Morning Ed: Entertainment {2018.04.18.W}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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28 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    E5: I think a lot of enthusiastic younger readers are compulsive finishers. I was even a compulsive finisher of trilogies, when that era came upon us. The Thomas Covenant books finally cured me of this. I read the entire (first) trilogy, but Lordy, what a slog that was!Report

    • Avatar Maribou, Moderator says:

      @richard-hershberger When I was about 10, I fortunately enough became a compulsive “give it another chance but put it down again if it still isn’t any good” type. Much easier on me than compulsive finishing was. (And meant I really liked The Plague Dogs when I finally got around to reading it.)

      BUT THEN. In my twenties, someone I really trust recommended Kavalier and Clay…. which I hated for the first 150 pages… after which I came to love it to the point where I didn’t want it to end and I was really . So I became a compulsive finisher again.

      At least I have higher quality “no really, I’m still reading that… eventually” counter-compulsions than I did when I was a little kid 😀Report

      • Avatar Aaron David says:

        I don’t know if @maribou-moderator has ever suffered from this (she is the worlds fastest reader, beating even my wife) but even as a fast reader, when I was in the industry I had so many books that were interesting to me coming at me on a daily basis that I had to break the compulsive finisher habit.

        Now, I have the Internet time-suck problem. Working really hard to break that.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @aaron-david Basically I just lie and tell myself I’m going to finish it “someday” is how I get around things. (The books I really *am* in love with and am thus hoarding for later, eg the letters of Margaret Laurence + one of my favorite poets, also end up in this pile, so by moving it to “perpetually currently reading” in my head, I’m not saying that any particular book actually *is* not getting finished.) I made an “abandoned” shelf in goodreads to encourage myself to give up on more books, but so far it has… *checks* 5 books on it. As opposed to my “currently-reading” shelf, which has 63 and is very much the tip of the iceberg.

          (It’s not that I think the books have feelings, mind. But I have SO MANY FEELS about books.)Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter says:

      I am a compulsive finisher, sort of… I’m on book 7 of the Outlander series and I’m having a hard time making myself finish. I haven’t ready any of it for weeks- I just won’t let myself start anything new until I finish it. I love this series but this book is boring- as was the first half of book one, though, and that ended up being fantastic.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @em-carpenter I keep meaning to take that series back up – read the first one the year it came out, kept reading them more or less on that schedule, but got off track when I was in grad school and no chance to read doorstop books. I love the show, too – have you been watching it?Report

        • Avatar Em Carpenter says:

          I have! I think they’ve done a great job with it. At first I was not happy with the casting of Jamie but now I can’t imagine him any other way. They’ve done a fair job of following the books. I need to finish the one I’m on (it’s An Echo in the Bone, Kindle says I’m 74% through it), then I have one more. Then there will be another, if Gabaldon ever finishes it.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            I am a bit quirky in that my favorites in the series are the Lord John books. I’m quite happy with how they’ve handled that character in the show so far. I think I have 1-2 of those and about 3 of the main series left… part of my problem is that at this point I should probably give up on being able to follow things, and do a big ole reread… which just makes me more reluctant… one of these days, though :D.

            Agreed about Jamie.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I was an enthusiastic young reader but never really a compulsive finisher. I wonder if it comes from choice of reading materials. I never really got into the Epic fantasy novels that have nine million pages in them. A lot of my young reading was trying to read stuff that was ambitious and over my head like Goethe’s Faust.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:


        Nope, that’s definitely not why. I read classics compulsively without the compulsive-finisher part, mostly before the age of 14. (Have since gone back and reread a lot of them, of course… I mean, Ibsen is a lot deeper in your late twenties than at 11….)Report

  2. Avatar j r says:

    E3: From Berlatsky:

    Even when cops are shown to bend or break the rules, as in Luther or True Detective, their infractions are presented as part of a pursuit of evil which, whatever its flaws, is necessary. If you kill someone or rough someone up in pursuit of a serial killer, can you really be blamed? Cops sometimes do wrong, but their jobs are right; they do necessary work.

