Saturday, December 30, 2006


Selfish Editors

Death of a dictator - Los Angeles Times: "ONCE UPON A TIME, the death of Saddam Hussein would have been an epochal event for Iraq, the Middle East and the world. Now there is some question whether it will even matter in Baghdad."

It seems to me that the L.A. Times Editor is being quite selfish. His opening statement is to say that if Saddam's death does not help the U.S. in its efforts, there is no impact of his death at all. While I think it is okay to measure much of what we do in Iraq in terms of how it helps us, this was something the Iraqis did themselves to bring justice to the millions of fellow Iraqis who were brutalized when Saddam ran roughshod over the country. This trial and execution had much less to do with the U.S. than it did the very Iraqi people that we are freeing. So, no, this won't likely change the level of violence (and seems it may spark more in the short run), but it may be an emotional turn of the tide for those Iraqis fearful of Saddam's return to power. Those Iraqis that see the future more hopefully after this execution may then become more allied with the U.S. effort and assist in rooting out the insurgents, etc. This is one event where we should just be happy for the Iraqi people and what they have accomplished.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Hollywood Writers Aren't Remembering Their Own Refrain

Comedy writers aren't laughing about 'Studio 60' - Los Angeles Times: "Sorkin's 'West Wing' was meticulously researched and seen as largely accurate about life in Washington: Did the auteur producer-writer raise the bar so high for himself that 'Studio 60' is unfairly scrutinized? Is this segment of viewers in Hollywood simply too aware of what 'Studio 60' gets wrong to enjoy the show?
One comedy show runner, who asked that her name be withheld, said: 'The New Orleans crisis or the war has never touched my life in television.'
'They never laugh,' Levine said of the show's characters. 'We laugh all the time. It is the one saving grace of the job.'
'The fact that they don't seem to know how a sketch comedy show like 'SNL' is written, that needs to be remedied,' said Joe Reid, who recaps 'Studio 60' each week for Television Without Pity. 'It doesn't seem authentic at all.'
Gillette said Sorkin's approach to comedy just seems off. 'He wants to get big ideas across and change people's minds,' she said. 'No comedians work that way. They go for the laughs first and the lesson second.'
In contrast, all of these nitpicking writers and comedians seem to like '30 Rock,' the Tina Fey sitcom on NBC that is also about the making of a 'Saturday Night Live'-esque show.
'Even though it's essentially a cartoon, '30 Rock' is still a more realistic look at what behind-the-scenes life on 'SNL' is like,' said Levine. 'And it's worth watching just for Alec Baldwin.'
Lynn said, ' '30 Rock' isn't offensive at all…. When they do sketches, they're not thinly veiled opportunities for political commentary, they're goofy, 'SNL'-like sketches..."

I would just like to point out that these are the same people that will say, when criticized, that 'it is only TV, fantasy'. So to them, I would like to say, 'it is only TV, fantasy'. I would like to add that this is a good show, and that I like that they are trying to make statements, or at least enjoy the statements Sorkin wants to make. I agree that the sketch show doesn't seem funny. Sorkin is much better at wit than comedy. I plain don't care. I would also agree with the writer that said that they are more concerned with the laugh, and if there is a statement, then that is secondary. In TV, I would think it would have to be that way. But again, this is fantasy.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Let Us Learn About and Celebrate Our Heroes' Flaws

Hotel Log Hints at Illicit Desire That Dr. Freud Didn’t Repress - New York Times: "The revelation is also likely to reignite a longstanding debate about Freud’s personal life. The father of psychoanalysis, whose 150th birthday was celebrated this year, plumbed the darkest sexual drives and secrets of the psyche. But scholars still argue about how scrupulous Freud was in his own behavior.
Peter L. Rudnytsky, a former Fulbright/Freud Society Scholar of Psychoanalysis in Vienna and the editor of the psychoanalytic journal American Imago, said the disclosure was hardly a “so what?” matter because “psychoanalysis has such a close relationship to the life of Freud.”
“Psychoanalysis has invested a great deal in a certain idealized image of Freud,” said Dr. Rudnytsky, a professor of English at the University of Florida. “Freud dealt with issues considered suspect — sexuality — things that made people uncomfortable, so Freud himself had to be a figure of impeccable integrity.”
In any case, he said: “Things that happen in people’s intimate lives are important. It’s very Freudian.”
Freud himself was cryptic, writing to the American neurologist James J. Putman in 1915: “I stand for a much freer sexual life. However I have made little use of such freedom.”"

I find it a little sad that people find it difficult to admit that a man that devoted his life to sexuality and its basis might have had some issues with sexuality. It is often said of psychology students that they are there to learn about why they and their families are so messed up. It seems all too reasonable that this might have been the case of Freud himself. I also see some interpretation issues with the "much freer sexual life" statement as we may not know what he thought of as a freer sexual life for himself. It also strikes me as odd that we wouldn't expect flaws of our heroes. The flaws are often what make heroes so interesting. I know only what I learned in first and second year psychology classes about Freud, but I so hope that we don't ignore who he really was in order to preserve an unachievable ideal.

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