Friday, September 29, 2006

Hey everyone! Just a few passing thoughts...

I've been interesting in checking out, and perhaps even writing about, the nature of sexually-based violence in film. I saw "These Hills Have Eyes" over the summer (unrated version on DVD) and was quite shocked at its violence. Here's the kicker...It wasn't the violence in general, but rather the violence toward women. There is a scene in a trailer where two women are sexually violated and then one is killed. The men, however, are killed in the film via other means which have nothing to do with their sex. To be honest, I was disgusted with the film and had wanted a warning about that sort of violence against women.

I starting thinking after I saw it...Is this a normal thing for horror films? I know that violence toward women in general has occurred in horror for a long time, but was the mechanism of the violence sexually based?

As a counter example, I saw "Snakes on a Plane" recently. While utterly horrible (as it was supposed to be) it at least contained an element of balance of violence toward each sex.

Your thoughts? Any other good examples?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The World Cup

Now, I'm a bit biased being a soccer player, but I am appalled at the lack of coverage for the World Cup. It's really sad that American television doesn't pick up the matches more often.

In talking with a buddy of mine, we came to the conclusion that American networks don't broadcast soccer primarily because of the inability to advertise. Consider American football versus soccer. Football has constant breaks and its big show, The Super Bowl, is watched by many simply because of the commercials that are aired. Soccer is non-stop action if it is aired live, and as a result, doesn't break for commercial. So, no advertising means no soccer on American television. Sad state of affairs. Now, the Cup has been on ESPN, but that assumes that every American a more expensive cable package. Why can't I watch the largest sporting event in the world on normal television?


BTW, glad to see Germany get at least 3rd...Was hoping for them to go all the way, but 3rd ain't bad!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Carbon Dioxide

If you are looking for slick “Toxic sludge is good for you” type organizations, I’ve found the latest.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is running a new campaign to counter claims about Global Warming where they tell the viewer about the “benefits” of CO2. What’s interesting is the way they spin the argument, calling CO2 “life.” Of course, CO2 is necessary to life on earth; however, they are making claims that depict it as some threatened species. The images used in the campaign are terrible. They show a girl blowing a dandelion, families getting into cars, and the lights in Times Square as if they are all under threat from environmental movements. What they don’t show is the scientific evidence about the perils of increased greenhouse gases. Now, of course, we would expect an advertisement like this to be partial to one side. The problem that I have is the possible effects of global warming on populations world wide.

Ask yourself: What would environmentalists have to gain by sounding the alarm about global warming? Do they profit from a healthy environment? Make lots of money?

Now, given the list of investing companies for an organization like the CEI (Amoco, ExxonMobil, Ford Motor Company, Philip Morris, Pfizer, Texaco, Dow Chemical, General Motors… according to wikipedia), what would this “non-profit public policy organization” have to gain from making arguments like this?

(BTW, the salary for the president of CEI is $175,000…non-profit, eh?)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Gas Prices

I got gas today and paid $3.07 a gallon to fill up my Honda Civic. I’ve been noting the gas prices as they have risen in the last few weeks. I think many people are feeling the effects of the price increase, especially those who are on tight budgets.

It’s funny. I can remember thinking one day that high gas prices might make people reconsider the types of vehicle purchases that they make. That when I see people driving by in giant SUVs and Hummers while I ride my bike to campus, I can say to myself, “Have fun filling that tank up!!”

The problem is that the people who suffer the most when gas prices get this high are the poor. To people who drive these mammoth vehicles, the rise in gas prices is more of a nuisance than anything. Many people can’t afford to buy a car that gets better gas mileage in the first place and their current vehicle is too old. Not much you can do.

That makes the debate difficult for me. High gas prices mean people buy smaller cars. But inside that argument is the assumption that people can afford to buy cars in the first place. But then if prices are low, people who buy excessive SUVs feel justified…

I think I'll take the bus.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Snow Days

The new Bush administration appointment of Tony Snow as Press Secretary has some striking consequences for the blending of popular news networks and state officials. Is it any surprise that a Fox News pundit is now “hosting” the federal government show?

While I don’t expect to see objectivity from any presidential candidate or administration, the overlap of a giant news agency and the government is a new type of influence. While some are highlighting that Snow has had some critical remarks of the Bush administration, I’m not sure that is the dangerous part of this new relationship. Instead, I think the conversation should be about the type of information that will be released in the future. This administration has been increasingly secretive and the ability of the public to make judgments about its inner workings, and effectively vote, are dependent upon the transparency of its responses to public inquiry. The Press Secretary should be a voice that speaks to inform the people, not continuously “duck and cover” from the questioning media.

Getting back to Snow, if he has already been a voicebox for the conservative party in other types of public, will he continue the policy of secrecy in the Bush administration? To what expense?

In the end, I see this as fake news watchdog (Fox News media pundits) continuing to serve the needs of a failing administration.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Okay Sopranos fans…

I’ve been an avid fan of the Sopranos for quite a long time. On the whole, it’s an excellent program.

What’s interesting to me now is less about the show itself and more about the media storm reflecting what’s going on in the show. I’ve seen quite a few articles commenting about the newly discovered gay character Vito. Here’s an example of one of the stories.

Why do you think that the media is picking up on this story more than other instances of the show? I mean, for those who have seen the show, there are plenty of other events in the show that are worth discussing. (I won’t name any of those here because of spoilers, even for previous seasons. I can’t stand it when people talk about shows that I haven’t seen yet!) Is homosexuality a subject that the television world wouldn’t expect to see in the Sopranos world? Murder, theft, and adultery…those ideas are old hat. Is homosexuality the “in” topic for television?

Also, if anyone has any thoughts about the episodes or otherwise, feel free to post!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Follow up to the protest posts

Unfortunately, I was unable to witness firsthand the protests on April 10 down here in Phoenix. I read a couple reports in the news that somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 protesters showed up. Impressive!

Is this what it takes to create change? Is this the only way to send the government a message? Looking at France and the labor protests that are going on there, I wonder if we are facing a time where this sort of action is the best way to be heard.

If anyone was able to go to the protests here in Phoenix, anywhere else (given that they were all over the country), I’d love to hear some of the first-hand accounts of that experience.