jlh: a sign in Lynchville, ME that shows distance to various Maine towns named after countries/cities (Paris, Norway, etc.) (Maine sign)
Moving took me mostly offline for about a week between days dedicated to packing/unpacking, the move itself, and that gap between when you move and when you can get the cable hooked up, but I'm back and mostly caught up! Being offline is the worst, seriously, especially when you also don't have TV.

Hey check out [livejournal.com profile] piratecore's entry in "What does the Great Pumpkin look like?" contest and vote for her natty little fellow!

I've been struggling with what to write here, other than talking about my writing, so how about:

ASK ME A QUESTION and I'll do my best to answer it! Maybe I'll get a sense of what kinds of things you all want to hear about!
jlh: MTV sock puppets sifl and olly (duos: sifl and olly)
You know how every year, folks complain that there are nothing but reruns in March and April, or curse the networks for putting a favorite show on hiatus and replacing it with some new thing, and every year I explain how sweeps work? Well, this year is going to be totally different!

First, February sweeps have been pushed back to March because of the switch from analog to digital signals in 2009. Since sweeps are for the local affiliates, and they're the ones who will be most affected by the switch of the over-the-air signal (if you have a cable box you have no worries) Nielsen is giving them an extra month to get their shit together before measuring their ratings.

Now word comes that May sweeps have been pushed up a week to avoid an early Memorial Day holiday, leaving only 3 weeks in April between the two sweeps months. Given that most shows will have aired 8-10 of their 22-24 episodes through the November sweeps, I predict that many might take all of December, January and February off, and come back in March to finish their seasons straight through from March to May sweeps; after all, that's only 11 weeks. The networks can then program an entire season of either a midseason replacement show, or a reality show, in those 12 weeks over the winter.

Of course, if SAG strikes, then anything could happen. Two seasons in a row with strikes, that's bound to do great things for US television!
jlh: MTV sock puppets sifl and olly (duos: sifl and olly)
Ah spring, when a network's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of reruns. Yes, friends, it's that time of year again, when your favorite network drama seems to go on an endless hiatus. Usually I've written this in a comment here or there, but I'm setting it down, now, in hopes that in later years I can just point to it. Okay, ready? Let's go.

Part 1: TV Dramas Are Pricey! )

Part II: Local Affiliates Have Power! )

Part C: The Year Is Long! )

But Clio, you ask, why didn't I notice this before? )

Friends, I know that the endless reruns and alternative programming in the spring is frustrating and tiresome. I watch Veronica Mars, myself, and we're only going to have 20 episodes this year, and we've seen 11 of them, so it's going to be a long spring. But until the economics of network television change dramatically—which will probably happen sooner than anyone is ready for—get used to a March and April of reruns.

I'm going to use the time to uh, do work for school? Eh, I'll just start watching BSG.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Timeless)
I don't really like manifestos. I don't think writing something extreme really moves forward the conversation; it more allows people to ignore the interesting thought that might be in the middle of all the condescension and villify the author. Those that agree can clutch the book to their breasts; those that disagree can throw out the book with the garbage without a second thought.

The recent politics quiz put me as a "third way liberal" and somewhere along the way I've become sort of reflexively in the middle. It serves me well as an historian; ask an historian a yes or no question and their answer is usually "sort of." I'm not sure where this comes from--perhaps it's the biracial thing, perhaps a positive outlook on other people--but I'm always looking for parallels, for commonalities, for a starting place for conversation, for ways we can start to move toward a place "beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing," to quote Jalal al-Din Rumi. Now, dear reader and friend, you may have a different feeling about this, but if I were to go on NPR and talk about "This I Believe" it would be:

Calling those with whom you do not agree delusional is never a good idea.

Being called a nut doesn't make anyone want to hear what you have to say; it makes them want to punch you in the face, or, with me, wonder why you hate them so much. Never mind the polarization, as though intelligent people can only think one way, which simply isn't true. In addition, changing the terms of the debate requires MUCH more subtle tactics. More seduction, less aggression.

The problem with being reasonable is that you won't get much attention for it. It won't win you fangirls. It won't make you enemies. You won't end up getting cited all over fandomwank or whatever supposed "true story" of the past is getting posted on journalfen. It won't give you an flist in the thousands. Most of the time no one comments on your entries, and sometimes you wonder if anyone even reads the comments you make in their journals, much less your own journal. I'd reckon that ten seconds after they read it no one will even remember that you wrote it or that you're on their flist. I've (mostly) made my peace with this, though I get a little grouchy from time to time. It takes me a while to decide how I want to respond to things and by then people have moved on to their new shiny and I feel like an idiot for still caring.

