Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Programming Notes

UPN, WB to Shut Down; New Network Formed

In my house, this has nothing but upside for shows that used to be on UPN; because it's not on Comcast's high-definition package, we don't watch anything on WPWR (Chicago's UPN affiliate), but we will watch shows and sporting events on WGN, which will be Chicago's CW affiliate. Not that I've been dying to watch Veronica Mars, but now I might at least give it a shot. Especially if it's on right after Everwood...

In other news, it's been a while since I marked an Amazon.com milestone, but I think this one is suitably odd: Today, I received my 666th helpful vote. See for yourself here, and feel free to liberate me from my fire and brimstone prison.

The devil's vote was for a review I wrote regarding one of two books I've finished recently, Dog Days. It wasn't as bad as some reviewers claim, but it wasn't the world's best book, either. Still, I had to give Wonkette a chance, right? Read my review for more thoughts.

The other book was Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, which though written in 1984 offers a stark assessment of how TV changes the way we think that remains relevant today. It's too bad Postman died in 2003, as a follow-up regarding how the Internet will change and is already changing public discourse would be useful and interesting. The basic argument he makes is that the way TV works as a medium has utterly changed what we consider important, how we think about history and the present, and how we expect to be provided with information. "Entertain me!" we cry, because that's what TV has taught us to expect, Postman argues--and as a result we are (unknowingly and unconcernedly) forfeiting all the things about being a print culture that made us strong thinkers and problem-solvers. It's a fascinating and well-written tome, quite short, and you can pick it up cheap. You won't regret it. (I, however, note with regret the irony that I had to promise that a book would be entertaining, rather than informative, in my attempt to convince others to read it; it's an irony you'll better appreciate after you read the book!)

No comments: