Ebola and the Construction of Fear
by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
Grantland writer Rembert Browne journeys into the "dark heart" of 90s nostalgia via Central Perk
, the museum / tourist trap / coffee dispensary dedicated to the popular television show Friends. The modestly popular show premiered 20 years ago today
, and had a number of memorable moments
which are fondly remembered by its small, but dedicated group of fans. Friends previously
In honor of Saturday Night Live
season, Grantland has been publishing an ongoing series of essays, remembrances, podcasts, and interviews
, as well as asking you to cast your votes in The Battle for the Best SNL Cast Member
. (They're already down to the final eight; sorry, your favorite cast member has already been eliminated.)
, announcer for Saturday Night Live
, The Price Is Right
, has died. [more inside]
NBC's cult sitcom Community
has been uncancelled
and will have a sixth season on Yahoo Screen. Previously.
The main cast are all scheduled to return, as well as showrunner Dan Harmon.
During the late 1970's and 1980's, Glen A. Larson's lighthearted television dramas were incredibly popular: Knight Rider
. B.J. and the Bear
. The original Battlestar Galactica
. Quincy M.E. The Fall Guy
. Magnum, P.I. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Larson had hit after hit and it seemed he could do no wrong. But he did produce three flops in the 80's, (and another in the 90's that managed to last two seasons): Automan
, The Highwayman
and Night Man
. [more inside]
What does the yellow light mean?"
"What... does... the... yellow... light... mean?"
"Whaaaaaat... dooooeeees... theeeee... yeeeelllllllllllooowwww... liiiiight... meeeeeeaaaaan?"
"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat…." [more inside]
In 2000, Conan O'Brien taped a comedy segment at the NYC offices of Foote, Cone & Belding
. The premise: take a chainsaw-wielding furniture huckster from Texas, and try to turn him into a star using a top-tier ad campaign. In the segment, Conan is introduced to a team of FCB copywriters, who dutifully come up with an appropriately ridiculous TV ad.
The segment went as planned; Just another remote for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Little did he know where it would lead. Conan and one of the on-camera copywriters took a shine to each other, and stayed in touch. Two years later, Conan O'Brien and Liza Powel were married. Today they live in Hollywood with their two kids.
In a 2012 interview, Conan told CNN's Piers Morgan
: "Somewhere, in the vault at NBC, there's footage of me literally falling for my wife on camera."
Roll the tape.
Tonight at 10/9c! The critically
, criminally-underviewed NBC thriller Hannibal
returns for a second season. There will no doubt be copious live-tweeting
(not least from the showrunner himself
) and much flailing from the intelligent
, and hilarious
fanbase. [more inside]
NBC's critically lauded thriller Hannibal released a season two trailer today
. Author and fandom superstar Cleolinda Jones livetweeted the entire TCA preview event
. (Spoilers for Season One, general screaming and rending of garments)
The AV Club interviews Nicole Michalik
about her experience as a fourth season contestant on NBC's weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser [more inside]
Crackvids are the genre of fandom videos playing out of context or absurd audio over clips of thier favorite media but rarely do they meet the heights of this video for NBC's super serious high-Gothic drama about serial killers, Hannibal.
(SLYTP, NSFW audio, SPOILERS, general fandom silliness)
Conflicts of interest in the Syria debate:
An analysis of the defense industry ties of experts and think tanks who commented on military intervention
It goes back to honoring Thomas Harris and imagery we have in the books, in the Hannibal Lecter books. So we knew that we had to have fantastic imagery that you wouldn’t see on another crime-procedural show. Being competitive and wanting to be completely different from what you see on other shows, which is usually, on a crime procedural you see a body in a room splayed out and blood, but you rarely get to see people covered with mushrooms or impaled on severed stag heads or blood eagled and the totem pole. We would sit in the room and say, “What is the image? What is the death tableau? What are we going to see that’s going to be so striking and cinematic and beautiful at the same time, but will actually be a horrible crime scene?” So every crime scene that we have has to have this element of beauty and art to it.
Bryan Fuller, showrunner for NBC's Hannibal
), discusses each episode of the first season with the AV Club. Part 1
. Part 2
. Part 3
. Part 4
One of the many things that sets NBC's Hannibal apart is how it treats the violence it shows.
The finale for the first season aired last night, bringing to a close a season of television that most seem to regard as unexpectedly excellent, and a second season is on the way
. This interview
with the show's creator, Bryan Fuller who previously created Wonderfalls
, Dead Like Me
and Pushing Daisies
, touches on the reasoning behind the heightened, stylized murders. A second part
that deals more directly with the contents of the finale went up shortly after it had aired.
Long out of print, "A Doonesbury Special.
" That is all.
How do you solicit freelance scripts for a science fiction television series that breaks the mold? You create a comprehensive guide to writing an episode of Star Trek
. [more inside]
If Matt Lauer doesn’t want to be seen with sharp knives, it’s because last summer his co-host Ann Curry was discovered with one in her back. Five million viewers, the majority of them women, would not soon forget how Curry, the intrepid female correspondent and emotionally vivid anchor, spent her last appearance on the Today show couch openly weeping, devastated at having to leave after only a year. The image of Matt Lauer trying to comfort her—and of Curry turning away from his attempted kiss—has become a kind of monument to the real Matt Lauer, forensic evidence of his guilt. What followed was the implosion of the most profitable franchise in network television.