To that end, I'd like to link you to my latest bit of writing, which was about Studio 60 and was posted as a comment on Carrie's LJ, mostly because I like what I wrote. I would follow that up by saying that for all the people that have been killed and wars that have been waged in the name of capitalist imperialism, I don't see a lot of people screaming about how bad capitalism is, which makes the "religion kills" argument somewhat weak in my opinion; I more agree with Lord Peter Wimsey that "the first thing a principle does--if it really is a principle--is to kill somebody."

I had four bits of a post in my head this morning but two of them are moot at this point. The other two are about online friendship, and race. [Poll #834301]
jlh: Jan from Grease, smiling (Charming Jan)
  1. Music lovers: Check out Idolator and get back to me. It's the new music-and-music-industry blog from the folks who brought us [livejournal.com profile] defamer, [livejournal.com profile] gawker and Consumerist.
  2. I've worked out that my issue with the Gap ad isn't the ad itself, but the idea that the Gap is trying to get us to buy skinny black pants. First, three people look good in skinny black pants and none of them have an ass. (My friend L would look good in them.) Second, I continue to have no idea what the hell the Gap is trying to be anymore. They're all over the place and have been for a while now. Remember when a new Gap ad was something to look forward to?
  3. Hell, remember when the MTV Video Music awards was something to look forward to? And it isn't even me being a fuddy duddy; my students didn't like them this year either, because they sucked. As did Fashion Rocks, which I watched on cable tonight and which had about 25 minutes of watchable programming in two hours of bullshit. I swear to God if I never see Fergie again it will be too soon.
  4. About that Kirk/Spock "Closer" vid that's going around: One thing I think is truly awesome is how the stylizing shows how well that Star Trek brand of acting works in a silent environment, right down to the liberal use of eyeliner. It's as though all this time, the voyages of the Starship Enterprise was actually a German expressionist film. Spock even resembles Cesare the Somnambulist!
  5. Why is Asia touring? No, seriously, why? Does anyone really need to pay $75 to see a bunch of old men play "Heat of the Moment" live?

Thanks to everyone who's been putting up with my emo crazies lately. When I'm already like this I really need to make sure I'm feeding myself or it just gets worse. Well, at least for one of my classes my homework is to watch Meet Me in St.Louis. I mean, how excellent is that?
jlh: MTV sock puppets sifl and olly (duos: sifl and olly)
I was thinking about how excited I am that there will be new VM tonight, which reminded me about that WB-UPN merger. (Hence the sifl & olly "I am a media geek" icon rather than the Veronica and Weevil drive off into the sunset icon.) The merger: Good for the viewer, bad for channel 9, because it's Les's world and we just live in it. )

Okay, so now I'm wondering if anyone has written Jeff Zucker/Les Moonves slash, which only confirms that fandom has taken over my brain.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
There's a meme going 'round about websites you visit daily and you know, for me nothing has ever been able to replace the pure joy that was suck.com. I read that thing every day through my early media career in the 90s, when everything was go-go-go and so much fun and I was not yet 30. My own personal Memoirs of the Clinton Administration.

Most days it was cultural criticism, but on Wednesdays it was a bit of sarcasm called "Filler" and mostly written by Polly Ester (on whom C____ had a crush) and illustrated by Terri Colon (who also did a single cover for C____'s then-band). There was a cartoon, there were other numerous silly things.

Then there were the mind maps. You know, where one matrix is "easy<--->difficult" and the other is "good<--->bad" and then various things get filled into the appropriate quadrants. The best of all of these, by far, which was hanging on the wall of my office until I left media was How meaningful is the fun you're having? which gave me my life ambition, "falling in love with a ravishing genius who finds my mediocrity intensely appealing."

Friends, I give you this. RIP suck.com. RIP my twenties. RIP my media career. RIP the dot-com bubble, my friends and their continual pitches for VC funding, and all the swag that went with it. RIP the heady rush of the new, of making the rules up as we went along, of figuring out how to work someplace where you could do what you loved, make a lot of money, wear jeans every day and bring your dog into the office. RIP Clinton Administration.

