Another reason to watch Jon Stewart (you need some Real player for this one):
Last night I attended a "Professor Dinner" at the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, as the guest of some of my students (Therese, Audrey, Nicole, Irene, take a bow ... see, I do know your names!). I've been to a couple of these in the past, and in fact will be attending another tomorrow. Students invite professors to the sorority for dinner, we get to discuss the important issues of the day (in other words, GOSSIP) in a more casual environment than the classroom or the office hour. The evening was v.enjoyable, even if our team did lose the Jeopardy contest. I'd say more, but I'm pretty sure the above-mentioned students are gonna read this and I don't want them to learn any more of my private thoughts than they already know. One thing is for certain: these dinners do work at breaking down the boundaries between teacher and student, and it's not just that students get to see their teachers in a "real life" situation ... it's also that grumpy outsiders like me can see the very real benefits of sorority life.
Therese introduced me to everyone as her Buffy professor, which led to several sorority sisters corralling me during the evening to talk about the Buffster. Here is the real reason to teach a class on Buffy: even a lame-ass middle-aged white boy like me seems cool when my moniker is "The Buffy Professor."
Then, Sara, Robin and I watched tonight's episode of Buffy when I got home. (I'm going to be at the Giants game tonight and I think Sara is working, so I downloaded it ahead of time and we did that wonderful futuristic thing, watching a teevee show before it was on!) After this, only three episodes to go. Don't want to post any spoilers here, so I'll just note that I thought the various speeches directed towards Buffy were of the "it's about time" genre, while Sara felt they kinda came out of nowhere. Sarie was especially peeved about Dawn's role in all of this. Can't say more ... I want my website to be spoiler-free, and since the episode hasn't been on yet, I can't give any more details :-).
The Parents Television Council (PTC) is going after the creators of the TV series, "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," because of the episode that played during Holy Week. PTC said the show mocked the Christian faith.
The controversy is over a scene in which one of the characters dresses as a priest and makes fun of the act of communion - suggesting what would happen if someone at the Last Supper wanted white wine, instead of red.
"We were pretty outraged," said Melissa Caldwell, of the PTC....
"Hollywood is going down that slippery slope of immorality," said Dave Lukens of the Dove Foundation, which tracks entertainment fare from a Christian perspective.
Lukens added Christian parents have an important responsibility in all this.
"The Bible tells us that we have to live 'in this world' but we don't have to be a part of it in terms of dealing with all the filth," Lukens said.
Wrexham, a Welsh soccer team that plays in the English Third Division, won promotion to Division Two today. I mention this because I am in charge of an email list for Wrexham fans.
Wrexham got to this point by going undefeated over their last 12 matches, winning the last six, with the most recent two matches ending 6-1 and 5-0 in their favor. I've been "watching" them since 1994, and it's fun to see their success this season, although one of the teams that suffers from that success is Bournemouth, the club of Jillian's father, Edmund.
Today the United States may be suffering from a number of perfectly obvious ills but they are all connected with -- and worsened by -- something that is none too tangible. That something is an atmosphere, a climate of opinion, a habit of reacting. Where it came from is plain enough. We've grown unbelievably prosperous and we maunder along in a stupor of fat.... We live in a heavy, humorless, sanctimonious, stultifying atmosphere, singularly lacking in the self-mockery that is self-criticism.... This situation is the more striking because never in history has a nation been more ripe, more begging for mockery, for satire, for wit.... [W]here are the guffaws in this country, the purifying wit and humor, the catharsis of caricature, the outcries against all this unmitigated nonsense?... Our faces are straight, our thoughts are doggedly constructive, our ramparts are high and wide against the man who belly-laughs.... Sometimes I think we are just going to bore ourselves to death. This is not only a dreary situation; it is a downright dangerous one. -- Eric F. Goldman in Harper's Magazine, January 1960
A coupla days ago I noted that you can hear stuff on Jon Stewart's show that you wouldn't expect to encounter on television, and by that I didn't mean sex and violence, I meant pointed, funny analysis of current events. Then you check out the "real" news, and you see an AP reporter talking to Santorum:
I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.
Three stories, one real, one partly real, one fictional, all stories that remind us that money isn't the only motivation.
Story one, the real one: Rickey Henderson, 44, will be playing baseball for the Newark Bears in 2003. Rickey isn't doing this for the money ... he'll receive $3000 a month for his efforts ... he's doing it because he doesn't want to quit playing baseball. Some find that a little pathetic, but I'd tip my cap to anyone who seizes the opportunity to continue a dream.
Story two, the fictional one: on an episode we just watched from season two of Queer As Folk, lovable queen Emmett Honeycutt turned down a million dollars because he thought it would demean a loving relationship he'd had. Of course, this was all made up for the show ... wouldn't happen in real life, now, would it? Turn down a million bucks? All you've got to do is keep quiet about a love affair? Who wouldn't take the money and run? Well, Emmett Honeycutt for one ... he wasn't in love for the money.
Story three, part real, part fictional: after watching QAF, I watched an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. This show is a faux-verite look at the life of Larry David, who plays himself. David helped create Seinfeld ... he's apparently the inspiration for the character of George on that show ... CYE is like Seinfeld without jokes (which doesn't mean it's not funny), if George and Jerry were somehow merged into the same person. Anyway, according to several reliable sources, Larry David ended up with about $200 million for his contributions to Seinfeld. Which I think we can agree means Larry David can do whatever he wants for the rest of his life. What he seems to want to do is put his life in front of America on a regular basis, in a fictional presentation that makes him look like an asshole. Like Rickey and Emmett, Larry is not doing this for the money ... he'd seem to have enough at this point. Like Rickey, he just has stuff he wants to do, so he does it. Like Emmett ... well, he's not like Emmett, no one is, Emmett Honeycutt is far too sweet for anyone in real life to be like him.
I also sent a Letter to the Editor of the Chronicle:
I have been a reader of the Chronicle for virtually my entire life, having lived in the area since I was born in 1953. I have been a subscriber for most of my adult life.
I have cancelled my subscription to your paper, and will not be resubscribing until the situation regarding Henry Norr is rectified. While I am in general agreement with Mr. Norr regarding the recent war, that agreement is not at issue here. What matters is that Mr. Norr has been terminated from his job for daring to speak his mind, not as an employee of the Chronicle but as a citizen of the United States. The Chron's claim that Mr. Norr was fired for falsifying his timesheet is so clearly a trumped up bit of nonsense that you should be ashamed for even thinking it would fly with your readership.
The Chronicle claims that its journalistic responsibility must be met via prohibition of public political activity; the termination of Mr. Norr gives the lie to your claims, as it is obvious his termination is nothing less than a public political act by the paper.
Lecturer, Mass Communications
University of California, Berkeley