aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Tonight’s our last night in New York. Last night we went to see Spring Awakening:
‘’Spring Awakening’’ is a withering attack on a rigid, hypocritical society that cares only about outward appearances and refuses to deal openly with natural sexual urges. The plot [based on an 1891 German drama by Frank Wedekind] focuses on three adolescents—Wendla Bergmann, Moritz Stiefl and Melchior Gabor—who are grappling with the emotional turmoil that is triggered by their sexual awakening. With wit, if not always subtlety, Wedekind skewers Victorian conformity (whether from liberals or conservatives) and evasiveness about masturbation, homosexuality, sadomasochism and more. The 14-year-old Wendla, for example, futilely begs her mother to tell the truth about how babies are born instead of more fairy tales of storks flying down chimneys. By the end this sort of repression and enforced ignorance lead to suicide, abortion and violence.
To Wedekind theater was about expressing emotional truth. Uninspired by naturalistic drama and the surface reality it portrayed, he stretched and bent traditional dramatic structure, using stylized dialogue, fragmented sentences, episodic storytelling and bizarre scenarios to capture an interior world of feeling and fantasy. Forerunners of Expressionism and the Theater of the Absurd, his theories and techniques would undergird modern drama.
In the current Broadway musical Duncan Sheik, the composer, and Steven Sater, who adapted the book and wrote the lyrics, deploy pulsating rock music to transport the characters from their 19th-century reality and get at their inner lives: ‘’See, each night, it’s, like, fantastic—tossing, turning, without rest,/’Cause my day’s at the piano—with my teacher and her breasts,’’ sings Georg Zirschnitz, a boy in Melchior’s school, as he daydreams during Latin class about sex. Two other students sing: ‘’See there’s showering in gym class/Bobby Maler, he’s the best/Looks so nasty in those khakis/God, my whole life’s, like, some test.’’
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, whose sexual relationship with U.S. President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment, has graduated from the London School of Economics, her publicist said on Wednesday.
Lewinsky, who was 21 when she became involved with Clinton, is interviewing for jobs in Britain, publicist Barbara Hutson said. [...]
She completed a thesis entitled “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An exploration of the third person effect and pre-trial publicity.”
An interesting thesis topic too!
The nearly three-minute digital film, shown on “Saturday Night Live” last Saturday, was a parody of two boy-band singers (including one played by the real Justin Timberlake) crooning a holiday song about making a gift to their girlfriends of their male anatomy, which they appeared to have wrapped in boxes (strategically placed) and then topped with bows.
Given the subject matter, it was little surprise that NBC bleeped a recurring word in the chorus 16 times. But soon after the broadcast concluded at 1 a.m. Sunday, viewers who’d seen the bit on TV (and others who had just heard about it) could find the uncensored version online. That’s because the network itself had placed it on its own Web site (nbc.com) and YouTube.com, under the headings “Special Treat in a Box” or “Special Christmas Box.”
In less than a week the official uncensored version of the video has been viewed by over two million people on YouTube alone. In the process “Saturday Night Live” appears to have become the first scripted comedy on a broadcast network to use the Web to make an end-run around the prying eyes of both its internal censors and those of the Federal Communications Commission, whose jurisdiction over “Saturday Night Live” effectively ends at the Web frontier.
The common denominator in “Special Treat” and “Lazy Sunday” - as well as another “Saturday Night Live” favorite on You Tube featuring the actress Natalie Portman and her supposed bad-girl side - is a performer on the show, Andy Samberg, and a supporting cast of producers he brought with him to “Saturday Night Live” from a pioneering Web site called Lonely Island.[...]
As yet another production featuring Mr. Samberg spreads like electronic wildfire, the performer said he was pleased that the show was becoming so adept at finding alternate routes to viewers, beyond the 6.5 million who, on average, watch the show on NBC each Saturday night, according to Nielsen Media Research. (A figure that is down slightly since last year at this time.)
“A sign now of success with a certain audience when you do a short comedy piece, anywhere, is that it gets on YouTube and gets around,” Mr. Samberg said. “It’s always something you’re thinking about unconsciously. It’s not our main objective. But there’s no part of us that doesn’t want to be on YouTube.”
Here’s the uncensored Dick in a Box video from NBC’s YouTube page (it’s been removed from everyone else’s). The Times’ story details its genesis and concludes with SNL lead writer Seth Meyers’ observation that “it’s actually not funnier uncensored.”
Jeff Jarvis has his fingers crossed hoping that the tough time federal appeals court judges gave the FCC yesterday over fines against Fox for graphic language in a live broadcast portends something good:
The judges bored in on the FCC argument. Noting that the hearing was being broadcast on C-Span, the judges quizzed Mr. Miller about whether news programs that subsequently air the oral arguments - where the offending words were sprinkled liberally throughout - would violate FCC standards.
Mr. Miller said likely not, as the words are used for legitimate news purposes.
“This seems to be a scheme that depends on what you [the FCC] think instead of having objective criteria,” said Judge Rosemary Pooler, part of the appeals-court panel. “Are you just telling the networks Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ to make some sort of cockamamie claim and they’ll survive?”
Judge Pooler kept Mr. Miller on the defensive throughout his half-hour long argument, telling him he seemed to contradict himself over whether broadcasters can claim virtually anything has news value. Later, she asked why the FCC had cited a need to protect children from profanities when it had cited no studies finding children were injured by them, but yet had never sought to penalize broadcasters for violence in programs when many studies show they do injure children.