Pop Culture Archives

March 15, 2002


For all five people who care, Andrea Thompson has resigned from her slot as anchor of CNN's headline news. That was fast; she had only had the job for seven months. And given that she resigned "to make a change in my daily professional life," is there any doubt that she was forced out? How about the Washington Post's headline: Model-Anchor Quits Headline News. Nothing demonstrates the unimportance of the job like the phrase "model-anchor." They read news off teleprompters. A trained chimp -- or even an untrained one, as Thompson demonstrates -- could do the job, as long as it looked good on camera.

And speaking of bad reporting, the Post says

Poor CNN hasn't even had time to stop smarting over its hire of Thompson -- who played a blond, busty vixen on prime-time soap "Falcon Crest," an alien on sci-fi drama "Babylon 5" and Detective Jill Kirkendall on the ABC drama "NYPD Blue" -- at the same time it was laying off seasoned journalists.
Not to prove that I'm a geek or anything, but actually, she played a human (telepath) on Babylon 5, not an alien. It's almost as if the reporter didn't know the facts when writing the story.

March 21, 2002

I refuse to join any club that would have me for a member

Newly-announced lesbian Rosie O'Donnell is upset because a film she narrated seems to have been made by members of a "homophobic cult."

Articles from 1996 in the Los Angeles Times and from 1995 in the San Diego Union-Tribune about a branch of the Fourth Way School, in Oregon House, Calif., said the group bans gays.
So let me see if I understand this: Rosie is annoyed because a cult is discriminating? Now we want affirmative action for cult membership? "Gays should be exploited, too"? What's next, whining that Hamas keeps rejecting her application to be a suicide bomber?

July 26, 2002

Does Comedy Central have the Answer?

At first glance, Comedy Central's new show, Crank Yankers is just another in the painfully long list of recent mindless television programming whose only redeeming quality is that your remote control works and the channel can be turned changed. However, as Kathy M. Newman, a professor of English at Carnegie-Mellon University and astute cultural critic, points out the show "serve[s] as a reminder that the desire to help people and do a good job is still alive and well in America." This desire exists, "at least when it comes to the little people."

One lesson from 9/11 may be being elucidated by shows like "Crank Yankers" -- while President Bush can't stop using the power of his office to help out his old Texas friends, while Joe Lieberman is fighting to the end to retain non-reported stock options, while Dick Cheney will do anything for the energy lobby -- the strength, kindness, and even gentleness of this country comes not from Bush, Lieberman, Cheney, or any celebrity CEO. What makes America America comes from fire fighters and police officers, gay rugby players,, the African American student body president of the University of Kansas and hundreds of millions of the other the little people.

As the Congress and the President are debating everything from the further opening of northern Alaska to oil exploration to how to deal (and not to deal) with the plunging stock market, they should remember (and I fear they don't, and the media which covers them don't either) that their actions really do affect our lives. Retirement funds are disappearing; people who have worked hard their entire lives are going to have to work longer and harder; vacations won't be taken; weddings which were going to be large and festive will now be small and solemn. These changes do matter, and it doesn't seem like anyone in Washington actually cares.

Crank Yankers shows that we are all here working hard, doing a good job, and doing everything which makes America something to be so proud of (and we are proud). I just hope someone inside the beltway watches it. We can do it all ourselves, but we shouldn't have to.

August 24, 2002

I paid $8 for that?

Sight and Sound magazine has just released their critics poll of top 10 list of best movies of all-time. These type of lists are usually a dime-a-dozen, but Sight and Sound has currency because its list comes out only once every ten years, it started in 1952, and, well, it's Sight and Sound.

The list includes the usual suspects: Citizen Kane, Vertigo, La Règle du jeu, the first two Godfather movies (which they quizotically count as one), Tokyo Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Battleship Potemkin, Sunrise, 8 1/2, and Singin' In the Rain. They're all great movies, no doubt about that (although I'd recommend drinking a few strong cups of coffee before re-watching 2001; you'll need it to stay awake), but what's odd about the list is what's missing.

With the exception of Singin' in the Rain, there are no fun movies on the list. The other movies are serious art-house types (some might counter with the vastly popular Godfather I, but my come-back will be to remind them about Godfather II). (And, one must assume the only reason Singin' in the Rain is thought of so highly is because of the humor it pokes at Holllywood.)

I'm not saying, no matter how great it is, that Easy Living should be on this kind of list, but I think, judging from what a movie-lover is subjected to in contemporary movie criticism, the Sight and Sound list is emblematic of the fact that movie critics have forgotten why most people go to movies.

