Television


Wondering how to make your life a bit more weird? Gilliam explains how to produce strange and wondrous things from household materials on the 1970s how-to series the Do-It-Yourself Animation Show. The rare television show which flips the tables by encouraging engagement, not passive consumption, of media, it was created and curated by British cartooning legend Bob Godfrey, who died this past week. Cartoon Brew explains:

The Do-It-Yourself Animation Show, which made animation accessible to the masses by taking the mystery out of the production process, was vastly influential and inspired an entire generation of kids in England, including Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit, and Richard Bazley, an animator on Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Iron Giant.



If you want to understand our culture, watch our commercials. Via Salon, Michael Shaw writes:

With the West in an endless struggle in the Middle East not just for resources but mindshare, we see the Coke bottle — the symbol of globalization and American commercialism — sitting there in the hot sand, the object of desire for, first of all, a hapless Gulf prince/camel jockey. Resonating with [the looming] immigration debate, we then have a Hispanic desperado evoking the desert as if the province of thirsty Mexicans looking north.

It’s funny but not-so-funny when you consider that what America has to offer is, in fact, a mirage. What the ad people realize I’m sure is that, after more than a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of “quenching” — no matter how much you “put down” the Arabs and Islamists — couldn’t be more ironic.


Can the divide between pop culture and ancient wisdom be crossed? A particularly strange episode of the late-sixties Beatles cartoon series features the Fab Four journeying “to the inner world” and becoming extraterrestrial gods of a civilization resembling the Mayans:



The new-ish Disney Channel animated children’s vehicle Gravity Falls appears to have been greatly influenced by a conspiracy buff, with Freemasonry and occult references hidden throughout, and even cyphered messages hidden in the theme song. Some see it as more sinister than fun. Via Vigilant Citizen:

The same set of symbols – those of the ruling elite – are being permeated across popular culture. A blatant example is Disney’s new show Gravity Falls, a “quirky and endearing” cartoon about 12-year old twins spending summer with their Great Uncle Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon.




CNN’s ratings have been truly terrible in the last few years, so recently parent company Time Warner decided to make NBC reject Jeff Zucker the new head of the network, presumably to bring back the crowds. Whether or not it was Zucker who decided that the answer to the network’s boring programming was to invite Texas radio host Alex Jones onto Piers Morgan’s evening show I don’t know, but it certainly made for some compelling viewing. Who do you think came off worst?


The blown-out transfer quality only adds to the eeriness of this groundbreaking moment in television. A reverend performs an exorcism in aid of a Chicago couple plagued by voices and moving objects:

First Televised Exorcism! Recorded in Chicago, IL on NBC in 1971 with Carole Simpson interviewing the Becker family about their haunted home. Exorcism was completed by Joseph DeLouise and Rev. William Derl-Davis.



During the 1970s, if you were bored you could ring your local cable variety show to speak to “the punk of your choice” about authenticity and other problems. Via Open Culture:

Late-seventies broadcast from The Efrom Allen Show on New York cable television finds the shirtless Vicious sitting on a panel with his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, and Cynthia Ross of the B Girls. “THAT’S SID VICIOUS ON YOUR SCREENS, FOLKS,” scrolling text tells the viewers. “IS SID VICIOUS? WHO CARES? CALL 473-5386 TO SPEAK TO THE PUNK OF YOUR CHOICE.”


There are plenty of stories about the WhiteHouse.gov petition to have Piers Morgan deported (66,000+ at latest count as I write), but none that I have seen discusses whether or not the United States government could deport the television personality just for making on-air remarks that gun-loving Americans deem unpatriotic (or worse). Any suggestions as to legal theories for possible grounds for kicking our poor old Piers? For those of you not yet familiar with the controversy, here’s some video of his comments followed by Politico‘s report:

CNN anchor Piers Morgan isn’t benefiting from much Christmas cheer, at least according to one measure: The number of signers on a petition urging the White House to deport Morgan has skyrocketed by late Tuesday afternoon to nearly 66,000 names…




Via WFLA 540 AM:

In the DVD release for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Episode 10, showrunners Dave Benioff and D.B. Weiss admit to using the severed head of former president George W. Bush in the scene below. The show-runners statement follows:

“The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had lying around.” — Dave Benioff & D.B. Weiss

You can see the footage at the 1:10 mark in this video:


Guess how they’ll get there? Via a reality television event that will fund the whole project. Seriously, that’s what the promoters are claiming and the story has spread far and wide. From the official Mars One site:

Mars One’s mission objective

Mars One plans to establish the first human settlement on Mars by April 2023. The first crew of four astronauts emigrate to their new planet from Earth, a journey that takes seven months. A new team will join the settlement every two years. By 2033 there will be over twenty people living, working and flourishing on Mars, their new home.

The vision of Mars One

A manned mission to Mars is one of the most exciting, inspiring and ambitious adventures that mankind can take on. We see this as a journey that belongs to us all, and it is for this reason that we will make every step one that we take together. This will also be our way to finance the mission: the mission to Mars will be the biggest media event ever!

The entire world will be able to watch and help with decisions as the teams of settlers are selected, follow their extensive training and preparation…




This coming fall, Colorado residents will vote on whether to legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana statewide, via the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is running a series of television ads urging legalization — their first spot, in honor of Mother’s Day, encourages young adults to let their parents know that they prefer pot:


What does the ascendance of the sociopath as a pop culture figure mean? The New Inquiry on our ever-growing fascination with “disconnected” characters: My greatest regret is that I’m not a sociopath….



Reports Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva on CNN:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to debut a talk show, “The World Tomorrow,” on Russia’s state-funded television network next week. Assange and RT, an English-language international satellite news channel, would not release the guest lineup in advance, but hinted that the first interview would be controversial.

WikiLeaks has asked followers on Twitter if they can guess the show’s first guest. “Any bets on who The World Tomorrow’s first mystery guest(s) are?” it tweeted. “You’ve been waiting and we’ve been teasing,” said RT’s website of the show, which will also be released online. The talk show set for launch Tuesday is creating a stir in global media circles.


VCR HorrorsVia Freddy In Space:

It’s the 1980s. Young horror fans are in their glory, while their parents are outraged over the tapes that are easily accessible to them at the local video store. ABC News runs a news piece on their show 20/20, aimed to demonize horror films and the kids who enjoy them with all kinds of wild and salacious accusations. Three decades later, the news piece serves as a 15 minute journey back in time, reminding us horror fans of our early years spent ingesting horror VHS tapes, so voraciously that it’s almost as if we knew they were going out of style.