Archive for Television

From The Japanese Culture Owns Department

1) Sumo Wrestlers Making Babies Cry

From CNN

Babies face each other and are coaxed to cry. The first to bawl is declared the winner. The ritual is a wish for the good health of the children, as crying reputedly is beneficial for babies.”

More awesome, after the jump.

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Best of Byrd

God I love 400-year old vampire Southern senators — particularly Robert Byrd. I’m pretty sure he’s a Black Ops steam powered automaton that President Lincoln commissioned during the Civil War to fight the Confederacy or something.

I got reminded of him most recently, of course, because of the dogfighting controversy where he went nuts.

But there’s so much more awesome in Robert Byrd’s eternal lifespan. The Best of Byrd, after the jump.

UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that Byrd is also president pro tempore. Agreed: this is bodaciously awesome.

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Regulation as a Storytelling Constraint

What’s interesting about the U.S. version of the Office is that, despite essentially building off of the same premise as its predecessor, it still manages to be hugely different than its British counterpart. Granted, both still manage to be wildly entertaining, but in pretty distinguishable ways.

Though you might be able to square away the content of the humor to the particular sensibilities of each show’s respective audience, some things don’t seem immediately obvious to attribute to cultural differences. For example, the pattern of British television shows more generally is repeated in the UK Office — that is, there’s only a few hour long episodes.

Mike and I were chilling out this weekend, and we hit upon a pretty cool rationale that ties concrete economic regulation of mass media in each country to the kinds of stories that artists can tell and the sorts of plot elements they can use.

I thought it was a pretty interesting idea since it implies that the way the government chooses to be involved in a medium (not only as censor) shapes the artistic, aesthetic elements that become widely distributed in the public sphere.

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Viva Pinata TV Spot

Hadn’t seen this before — it rules hardcore.

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Web 2.0, CNN, and the Bizzaro-Clones

So I finally got around to watching the CNN’s Youtube Presidential Debates aired on Monday. If you were out of the loop — the basic idea was that the questions were provided by “viewers like you” through videos submitted on Youtube. A press release from CNN cited it as “tak[ing] the bold step of embracing the ever-increasing role of the Internet in politics.”

As much as I love Anderson Cooper’s virgin snowy white hair, there’s the obvious comment that’s already been made by a number of prominent bloggers that this is just old media wrapped up new media clothing. CNN cherry-picked who got aired, and the questions were as softie as they wanted them to be. It’s obvious that CNN still hasn’t quite gotten what the “internet in politics” means for their role in the public sphere when they openly admit that “a small group led by Senior Vice President David Bohrmann” will be deciding “who makes the cut.” If they’re embracing it — it’s only because it still can fit into the traditional way of doing things — with media as ultimate arbitrator.

As implementing Web 2.0 comes increasingly into vogue (i.e. USAToday) I think we will increasingly need a heuristic to parse out the “good uses” from the “bad uses.” I’m not sure what that heuristic is, but I think this instance was a bad use. Granted, I think it’s great to get people into the habit of generating their own media, that much is awesome. Though I think the practice is twisted in a bad way when it re-affirms the principle that the gatekeepers of media bottlenecks have the right to decide who is “valuable” enough to get mass distribution. Plus, it tends to center attention on YouTube as a sole conduit of submitting video, which is also pretty problematic.

Although all this is an important point to be made, I think there’s actually, another more distinctively surreal popomo side to this — the fact the hosts of the show are now Bizzaro-clones.

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X-Files Is BACK

This just in from the BBC. They’re going to do another X-files movie.

WOO. One hopes that the movie they’re planning is anything like the last one. You know, with the killer bees and stuff.

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