Sight and Sound had no great comedies. No Chaplin, no Keaton, no Duck Soup, no Some Like it Hot, no Tootsie, no Annie Hall, no Fargo. While there are romantic moments in Vertigo, Sunrise and Singin' In the Rain, Sight and Sound had no great romances. No World of Apu, no Titanic, no Affair to Remember, no When Harry Met Sally, no Roman Holiday, no Gone with the Wind, no Doctor Zhivago, no Reds. It had no great action movies. No Raiders of the Lost Ark, no Speed, no The Matrix. Even with Vertigo, it had no real horror films. No Sixth Sense, no Exorcist, no Jaws, no Halloween.

The art-house has its place, and I love every movie on the list, but movie critics have forgotten and they should take pains to remember why we all love movies.

January 7, 2003

The Year in movies

Harvey Kloman begins his review of 2002 cinema with the standard "movies these days stink and I know that because I'm artsie" qualification: "Please don’t go leaping to any conclusions: Just because I’m going to name 17 movies that you might want to think about renting doesn’t mean 2002 has been a 'great year for movies.' First, this list has an offbeat number of entries because I’ve eschewed the conventional roundness of the 'Top 10' for years. (The very alliteration of it makes my skin crawl, not to mention its visual corpulence.) Second, you’ll find no four-star masterpieces on the list -- no pantheon cinema or best-of-the-decade sure things (although maybe a few contenders). And third, just as we live in postmodern times, I think we live in post-cinema times as well: Except for technology, there’s nothing out there left to innovate in the medium -- no New Waves, no neo-Realisms, no Cinemas of Loneliness waiting to be discovered and devoured. The best of recent cinema is all a variation on themes and movements and blended genres, with a pleasure here, a delight there: good movies steeped in enough intelligence, humanity and conscience to serve as a tonic to mainstream banality."

Tonic to mainstream banality? What's he talking about? This year, in the movie theater down the street, I could see: Talk to Her, The Fast Runner, Adaptation, Far From Heaven, The Pianist, Spirited Away, Storytelling, Gangs of New York, Lovely & Amazing, Punch-Drunk Love, 25th Hour, Minority Report, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Signs, Rabbit-Proof Fence, About Schmidt, One Hour Photo, About a Boy, City of God, 13 Conversations About One Thing, Invincible, All or Nothing, Bowling for Columbine, The Quiet American, The Hours, Catch Me If You Can, Diamond Men, The Grey Zone, The Man From Elysian Fields, and 24 Hour Party People, among many others. All these movies listed were original, well acted, well directed, taken seriously by its makers, quite different from each other, and hardly banal. They come from famous directors (Polanski, Speilberg, Scorsese) and not yet famous ones. They come from big studios and from independents and from Canada, Mexico, and Europe. It was, in fact, a great year for movies.

I'm not going to make a Top Ten list. What's my recommendation? Go out and catch a movie this weekend. You'll be glad you did.

August 9, 2003

Cinema Paradiso

Matthew Hoy writes: " finally got around to watching the new version of "Cinema Paradiso." Usually the director's cut is better -- i.e. "Blade Runner" -- in this case, however, the original is the one you should watch. I think leaving some things unanswered is better than the answers you end up getting. Anyway, if you rent it watch the old version (the DVD has both versions on it) -- it has a much greater emotional impact."

I'm going to be picking nits, but I'm going to advise you to do something different if you rent it.

Cinema Paradiso is, indeed, an wonderful and extraordinary movie. If you rent it, if you can, watch both versions. They are almost two different movies. But whatever you do, watch the "old" version first. Then the so-called director's cut.

[For what it's worth... the cut that is now being billed as the "director's cut," and what Hoy calls "the new version" isn't new at all -- it was the version that originially hit the theaters in Italy (it's an Italian movie) in 1988. The movie bombed. It was taken back into the studio and 30 odd minutes were cut from it. It was re-released and became a big hit, both there and, later, abroad. It was an art house hit here and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The original version was lost to history until this DVD (except for some movie junkies like yours truly who had years back treked to the library and had read the originial screenplay with his next to non-existent Italian)].

And I agree with Hoy... some things in this story are better left unanswered. However, with the cuts, the shorter version leaves something really big unanswered. Why doesn't Elena come to the Cinema Paradiso before Salvatore/Toto joins the army. In the shorter version, we have no idea and are left confused and unsatisfied. We might not like the answer given in the "director's cut" but it's necessary to the story.

The rest of the "director's cut" should only be seen and known after a full viewing of the shorter version. Some people point to Casablanca, but, I think that the original Cinema Paradiso has the best last scene of any movie, ever. (Yeah, I know, it's the same last scene as in the "director's cut," but this scene in the "director's cut" doesn't have the same emotional impact as it does in the shorter version. Hoy is right on target here.)

September 5, 2003

The world turned upside down

Tyler Cowen happens to mention this odd description of the co-editor of the Almanac of American Politics:

"Michael Barone is to politics what statistician-writer Bill James is to baseball, a mix of historian, social observer, and numbers cruncher who illuminates his subject with perspective and a touch of irreverence."--Chicago Tribune
I remember, growing up, hearing Bill James compared to others all the time. Galileo and Einstein were popular choices, but my favorite was one, coincidentally from the same Chicago Tribune, labeling him "the Mozart of baseball statisticians."

James was always something of a cult figure among a small group of geekydedicated baseball fans, so it feels weird enough to see that James has so hit the mainstream that people are now being compared to him. But what makes this comparison particularly strange is that Barone has been editing the AAP since 1971; the first Bill James Baseball Abstract didn't come out until 1977, and it wasn't really anything more than a pamphlet until the early 1980s. And (though I can't seem to find the figures) Barone has to have sold many more copies than James has over the years. Plus, Barone is regularly on television; James isn't. And yet it's Barone being compared to James, rather than the other way around? It seems as anachronistic as describing CNN as "the Instapundit of television news" would be. Bizarre.

November 7, 2003

Great, we can be crybabies, too

Steve Malanga of City Journal says that CBS was wrong to cancel "The Reagans":

Much as I hate to admit it, I am on the side of the Left here when it comes to lamenting the cancellation, but for different reasons. Everything we have learned so far about the miniseries - from the hamhandness of the script to the actors chosen for key roles to the previews already circulating - suggests that The Reagans is an artistic fiasco of epic proportions, possibly among the worst TV miniseries ever produced, in the words of one critic. Rather than protect the American public from this latest Hollywood debacle, we should make it required viewing, not for its lessons about the Reagans but about our entertainment industry.

I, too, am on the side of both Malanga, and the Left, but for yet another reason: I generally don't like when entertainment honchos give in to the demands of easily-offended interest groups. I detest the groups for whining and I detest the honchos for caving. And it's no prettier when the Right does it than when the Left does it.

No matter that the Left does it as a matter of course (remember the Puerto Rican Day Parade episode of Seinfeld?. You'll never see it on American TV again.), they'll still be crying "censorship" and complaining that "dissent" is being "stifled". And you bet they'll certainly remember this the day someone attempts to make a docudrama on the Clintons.

December 17, 2003

Victory Is Mine!

I'm sure you've heard the term "South Park Republican" recently. That pretty much describes me. But I'd also say I'm a "Family Guy Republican", so this is just about the best news I've heard all year:

In a sign of the growing importance of DVD sales to Hollywood, 20th Century Fox is considering a plan to resume production of Family Guy, a sometimes crude animated comedy that the Fox network took off the air more than 18 months ago.

Family Guy fans of all political persuasions rejoice! Keep buying the DVDs, because the more you buy, the more likely we'll see new epsiodes!

March 2, 2004

A Tale Of Two T-Shirts

First, Harvard Rips Store's 'Old Voter' T-Shirt:

WASHINGTON - A Harvard political institute criticized the hip retailer Urban Outfitters on Monday for a new T-shirt campaign declaring that "Voting is for Old People."

The institute chided the Philadelphia-based clothing chain for appearing to wear its apathy on its chest, calling the T-shirt slogan "the wrong statement at the wrong time" in the pivotal presidential election year.

"The shirt's message could not be further from the truth," wrote Harvard Institute of Politics director Dan Glickman, the former congressman and Clinton administration agriculture secretary, and student chairman Ilan Graff in a letter to Urban Outfitters CEO Richard A. Hayne.

"We would be eager to work with you to suggest alternative products that send the right message to America's young people, and better reflect the considerable social conscience and political participation of today's youth," the letter said. "You might consider 'Voting Rocks!'"

Um, yeah. They might want to consider that Urban Outfitters wishes to remain a hip retailer.