And [livejournal.com profile] angiej says that the Xers didn't have it good. Bah, I say. BAH!
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Slash)
1. Being a Fan, only not, part 1 )

2. Being a Fan, only not, part 2 )

3. Being a Fan, only not, part 3 )

4. Cross-posting )

And in the time I wrote this entry, I formulated my research question. Go me.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (David and Keith from Six Feet Under)
Some pet peeves from my peevish afternoon at work:

  1. Homeric epithets in slash. They have names; use them. The blond, the Texan, the older man? Knock it off.
  2. People who don't know how to handle an umbrella on the sidewalk. Get a clue.
  3. Non-scientific polls. People don't vote for that shit with any judgment; they vote for the name that they recognize. They also get their friends to help them stuff the ballot box. We know this—we've all done it. Someone does a whip around and we go and say that yes, there should be monkey sex on Two and a Half Men or whatever. Get over it.
  4. Ship fights. No one cares anymore. Seriously. And I'm really, really tired of feeling defensive for writing what I write because of your tired ass. Get a grip.
  5. People who think that having sex means you can write sex, and that bad sex writing is all done by virgins. Why should sex be any different than any other thing a human can do? Good sex writing has more to do with the quality of the writer than their sexual history. Stop being insulting.

Six Feet Under was pretty awesome tonight.
jlh: Neil Finn playing a guitar (music: Neil Finn)
I don't usually do those tirades where you say that you are sick of reading entries that all say the same thing, but I'm making an exception today.

I'm tired of reading entries from people who are tired of the way that the media covers international events. I have spent so much time on this journal trying to explain the way that economic imperatives and various other things conspire to create the media industry that we have today, but does anyone decide that what they want to do is start writing letters to the FCC? No, they decide they want to bitch some more on their journal. Christ Jesus, shut the fuck up or start listening to Radio Pacifica or whatever the fuck you want because I no longer care.

Now, about the Papacy in general. I can understand if you think it's irrelevant because you are not Catholic. However, I would say that it's worthy of news coverage. The Church does have influence in many countries. I understand that there are several people on my flist who are far from Catholic but everyone bitching about this endlessly--I mean, if I said, alas for I am sick of hearing about Passover the entire LJ community would be in my journal calling me an anti-semite. It's hard rowing enough being a lapsed Catholic and having any faith at all and thinking that any of you lot think I have a brain in my head without all the not-so-subtle sarcasm and condescension. Let's remember that Christian /= moron.

So how do I feel? Of course I was hoping for a John XXIV, and of course I didn't think we would get one, but seriously, I wish we had done better than this. All I can say is, at least he's old. He doesn't even have JPII's benefits, and all of the downfalls. This is pretty damn sucky.

Then again, maybe he'll just excommunicate the entire American church and we can just go our own way. I'd be down with that, man.

ETA: And as for the Nazi stuff, I send you to [livejournal.com profile] anw's entry on that fallacy.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Chibi Clio)
I read over [livejournal.com profile] slytherincess's recent post with interest this morning, and then I read [livejournal.com profile] calliope14"s subsequent post and I have to say:

I disagree with nearly all of it.

So I was rereading, wondering why I disagreed, and strongly. And then as I read her analogies it seemed to me that Julie was treating YM as a private space. But, YM is a chat program; it's public space. So here is a hopefully very respectful response to these two posts, that includes a few things that I have found puzzling for some time now.


A response from the opposition. )

I suppose what this comes down to for me is, I don't expect the universe to revolve around how I want YM to work for me. I use the tool and its parts to get what I want out of it. I've also noticed that generally, people who respect rules are the ones you aren't annoyed by, and people who are annoying you aren't going to read your post or respect your rules. So half the time you've put off the people you like to talk to (who just will stop pinging you) and you've done nothing to stop the people who irritate you (who are already ignoring your status so why not ignore your post). Since I've started this post I've read some replies and I am amazed at the number of people who are online and don't want to chat with anyone like, ever. Okay, dude, I go your message and I will never ping you again. But know that this whole business of no one ever wanting to ping first for fear of disturbing you is just going to get worse, until we're an entire fandom of people on YM but never talking.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Chibi Clio)
Christmas weekend thanks for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

I could write a reply to all the bitching about TV news but I've done it so many times before I feel like a broken record. They say it's a sign of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome, so I'm going to step back from the brink. All of you who think that TV news is going to bring you objective coverage that appropriately weights time spent to the relative importance of the story might want to think about that as well.

Meanwhile, I'm watching some daytime trash television before I hop into the shower and then go shopping. Ah, Springer. Though what I really love are the ads for ambulance chasers and ITT Technical Institute.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Timeless)
A brief self-indulgent passage about EWFS and plot. )

Now the thing about romance and adventure is, if you're going to have both you really have to start out that way, OR, you have to have the adventure as something that horribly interrupts the romance. But you can't plonck the adventure down just before the end of the romance because you forgot to include it from the beginning. I have said this before and I'll say it again: If the romance is good, it is actually enough.

