Friday Jamie went to a fashion show of some sort at UT. Jason and I went and grabbed dinner, and then saw "The Forbidden Kingdom", the Jet Li/ Jackie Chan team-up. It's basically a kids' movie, and as such, it doesn't do much to bring anything new to the "quest" movie (which in this case, the quest is to bring a magical staff to the Monkey King). There's hints of "NeverEnding Story" to the thing, but its not necessarily for very small kids. But if I had a 9 year-old at my disposal, this would be a good entry-point for Kung-Fu movies.
Saturday I hit the Barton Springs spill-over with Lucy, Cassidy and Jason. It was a great Austin springtime sort of Saturday, and I got a little sun. Last night we went to dinner with Matt and Nicole at Hyde Park.
This morning and Friday night, typically horrendous spring weather blew through. This morning, in particular, looked pretty nasty out the window when all three pets came to the bedroom around 6:50 looking for moral support. So we finally got some rain. And, these fronts tend to leave the sky clear and blue, with the the swimming holes pretty well filled. So... maybe another day of unemployment tomorrow would be welcome... Many a day I've stepped outside for lunch into beautiful weather and bemoaned the fact I was working on such a day. Hopefully I can make something of the lovely weather.
Today we headed to the far north of Austin to see a screening of Superman: The Movie at the Lake Creek Alamo Drafthouse. Jason came along, and we met up with Tania and JAL. Before the screening, they had a trivia contest, and the League is embarrassed to report that he was asked to refrain from answering questions when, after two questions, it became clear I was ready to sweep (I had correctly identified Clark Kent's middle name as "Joseph" when the hammer came down, and the guy who played Darth Vader as Reeve's trainer during filming of Superman).
Look, I have one skill. I should be able to flex it occasionally.
I did win passes.
They also had a costume contest, and there were several elementary-aged Supermans, Batmans and some guy (not a kid) in a phenomenal Spider-Man costume (and he looked pretty buff under the suit, too). The kids were darn excited about Spidey, as were we.
It was actually really cool to see so many kids come out for the movie with their parents, and not to a cartoon full of fart jokes, which is where I usually see the wee ones. The Admiral and KareBear used to take us to adventure movies all the time when Jason and I were kids. The Admiral was always much more into the movies than KareBear (as evidenced by KareBear's tendency to fall asleep), but we all dug a good family adventure movie back in the day. I am aware that I'm not going to the movies targeted at that demographic (the Spiderwick Chronicles, etc...), so I don't know what parents take their kids to see these days, but its a thrill to see Superman still drawing folks in 30 years on.
Good-bye to Headline News
Has anyone been watching Headline News lately? They seem to have handed the keys over to talking head Mike Galanos, who has decided that every minute of the Headline News broadcast day would be better served if he behaved like an abrasive ass.
Let me back up a moment. What they appear to be doing is suggesting that every story has at least two sides (correct) with the following formula:
1) Report very briefly on the story, fitting "who, what, where, when, why" into about, literally, twenty seconds.
2) Have anchor Galanos ask some loaded question about the story
3) Have one or two "experts" discuss the topic while Galanos tells them why they are wrong, usually because he's scripted out the knee jerk reaction one would have using emotional arguments and a complete lack of knowledge about the subtleties and nuances of the topic.
What the @$%#?
I am aware that when Turner sold CNN to Time-Warner, Time-Warner began to muck with the formula, leading to shows like "Nancy Grace" and "Glenn Beck", both of whom seem to be making money by acting like braying donkeys. Apparently a lot of people are watching this stuff, so a lot of people find this form of news a lot more palatable. I find it grating and unwatchable. And apparently, if what I just watched for the last thirty minutes is any indication, the other Headline News reporters are finding the new format a little hard to work in. They all sort of look like they just want their segments over with.
A lot of hay is made over how many ways there are now to get your news, but I guess this is the downside. In competing for marketshare, the people who seem to be winning are (as is so often in life) the one willing to make the most noise.
I've mostly already given up on Headline News, but this is the last nail in the coffin. For the last several years I've screened various news sources to look at the news, and I find it sort of amazing that I'm moving further and further away from TV news and back to print (if that's what you want to call the internet). As per the web: Unfortunately, the CNN internet brand hasn't really been an option for a while thanks to their insistence on "video" for every story (I can read fine, thanks). And then forcing me to watch some 30 second ad, a house ad, and throw in a good twenty seconds for buffering before seeing the actual story. Thanks, CNN, but I was good with the text story.
This is the fate of the news, I suppose. The day of journalistic objectivity will be talked about in classrooms as a quaint and provincial notion that missed the bigger picture of using the news as a sounding board for hacks and carnival barkers to get airtime. All of this, of course, to drive up ad revenue. Mentions of objectivity will be met with the kind of derision one saves for the over-idealistic, when the smart and cynical know how to make a buck.
I'm mostly disappointed that Headline News' insistence on the format change means it must be working. What can it mean but that people want to digest their news in an all-debate, all-jack-ass formula? Is this the spirit of true discourse? One step ahead of a Geraldo Rivera chair toss? Somehow, people MUST feel like Glenn Beck has something to offer. But what I find really creepy is when I hear "Oh, well, he's funny".
The news isn't really supposed to be funny, per se. Debate and discussion over the fate of the Middle East shouldn't really be there to amuse the viewer because Glenn beck just called someone a pink-o as part of his argument. This line of thinking and wanting your news pre-processed to match your pre-defined political/ emotional spectrum is the narrow-casting of the world. Join the Glenn Beck/ Mike Galanos team and feel superior to those the news is actually happening to.
Now, that's not to say that there's not room for comedians. But the comedians are not journalists. The role of the comedian has often been to point out the absurdity of any situation. But that doesn't mean that the comedian has the same place in the media matrix as the politician, the journalist of the partisan hack with airtime.
As mentioned by Jon Stewart: