October 15, 2007
Last week South Park kicked off the second part of its eleventh season with an episode entitled, Le Petit Tourette. In the episode, Cartman discovers the psychological affliction, “Tourette’s Syndrome”. And as we all know, Tourette’s is renowned by the inability to control when one curses an expletive. And much to Cartman delight, he claims to have Tourette’s and uses his “affliction” to berate his Jewish friend Kyle, Judaism and everyone and everything in the most vulgar and depraved language possible. Fortunately, Cartman’s new found ” freedom” has a catch(one which I won’t ruin for you, it’s pretty funny), and he has to attempt to get out of a interview with To Catch a Predator‘s Chris Hansen which he had scheduled earlier in the episode.
I bring this episode up because it got me thinking about the exploitive nature of To Catch a Predator and the questions it raises. The primary question being, why does this show bother me? It does a public service by catching child molesters in the act and turning them over to the proper authorities to be dealt with, who could object to that?
Well this guy Daniel Giuditta does.
In Giuditta’s video he voices the unpopular opinion that To Catch a Predator is no more than a smut film being played during prime time in order to grab ratings and advertising revenue. Giuditta equates the shows characters (child predator’s) to being train wrecks that while they may horrify and disgust us, we just can’t look away. Giuditta also has a problem with the civil “vigilante” group Perverted Justice that co-runs the “investigation”. The problem he has is that officially deputized members of the group are being paid by NBC for their services. Basically, official members of government are being paid by a corporation to perform a service that nets the corporation profits. Another word for this would be bribery.
The other problem is one of good journalistic taste. After 11 Dateline specials, I believe the journalistic portion of the show is no longer valid. Journalism by definition is supposed to illuminate new meaning or perspective on an issue or news item in order to convey additional information to the public so as to encourage civil discourse and encourage a more informed and enlighten population. Or at least that’s my definition, however I think many would agree. In addition I think many would agree that by this definition To Catch a Predator moved from an intriguing and shocking journalistic report to sensationalized non-news after the initial specials and certainly long before “episode” 11.
To put it simply, while the show may be entertaining, the journalist credit upon which its foundation rest is no longer there and the show is no more than the exploitation of America’s morbid curiosity.
It’s like Cops, only with sick perverts and a host that can make anyone sit down.
September 24, 2007
So lately I’ve taken to flipping through the tv channels when I manage to squeeze time between classes, my social life and real life obligations. During my surfing sessions I’ve found wonderfully entertaining programs like; Ninja Warrior, Hogan Knows Best and most of the Discovery Channel line up (i.e. Survivor Man and Dirty Jobs).
However during my flipping I occasionally stop at one of the two CNN news broadcast offered here. One is normally up to date news and the other is complete crap. For example I point to Nancy Grace.
This woman (of which I have plenty of other choice words to describe her as) is no more than a self important middle age fascist. If you don’t agree with her then your wrong.
Case in point, today there was a young black man attempting to discuss and explain his position on the Free the Jena 6 issue. Well, during his calm and obviously thought out argument he let slip the term “hard-on”. As in, ‘the court system has no more than a “hard-on” to convict some of the accused members with elevated sentences.’ While this may be an innocent slip of what I perceive as non-offensive terminology, Ms. Grace does not.
Grace upon hearing such deemed offensive language proceeded to interrupt and berate the young man saying, “Excuse me! But “hard-on” is not recognized legal terminology!”
As if she was the guys mother scorning him for saying a dirty word. Oh! And we know she’s utterly legally correct in her language all the time.
The young man obviously confused at the fact that this “news anchor” was worried about his “dirty mouth” instead of the actual news they where supposed to be discussing, apologized and said that he would try to keep his colloquialisms in check. To which Ms. Grace rudely said “yeah!” and rolled her eyes.
This is but a surface skim of the terribly poor and offensive interviewing practices I’ve seen on her show. However the saddest thing is that the majority of the preceding and following “news”-like programs on CNN follow her statute of being really loud, using flashy gimmicks and conveying very little useful information that will effect the common man’s life(i.e. celebrities and buzz topics).
In addition I can only hope she doesn’t find her long lost twin brother Bill O’Reilly, consummate and birth the apocalypses.
September 23, 2007
I still find it amazing that the two Mars Rovers, Spirit (landed January 4, 2004) and Opportunity (landed January 25, 2004) are still up and running and sending valuable after 13 times their primary mission length (90 days sol).
How this story is being treated as same old same old confounds me. Yes it’s a bit soft but surely this feat of engineering deserves more notice than the recent OJ debacle. Ah but maybe the latest GQ article The Brain Dead Mega Phone (which strangely I couldn’t find on the GQ website, however I’m not surprised, a lot of magazine have yet to catch up with the web) is right. The article plays with analogies to illustrate the lack of depth in todays news and the reasons why this has come about. I find his analysis a bit pessimistic but then again maybe I’m just wishful that people can’t and won’t sustain themselves on nothing but junk food information indefinitely.