Really Uncompelling Broadcasting


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I once found myself watching an entire episode of Saved By the Bell.

    To this day, I cannot begin to explain why I didn’t change the channel or turn the TV off.Report

  2. Avatar Will H. says:

    The Weather Channel.
    For hours.
    Without knowing what the weather forecast in *MY* area is, because I always have my attention turned elsewhere during that segment.Report

  3. Avatar El Muneco says:

    The third day of the NFL draft. I didn’t actually watch it, but it was on, droning away. And every half hour or so I’d take a look at the ticker to see if the team I cared about was coming up soon so that I could watch for a minute and a half.

    In my defense, my team’s front office is unusually interesting at the tail end of the draft and the scramble for free agents that immediately follows it. And not in a “trade up into the second round in order to draft a kicker who would have been available with either of the two picks we gave up” sense.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Once upon a time, there was an internet thing called the internet multicast backbone (the “Mbone”). One of the things the Mbone was used for was live multicasts of audio and video. Some multicasts were of interest to technical people (eg, IETF meetings). Some multicasts were of interest to a wider audience (eg, the view out of a lab window somewhere in Florida as a hurricane passed through, until the power went out). One day Vice President Gore was announcing a batch of new internet funding, and the announcement was multicast. The same day, a researcher multicast a video feed from her apartment because her cat had had surgery and she wanted to keep an eye on it. By accident, the cat video was accessible globally. By the end of the day, hundreds of people around the world were watching low-quality video of a black cat wearing a “cone of shame” take naps. VP Gore’s audience peaked at something less than a hundred.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Remember back in the early 2000s that college student who set up an early webcam in her dorm room and just left it on? People were obsessed with this. They would have it running on a window on their computers all day. This seemed to me like an awfully big commitment for the chance to maybe see her naked.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:


        Jeez. That was a flashback.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        And look at the hassles. Pull technology, thousands of people querying a server every several minutes to see if there’s a new image, each new image delivered thousands of times. Where IP multicast, if we had dictated to the IP backbone providers like Level 3, would provide simple push technology that needs enormously less aggregate bandwidth. There’s a reason the techies set aside 1/16th of the entire IPv4 address space for multicast.Report

  5. Avatar Autolukos says:


  6. Avatar Christopher Carr says:


  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The 2008 Libertarian Party convention.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:


  9. I was skiing with a bunch of people who insisted in having CNN on constantly, my explantion that staying informed was different from being made stupider notwithstanding. The thing that stuck out as the worst was a panel of third-rate TV pundits debating whether it was offensive that some black celebrity had used the N word. (Spoiler: it was, by a vote of several white pundits to one black pundit.)Report

  10. Avatar aaron david says:

    My FIL, on visiting us once, sat and watched hour after hour of Blue Bloods and the ilk. Then, when I go visit my father, CSI of some variation. Hour after hour after hour… (not sure about this whole retirement thingy… though they both have had some medical issues that have forced them to slow down.)Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    The first 90 minutes of LoTR.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      At least that was setting up something, at least in the director’s cut. Try the last 90 minutes of “The Last Temptation of Christ”. Full disclosure, I think the first 90 minutes are the just about best movie that currently exists about the early days of Jesus. Just throw away the second tape, or disc, or whatever.Report

      • So the good version is “The First Couple of Temptations of Christ”?Report

      • I actually liked the last half-hour or so of the movie and could’ve done away with the rest. But that’s just me.

        (That’s also my view of the novel. It could have been a more compelling (for me) long short story that focused only on the end-sequence. By the time I got there, I was almost fed up with the novel.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        It felt like 90 minutes of walking and talking and then they did a “Woh Bundy!” and declared themselves the fellowship and I said, “Wow… A whole movie just to form their little group for the later movies?” And someone said, “That’s only the first half of this movie.” And I left the room.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          I can respect that. Unlike Batman or Spider-Man, though, I don’t think that significant streamlining would actually help. In Tolkein’s vision, the Shire is as much a character as any of the people, and setting that up just inherently takes a lot of screen time.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        Back when that movie was controversial, I asked my pastor his opinion. His response was that it should have been about half an hour shorter.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The Pontius Pilate scene is worth the price of admission!

        I’ll grant that the movie has some pacing problems but the choice is between being faithful to the book and speeding things up and, no matter what, you’re going to be stuck making a choice that will disappoint many.

        Now I’m thinking about how I thought “these temptations are so much better than the temptations presented in the Bible!” during Kazantzakis’s wilderness scene and I thought that that reflected poorly on the Bible’s wilderness scene rather than “how much have we, as a society, changed that we see these temptations as better than those in the Bible?”

        How much have we, as a society, changed that we see the second half of Last Temptation as dull and throwaway?Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          I think that my take on it is that I liked the little things, down at a detail level – like the scene with Pilate – more than the big things. So the narrative arc that gets us to the denouement is more compelling to me than what actually happens once we get there.Report

  12. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Infomercial for a convection oven. Although I was like eight years old, and the idea of cooking a whole turkey in under an hour was legitimately fascinating to me. So I’m not sure that counts.Report

  13. The third (or fourth?) season of Glee.Report

  14. Avatar Damon says:

    “Naked and Afraid”Report

  15. Avatar notme says:

    An interview with Hillary Clinton.Report

  16. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    This is the great evil of televisions in bars and restaurants. It could be showing whatever sport in the world I’m least interested in; it could be showing Ron MacLean and Don Cherry in a ridiculous suit sitting at a desk silently moving their mouths – if it’s in my line of sight I’ll end up watching it, rather than looking at and conversing with the people I’m sitting with, who are invariably more interesting than Don Cherry’s suit.

    Lots of pubs have boards or signs outside advertising the fact that they have this or that sport event on the TVs. I suspect that there is probably a niche for a bar devoted to conversations with your actually present companions, with a sign outside that says “There are no televisions at all in this bar”.

    Also this is pretty funny.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos says:

      Never have I been happier that I carry two phonesReport

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Fishin-A, man. You can text on your phone anywhere, anytime. When you’re at the pub, drink with your friends. That’s what the pub is for.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      “There are no televisions at all in this bar. If there’s canned music we keep it quiet.”

      There are a couple of crappy dive bars I like despite their terrible beer, because they have no TVs or canned music, and they keep the lights bright enough that you can see people’s lips move.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos says:

        I’m not sure whether a bar that well lit can every truly be considered a diveReport

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          When you have health code violation notices displayed with pride behind the counter, the floor is sticky with beer spills at opening time, and every bench, table, and wall is covered in graffiti, I think you have to call it a dive no matter how bright the lights.Report