film


In the time since my last post, the weather has progressively worsened, to the point where nearly everyone in the Great Lakes region has some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, manifesting in general crankiness.  So that’s my excuse for not writing: the weather has smushed me under its thumb and left me as a broken young woman on the slushy road of life.  Our hearts here are not filled with love for our fellow human, today or anytime soon…

Crap, I was totally going to crochet a bunch of wee red hearts this year.  Argh.

Between that and the presidential primary next week, they’ve got plenty to talk about on the news, so the whole rest of the world could be under attack from a pretentious giant sea monster and all we’d know about was the WGA strike being over.  Which, though I supported the strikers, is a good thing.  Reality television of the throw-a-bunch-of-people-together-for-money genre makes me want to cry; my mental image of purgatory is being the poor sap that has to edit that.

Haven’t done much (read: any) cooking lately, but I have read Nigella Lawson’s latest, Nigella Express.  It’s beautifully photographed, as usual, and also a decent read.  I can’t quite figure out what I like so much about Nigella, to be honest, save maybe that her writing seems to be frank and domestic without being excessively cute, and considers American food availability* without much disdain.  She also has a fine appreciation of alcohol.

There need to be more knitting books in the Nigella vein, I think–images, technique, and a slice of life.  Mason Dixon Knitting is pretty close, and The Yarn Harlot is like it without the pikturs, but other than that, I can’t really think of anything recent.  Admittedly, knitting is far more of a niche market than cooking.  There’s not a Fiber Arts Network, and yarn consumption isn’t something that must be done regularly for every human’s survival.

By the way, I’m sort of appalled that Julie and Julia is becoming a movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  Not that I don’t wish Julie Powell the best, but Hollywood’s really mining every last book they can, aren’t they?

It was with some trepidation that I read this article on the DVD release of old school Sesame Street, though not without fascination either.  The changing tides of pop culture is what I academically cut my teeth on.  (Be warned, it’s from the NYT Magazine and therefore contains more than your RDA of snooty sardonicism.)

What really gets to me is that CTW has seen the need to slap a warning on the set, a warning that you shouldn’t show it to your wee ones.  Virginia Heffernan explains in her article that it shows things that, today, just ain’t right.  Some examples she gives I can go along with, like talking to strangers, but others just seem to be conjecture, like Cookie Monster seeming like an addict, and the Street being far, far more dingy.

But she also reveals something poignant, which is that Sesame Street was looking to meet an unmet need for inner city wee ones; can we say that the show even remotely targets them now?  And that maybe we coddle the heck out of our kids today (cookies ARE a sometimes food, but does that mean we can’t enjoy eating them?  heck, what happened to the balance of Captain Vegetable?!).

I’m somewhat mixed on this, really, because I came in with a smaller sea change; before the CGI and the like, but after the original period, when Mr. Hooper was going to retire, Snuffy had just become real, and Maria and Luis finally tied the knot.  This was a world where you could do stop-motion animation with cookies and it was amazing.  Was it a better time, overall?  No, definitely not.

But I daresay it was a better time for Sesame Street than today.  This was before they had to compete, before I want that yesterday, planned activities, and instant gratification became de rigeur for three-year-olds; when diversity meant respecting and being interested in other people.

It sure as heck wasn’t perfect.  But at least it wasn’t business as usual for kids’ TV.

At least it wasn’t boring.

First off, there will be a Blog Stalker post later today.  I promise.  I’ve just been exhausted as I went to full time this week at my job and I’m still making the circadian transition.  So when I get up the stairs, I don’t feel like taking my camera and going back down to snap a picture of my transit.  It will happen.  rly.  Oh yeah, and TV being new has been a big blow to my schedule, as well.  Between The War on PBS and all the show premieres, I’m swamped.

 Speaking of The War, I’m of two minds about it as a whole.  (For those who don’t know–it’s Ken Burns’ latest massive documentary about regular Americans during and in World War II.)  It’s wrenching, emotionally, between the veterans who speak, and the footage that Burns acquired.  To be honest, it takes a certain amount of will to remind yourself that those are actual dead bodies or wounded people or battles, filmed sixty years ago by some brave crazy men in the US military.  They’re not special effects, and most of it isn’t staged.  It’s a drastic change from where we are now, with embedded journalism and instant information.

It’s hard to remind yourself of that.  It’s hard to remind yourself of a lot of things, like that someone could be killed and the family wouldn’t find out for over a month.  And that there was so much footage taken that the public didn’t see for ages.  If they had had instantaneous communication, as we do now…would they have wanted to know?   And are the people of that time really ‘the greatest generation’ or just people who walked in towards combat blind because no one had made them aware of its horrors before, and were too disciplined by societal mores that prescribed to stay the course?

I’m thinking that the truth is somewhere in between.

And someone should have made this documentary fifteen years ago.