So who out there has the Sci-Fi channel and plans to watch the new BSG episode tomorrow night? Would you welcome a guest or 2? Normally I'm fine with waiting until it shows up on scifi.com, but I am DYING to see this first 4.5 ep!

Synchronicity

Jul. 19th, 2008 01:03 pm
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In a weird bit of synchronicity...after writing and posting my last entry, in which I worry some about my over-consumption of "screens," I went to my bookshelves to pick out a book, which I then began to read. The lucky winner: Adrienne Rich's On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. Here's a lengthy excerpt (I'll give you the full paragraphs so you'll get a little bit of context):
In particular, the women's movement of the late twentieth century is evolving in the face of a culture of manipulated passivity (the mirror-image of which is violence, both random and institutional). The television screen purveys everywhere its loaded messages; but even when and where the message may seem less deadly to the mind, the nature of the medium itself breeds passivity, docility, flickering concentration. The decline in adult literacy means not merely a decline in the capacity to read and write, but a decline in the impulse to puzzle out, brood upon, look up in the dictionary, mutter over, argue about, turn inside-out in verbal euphoria, the "incomparable medium" of language--Tillie Olsen's term. And this decline comes, ironically, at a moment in history when women, the majority of the world's people, have become most aware of our need for real literacy, for our own history, most searchingly aware of the lies and distortions of the culture men have devised, when we are finally prepared to take on the most complex, subtle, and drastic revaluation ever attempted of the condition of the species.

The television screen has throughout the world replaced, or is fast replacing: oral poetry; old wives' tales; children's story-acting games and verbal lore; lullabies; "playing the sevens"; political argument; the reading of books too difficult for the reader, yet somehow read; tales of "when-I-was-your-age" told by parents and grandparents to children, linking them to their own past; singing in parts; memorization of poetry; the oral transmitting of skills and remedies; reading aloud; recitation; both community and solitude. People grow up who not only don't know how to read, a late-acquired skill among the world's majority; they don't know how to talk, to tell stories, to sing, to listen and remember, to argue, to pierce an opponent's argument, to use metaphor and imagery and inspired exaggeration in speech; people are growing up in the slack flicker of a pale light which lacks the concentrated burn of a candle flame or oil wick or the bulb of a gooseneck desk lamp: a pale, wavering, oblong shimmer, emitting incessant noise, which is to real knowledge or discourse what the manic or weepy protestations of a drunk are to responsible speech. Drunks do have a way of holding an audience, though, and so does the shimmery ill-focused oblong screen. (12-13)

--Rich, Adrienne. On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979.

Yeah, what she said. I might not be quite as doom-sayish as Rich is being here, but the basic sentiment is the same. I don't like what too much television does to my attention span, to my taste for intellectual labor, to my ability to self-motivate, to my feelings of efficacy and purpose in life. I don't want to erase it--or the internets--completely from my life, and in fact I think they constitute new ways of expressing and making meaning in the world. In other words, I don't fully agree with Rich that they necessarily dumb down our intellects and interactions, but they do often have that effect. However, when they do have the effect of dumbing us down, perhaps it's no more so than other distractions that were available in earlier historical periods. I mean, at one time moralists were all up in arms about how many novels people (especially women) were reading. In any case, I feel that my consumption of these two screen-based media has gotten out of balance, and that I really need to restore a balance (or find a new balance, whatever) that feels better--healthier--to me.
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Don't Stop

Jul. 11th, 2008 12:19 am
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I'm sad. [livejournal.com profile] glaucon and I just finished watching the last season of the Sopranos. I'm going to miss it. I'm still processing my deeper thoughts, but to paint a very broad picture of my opinion: this show is (was?) excellent television. HBO does some good shit, but this one is really good. One of my favorite things about it is that tension they maintain, between the "good" Tony you identify and sympathize with as a viewer, and the Tony who, on a dime, will beat someone to death--a close friend, in one instance. Dude strangles someone he recognizes as a rat in the witness protection program, while taking his daughter Meadow to check out prospective colleges. My favorite character on the show, though, has to be Silvio Dante. Christopher Moltisanti is a close second, but Sil is just...he's so over-the-top mobster, "wearing it," that he's actually believable.

[livejournal.com profile] glaucon tells me the actor (Steve Van Zandt) has a radio show that is really interesting. He described it to me, and I said, "I'll bet he's an Aquarius." Nope. His birthday is November 22, 1950. Scorpio, by the hairs on his ass.
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sopranos

Jan. 11th, 2008 03:20 am
arguchik: (Default)
i just finished watching disk 2 of the sopranos first season (i watched disk 2 awhile back, and am just returning to it in my netflix queue). wow. i'm very impressed with the acting, particularly gandolfini's.

one weird thing: usually when i watch TV shows on DVD, i blip past the opening credits, but with this show...i find the theme song and the highway scenery sliding past to be quite mesmerizing. i actually like it, especially at the very start when the music is sort of quietly starting out. sounds like a leonard cohen song.
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