Thirty years ago this month, NBC premiered "The Cosby Show" and changed the television landscape. And though people will rightly remember it as a groundbreaking show for African Americans
's Jason Bailey argues that it was just as important in its feminism
Search for word usage in movies and television over time
Movies and television shows often reflect cultural trends of the time they are made in. Even movies that take place during the past or future can say something about the present through metadata or production style. Using the Bookworm platform, Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a tool that lets you see trends in movie and television dialogue.
was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.
- I hate Strong Female Characters.
The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel
or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer
. It's Doomsday Preppers
, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
This is a story of a young man named Chotu Lohar* from a small nondescript village in one of the poorest states
of India. He dropped out of school to work in the iron mines. Music on a radio was the only entertainment available in his house but last year
he came to national notice on a reality show called Dance India Dance
- where although his untutored enthusiasm and energy captured attention - he was unable to make the cut. His passion, on the other hand, caught the interest
** of the show's producers who took him under their wing and a year later, he's just made
the shortlist for this year's show. [more inside]
Let's Get Critical
is "a new Longform.org
partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
The AV Club feature Gateways to Geekery
is all about the best places to start on some of pop culture's most complex and nuanced artists and genres, including Randy Newman
, The Who
, Monty Python
, Sherlock Holmes
and 90 others. [more inside]
"In 2006 I was invited to take part in one of the great adventures of modern broadcasting – conquering the booming Russian television market
." Peter Pomerantsev remembers his time in the Russian television industry
. [more inside]
"The Japanese Tradition" was a series of nine short, parody "How To" videos that gently mocked the formality of Japanese culture, from comedy duo Rahmens
) and Japan Culture Lab. They're available on DVD,
but nearly all of them can be seen on YouTube, including Sushi
(tea). [more inside]
Paula K. Shimatsu-u, who worked
behind the scenes at Twin Peaks
, has a book coming out with previously unpublished photos from on and off the set. Wired has a gallery
that boasts, among other delights, Michael Horse
reading a book beside a deer's head, and Sheryl Lee
with Sherilyn Fenn wearing, respectively, a lovely bobble cap and a very fetching jumper.
After decades of selling tampons and "sanitary products" with ads
containing nebulous, euphemistic images and language, Kotex launched
a new product line, 'U by Kotex'
and a 'Declaration of Real Talk Campaign'
to encourage girls and women to speak about menstruation without embarrassment
. Ironically, their ad was rejected by the major US television networks
for mentioning the word 'vagina'. Here's the 'safe for the viewing public' version.
/ YT channel
. [more inside]
"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library
. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom
and I Am an American
, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously
). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council
, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history
, including Rosie the Riveter
, Smokey the Bear
, McGruff the Crime Dog
, and the Crash Test Dummies
. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective
PSAs on everything from student invention
to global warming
to arts education
to community service
Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns
- Campaigns organized by category
- Award-winning campaigns
- PSA Central
: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd)
- An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF]
- YouTube channel
- Vimeo channel
- Twitter feed
The Shame Game. Perverted Justice
) and Dateline NBC's series of To Catch A Predator
specials are of questionable-at-best morality
and have received much flak
, particularly on the part of the former party. At the Columbia Journalism review, Douglas McCollum shares the case of Louis Conradt Jr., who killed himself
upon being pounced upon by police and Dateline's cameras. McCollum also takes issue with NBC's paying of Perverted Justice for their services. And, for the other side, PJ's rebuttal.
My Favorite Wasteland.
"Need more reasons to stay home? You could probably find them sitting in the row behind you. Many members of the contemporary movie audience, only marginally socialized, would have made a misanthrope of Gandhi... Grownups who do choose to remain at home with the remote--and I often count myself among them, not a TV enthusiast exactly, but certainly a sympathist--have no reason to apologize. TV can now teach Hollywood something about smarts." [via
gained infamy as the self-proclaimed "God Warrior" on Fox's Trading Spouses
. If you hurry, you can claim your own personal "God Warrior"
to help you defend yourself against all the tainted, ungodly elements in the world.
is a global youth arts initiative (under 25s) that develops and profiles artists and their work across television, radio, in print and online. Requires Flash. [MI]
Foreign Exchange TV
with Fareed Zakaria
- I'd heard about it, but thought it was only showing on OPB
; checked again and lo and behold all the episodes are online! Watched a couple episodes so far; they're pretty good, esp if you're into foreign policy and stuff :D
Vote For The Worst American Idol
contestant and be a foot solider against cornball programming. In the battle between an Internet movement and television producers, so far the rouge site
has the lead. But as we get closer to the show's finale, can the contrarians keep the worst contestants
in the mix?
at the core, neither good or bad. It simply is. [+]
Blah Blah Blogging
:: "The following is a meticulously detailed recap of a news segment that appeared on the Chicago FOX news affiliate on Wednesday, May 5th, 2004."
-- Intelligent blogger agrees to appear in puff piece about blogging for FOX news. These are the results.
"After all Law & Order has done for us, I feel it's the least I can do for Law & Order"
Well it's about damn time! Yes, it's Law & Order:Artistic Intent
. I dare say that Jerry Orbach hasn't looked this good since Dirty Dancing. Don't leave your kids out, they'll have a great afternoon with the Law & Order Coloring Book
. I eagerly await a similarly themed L. A. Law
or Hillstreet Blues
The one-eyed demon.
In 1999 Bhutan, one of the most isolated countries in the world (Bhutan seems to have been the model för Shangri-la in James Hilton's "Lost Horizon"), became the last country in the world to adopt television. The king of Bhutan wasn't much interested in gross national product, but in his own concept "gross national happiness" and he believed that TV would increase his nation's happiness. Since then, Bhutan has experienced a crime wave unlike anything the country has previously known. This article
tells the story and claims that TV breeds crime. But the questions raised by this story are wider than that: what is it that makes our Western TV-Coke-advertisement-culture totally irresistible? Why do people instantly feel they want it when they see it? Why hasn't any nation looked at the junk we have to offer, laughed at us and walked away?
(NYT/reg. req) gets my vote for Stupidest Theory of the Day. Basically, he says that movies are more memorable and stay with us longer than TV shows. Huh?! He's kidding, right? (more inside).
The Tourist Who Won't Go Home
The recent ugly american thread
has brought out ethnocentricity and xenophobia in us over crimes like socks with shorts--we forget happen at home just as often
. meanwhile violence
errupts when tourists forget they are guests in someone's home. But is the real crime the errosion of the cultures we visit? Do movements like Slow Food
have a chance protecting native cultures, or the Americanization of the world inevitable?