Second, Anti-Boy T-Shirts Get Boost from Boycott:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The maker of T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" says business is booming despite -- or maybe because of -- protests that led some major U.S. retailers to stop selling them.

The shirts have been around for three years, but were recently thrust into the national spotlight by pundits debating whether feminism impugns the rights of males and whether a T-shirt could be an instrument of oppression.

How about nice T-shirts that say "Boys Rock!"?

What I find interesting is the differing tone of these articles. The protesters' concerns are taken seriously in the first one, derided in the second one. Theobligatory quote from the manufacturer is contrite in the first one, dismissive in the second one. Even the choice of protestors seems an attempt at bias - Harvard students and government officials in the first, talk-radio hosts in the second. And of course, compare the articles' titles.

Frankly, I don't have a problem with either shirt. I find it hard to believe that the shirts really discourage people from voting and encourage people to throw rocks at boys. And the shirts certainly aren't "instruments of oppression". But they can be a useful object lesson in double standards, as the first boy to wear a "Girls are dumb, throw bricks at them" shirt will soon find out.

March 4, 2004

Freakin' Sweet!

There will be new episodes of Family Guy starting next year! Woo hoo!

March 11, 2004

Jesus Christ

I have not yet seen The Passion of the Christ, but I've been avidly following the discussions it has engendered. I've found most of the criticism rather irksome, but I wasn't really able to put my finger on exactly why. Then I read this sentence in a post by Debra Galant (linked to from Jeff Jarvis) and it came to me:

But the deeper fear, of course, was that this movie audience - if they knew I was Jewish - might tear me from limb to limb.

What bothers me about such criticism is its casual anti-Christian condescension. Here's Maureen Dowd with another example:

In "Braveheart" and "The Patriot," his other emotionally manipulative historical epics, you came out wanting to swing an ax into the skull of the nearest Englishman. Here, you want to kick in some Jewish and Roman teeth. And since the Romans have melted into history...

The assertion that the Romans have melted into history will surprise the many people who claim Roman ancestry. But the assertion that this country is one movie away from forming anti-Jewish mobs is frankly insulting. And more to the point, just plain wrong.

UPDATE (March 15): I swear I wrote the above before I even knew about Mark Steyn's column on the same subject. He makes just about exactly the same point I do, only being Mark Steyn, he makes it much better.

March 14, 2004

Less is more

More evidence that official numbers can't be taken at face value. Sopranos ratings fell from last season, sort of:

The total viewer figure fell by 1.3 million from the September 2002 fourth-season debut, although HBO explained yesterday that a change in how Nielsen Media Research reports the network's rating negatively impacted the numbers. According to an HBO spokeswoman, Nielsen had formerly lumped in HBO's viewers with those of HBO's suite of digital networks. The practice ended in January.
Nielsen ratings are, of course, trivial, but the larger point isn't: the media imbues statistics from any official-sounding source with a mystical aura of meaningfulness -- witness the latest claim from the Centers for "Disease" Control about deaths from obesity, and the credulous reporting thereof. And then the general public, which has no reason to doubt, parrots the media.

March 21, 2004

Not from the NCAA Tournament

I'll take "Rising from the dead" for $1000, Alex: Zombies beat Jesus.

I hear Jesus had been a 3:2 favorite.

April 4, 2004


Glenn Reynolds notes an article in the NY Times about anti-Bush messages creeping into prime-time entertainment television shows. But the prime example in the article is perhaps not as anti-Bush as it might first appear:

But the season finale of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on HBO arguably best conveyed the growing sentiment. On that episode, the main character, played by the comedian Larry David, backed out of a dalliance sanctioned by his wife after noticing that his prospective paramour had lovingly displayed a picture of Mr. Bush on her dresser.

That paramour is Broadway star Cady Huffman, playing "herself". I haven't yet seen the episode (I have it taped), so I don't quite know the context of the above example, but I've watched the show enough to know that its main message always seems to be "whatever Larry David does, a normal person would do the opposite". My wife and I are somewhat distressed whenever we find ourselves agreeing with his character.

And context or no context, Larry David's character is simply objectively wrong here. If you've ever seen Cady Huffman play Ulla in "The Producers", you'll know what I mean - given my wife's permission, I'd sleep with Cady even if she had Saddam Hussein's picture on the nightstand. (Maybe not if Saddam Hussein himself were on the nightstand, but it'd be close.)

Be that as it may, if the point of the episode is that being a Republican means that Larry David won't have sex with you, then Curb Your Enthusiasm is possibly the most pro-Republican show on television outside of Hannity and Colmes.

