Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Night Shift…

NBC’s The Night Shift looks like Grey’s Anatomy and ER thrown into a blender with Chivas. The trailer opens with casual sexism and follows up with every medical drama cliche imaginable.

I resent the use of the war in Afghanistan as a “sexy” backstory for a stubbly maverick leading man. I can’t recall a depiction of a physically disabled, permanently disfigured veteran. I guess that doesn’t play well in primetime.

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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Pop Life


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Maya Angelou…

Maya Angelou’s appearance on The Richard Pryor Special? in 1977. The sketch begins with an adaptation of Pryor’s “Nigger with a Seizure” routine from his 1974 album That Nigger’s Crazy. The special adds a scene with Angelou as the Pryor character’s wife and the routine is no longer simply funny but now poignantly tragic.

Thanks for everything, Dr. Angelou.

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Pop Life


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“Man up?” Really?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who one presumes has speech writers, suggests that Edward Snowden should “man up.”

“The bottom line is this is a man who has betrayed his country, who is sitting in Russia, an authoritarian country where he has taken refuge. He should man up and come back to the United States. If he has a complaint about what’s wrong with American surveillance, come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case,” Mr Kerry said in an interview on CBS This Morning

There is nothing inherently noble or brave about having one Y chromosome and two testicles.

I doubt Kerry would have suggested that Snowden act like a “good white man” and return to the U.S., so can we please leave “man up” in the sexist dustbin?


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Defining “Nigger”…

Defining “Nigger”…

The police commissioner in Wolfeboro, N.H. stands by his use of a racial epithet to describe Barack Obama.

“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” (Robert) Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners… “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

I have to say he doesn’t seem as friendly as the former police commissioner.

I’m curious as to how Obama “meets and exceeds” the official old person’s definition of a “nigger.” When more subtle bigots use the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Racist” code word of “thug” to describe a black person, it’s usually applied to a teenager who wears a hoodie (without the forgivable exception of being a Portland resident or CEO of Facebook) or to a trash-talking football player. But Obama has no criminal record, dresses conservatively, has two kids to the same mother to whom he’s still married, and has a job — it’s a crappy, thankless job, but like many other black men in a similar situation, he takes pride in his work.

So, if even Obama exceeds Copeland’s “criteria” for nigger-hood, then it’s probably a low bar. Chalk up another win for Affirmative Action, I guess.

About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents in the scenic Lakes Region, in the central part of New Hampshire, a state that’s 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department’s 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority.

Resident Frank Bader mocked those who took offense at Copeland’s comments in a state that prizes freedom.

“All this man did was express his displeasure with the man who’s in office,” Bader said.

Oh, this again? At least he didn’t directly mention the first amendment. Despite that one Chris Rock routine every white person has apparently seen and memorized, “nigger” is not a qualitative noun. It’s not like Copeland called Obama an “idiot” or a “liar” or a “moron.” “Nigger” refers only to his skin color. Perhaps Copeland believes that is condemnation enough.



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New New York Times…

Dean Baquet just became the first black executive editor of the New York Times, replacing Jill Abramson, the first female top editor. Sometimes, there is blood on the Golden Ticket.

The suggestion that she was fired because of she complained about her salary, compared to her male predecessors and even her subordinates is unsettling. I’m not sure that’s even entirely legal but as the old saying goes, “No company will ever pay you enough to sue them successfully.”

Abramson lasted about a year after Politico published a piece about the drama in Abramson’s newsroom that was so slanted toward Baquet I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d written it himself under a pen name.

“I think there’s a really easy caricature that some people have bought into, of the bitchy woman character and the guy who is sort of calmer,” (Baquet) said. “That, I think, is a little bit of an unfair caricature.”

Not only is it unfair but it’s a weird comment from the guy who got into a fist fight with a wall after a contentious meeting with Abramson. How does anyone describe him, even in caricature, as the “calm” one? Also, Abramson declined to speak to Politico — yet her managing editor did? And freely? Wouldn’t it have been best for neither to go on record?

