A Continual Roar of Musketry: The inability of 21st Century entertainment media to take a hard look at itself | Street Jazz

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Continual Roar of Musketry: The inability of 21st Century entertainment media to take a hard look at itself

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 9:06 AM

In Michael Storey's television review column in Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he quoted the website Funeralwise.com, which gave the number of fictional deaths on TV in 2012.

1, 516

Well, we Americans like crime shows. And I, too, like crime shows, and adventure shows and science fiction shows. But just as Plato reminds us, the life unexamined is not worth loving, then perhaps the entertainment we enjoy and don't examine is not worth enjoying.

40 years ago this country was rocked by young people who wouldn't do as they were told, or believe as they were told to believe. And as a society, we reviled them. Sometimes we shot and killed them.

Jackson State.

Orangeburg.

Kent State.

Of the three above, only the last is familiar to many people, largely perhaps because the shootings on the first two campuses took place in schools where the students were mostly black. At Kent State, they were far more photogenic.

But Kent State brought us up short. We were shocked. Oh, don't kid yourselves; many people thought the unarmed students got exactly what they deserved.

Unlike now, when TV networks are terrified of offending even a small portion of their viewing audience - which is why we get so many bland and forgettable shows - television in the 1960s and early 1970s was at least willing to take some chances.

Oh, we had Gomer Pyle and Nanny and the Professor, but we also had All in the Family, and even Marcus Welby charged his patients on a sliding scale, depending upon how much money they made in a year.

And we had The Bold Ones, a series which featured a revolving set of characters, the best of which was a US senator played by Hal Halbrook.

And in 1970, after the Kent State shootings, The Bold Ones set out to look at campus shootings from all sides, in an episode inspired by Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon.

Titled "A Continual Roar of Musketry," it was an unsparring look at the college administrator, the local mayor, the students, the governor, and the national guard commander of the troops who had opened fire on students, killing two and wounding two.

There are no clear winners or losers in this episode, but important (and at times uncomfortable) questions are raised.

It would be nice if television were capable of looking at itself today, especially as the medium itself is under scrutiny in the wake of so many shootings.

Well, maybe on HBO or Showtime. I won't hold my breath waiting for network TV.

******

That Subway Sandwich Lawsuit - maybe once the news anchors stop giggling, they'll notice who his attorney is

After local news anchors are done giggling and making funny faces over the Subway Sandwich lawsuit, they might actually take some notice of the name of the attorney representing the fellow in Springdale who has brought the suit forward.

Marshall Dale Evans.

For the benefit of those who don't know how to use Google, Evans was part of the legal teams who successfully sued the city of Fayetteville (twice) in years past. His name is also well-known to other cities.

One might hazard a guess and say that Evans probably wouldn't take this case on unless he thought there was something to it.

But hey, why actually report when you can mug for the cameras?

*****

Crack my knuckles and jump for joy - got a clean bill of health from Doctor McCoy

And from which episode of Star Trek did I swipe that line from?

My hernia surgery went well.It wasn't the mesh from last year's surgery which was the culprit, but my hernia from 1991, laying in wait like a villain in a dark alley, watching for the right time to strike that was the problem.

I am notoriously bad at following doctor's orders - I want to take a walk, even though I'd probably collapse at the end of the street! Fortunately, Tracy has far more sense than I do in these matters . . .

****

Quote of the Day

Miracles sometimes occur, but one has to work terribly hard for them. - Chaim Weizman

rsdrake@cox.net

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