Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dude, You Have No Quran!

This is what I call uplifting television. It's news coverage like this that gives me hope and here's why: 1) A Quran-burning is foiled in Amarillo, TX. If it can be foiled in Amarillo, it can be foiled anywhere. 2) There are enough Unitarian Universalists in Amarillo to outnumber potential Quran-burners, and they're organized! 3) The individual hero here is a skateboarder with truly hip hair and glasses, and he's a man of action.

Jacob Isom, you are the American Bad-Ass Patriot of the Week!

I first saw Jacob as I see many things, excerpted in Daily Show coverage. The actual footage embedded above I found after a friend/colleague posted it to Facebook. This week in my Television Criticism class we're talking about TV news and the public service function of TV. I'd say it's good timing because of the current hubbub about whether the media should have paid so much attention to that obviously wayward Florida pastor-apparently-without-a-congregation. I'd say that, but of course there's always some questionable media coverage going on. And ever generalizing about "the media" is a questionable act in itself.

Anyway, here's a link to a longer clip from the episode of the Daily Show. I can't get the embed code to work.


Aside from Jacob, the best moment of it is when Stewart describes TV news/the media as the dog from the movie Up, which is outfitted with a special collar that allows it to talk intelligently, but is still given to uncontrollable urges to drop everything at the sight of a "Squirrel!"

Anyway, the local news coverage from Amarillo makes me happy. Never thought I'd say that. Thank you, Jacob.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

iPad Destruction Meme

I'm not sure what I find more annoying, Steve Jobs' repeated assertions that the iPad is "magical" and "revolutionary", or all the new, painfully earnest iPhone 4 ads. On the latter, Apple seems to have decided they really need to teach people why they should want to be able to see each other as they talk on the phone. Hence the ad about the daughter embarrassed to show Dad her braces, the grandpa getting to see his new grandchild, the wife telling her husband that she's pregnant. I'd much rather have back the dancing silhouettes. At least I discovered some new music from those.

The iPad, on the other hand, has been on the receiving end of some violent media backlash. My favorite is from the Fuel TV show Built to Shred which is a show that features a very resourceful, very bearded host who makes spaces like the shut-down waterpark Raging Waters or a rundown industrial park skate-able with a little well-placed plywood and a cordless screwdriver.

In this episode, however, it's the iPad that gets "built to shred." The iPad gets trucks & wheels bonded on, and even some gently placed griptape. It then (not surprisingly) immediately cracks when first ridden. Things just get more graphic from there.

The whole clip reminds me of the first episode of South Park--specifically, the first time Kenny is killed. You may remember that he get's really really killed...stampeded by cows, run over by a car. Then rats eat his body. I think a bird pulls out his eye. It's good ol' carnivalesque revelry in the grotesque.

Another, briefer example is from Tosh.0. An iPad gets dispatched very quickly in the writer's room via golf club.

These examples seem symptomatic of a backlash not just against Apple, but against technology that thinks a little too much of itself. All the "magical", "revolutionary" comments and precious commercials are practically begging for such treatment. Seeing this abuse is thrilling, not just because it represents money wasted, but fetishized technology that we are supposed to treat so personally as extensions of ourselves, instead brutally destroyed.

It reminds me of the printer scene from Office Space, in which all of the characters' cubicle-induced rage is inflicted upon office technology while a Geto Boys song plays on the soundtrack. To those who destroy iPads for our viewing pleasure, I say, "Damn, I bet it feels good to be a gangster."