UPDATE: Having just seen the episode, I still maintain that it was a poor example to illustrate the article's point. In backing out of the dalliance, Larry David's character (as he so often does) comes across as kind of a jerk. In fact, in the very next scene, Larry's manager Jeff (often the voice of reason) berates him with the best line in the episode: "How could you be so stupid? I'd f*** her if she was wearing a Bush mask!" (Later, a clearly angry - but still hot - Cady elbows him painfully in the ribs on stage.)

Larry David may be a flaming liberal, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.

April 28, 2004

Even The Fabric Of Life!!!

I enjoyed the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, and apparently I have George Bush to thank. That is, if I am to believe the rantings of a seriously unhinged Village Voice theater critic. He sets up the question: "So why, given what a problematic work Assassins is, has it now found the approbation it didn't get in 1991?", then spews:

What's changed that now helps validate Assassins isn't art but our national political climate. The grievance-nursing mentality of psychopaths who shoot presidents now belongs to the party that runs the country; the assassins have, so to speak, moved into the White House. Only today's unforgiving bullies, far from the have-nots and failures who make up Assassins' character list, are the haves, the people who've benefited most from the opportunities America offered, and are now busily hauling the economic ladder up behind them to keep others down. They've shaped this world, yet they're as angry and unhappy about it as any ranting Byck or ulcerated Zangara; their misguided solution is to stand behind a fraudulent president and take aim directly at the body politic, wounding in the process even the fabric of life itself. Today the Republican Party is nothing but a worthless collection of Dylan Klebolds, and some good therapist should take them in hand before it's too late for the rest of us here at Columbine High. Their temporary dominance clarifies both Assassins' current success and its perturbing hollowness: The real convocation of America-killers will not be at a shooting gallery, but this coming August when the GOP meets in Madison Square Garden.

Wow. I suppose I should have expected some sort of reference to current politics in a review of a show about people who have tried to kill U.S. Presidents, but that was breathtaking. If there were a Pulitzer Prize in Overblown and Baseless Invective in Otherwise Non-Political Journalism, that'd have to win at least an Honorable Mention.

(I'd find it funnier if I didn't have the sinking feeling that probably many thousands of my neighbors here in NYC read the review and thought "Right on! Stick it to those damn grievance-nursing, fabric-of-life-wounding Republicans!" Sometimes I hate living here.)

August 26, 2004

John Ashcroft's America

Everywhere you look, it's corporate censorship of dissident voices!

MIAMI - Dancehall star Beenie Man, who has recorded anti-gay songs in the past, was yanked from a concert associated with the MTV Video Music Awards this weekend after gay groups planned a protest, the network said Wednesday.

MTV pulled the Jamaican singer from the roster Tuesday after South Florida gay activists announced plans to protest Saturday's concert in Miami over some of his past lyrics, including "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays" and "Queers must be killed."

Now, those are pretty vile sentiments even if Beenie Man's manager says the lyrics are "metaphorical". But where, I wonder, are the artists defending his freedom of expression? Who is going to castigate MTV for caving in to special-interest groups at the expense of minority voices?

October 20, 2004

Team America

David Edelstein is unhappy about Team America: World Police, and explains exactly why in his review's subtitle:

The puppets of Team America skewer the right. If only they'd stopped there.

Yes, of course. Can't have any left-skewering, now can we? Well, anyway, Eugene Volokh has been pointing out some, but not all, of the review's inaccuracies. The most glaring one being:

But after Team America destroys the Panama Canal

That's simply incorrect. The terrorists destroyed the canal. It was the group of blinkered Hollywood liberals portrayed in the movie who blamed Team America. And that was a clear parody of a common liberal mindset of "whatever happens, it's America's fault". As demonstrated, in unparodic form, by David Edelstein.

Another inaccuracy in the review was this statement:

Hey, this anti-Bush liberal has no problem in principle with both sides getting skewered.

Whether he has no problem with it "in principle", the review shows that he has a real problem with it in reality.

Anyway, my problem with the movie was that it wasn't really laugh-out-loud funny. But it was amusing enough to be worth seeing, as long as you're not an easily offended or humorless person of any political persuasion.

May 18, 2005

The American Way

I don't disagree with The Bull Moose when he supposes thusly:

If Toby [Keith] had opened the '04 Democratic Convention with "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue", old John Kerry would likely occupy the Oval Office. Democrats - say no to Michael Moore and yes to Toby Keith!