    Berlatsky perpetually writes like someone who kind of gets it, but can’t bother to complete the thought. As with some others, I’m not wholly convince that this isn’t performance art.

    E0: That video is dope.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    E8: I gotta give the producers of that show their due, they are keeping as faithful as possible to the books and making a great show at the same time.Report

  4. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    E8: Yeah, The Expanse is fantastic. As much as I like Star Trek, et al, most TV sci-fi is really fantasy w/ techno-babble. The Expanse is good hard sci-fi with only very plausible extrapolation of current tech, with the sole — and forgivable — exception of the hyper-efficient reaction drive so it doesn’t take months and years to get anywhere. Very good, very human storytelling.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky says:

    E4 – First off, I don’t care about the race of an artist, and I don’t see anything good that could come from thinking about such things.

    As for Hispanics, their culture in the US is significantly related to a language. That’s not true of the blacks, and it’s not true in enough numbers for any other group. A movie can be “authentically black” and be understood by most Americans. A movie can be “authentic to the Asian-American experience” and be in English. With Hispanics, it’s iffier.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      The simpler reason is that Latinos tend to be too much like middle class white people for the taste of the elites that run the media and too much like black people for the middle class white people who make up the bulk of the audience.

      By the way, this passage kills me:

      Ordinary Latinos seem to agree – at least according to a straw poll of families this week in MacArthur Park, a gathering point for Mexicans and Salvadoreans in downtown LA.

      I can’t help but read it in Kent Brockman’s voice. I’m also picturing this guy walking around L.A. going, “Excuse me air, are you an ordinary Latino?”Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        JR, it strikes me that you’re doing the Brockman move yourself in your first paragraph.Report

        • Avatar j r says:

          Maybe. But is it incorrect?

          Here’s the thing: I’m right there with you on not caring about race. The trouble is that race cares an awful lot about us.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC says:

        Latino representation is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side, the diversity bean counters scrupulously avoid including the easily-available Spanish-language media that many first-generation Latino immigrants prefer. Spanish-language networks regularly beat English channels in the ratings in many markets. This isn’t “well, you have BET, don’t you” minimizing – people are plugging into a massive media ecosystem with plenty of choice across interests, age and nation of origin.

        On the other side is the race against time for the salience of Latino identity politics. If there is one constant about American racial politics, the other foreign boogeymen come and go until things reset to black vs. white. Wait three or four decades and being Mexican or Dominican will have about as much political import as being Italian.Report

        • Avatar j r says:

          There is certainly a history of various immigrant groups coming to the United States as foreigners and eventually assimilating into American whiteness, while blacks (and other people of color like American Indians and Latinos of color) remain the permanent other. It would be naive to think that dynamic is over. That said, I don’t know that any of us can say for certain what whiteness will be in 40 years.

          There are two conflicting trends at work. One is that the U.S. is and will continue to be an overwhelmingly white country. All the talk about whites becoming a minority is predicated on there remaining a meaningful distinction between white and Hispanic and, as you point out, that may not be the case for a significant number of Hispanics. On the other hand, U.S. elites are actually way more diverse than the dominant media narrative lets on. Whites are likely under-represented in fields like tech and finance. It’s just that the difference is being made up by East and South Asians and by recent immigrants of color rather than the historically marginalized groups already there. That plus the amount of inter-marriage among ethnic groups in that space and it’s hard to get a good sense of what exactly the elites of 40 years from now will look like. White is a good guess, but more or less white than the general population is the relevant question.

          As an example of what I mean, consider the specialized high schools in New York City. Here’s a list of notable alumni from Stuyvesant High School:; it represents a cross-section of high achieving people in a number of fields and you’ll likely find equally impressive lists from Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech and Hunter College High and FHL High School of the Performing Arts. Now consider that some of these schools currently have as high as 70% Asian enrollment in a city where Asians make up about 12% of the population.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            It’s been interesting to watch the tech sector get whitewashed as a predicate to its demonization by the diversity complex. The unspoken problem is that in order to make it look more like America, those black and hispanic slots are going to come from overrepresented east and south Asians.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    If you haven’t already, check out Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, with Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy. It has a very hilarious and SCTV vibe to it.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Here is an interesting essay from a PhD/former Reality Star about how Hollywood agents wanted her to be a kind of Ann Coulter even though she is not-conservative. She is blonde-haired and blue-eyed of course:

    People have long claimed the Ann Coulters and Tomi Lahrens of the world don’t actually believe what they promote. The cartoon The Boondocks even devoted an entire episode to this theme, showing Coulter working in cahoots with a liberal foe. According to this theory, their provocative content is meant to be hyperbolic entertainment. When conspiracy-touting right-wing commentator Alex Jones was fighting for custody of his kids, his attorney claimed in court that Jones’s political persona was merely “performance art.”

    I can’t say whether Coulter or Lahren believe what they say. I can testify that there’s a market for their type — and that producers don’t really care if people who look like them believe their rhetoric. And because my small-town, naive “Susie” brand wasn’t going anywhere, going stridently conservative was my best hope.

    I can’t say going the Tomi Lahren route wasn’t tempting. Getting in the door in Hollywood is difficult, especially when you’re a reality star has-been/never-was. In a small way, the persona people were encouraging me to adopt would have fit — I was once a conservative who even worked on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. And there were some like Megyn Kelly, who worked for Fox News and seemed to embrace a conservative ideology, who were able to maintain enough journalistic neutrality to move beyond the right-wing bubble. But in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
    Ironically, it was the socially conservative moral code I grew up with that kept me from compromising my conscience. Prosperity gospel misreadings of theology aside, Christianity reminds believers that there are many things money can’t buy. I was hustling in the creative market just like everyone else, but I wasn’t about to sell my soul for a conservative-slanted shortcut.

    The same churchy roots that got me cast as a reality show trope were the ones preventing me from selling out to Fox News and Breitbart. I wasn’t necessarily serving God — at least not in the way my family had hoped — but I wasn’t about to toss my integrity aside for Republican cash, either.

    I’ve said it before but Hollywood is not liberal or conservative. They are amoral and care about profit above all. In many ways, they are the lightest regulated UR-industry* with profit above all as their motto.

    *There are Unions and Safety Rules but they ultimately self-regulate via the MPAA in terms of what they produce.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      The really neat thing is that she can do a s Slate Pitch tomorrow about how Liberals wouldn’t take her seriously because she was blonde, slim, white, bubbly and religiously literate.

      There was only one catch: Apparently, my particular look (blonde, slim, white), my religion-focused education, and my “bubbly” personality were the right combination for a specific audience. I heard again and again from my agents that to succeed, I needed to portray a political conservative.


      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        She probably could though I would quibble about religiously literate. I assume as part of her education she needed to take classes in non-Christian religions. But I find that even people with these classes still think of Judaism as being “Like Christianity without Christ” when the whole thought patterns and philosophies are very different.

        The agents are right though (which can be a whole different discussion) but her look probably doesn’t play well for left-leaning audiences. There are plenty of conventionally attractive female (and male) journalists on left-leaning TV but I am having trouble thinking of one that was blonde and/or bubbly.

        I don’t think it is that shocking to notice that a lot of right-wing women pundit types tend to be blonde, conventionally attractive, and wear a lot of cocktail dresses.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine says:

          The article says she has a PhD. in Religious Studies… I think your safe with regards Judaism; its Christianity I’d wonder about.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      She doesn’t say that FNC, et cetera, were interested in her as a conservative talking head. She says that Hollywood agents thought she’d be successful following that route. That really only tells us something about Hollywood agents.Report

  8. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I just wanted to upvote SCTV [E1] I am one of the few, it seems, who watched it at the time. We adored that show, much more than SNL. Even now the names of the cast are an automatic plus.

    And the list of films with two or more SCTV alumni is a very long one.

    So, I’m very excited.

    Also, I’m very excited about The Expanse.Report