Of course, as you'll see from the list below, the way I conceive of romance is not just, two people meet and fall in love, but more, two people meet and could fall in love, but they are fallible and get distracted by things that may or may not be important and may be internal or external, all things that have to get resolved before the romance can conclude. That's really what's lacking in post-1965 romantic comedies; they think they have to invent artificial devices to keep the characters apart. But if you look at the classics, what keeps them apart, most of the time, is themselves.

With all of that in mind, my top ten romantic couples. )
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Timeless)
1-NBC cut a quick shot of an elderly patient's breast from the episode of ER that ran last night. They said they felt it was appropriate (and it would air after 10:30pm) but in the current climate they didn't want to cause their affiliates any headaches.

2-CBS pressured Janet to pull out of the Grammys. She wasn't going to perform (they are very strict about performing only songs that have been nominated, and she didn't release anything last year) but she was going to introduce a Luther Vandross tribute. CBS is also using a video delay to ensure there are no surprises during the show.

3-The NFL decided to take pop out of the halftime show for this Sunday's Pro Bowl in Honolulu, substituting hula dancers, traditional drummers, and local singers for a planned JC Chasez performance. He may still be singing the anthem, though.

4-Advertisers like Pepsi are angry because the halftime show has overshadowed the ads, which almost no one is talking about.

5-Some idiot woman in Tennessee has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the incident caused everyone injury.

Another little bit of American television economics for you. )

Red states and blue states, man. We are so clearly two countries, it's ridiculous.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Timeless)
*headdesk*

Okay, for the benefit of the non-Americans on my flist, I'm going to say this one last time, here, unlocked and uncut:

During the entire f_s flap, one thing that people complained about was expecting us, the writers, to act in loco parentis for all these kids surfing around. This was an absolutely valid argument, and in fact, if you look to [livejournal.com profile] ivy_blossom's post about the matter, she had done everything one can do to keep someone from stumbing upon her work, including registering her sites with the ICRA so they will be blocked by appropriate software. Doing this gives parents the tools to make their own decisions about what their children see.

Now. Currently, on American broadcast television (that is, not cable, so Friends, the OC, Smallville, but not Sex and the City) there is no nudity. It is part of a community decency standard enforced by the FCC--that is, it is a matter of law. It is why the networks have a department called Standards & Practices. There is some nudity in particular shows that air after 10pm (such as NYPD Blue) but those shows typically have a quick warning notice for each airing.

Now, if I were in another country, then of course the community standard would be different and no one would care about the breast because they would see them all the time. You can argue with whether Americans are horrible prudes, and that there should be plenty of nudity on American television. But the actual point is, this is the current standard. With this, responsible parents--the kind that we were calling for during the f_s matter--decide what they feel comfortable letting their children watch. Note that nothing here would prepare a parent for seeing a naked breast in a sport event at 8PM. THAT is the point. It is the unpleasant surprise--not the breast per se--that is at issue.

Snark away, but know that your snark is completely irrelevant.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
This is for [livejournal.com profile] rabican, and also for [livejournal.com profile] vanityfair whom I'm sure wants us the f*** out of her LJ. If the rest of you would like to see the start of this conversation, go here.

The Peter Pan Syndrome was one of those pop psychology books that made the rounds of the daytime talk shows (this was back in '83, before things went tabloid, when all the shows were like Oprah and Phil Donohue). I think it was the first one to make use of a children's book character. It was written for women who are in relationships with men who "never grew up", like Peter Pan. These men behave irresponsibly, rarely take other people's feelings into consideration before doing something, and generally behave like they are the only people that matter (unless they want something from you, in which case they will behave like you are the only person that matters). Dr. Kiley claims it stems from persmissive parenting; he was part of that backlash against Dr. Spock. As in the Barrie book, the wives become Wendy--they mother him, clean up after his messes, etc. And as soon as they become mama, they're sunk, because Peter Pan will have no reason to change his behaviour in any way. If you look back at the original book, Wendy is mothering Peter Pan even though they are sort of the same age. The Peter Pan figure is generally a charming rogue, which is how he gets away with what is essentially classic narcissistic personality behaviour. That's what I meant by Peter Pan not being all sweetness and light--there are consequences to never growing up, to endlessly living a boys adventure tale. Maybe not to him, but certainly to the people around him, and there are a LOT of people who have suffered because of Sirius' heedlessness.

Hermione could become a Wendy if she isn't careful; it's why R/Hr would do her such a disservice but H/Hr would be good for her. Harry doesn't listen to her half the time anyway. However, that isn't to say that Ron is a Peter Pan; he isn't. But put some charmer in front of Hermione in the right mood and watch out.

Tinderblast, I hope this answers your questions, but feel free to reply for more clarification. And thanks again for the shibby icons.

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jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
Clio, a vibrating mass of YES!

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