Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Brief Notes about Jim & Andy

I don't think Jim & Andy is a great film. I wouldn't call it must see. I do want to mention a few things that stood out to me. In talking about the early days of his career, Jim Carrey says he woke up one night with this thought: "People want to be free of concern." And when that came to him, that drove his choices about how he would act and entertain. I think that's an interesting statement and observation about people wanting to be free of concern.

Another thought: at times, Carrey rambles on with philosophical thoughts, and some of them are intriguing. A lot of what he says reminds me of the social construction of reality. He seems fascinated by the ability to blur reality. Much of the film is about how reality became confused when he "became" Andy Kaufman for the film Man on the Moon. He also reminds me of a provocateur who likes to mess with people.

It seems like a lifetime ago when he was part of In Living Color. It's interesting to see the flashback. It also seems like a lifetime ago when he appeared on The Arsenio Hall show. They show a clip when an apparently drunken Carrey takes a feeble swipe in Arsenio Hall's direction, and calls him a "black bastard." It's disturbing. Arsenio handled the moment professionally, apologizing to the audience and quickly deciding to go to break. As said in this Consequence of Sound review, "some of this stuff makes him look mean, or like a failure of performative acting." That's understating the matter. Again, a provocateur comes to mind, an arrogant one, a selfish one, who will say or do anything to get a reaction. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

With Black Friday Over, Get Ready for Merry Christmas

I didn't see the usual local news stories featuring people bowling over each other in a race for flat screens and other sexy items. Nor did I read any thinkpieces proclaiming the end of humanity and sermonizing about how life is not about the accumulation of material goods. I'm sure I've done some version of this in my life, or at least inner dialogued about it. "Hey man you'll never see me elbowing out folks at 5:45 a.m. at Target," making myself feel good for a moment.

Why would we judge each other for being good consumers? We're doing what we've been trained to do. BUY. BUY NOW. And who doesn't want a good deal? No matter where you are on the income spectrum -- who wants to pay The Man more for his goods than you have to? As an upper middle class person, I have a lot of choices as to when and where I want to consume. People with fewer resources than me do not have the same amount of choices. It's misguided and cruel if I look down on folks for trying to save dollars. And people who make good money also want to save when they can. I got student loans, a mortgage, retirement to think about, maybe the kids will go to college. Fuck it, I'll take an iPad on discount.

Black Friday has become normal and now it's just another part of the calendar. It's a Consumption Holiday, followed by another Consumption Holiday. "Cyber Monday," how stupid is that, no one uses "Cyber" anymore. At least change that shit to Digital Monday.

Now that leftovers have been devoured and our Consumption Holidays nearly complete, get ready for President Trump to say MERRY CHRISTMAS and remind us over and over that we can say MERRY CHRISTMAS again. As if Bill O'Reilly's War on Christmas was actually real when in fact it's better described as Fake News. There was never a War on Christmas. It was, and remains, good manners to say Happy Holidays knowing that not everybody in the world (or your workplace, or in your peer group) is a Christian or observes Christmas. Obviously it was never either/or -- either you had to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. People said both, they'll continue to say both, it's selective observation to claim that people stopped saying Merry Christmas. It's dishonest. But honest doesn't pay the bills.

Monday, November 20, 2017

What's Left for Bills Fans Except Beer, Snark, and GIFs?

We are Deadspin famous for tailgate shenanigans.

We have a cool nickname (Bills Mafia) that the national media and NFL players will shout out on occasion.

We take pride in our toughness in cold and snow.

We are known for our chicken wings.

How the hell did we manage to lose 4 Super Bowls in a row?

Wide right, immortalized in the movie Buffalo '66. 

Each time a new coach or quarterback takes the stage, we have a glimmer of hope.

We even have billionaire owners who have invested in downtown Buffalo.

But with each glimpse of hope we are treated to a Homer Simpson like football in the groin.

We will continue to break tables and light ourselves on fire at tailgates.

We will continue to snark on social media.

We will continue to be clever with GIFs.

To quit on these Bills--ever--is not going to happen.

Drink, snark, and GIF is what we will continue to do.

Video of the Day - "Los Ageless" by St. Vincent

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Making of a Teenage Service Class (Excerpts)

I'm considering assigning The Making of a Teenage Service Class, an ethnography by Ranita Ray, for my Social Stratification class next semester. Good impression so far. Some excerpts:

"The immediate allure of low-wage work":

Thoughts on the Economy

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What Happens to All the Food on Food Network Shows (Rant)

Why do they have to make so much food on Food Network shows? Is it necessary to have full entrees in Chopped? What happens to all the food that the judges don't eat? Is it thrown away? Do employees on set eat it? There's talk on Food Network shows about respecting ingredients -- wasting food is obviously not respectful. They do support charities -- No Kid Hungry is mentioned a lot -- but how much food is wasted in all of these shows that put food at the center of contests?

Guys Grocery Games -- all the produce, all the meat, all the dairy -- I once read somewhere that some of the food from the grocery store (a set, I think, not a real grocery store, but I don't know for sure) gets donated. But again, huge plates are made in three rounds -- how much food is thrown out and never used?

I am a devoted Food Network viewer -- I like watching people cook food, I like learning a thing or two from watching the shows, I like getting ideas about what to make -- but I'm getting obsessed with food waste especially when we consider tens of millions of people in poverty in the U.S. alone who have trouble putting food on the table.

Can Food Network do Foodtainment in a way that focuses on food conservation? Or at least is honest about where the food comes from and how much of it gets tossed away in the process of making television? Can less of the shows be about games and contests, please? Or ask contestants to make small plates, damn it.