Friday, July 15, 2005

The Media Sometimes Gets it Right

Apologies to both my readers for my rather inconsistent blogging of late. Mrs. C's been rather ill of late and my focus has been on her. But as she is on the mend, my attention again turns to the world at large.

Before I join the general gloating over Rove's transgressions and other such stuff I wanted to mention something. With my wife ill we've been just hanging out watching television more than usual and I have a couple of observations.

The other night Bernard Golderg was on The Daily Show flogging his new book: 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. I've not read the book, but judging from his chat with Jon Stewart, Goldberg's book is the latest in a string of conservative attempts to place blame for all that ills America on those dreaded "Hollywood liberals".

Jon pointed out, helpfully, that Goldberg's energies might be more profitably spent attacking those with actual power, like the Republican government, but Goldberg was having none of it. And I don't blame him too much, he's just shilling for his book after all, though his seeming obliviousness to his role in the RWNM (right wing noise machine) was a bit annoying.

Tonight I was also reminded of what media can do right when they put their minds to it.

First let me affirm my geekhood by asserting that Battlestar Galactica (SciFi Channel) is the best new show on television. It has great production values, and well imagined characters, and a gripping story line. But what I appreciate most about BG is its near mythological historical underpinnings. The sense that the characters featured in this last gasp for humanity have not only personal histories, but are part of a civilization with a real history itself.

This sense of history is something which gives such "sub-creations" as JRR Tolkien, the master, would have termed it, real depth, and a realness within the context of their universe no less real for all that it is fictional.

As for fiction based on real reality, TNT's (via Spielberg, via Dreamworks) Into the West is providing an interesting counter to the truism that the victors write the history (or is, perhaps, the exception that proves the rule). With its parallel tracking of generations of two families, one American, one native American, as whites invade and destroy, er, develop the American west, Into the West provides an in depth look at a period of American history whose reality is left unexamined by most history books. Not since Little Big Man has Hollywood turned a truly critical eye at a period which it has so frequently mythologized.

So while Bernard Goldberg blathers about all that media does wrong, I truly appreciate those (admittedly too rare) moments when media gets it right.

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