Tuesday, May 31, 2011

THE TV IS SENDING HIM SECRET MESSAGES. Ben Shapiro has a book out about how TV is trying to turn you Red:
Look at Friends. Great show. Well-written. Well-acted. Funny. Bet you didn’t think it was political per se. But not only did the show feature a lesbian wedding during its first season, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and on-screen fights over condoms, the show promoted the substitution of friends for family as moral guides and sources of responsibility. Marta Kauffman told me that she was trying to use the show as a vehicle for acting out “that time in your life … when your friends are your family.” Kauffman actually got nastier than that...
Also, a producer allegedly refused to accept Shapiro's spec script because "he would never work with someone of my political persuasion." If only Aaron Spelling were still alive!

Shapiro's making author rounds and told the New York Post that Sesame Street is a communist plot.
'Sesame Street' tried to tackle divorce, tackle 'peaceful conflict resolution' in the aftermath of 9/11, and had Neil Patrick Harris [a gay actor] on the show, playing the subtly named "fairy shoeperson."
He also complains about a 2007 Sesame Street episode that made fun of Fox News (and other news networks without the same elaborately constructed victim status). I like to think Post reporter Cynthia R. Fagen was having a bit of fun with this button:
And Shapiro said one of the "Happy Days" writers admitted to him that the show "had a whole subtext" of attacking the Vietnam War.

"If you really look for it, you can find it," the writer says.
I wonder if there's anything in there about how Wide World of Sports was propaganda for the U.N. Or if Shapiro interviewed Mark McLeod.

UPDATE. Comments are delightful, and remind me to remind you of Shapiro's other adventures in the Lively Arts: In 2009 he told us that "Since 1948, Israeli film has been heavily focused on undermining Israelis’ patriotism – and Israelis have bought into it," which explains the persistence of Bibi Netanyahu, and compared Wanda Sykes' performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner to "Richard Pryor speaking at a White House Correspondents Dinner for JFK and failing to mention the civil rights movement."

Shapiro's analytical skills really shine, recalls Substance McGravitas, in his list of the 10 most overrated directors, topped by Alfred Hitchcock. His premise is, "[Hitchcock] was the Stephen King of the silver screen: he made films with great premises, but he never knew where to go from there"; he defends this mostly with adjectives.

A few readers note that Shapiro is a member of the board of Declaration Entertainment, which was considered here last July and has so far produced no features but lots of Bill Whittle videos.

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