2006/08/20

The wonders of cable

I only watch cable once or twice a year, but I'm always amazed at what I see. Consider:

1) On TLC's Untold Stories of the ER, a reality show, a man comes into the ER with an ice pick stuck in his ear, thru his skull. It seems that there were demons in his head, so he took action. But incredibly he hasn't damaged his brain or any important blood vessels. So the doctor goes to pull it out - and the handle comes off. That program was followed by one called The Man Whose Arms Exploded, about a steroid-using bodybuilder whose arms got so big that, well, they didn't exactly explode, but it wasn't pretty. I remember when TLC did pretty staid science and history programming.

2) Last year MTV was playing the same 6 videos in rotation, but this year I haven't seen a single video. Apparently MTV only does reality shows now.

3) A shockingly reactionary commentator on one of the news channels who for unknown reasons insisted on referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "President Tom".

4) I witnessed firsthand how the cable news channels moved with cat-like agility from covering the ceasefire in Lebanon to covering the JonBenet Ramsey story. At least they utilized standards of objectivity in the JonBenet coverage.

5) A commercial for a 9/11 commemorative coin. To properly appreciate this you have to imagine the saccharine voice of the reader and the slow pans on the coin. On the front of the coin is the World Trade Center, which folds out of the coin and stands perpendicular to it - "The World Trade Center rising once again from the ashes." The coin is silver-plated but the pop-up WTC is gold-plated. Both the gold and silver "are recovered from the heart of ground zero." On the back is a "proud eagle that proclaims "God bless america" and five stars "symbolizing the five years since 9/11." In fact, "this could be the most meaningful collectible you will ever own." At last, you can combine your rabid nationalism with your cloying sentimentalism in a symbol that represents all of middle America.

8 comments:

Ariel said...

"I only watch cable once or twice a year..."

whatever, mr. pretentious-pants, if i had cable i would be watching it once or twice a day. also, seeing as how cable has brought us both deadwood and qaf, i think you should stop getting all up in its grill and stuff.

Jake said...

first, we must be careful not to confuse cable with hbo. the horseshit in deadwood is by itself worth more than a basic cable package.

but don't misunderstand me. i have cable once or twice a year for a week at a time, and then i watch it far more than once or twice a day. it is a hollow pleasure.

Anonymous said...

still boring as all hell. you must know you're boring, right? hope you end this blog once uofc starts. the hubris that is you.

Joe said...

"The Hubris That Is You" would be a great name for an indie band.

I liked cable much more before the Iron Chef and the Croc Hunter sold out and got all commercial and shit...

ariel said...

dear anonymous poster,

no one calls my man boring. i take you out, ho (umm, if you are a guy, please insert appropriately gendered diss).

bring it.

naureen said...

I don't watch a lot of cable tv, but I had to smile when on my first day of vacation, our buddies at CNN decided to create a no-spin zone in their coverage of the case I'd just been working on:

Let's go to New York. Jack Cafferty standing by with "The Cafferty File." Hi, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the American Civil Liberties Union and Hispanic activists are suing a Pennsylvania city for cracking down on illegal aliens. Hazleton was one of the first communities to get a bellyful of the federal government's unwillingness to enforce this nation's immigration laws.

Mayor Lou Barletta says as influx of illegal aliens increased crime, overburdened schools and hospitals and lowered the quality of life. So they took matters into their own hands in Hazleton. Last month the city council voted to fine landlords $1,000 for renting to illegal aliens, to deny business permits to companies who hire illegal aliens, and to make English the city's official language.

These are all things that might actually go a long way toward solving the problem. Well, not so fast. Along comes the ACLU with its lawsuit, claiming the Constitution allows only the federal government the power to regulate immigration, that Hazleton's immigration laws are discriminatory and unworkable. But Mayor Barletta says the city will stand its ground and, quote, "fight it as far as we have to."

So here's the question: Should the ACLU keep its nose of out Hazleton, Pennsylvania's immigration laws?

Patrick said...

Is that for real, Naureen? Not that I think there are any depths to which CNN won't stoop, but still... Just...wow.

Btw, CNN U.S. has a policy of calling Hizbullah "terrorists", in contrast to CNN International's policy of calling Hizbullah "militia". I can't imagine a reason for this discrepancy - I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding.

Chris said...

president tom--like president Tom Cruise? do you think Tom Cruise would be like Ahmedinejad if he were president? wait, isn't Ahmedinejad prime minister?