Sunday, June 03, 2007

Negley is Back...





... to announce a brilliantly intemperate rant by Bryan about crap TV and a review of a biography of Einstein, both in The Sunday Times, a paper known since the destruction of the old Wembley as 'the venue of legends'.

15 comments:

  1. Fantastic rant about reality TV, Bryan.

    You're even more vitriolic in the Sunday Times than in your own blog... isn't that bassackwards?

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  2. Thanks, Brit. I don't now what brings out the vitriol from day to day. I think yesterday I was reading good stuff - Yeats among other things - and that always makes me less tolerant of nasty, cynical stuff.

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  3. There is another, deeply moral aspect to Big Brother, which I discuss here.

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  4. Nice review of the Einstein book, Bryan.

    Note that there's a sense in which relativity is more tightly deterministic than Newtonian mechanics. In the former, the speed of light places a limit on the rate at which a causal influence can propagate; in the latter, the current place and time can be influenced by an event which occurred indefinitely far away, an indefinitely short period of time ago. If there's no limit to the rate at which a causal influence can propagate, there's no limit to the distance at which events, say, 1 second ago, can influence circumstances here and now.

    Einstein scholar John D. Norton has some 'goodies', including an analysis of Einstein's 'chasing a light beam' thought experiment.

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  5. A fine rant indeed, Bryan. Something I don't think you mentioned is that Britain has the vilest (and probably the most) 'reality TV' - which, it's hard not to suspect, points to something in our national character, if only its phenomenal capacity for self-destruction, or maybe just our supineness. It's fascinating to see the difference between UK and US versions of the same format (eg Wife Swap, Extreme Makeover) - invariably the US version is relatively clean-mouthed, positively presented and, in the end, overwhelmingly redemptive, even (gulp) life-affirming, with hugs and learning all round. Compare and contrast. Or indeed, go figure...

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  6. I'll hopefully steer clear of both formats, Nige, but the British version you describe strikes me as possibly less insidious, the US flowing more seamlessly along the Brave New Worldian blueprint. Though God help us, if it's an either or situation.

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  7. Just read your piece in the Sunday Times re: the above.

    Thank god I'm not the only one that feels that way about "trash television" and BB in particular. It has amazed me for ages how otherwise intelligent people sit in front of the box with mouths agape watching the meaningless antics of a bunch of show off's who contribute absolutely nothing to the life and culture of this country

    Well written.

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  8. Rant to my ears Bryan. The most annoying thing about the people who make these programmes is the fact that they imply, when asked, that they are only doing what the people want, and some go even further and suggest that what they are performing is some kind of public service.

    Having said that I just watched the BBC's Great Village Show. It was the total antithesis of the bad TV that you are describing Bryan but nevertheless equally as crap. Yet another vehicle for getting Alan Titmarsh on our telly. Why?

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  9. Trenchant attack on reality TV, Bryan. I hate the stuff, but I'm sorry to say my teenagers love it. It is moronic in the extreme, IMHO -- that bugs me more than its absence of redeeming morality (I wouldn't put American reality TV ahead of the U.K. in the morality dept. -- not the glimpses I've seen of shows like "Survivor").

    It's interesting, though, to hear Nige comment on the differences between American and British versions of shows. The only show I've watched in its two versions is "The Office." I have to say, the English version is brutal compared to the American one. I can't even laugh at Ricky Gervais (i think that's his name) because he is just so pathetic. Carell, et al, make me laugh; but Gervais, et al, make me squirm -- I feel embarrassed for them.

    Do you all get the American version of this show too? Love to know if you sense a major difference between the two "Offices."

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  10. But seriously, Bryan: who's your favourite Big Brother contestant?

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  11. River of DeceitJune 04, 2007 12:22 am

    I quite like Emily. That's only because she stands out as half way normal, or sane. Then again, i only watched the first night.
    They seem to make a concerted effort each year to make the contestants more pathetic and horrible than the previous year.
    I'm honestly thinking of putting a bet on to see how long before Blair walks into the celebrity big brother house. Mark my words.

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  12. i quite agree, and to any charges of sounding enraged, well some things are so loathsome that an enraged response is the right one, or one of the right ones.

    i see BB as like crack; it appeals to certain people, but then corrupts & warps them till it becomes 'normal' for them. Drug dealers can then say they're only responding to a pre-existing need, to the market, that if they didn't sell it, someone else would.

    A culture that takes unashamed pleasure in watching human beings be cut up like meat, debased, at their very worst, is necrotic. Jade Goody and Tony Blair are just the pus.

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  13. Susan - Only just caught up with your comments on The Office (UK/US). I have seen both, though I didn't stay long with the US version as it seemed like just another office sitcom, whereas the UK Office was, er, something else (for one thing, it was played completely as an observational documentary - so much so that some early viewers, including the wife of the then BBC chairman, took it for just that). US comedy is definitely more wholesome, healthy and morally sound than ours - not to mention vastly better written. I love much of it, even down to Everybody Loves Raymond - but I'm afraid we Brits also just love the squirming. We're suckers for the comedy of embarrassment (witness our other great comedy monster, Basil Fawlty)- probably because the average Englishman spends much of his life in various social agonies, lockjawed and totally abashed. This is also, of course, one of the reasons why we need sheds.

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