In retrospect, Abramson should have suspected her days were numbered when Baquet would occasionally stop and deliver Shakespearan asides to the camera.


Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Uncategorized



The trailer for FOX’s Gotham reminds me of the fan-made ones on YouTube for some imaginary superhero series.

Let’s compare and contrast.

Wouldn’t you rather watch Nightwing? Sure, you’d miss out on whatever Jada Pinkett Smith is trying to do, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

I suppose the theory behind Gotham is that the Superman “prequel” Smallville lasted 10 years. But Smallville was basically an updated version of the Superboy comic. It was an established concept. There really is no precursor for Gotham or reason why I would care about a pre-teen Bruce Wayne. No matter how good Ben McKenzie might be as Gordon, it still has the feel of Star Wars: Episode One.

The only “pre-Batman” series I could possibly see working would be an extension of Batman 404: Year One, Part One ). Gordon and a young Bruce Wayne arriving in Gotham and navigating the corrupt police department and seedy underworld.

Granted, your best case scenario there is a replay of Smallville seasons 5 through 10 when there’s no logical reason why he’s not public as Superman yet other than that it would mean the end of the series.

And it still would be about as good as Riverdale.


Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Pop Life


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Karen Gillan, formerly of Doctor Who, breaks into American TV with the ABC comedy Selfie. She left her Scottish burr on the TARDIS apparently, and her American accent is about as convincing as my Scottish one, which basically involves my shouting, “I’ve giv’n her all she’s got, Cap’n, and I canna give her no more!”

Entertainment Weekly describes the series as “loosely based on My Fair Lady,” which is true in the sense that Entertainment Weekly is loosely based on a magazine. My Fair Lady is a musical adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion. If neither your Eliza Doolittle or Henry Higgins stand-in is singing (or whatever it was Rex Harrison managed to pull off), then you are “adapting” Pygmalion… most likely poorly.

In fairness, Selfie itself directly references My Fair Lady, which you really can’t do when you don’t just adapt its premise but actually name your characters after the Shaw’s. When a woman named “Eliza Dooley” says that a man named “Henry Higgins” is going to “totally My Fair Lady” me, that’s just weird. It’s like the lead in Sherlock telling John Watson, “No shit, Sherlock,” whenever Watson says something obvious.

Oh, and there’s a Mammy character, because that’s what how primetime TV rolls these days.

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The Mysteries of Laura…

I understand NBC felt the need to cancel Dracula because I was the only one watching it, and the network needs at least twice those numbers to remain competitive against Netflix originals. But what I can’t comprehend is how NBC finds room on its schedule for nonsense like the new Debra Messing series The Mysteries of Laura.

This looks like the type of series written by a Soviet-era nuclear-control computer after someone spilled coffee on it. In theory, it has everything: Police procedural, wisecracking New York City detective, single mom more or less, generic Negro. But in practice, it has Debra Messing.

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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Pop Life



North Carolina Primary…

Clay Aiken’s opponent in the Democratic primary just died in his home.

A North Carolina textile entrepreneur locked in a too-close-to-call Democratic Party primary with former “American Idol” singer Clay Aiken has died.

The president of the company founded by 71-year-old Keith Crisco says Crisco died at home on Monday after an accident. AEC Narrow Fabrics President Robert Lawson says Crisco’s son notified company employees of the death.

Aiken was ahead by just 400 votes. If he holds on to that lead — I haven’t read anything that states whether Crisco’s death definitively hands the race to Aiken, the American Idol runner-up will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November. Ellmers rode the Tea Party wave in 2010. It’s uncertain at this point if she has staying power.

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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Political Theatre


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More things I’ll never understand…

NFL player Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend on TV and this greatly upset football fans who prefer to see grown men savagely pummel each other into unconsciousness because that is perfectly natural and totally not abnormal.


Reading these Facebook comments, it’s hard to not suspect it’s an Onion parody. A man actually posted, “I don’t have a problem with them being gay but I don’t need it shoved in my face.”

It’s a kiss — a G-rated expression of affection. If that makes you physically ill, you should seek professional help.

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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Social Commentary