A good man, and thorough

TWOP is going to be recapping Generation Kill, which I find surprising — given the mini-series-ness of the production.

Athenae hooked me up with this news a week or so ago. So why has it taken me so long to post it? Is it because some folks have grown kind of “meh, TWOP sux” lately, especially since the Bravo buyout?

Nope. Because even if those folks are right, and I’m not sure they are, because things change and evolve and time moves on, anyway even if they are, TWOP is still great at the cross-pollinating thing and that will bring the show, and Simon, more viewers. And if that gets 10 more more people talking about this war, and war in general, and politics, and the election, and our country, I’m down with it.  It sucks they aren’t already doing that, it sucks that they haven’t caught on yet, it sucks some will forget it again, but I’ll take what I can get. Different people change and evolve in response to different stimuli.

Which, oh yeah, that reminds me:  Someone who shall remain nameless, a beloved (justly so) commenter, on that elitist politico-economico-cultirati place where a couple of us spend too much time, this someone took a crack at me the other night.  The topic was television, and how we should all kill ours now, and the majority of crackheads commenting agreed that it offered little, toss the fucker out.  Disagreeing with that (plus pointing out that throwing our teebees out the window with one revolutionary fist whilst still hanging on with the other to our computers, ipods, appliances, cars, etc., well it just seems a tetch too symbolic to make our corporate overlords shit themselves) plus seeing a chance to work in a Nupac plug, I said I’d have a hard time letting go of HBO, for one thing.

So this beloved community sage serves up some condescension to me about hanging on to my calming blue screen to keep myself numbed out, sedated, and calm.  Or something like that. I’m not obsessive enough (shut up) to go find the comment but I’m pretty sure the words “numb,” “blue,” “sedated” and “calm” were all in it.

Which brings me back to my n=10 damaged souls ripe for change reacting to the seed of an idea.  Which brings me way back to Friday nights and Homicide, back when it felt like maybe there were only 10 people watching. Then The Corner,  then the first two seasons of The Wire, the uncertainty there would be another after that, but there was, then one more season, and then one more.

Tell me there wasn’t some change happening as more viewers found that show, some things taking hold in people’s skulls, some ideas.

Like, for example:

“America’s broken. No, really. Shot in the head broken.”

Because, see, I’d rather that 10 people really get it, really have that bowel-freezing middle-of-the-night choking up out of sleep panic over how fucked we are than five hundred people snoring like well-fed dogs after the 8,814th ep of Law and Order.

Anyway, the procrastination about the TWOP news was because they put their best dude on the job and it psyched me flat out.  That’s right, Jacob.  TEH Jacob. Athenae’s favorite writer Jacob.

And I couldn’t figure out how to write about how good he is. How he brings it even when the show in question is pure crap.  Or not.

And then, there’s the BSG recaps.

In the stillness and light, with the wind in her hair, a holy smile upon her face, lit from within by the fire of a thousand wrong turns suddenly and violently wrenched straight: all those mistakes weren’t mistakes, they were just the way things had to go. They were just the unfolding, from a funny angle. Whether this has all happened before and will happen again is beside the point, that’s just rhetoric: seen from above, this is all happening. She closes her eyes in the unfolding. The Kore child dances in the light of the abyss, her face clean and joyful, almost too bright to see, free of the constraints of time and what we see. She smiles in absolute peace: how can you look at her, this beautiful, calm girl, this gorgeous peace, this holy calm, this rightness, and think this is a mistake? I believe that Kara Thrace will lead the Fleet to Earth, just as I believe Three will stand and walk and love again, and Caprica will know God’s love, and Gaius will know peace, and Gaeta will bone a dude. Just as I believe that until the bugs stop jumping, the war will never end, because fear and violence create more bugs and more fear and more violence, and the more frightened you are, the more likely you are to both act like assholes and forget that it’s just a game, fail to recognize they’re only toys. I believe these things just as I believe there’s a day all pawns will become queens, and the Chips stop talking, and the angel rejoins what was broken, on a holy anvil that only looks like war, from this joke of an angle.

I don’t know how to write about writing about television that’s that gymnastic and funny and mean and glorious, except to just point at it. Except to tell you these recaps will show up over there, and they will be more than worth our while.  Except to tell you I know they put the best shot they have on it, which is only fitting.

