Tag Archives | Television

Bloodthirsty ‘Factual’ TV Shows Demonize Wildlife

729px-Just_one_lionAdam Welz writes at the Guardian:

If you’re North American or get US-produced satellite TV, you’ve probably learned a lot about wildlife from outlets like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and History. You might trust these channels because you’ve seen educational, factually accurate shows on them, unlike the ‘trashy’ material that dominates free-to-air network TV.

But not everything on on these ‘factual’ channels might be as ethical or even as accurate as you might think, and the implications for conservation could be profound.

I recently spent a few entertaining hours watching episodes of Discovery’s Yukon Men, a hit ‘reality’ series about the residents of the small town of Tanana in central Alaska. Launched in August last year, it’s consistently gained over two million US viewers in its Friday night slot, been syndicated overseas, and helped the channel win some of its biggest audiences ever.

The first episode brings us to midwinter Tanana, which a theatrical, husky male voiceover tells us is “one of America’s most remote outposts” where “every day is a struggle to survive”.

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Is the Portrayal of Torture on TV Changing?

24-TV-Series-LogoAlyssa Rosenberg writes at ThinkProgress:

When Fox announced that it was bringing back 24, its serialized drama about counterterrorist federal agent Jack Bauer that finished its initial run in 2010, as a limited-episode special event in 2014, much of the commentary about the news focused on questions of structure, rather than content. Time Magazine television critic James Poniewozik argued that 24′s resurrection was part of an exciting move by Fox to make more limited series and more special events, a strategy that includes a shorter run for its serial killer hit The Following, a move that both was meant to accomodate star Kevin Bacon’s schedule and to ape the success of dark cable dramas with shorter runs, and an order of limited-run series Wayward Pines. Others saw it as part of Fox’s decision to walk away from a focus on female-focused comedies and return to an old, reliable—and male-centered—hit from its past.

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Does Making Films Help Make Change?

President Obama on The Daily Show closeThere has been a major shift in media culture as most TV networks have abandoned long-form information programming. In these times, with Twitter playing a big part in disseminating news, TV has to be punchy, quick and visual. The age of media mergers has seen showbiz merging with news biz, and soundbites have become shorter as the newscast story count rises.

Significantly, the best TV criticism of these trends in the US appears in a nightly program on the Comedy Central channel. But ultimately, there is nothing funny about the way a media system – intended to bolster a democratic discourse – contributes to its decline.

News is increasingly becoming more about the image than the information – an approach to “coverage” that is at its core tabloid in its sensibilities, often intended for a memorable emotional impact that will boost media ratings and revenues. The race for “breaking news” is breaking our ability to understand the context of events.… Read the rest

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Reality TV Show Planned Focusing On Children Who Recall Their Past Lives

My spin on this would be a Maury Povich-style “my bad kid” episode focusing on children who are the reincarnations of Nazi officers, bloodthirsty cannibals, et cetera. Via the Huffington Post:

A Los Angeles production company is currently holding a nationwide casting call for children who claim to have, or have had, past life memories for a new reality series, “Ghost Inside My Child,” scheduled to air on the Bio Channel later this year.

A pilot episode of the series aired a few months ago, with three kids who had gone through various steps of recovering memories of their alleged past lives.

One case from the first show concerns James Leininger. At the age of two, Leininger reportedly started having terrifying nightmares of his death. Ultimately, the family came to believe that he was the reincarnation of James Huston, a fighter pilot who died in World War II at Iwo Jima.

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Christians Who Are More Jewish Than Jews

Cast of "The Sisterhood" (TLC)

In a New York Times article entitled “Oy Vey, Christian Soldiers,” Maud Newton describes the seemingly bizarre trend among certain Christians to give their kids Bar Mitzvahs and otherwise adopt Jewish religious practices:

Of all the surprises promised by the recent TLC reality show “The Sisterhood,” which followed the lives of five Atlanta preachers’ wives, the only one that truly amazed me was the Christian bar mitzvah, an event organized by Pastor Tara Lewis and her husband, Pastor Brian, for their son, Trevor. Brian was born to Jewish parents; Tara was not. Both are born-again Christians, and they’re of one mind about their son’s bar mitzvah as a Christ-centered take on the traditional Jewish coming-of-age ceremony.

In one episode of “The Sisterhood,” Brian and Tara plan the theme of the bar mitzvah cake. “How about Christ in the Torah?” Brian asks. “Amen,” Tara answers.

Their Jesus-fied version of the Jewish ritual is intended to celebrate both Trevor’s ethnic heritage through his father and, even more important, his spiritual identity through salvation.

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David Byrne’s Multiple-Personality Interview Of Himself

In this media moment lost in the archives of history, Talking Heads front man and weirdo David Byrne organized an interview regarding his band, creative ambitions, and innermost desires. The idea was to adhere to a format "like 60 Minutes on acid", with the questions being asked by female David Byrne, elderly David Byrne, lounge lizard David Byrne, and other disturbing characters:
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DisinfoTV: Rocket Boy, Space Mercenary

Another bizarre segment from our TV series as we catch up with San Pedro, California's most notorious resident: Rocket Boy, a self-proclaimed intergalactic warrior stranded on Earth after an accident in space. In short, Rocket Boy is an extremely disturbing and disturbed local super hero who dabbles in bizarre porn and cat killing, and has a foul-mouthed nemesis named Captain Art. Taken from DisinfoTV on DVD, available now at:http://bit.ly/V01W7T Subscribe to Disinformation's YouTube channel:http://goo.gl/aHTcz
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Zero Hour’s Fake Disinfo Page

We just watched the third and as it turns out final (the show has been canceled ALREADY!) episode of Zero Hour where one of Hank’s sidekicks says that “Disinfo is like porn to me.” I took a screenshot when the camera closes in on his computer displaying our website, only to find a story that we never published, entitled “What Was Einstein’s Final Project?” It could be an interesting article – any volunteers to write it for real?

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DisinfoTV: The Voluptuous Horror of Kembra Pfahler

Diggin' in the crates once again, in this segment of our old TV series we meet New York art maverick Kembra Pfahler: glam rocker, wrestler, Calvin Klein model, and mastermind behind the legendary freak show "The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black," she blurs the line between life and art, pleasure and pain, and terror and beauty. Taken from DisinfoTV on DVD, available now at: http://bit.ly/V01W7T Subscribe to Disinformation's YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/aHTcz
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