Of course, the chances of that song being played at any Democratic politician's rally is about as likely as Michael Moore giving the keynote speech at the next Republican National Convention. Consider a sentence from this review, which Bull Moose exceprts:

[Keith's] 9/11 battle cry, 2002's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," was an ugly blast of jingoism that commenced a feud with left-leaning Dixie Chick Natalie Maines.

That's right, an "ugly blast of jingoism". It's not an uncommon criticism. However, our men and women in uniform don't necessarily see it that way:

This son of an Army veteran connected right away with the Fort Lewis troops, performing numbers including “American Soldier” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).”

The latter is a chest-thumping anthem born in the months after Sept. 11, 2001. The soldiers sang along, their voices building to a growl as they got to the most provocative verse: “This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage, and you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A, ’cause we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.”

Keith juiced them even more between songs when he said: “I was telling General Rodgriguez, of all the weapons you have, the baddest-ass weapon you’ve got is the American soldier.”

“Hoo-ahh!” the crowd roared back with one voice.

I'm not much of a country fan; my taste is more alternative rock, so I've heard many playings of angry angry anti-war songs by artists such as Green Day, Sum 41, System Of A Down, Incubus, Eminem, and The Beastie Boys. Not that any of these songs would get played at any political convention either, but neither is their anger blithely described by reviewers as "ugly". Expressing anger at the President is hip and edgy; Keith's apparent sin was to express anger at something trivial like the destruction of the World Trade Center.

And the Democrats' problem is that they were seen as more aligned with the Keith-bashers than the Keith-supporters (such as, you know, our troops). Kerry didn't lose by much; he could have easily won had it seemed like he was less concerned with putting a boot in Bush's ass and more concerned with putting one in al Qaeda's. He'd have been better off heeding Keith's advice: doing the latter is truly "the Amercian Way".

July 1, 2005


From the lighter side of the news, ABC is canceling its latest summer reality TV entry, after it ran afoul of minority advocacy groups. Of course, it seems like whites are the ones who should be complaining about stereotyping:

Under pressure from civil rights groups, ABC Television yesterday canceled plans to broadcast a reality show that let the white suburban families living on a Texas cul-de-sac decide which of seven families - including one black, one Asian, one Hispanic and one gay couple - would move into their community.

In the shows - all of them have been completed - seven diverse families seek votes from three white families in a development called Circle C Ranch, outside Austin. The white families, through a series of interviews, competitions and social interactions, award a 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, 2½-bathroom home to the winner - a neighbor, the families say, who will fit in with the community's mostly Christian and Republican values.


An earlier ABC press release promoting the show said in part: "Will the resident neighbors be able to see past their own ideals and accept all of the families as people instead of stereotypes? Eventually some eyes and hearts open up, opinions change and a community is transformed."

The article goes on to describe the "disparaging remarks" made by some of the voting families. Gee, and there was a controversy? It didn't exactly take Nostradamus to see that one coming.

There may be worries about the portrayal of minorities on the show, but there was potentially another problem:

"The show directly violated the federal Fair Housing Act by rejecting families because of their race, color, national origin or the presence of children," said Shanna Smith, president and chief executive of the National Fair Housing Alliance, consisting of more than 100 private nonprofit housing agencies across the country.
Do you think maybe someone should have run the concept past the legal department before giving it the green light?

On the other hand, maybe if ABC had called it "Affirmative Action Housing," it would have received a more positive response. After all, paralleling the language of the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act prevents universities from rejecting applicants because of their race, color, national origin, etc. But somehow minority groups have gotten around that sticking point. Diversity Uber Alles. In fact, the language of the ABC press release even mirrors the justifications given by advocates of race preferences in college admissions: these policies are for the benefit of the majority, who are able to learn from their experience in dealing with minorities. The only difference is that everyone on the television show was voluntarily participating, but for some reason, that didn't seem to mollify activist groups. Instead, they " worried that the program sent a message that bigotry was tolerable." (Remember: tolerance always good. Except when it isn't.) But apparently they're not so worried about affirmative action in college admissions sending the message that discrimination is tolerable.

In any case, do you think we'll see the same sort of cries of outrage from liberals about "censorship" that we saw when, for instance, there was an outcry about the PBS series Postcards from Buster, or when CBS decided not to show a miniseries about Reagan, or any one of the myriad of other times when a television network bowed to advocacy group pressure? I'm betting the answer is no.

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