May 15, 2006

Corin Ames: Flit's fearless prediction of the month

Watched the Mike Holmes show as well last night: really a remarkable piece of TV CanCon. Case in point: only in Canada would Holmes' rather telegenic apprentice Corin Ames not be more of a TV star than she is by now. (I note she has exactly zero Google presence at the moment, so consider this entry the first fearless prediction of future greatness.)

In other Canadian TV news, Discovery Channel Canada is trying to copycat Mythbusters with "Break it Down," complete with a Canadian special effects duo in place of Jamie and Adam. I wish them the best of luck, of course, but I think they're missing something of the dynamic of the elder show: the endless geeky collegial id-duel between the two lead hosts. Don't think you can do the same with a father-son team, unless you make it a disturbingly Oedipal-family-life-from-hell "American Chopper" sort of dynamic. If dad and son get along just fine, your show is toast. And I'm afraid cohost Natasha Stillwell, her other attributes aside, is just a little too, um, weird, to qualify as eye candy, a la Kari Byron. (Every time I see Stillwell on TV I think of Poe's "Berenice.")

Posted by BruceR at 11:48 AM

Bob Roberts: not nearly as good a movie as I once thought it was

A favourite movie of mine from the undergrad days was on Bravo last night: Bob Roberts. Good to see it again now.

The basic premise, that a right-wing nut bolsters a faltering Senate run and forestalls a possible criminal investigation by staging a fake assassination attempt, is not still without its charm, although on the second run I found it trying just a little too hard.

The implicit lesson, that reactionary populism is dangerous to any democracy, no matter how secure, still holds some water. But viewing it this time it served to remind me of something that movie probably didn't intend to convey: the incredible unlikelihood of such an elaborate conspiracy plot actually being able to survive public scrutiny, especially today.

The idea that it would take a post-facto "documentary" to uncover the truth in this case, when the plot as it's portrayed was so incredibly unlikely to come off, is purest fantasy (Case in point: Bob Roberts himself being able to freeze-frame the video to clearly see a gun in the patsy's hand, something the police investigative apparatus previously said they could not do. Uh huh.) Even in 1990, when the movie is set, the press was better than that. Given the same info the viewer has, they'd have the plot made out in about a day and a half. In the days of weblogs, it'd be a few hours.

I still love the pan across the main Jefferson Memorial inscription at the end, though. "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Posted by BruceR at 11:13 AM

May 04, 2006

In one ear, in the other ear

When I was in college, when I would get really wasted at parties, I liked to watch a hockey game with the volume off and some loud music on. I found this relaxing, for some reason.

My latest experience in cross-media integration is this: I put on the latest diavlog from, over top (they don't interfere with each other on my broadband connection, Virgin Classic Radio. And then I read blogs. I strongly recommend the cognitive dissonance... for instance, right now I'm listening to Bob Dylan overtop of David Corn talking about Stephen Colbert.

In other words, Steven Johnson was right. We're such multitaskers now that we need a baseline level of chaos to even get up to mental cruising-speed RPMs.

Posted by BruceR at 04:43 PM