half as good. See the 1964 original. The Serling script is so on target. This movie used to give me chills. Now, it makes my stomach knot with fear. When we were young, we were afraid military guys would try taking over the government.

Who imagined — even in our wildest dreams — we’d be living in 2018 with a traitorous president and an administration where the only sane people in government are the military!

Of the unlikely things we might be expected to watch, the unlikeliest was “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” which is on Netflix. I had heard reviews of it from a variety of unexpected sources all of whom said something along the lines of “I didn’t think I would like this, but actually, it’s pretty good.” But no one told me what it was they liked so when we finally turned it on, we watched the first show and looked at each other.

“Well,” I said, “That was different.”

“Not bad,” Garry contributed.

“I’ve never seen anything like it on television.”

We thought about that for a while and neither of us could remember any television show remotely like it. It is a rather weird combination of sitcom crossed with an MGM musical. Dancing. Singing — and some pretty good music. Everyone in the cast has real voice. But. The story is terribly 2018 and sometimes, the Valley Girl accents get on our nerves. Also, she really is a crazy ex-girlfriend. Accent on the “crazy” and less on the “girlfriend.”

If you are looking for something absolutely nothing like anything else, try this one. You may hate it, but it IS a musical. The amount of production for each show is huge. These must be expensive shows to produce. Some of the music is remarkable, though the words are bizarre.

Otherwise, we are watching late night comedy and occasionally, when we  think we are strong enough to handle it, we watch the news. On a good day, we may get through 15 minutes. As long as they aren’t doing interviews with whatsherface Huckabee or you-know-who da-prez. Then I feel I need an immediate shower to wash off the sleaze.

WE NEED NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK

CONVERSANT AGAIN – NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK AND CELEBRATING WORLD WAR THREE – IN ADVANCE (WE WON ‘T HAVE TIME, LATER)


Way back in the dark ages, the third week in February (an otherwise dreary and neglected month) was designated National Brotherhood Week. As designated special weeks go, it was never a big hit with the general public. In the 1980s, it disappeared completely. Probably because it failed to sell greeting cards. Which is probably the point of such created events.

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The National Conference for Christians and Jews (NCCJ) came up with the idea of National Brotherhood Week in 1934. Given the current political climate, maybe we can agree more brotherhood year round would be an improvement. Sadly, we no longer have even that one, measly week.

February is now Black History Month which seems to mean movie channels run films featuring non-white stars. Unless you watch PBS or the History Channel where you might see a documentary or two.

The man who took it seriously — even in the old days — as he took all politics seriously, was Tom Lehrer. He taught math at Hahvid (Harvard, if you aren’t from around here). He didn’t write a lot of songs since he, till his dying day (which hasn’t occurred yet as he’s alive and living in California), thought of himself as a math teacher who wrote silly songs. Not as an entertainer.

Despite this unfair self-assessment, I’ve always felt Tom got this particular holiday dead to rights. Ya’ think?

He got a lot of stuff right. Check him out on YouTube. He only wrote about 50 songs and most of them are posted in some video or other. Me? I’ve got the CDs. (Remember CDs?)

And because the news has been so … fraught … I thought I’d add a couple of  more shockingly relevant songs for this day in February, 2018.

My, how times have not really changed — except we really do have colored TV pretty much everywhere!

BOREDOM AS THERAPY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I wrote a blog a while back about how I’ve grown to hate repetitive, routine household chores, like doing the laundry and washing the dishes. But things have changed. The Trump presidency has altered my perspective on a lot of things.

Trump and his team have caused political whiplash and existential chaos, which, in turn, has increased my appreciation for the small things in life. Things like the belief in facts, the existence of truth and the joys of a shared reality, at least with my husband. Also, a renewed love of predictability, consistency and reliability – in people and in the world.

So my boring daily slog is suddenly comforting. It makes me feel secure. My husband’s predictable routines now seem appealing and safe, almost sexy. Chores are no longer frustrating necessities. Sorting socks is now a calming Zen exercise. Fitting dishes into the slots in the dishwasher gives me a sense of success and accomplishment. These are the things in life I can count on. I am not helpless in my own home.

My chores also take me away, for a short time, from the onslaught of breaking news from Washington, DC. They give me moments of quiet before the next storm. I deeply appreciate them for the very repetitiveness that had turned me against them before. Boredom is now my friend. I see it as calmness and peace without the negative connotations I used to attribute to it. It’s the antidote to my PTSD – Perpetual Trump Shitstorm Distress!

I look forward to training my dogs. Sit! Stay! Come! Good girl! Repeat. No lump in my stomach, no sense of dread. No alternative facts or alternate reality. Just me and my dogs agreeing that ‘sit’ means ‘put your butt on the floor’ and ‘stay’ means ‘don’t move until I tell you to.’ Boring, but very reassuring and gratifying.

I appreciate my friends more, at least the ones who share my version of facts and reality. They help me stay grounded. And if I continue to focus on the small things in life that give me pleasure and comfort, I just might make it through the Trump years.

THE 7-DAY BLACK & WHITE CHALLENGE – DAY 4

Here’s the challenge:


Black and White Photography Challenge: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.

Since I’m an old time player at this game, I’m letting people in as long as it’s not a portrait and not the primary part of the image.

I invite you to consider giving this challenge a try, even if you’ve done it already. An extra push to do better photography is good for your art. Moreover, finding a black & white picture that somehow represents “you” in a visual way poses an interesting challenge — an artistic double-whammy, so to speak. At least one of the pictures I used in the first round of these challenges turned out to be one of my most popular-ever posts.

Who’d have thunk it.

This challenge comes from Luccia Gray at “REREADING JANE EYRE.

Oak leaves