Jess and Nick and Schmidt and Winston used to live together in the same apartment in Los Angeles. Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) decided to start dating but broke up. Then Schmidt (Max Greenfield) married Jess’s best pal, Cece (Hannah Simone), and Nick (, who owns a bar, moved to New Orleans to be with his girlfriend.
At about ten o’clock in the morning on April 29, 1975—forty years ago this week—an American radio station in Saigon broadcast, without further explanation, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” Just before dawn the city’s airport had been shelled by the North Vietnamese Army, and the sound of Bing Crosby’s crooning was the covert and somewhat surreal signal for the mass evacuation of Americans remaining in the South Vietnamese capital.
While many longtime Simpsons’ fans have lost interest in the show in recent years it seems FOX may be giving everyone a reason to tune back in this week. It turns out that 25 years ago now-famous comedy writer Judd Apatow wrote and submitted a script for a Simpsons’ episode. This week that episode will finally be made and broadcast.
In my post yesterday I touched on why I don’t think a la carte cable pricing is a terribly good option for consumers. Some people were quite upset with my having failed to explain fully why I’m not a fan, so allow me to explain my objections in slightly greater detail.
If you’ll recall, I said that the Parents Television Council’s push for legislation requiring cable providers to provide consumers the ability to pick and choose which channels they want rather than buying “bundles” or “tiers” of programming was “semi-reasonable.” It’s the sort of argument that you can market to average voters on a moral level (“We shouldn’t be forced to subsidize these channels we hate!”) and an economic level (“Viewers will save money by not being forced to pay for channels they hate!”).
The reason I say this is a “semi-reasonable” argument is that I’m, frankly, not terribly impressed by either of these lines of attack.
In his (excellent*) collection of essays on villains and our reaction to them, Chuck Klosterman writes a bit about Andrew Dice Clay’s insane level of popularity for a brief moment in the early 1990s. He suggests that part of Clay’s success—a large part, perhaps all of it—was due to the fact that, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, political correctness was one of the dominant modes of social discourse.
Every casual conversation suddenly had the potential to get someone fired. It was a great era for white people hoping to feel less racist by accusing other white people of being very, very racist. A piece of art could be classified as sexist simply because it ignored the concept of sexism. Any intended message mattered less than the received message, and every received message could be interpreted in whatever way the receiver wanted. So this became a problem for everybody. It was painlessly oppressive, and the backlash was stupid and adversarial. It drove artists to linguistic extremes, and it drove audiences to Andrew Dice Clay.
Klosterman thinks that the idea of political correctness as it applies to modern day living is anachronistic. If you’ve read my pieces on the politicized life, you probably aren’t surprised to find that I disagree. Indeed, I think we’re reaching a tipping point similar to the one that spawned Clay and his imitators. And the TV networks are picking up on it.