Interestingly enough, he’s never watched The Wire.  Rather than just pretend that of course he has, or cram all five seasons in before watching seven episodes of a completely different show, he asked for some conversation about it here, so go knock yourselves out.


A Lie Agreed Upon

Spoilers for the latest, beneath.

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No, Athenae didn’t quit

In case you’re wondering…

Nor have we got her locked up in a vacant somewhere. She’s just very busy lately being famous and dealing with the release of her new book, It Doesn’t End with Us, the Story of the Daily Cardinal. (Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Heritage Books)

More here about scheduled events.

She promises to resurface. If she doesn’t, we know where she lives and we’ll drag her ass back over here.

So I Went Crazy

So there’s these two fish in a tank, and one fish says to the other one, “I can’t drive this thing.”

Seriously, I know one joke, and that’s it. I forget who taught it to me. I’m sure it was funnier when he said it.

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Do What It Takes

Simon in the WaPo today:

At the moment when the Internet was about to arrive, most big-city newspapers — having survived the arrival of television and confident in their advertising base — were neither hungry, nor worried, nor ambitious. They were merely assets to their newspaper chains. Profits were taken, and coverage did not expand in scope and complexity.

In my newsroom, I lived through the trend of zoning (give the people what’s happening in their neighborhood), the trend of brevity (never mind the details, people don’t read past the jump) and ultimately, the trend of organized, clinical prize-groveling (we don’t know what people want, but if we can win something, that’s validation enough), not to mention several graphic redesigns of the newspaper.

I did not encounter a sustained period in which anyone endeavored to spend what it would actually cost to make the Baltimore Sun the most essential and deep-thinking and well-written account of life in central Maryland. The people you needed to gather for that kind of storytelling were ushered out the door, buyout after buyout.

Look. Everybody under 30 isn’t some callow youth, and I’m defensive enough to feel a prickle at those comments; I was that inexperienced 20-something in the newsroom who didn’t know everybody’s history instantly, and I took plenty of crap for it from the older folks. Turning us on each other, making the 50-somethings resent somebody who wanted to learn and do well just because she was younger and made less money, was just one more way for management to keep our eyes off the ball. If we’re all pissed at each other, maybe we won’t notice that while we all get screwed out of raises, the boss took home a six-figure bonus.

But that’s a personal, and probably unwarranted, nitpick. What this eventually comes down to is what you’re willing to fight for, and over and over, corporate owners of newspapers have shown that they’re not willing to fight for the paper. Mouth platitudes, sure, and talk about traditions, but they only ever chase the money, and even that, they puss out on. To use a hockey analogy, it’s trying the Jeff Sauer penalty kill: Circle around the net, tight as you can, and pray your opponent doesn’t get a shot off. You might not lose by as much as you’d lose by if you challenged the forwards coming at you, but one thing’s for certain: You won’t fucking win.


Deadline Nightmare

Spoilers layin’ in the cut.

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We Don’t Get The Money

I wanted to pull out something Laura said in a comment here:

Very few bosses in my 20-year career stood their ground to protect journalism. They wanted to protect their reputations and their pets, and the kind of journalism that enhanced their repuations. 2) Yet there were, in fact, Gus Hayneses, and I’ll name one name: Lynda Robinson, my editor for a time at the Sun, who had to flee for her own career, ended up at the Washington Post. She was kind, she was ethical and she had my back. In fact, when a story of mine was almost spiked on the grounds that it was mean-spirited — I wrote a piece about how local soup kitchens don’t need that much help on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but sure would appreciate some volunteers the other 363 days — she marched into the top editor’s office and said, “If this story doesn’t belong in the paper, then I don’t deserve to be an editor here.” Or words to that effect.

Because it goes to the heart of what comes across to me when I watch The Wire, and watch recent politics, and watch basically the whole world ever of late, which is that we seem to ask ourselves just how much we can suck and get away with it. We seem to tell ourselves a lot that we’re trapped creatures, that we’re hamstrung by this that or the other circumstance, that things are all beyond our control and so what we need to do is sit down and tell ourselves there was nothing we could do. And it’s not like there are tons of examples of things going the other way. Thieves get rich and saints get shot, to quote Mr. Sondheim. Dean Baquet refused to fire his reporters at the LA Times and just wound up fired himself. He was a hero, and rightly so, but it cost him dearly.
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