aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I’ve got to watch more TV! Busy blogging and out and about in my small town life, all I see is Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and South Park. This is nothing new, living in New York I missed pretty much the entire Seinfeld run.
Sure, Lost drew massive audiences in its first two years, but in its third season, itÃ‚’s losing both viewers (down a third from last year) and narrative steam (whoÃ‚’s in the hatch with the Others and the numbers and theÃ‚-oh, forget it). And for anyone who didnÃ‚’t sign on from the beginning, thereÃ‚’s little incentive to catch up now. Why invest hours wading through past DVDs when your co-workers are grousing that the mysteries still havenÃ‚’t paid off?
There is, however, a simple solution: Change the format, or at least reimagine it. When it so-called arc shows, we need something between a mini-series and an open-ended run. We need the TV equivalent of a novella: the limited-run show. Series driven by a central mystery (Twin Peaks, The X-Files) peter out precisely because they have indefinite life spans. The writers are forced to serve up red herrings until the shows choke on their own plot twists. (Whereas 24 works because itÃ‚’s more cliff-hanger than puzzleÃ‚-though Jack Bauer is surely the unluckiest man alive.)
Now letÃ‚’s imagine an alternate reality in which, say, Lost was designed to run for only two seasons. Rather than getting an increasingly tedious shaggy-dog story, weÃ‚’d get 48 episodes of tightly plotted, expertly interwoven suspense. Viewers would be both more willing to sign on at the beginning (knowing their investment will pay off) and more inclined to buy DVDs later (either as catch-up for newbies or as a satisfying boxed set). Sure, the show wonÃ‚’t syndicate well, but shows like Lost donÃ‚’t syndicate well anyway. And the series finale would be hugeÃ‚-the kind of event TV network executives drool over.
Via Boing Boing.
The smart web
From the billions of documents that form the World Wide Web and the links that weave them together, computer scientists and a growing collection of start-up companies are finding new ways to mine human intelligence.
Their goal is to add a layer of meaning on top of the existing Web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide - and even provide the foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion. That level of artificial intelligence, with machines doing the thinking instead of simply following commands, has eluded researchers for more than half a century.
Referred to as Web 3.0, the effort is in its infancy, and the very idea has given rise to skeptics who have called it an unobtainable vision. But the underlying technologies are rapidly gaining adherents…
My new car
The styling is fresh and modern, with more than a passing resemblance to the new and more expensive Lexus IS sport sedan. It is more fun to drive than the Camry, nearly as nice inside as the Accord and loaded with features at a highly competitive price.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released safety ratings for 14 vehicles. Hyundai’s Sonata and Tucson joined the Mercedes-Benz ML Class, Subaru B9 Tribeca, and Honda Odyssey as the only vehicles getting 5 stars in all of the crash tests.
It still has America’s best warranty. So today we bought one. Said one of Doug’s students, “Oh. My mom wants one of those.” Ah, middle age.
If I weren’t working for a state school I might rather suffer my mid-life crisis in an Infiniti G35. As it is I’m a big fan of Hyundai and happy to settle in to my sensibly comfy and safe new car.
Ted Haggard’s going into spiritual restoration. This is what those who claim to cure homosexuality brag about:
“I see success approximately 50 percent of the time,” said H.B. London, vice president for church and clergy at Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian ministry in Colorado Springs. “Guys just wear out and they can no longer subject themselves to the process.”
Those who fail “end up selling cars or shoes or something, and being miserable and angry the rest of their lives,” London said.
Some success, eh? And don’t you just love the loving way they embrace those who try but fail?
Yesterday I listened to Monday’s Open Source on Homosexuality and the American church. This comment is from Jeff Sharlet, who wrote the May 2005 Harper’s piece on Haggard’s church:
This whole idea of purity as a way in which you can become a real activist in the cause. You might not be out there protesting outside an abortion clinic, or going out on a mission trip, but you are sort of conducting a mission trip in your own genitals. Driving lust out from your body the way Christ drives the demons out. And it makes everyone feel like, wow, I’m a part of something bigÃ¢â‚¬Â¦And the reason that the gay man looms so large is because, in their imagination, he’s the one who gives into his temptations entirelyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦The gay man, he’s not even procreating, it’s just about him, it’s just about pleasure, it’s just selfishness.
And here’s Mel White saying what we all know to be true about gays in the church:
It’s the old Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We are in every level of the church, and in every position. There are so many gay pastors and priests, gay congregants, gay deacons, gay elders. You know, we are everywhere in the church serving Christ well, and I think, wisely. But the only way we can do that is to build our service on a lie. And that’s really sad.