Beyond the Swanson. Paste
interviews Nick Offerman.
In 1959 Fred Astaire hired renowned makeup artist John Chambers
to work on his television special, Another Evening with Fred Astaire
. The assignment? Turn Fred Astaire into Alfred E. Neuman
. The results were predictably strange
. [more inside]
Football's (soccer, that is) ultimate conquest of North America comes a step closer with the
sale of English Premier League broadcasting rights to NBC for 250 million dollars
. Unlike the Olympics, NBC has indicated that they'll broadcast the games live, to complement their NHL broadcasts. [more inside]
"Revolution" seems a little too much like "Powerless."
Indie television proof-of-concept pilot "Powerless" is "about a trio who are in the woods when an unexplained and unexpected event causes electricity the world over to suddenly disappear." The pilot is submitted to a 2011 television festival where it is seen by studio executives. Then, "come February 2012, NBC picks up [a] mystery high concept pilot and reveals it's called 'Revolution' and the high concept is: An adventure series in a world suddenly and inexplicably without power." [more inside]
Armando Iannucci's Bafta lecture 2012
- In which the creator of The Thick Of It
argues that the BBC should be more aggressive
, fight back against critics in the press and goverment
, be more like HBO than committee-driven American network TV, and that if as James Murdoch says the only reliable, durable guarantor of independence is profit then the only guarantor of profit is independance.
NBC is being heavily
criticized for its handling so far of the 2012 Summer Olympics. From delaying the broadcast of the opening ceremonies by four hours (and then having to endure terrible commentary
) while the rest of world watched live, to cutting out a tribute to terror victims everywhere to not showing
Michael Phelps' first medal attempt live (and then spoiling it on a news broadcast before the race actually aired). This is in addition to online viewers not being able to access
live video online unless they have a cable subscription as well as problems with the actual stream
. [more inside]
Always backed by the 12th Street Rag
, Marv Albert
has brought us "wild and wacky moments in the world of sports (compiled by his crack staff and producer Dave Katz)" for just under thirty years. [Caveats: Some dates are approximate. Some of the more famous clips appear multiple times. Hockey violence, boxing referees getting hit, borked slides into third, etc.] And we start with the early 80's — 1984: a b — 1985 — 1985-86: a b c — 1986 (in review) — 1987: a b c d — 1988 (in review) — 1989: a b — Review of the 80's — Early 1990's — 1997 — 1999's Wild and Wacky Millenium — 2008 — 2009 — 2010 — 2011 — first half of the 2011 NFL season — a 30-minute compilation — another compilation — baseball compilation
One song was synonymous with NBA Basketball throughout the 1990s: Roundball Rock
by John Tesh [more inside]
The Powers That Be
was a short-lived, irreverent sitcom about a dim US Senator (John Forsythe, in his last major starring role on television) and his dysfunctional family, that aired on NBC between 1992 and 1993. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, who would go on to create Friends
, the show co-starred David Hyde Pierce (pre-Frasier
) as the Senator's suicidal son-in-law
. [more inside]
What would happen if a monarchy ruled in part of America? With a monarch divinely crowned? And then a soldier, fighting in the trenches against your hated enemy, saves the king's son and is thrust into court politics? If you flimed it all in New York City, you'd get Kings
, a short-lived (March 2009 - July 2009) television series that aired on NBC. It starred Ian McShane as King Silas and you can watch all 13 episodes of it on Hulu
or NBC's website
. [more inside]
A FOIA request by Chr
revealed that Obama administration officials, including Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel, Biden’s deputy chief of staff Alan Hoffman, and criminal prosecutor Lanny Breuer, negotiated the deal
between ISPs and copyright holders to punish subscribers
whose IP addresses participated in copyright infringement. [more inside]
is the creator of the brilliant NBC comedy Community
. He recorded a bunch of videos
promoting the show on this brilliant promotional site
(playing Patrick Isakson
, Dean of Admissions). He was not happy
when Community moved to 8PM Thursdays. (He talks to himself a lot
.) Community's Dungeons and Dragons episode last week (warning: Hulu link)
was pretty great, but did you know that Harmon was a member of the Dead Alewives, and wrote and voiced characters in this classic D&D sketch
that sketch's lesser-known second part.
On the heels of the Comcast/NBC merger
, NBCUniversal have unveiled their new logo. Astute viewers will note that there's something missing
The FCC and Department of Justice have approved Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal.
The acquisition marks the first time a major television network will be owned by a cable provider. Opponents like Al Franken
decry the deal as giving “unprecedented control over the flow of information in America” to a single media conglomerate. FCC news release about conditions imposed on the merger. (Scribd link)
Early in 1903, the success
of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz
got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland
, was a rousing success
. Thirty years later it was made into a movie
starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach
. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst
production. [more inside]
Back in April 1986, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson stole a truck
. The owner eventually got it back, but the incident resulted in a messy televised trial
that gripped the nation
. Then in February 2004, the victim recounted the story to Conan O'Brien
. [more inside]