Sunday, October 29, 2006

Weekend Update

The American Office

I finished watching the first season of the American Office, and it's better, but still nowhere near the British. The show's much broader, the UK characters did some ridiculous stuff, but it all felt plausible within the office environment. However, Michael Scott's out of the office in half the episodes, and in something like the basketball episode, it feels more like a club than an actual workplace. I love the awkwardness of office social gatherings in the quiz episode of the UK one, but at least that one happened after work, so it was plausible. I'm definitely laughing at the show, but it feels sort of like late season Seinfeld, to the UK's early Seinfeld. Early Seinfeld is painfully attuned to the way that real people interact, and the humor is mixed with pain at knowing that you're just like this. The American one is more just a well written wacky comedy. That said, I did really like the final scene in thep arking lot at the end of the first season, where all the characters go their seperate ways, each jealous of the others in some way.

The Box Office

This week saw the virtual death of Marie Antoinette at the box office, with only $2.5 million gross in it second week. I don't think it was going to be a blockbuster, but I know it's not playing near me here at Wesleyan, and I've talked to a bunch of people who wanted to see it, but couldn't. Same thing with The Science of Sleep. These are films that people want to see, and need to be released to more theaters. And the saddest thing is that an utterly hollow enterprise like Saw III winds up at the top of the box office. If I was running a studio, I would make these crappy horror films too, just because it's the only thing that people will reliably go to.

Media Censorship

I think it's really ridiculous that people will refuse to run ads for 'Death of a President' and the Dixie Chicks documentary. For DoaP, it's a piece of fiction! People aren't going to see this and all of a sudden to decide to assassinate George Bush. Did Elephant cause a rash of school shootings? I think considering the effect of an assassination is a very valid intellectual question, and the fact that people are unwilling to even ponder it is going against the principles on which the country was founded. It's not free speech for people you agree with. And that's where the Dixie Chicks issue comes in. Now, I lost respect for her when she apologized for making the comments about Bush. That was cowardly, but it's even more ridiculous to criticize someone for stating their opinion. Dissent is the very essence of what America was founded on, and saying that we can't debate a war while it's going on is a travesty.

This is the same logic that led people to say that we shouldn't "play the blame game" about Hurricane Katrina. When someone gets murdered, you don't call an investigation into who did it "the blame game," and Bush's actions led to hundreds of deaths. Why shouldn't we call him out on that so it doesn't happen again?

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