History Channel is pioneering the con artist entertainment genre. In this genre, people make outrageous claims and, through a mix of charisma, innuendo, circumstantial evidence, dramatic reenactments and music and engaging graphics, titillate viewers to buy or at least entertain those claims. For example, American Ripper is likely the third or fourth program on the History Channel which claims to have identified “Jack the Ripper.”
The flagship show of this genre is of course Ancient Aliens. Its host and producer Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is the most endearing, interesting, earnest and famous of the “con-artists” on TV today (other than some of our politicians). The most amazing feature to me is that, after watching him for years, I still can’t say for certain that he is not a true believer.
In Season 12’s 9th Episode, The Majestic Twelve, interviewees claim that the secret intelligence agencies of the United States were created in the late 1940s to control information about and contact with extra-terrestial visitors. The group which President Truman formed to recommend policies towards extra-terrestials, Majestic Twelve, morphed into secret agencies which assassinated President John Kennedy, who had considered sharing information about extra-terrestials with the Soviet Union. When Linda Moulton Howe claims that most government covert action in the last 70 years has been to protect information about extra-terrestials, even Giorgio has a little bit of trouble believing it, and, for a brief moment, my belief in Giorgio’s belief in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestials’ intervention in earth’s history was weakened. I captured the screenshot below (time 26:18), but watch the episode.
These comments are based on the AMC’s The Walking Dead through the end of Season 6, not the comic book, of which I’ve only read the first compendium. It contains spoilers. Continue reading
I snapped this picture from my DVD as I’m watching NBC’s Law & Order, Season 3, Episode 7, “Self Defense.” Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Sgt Phil Cerreta (Paul Sorvino) interview Laticia Ramis (Johnnie Mae), the wife or girlfriend of a murder victim. She is holding an infant. In the background, a rap music video is playing, and there is a stack of TVs in boxes.
Scene from NBC’s Law & Order S03E07 “Self Defense.”
One must congratulate the writers for hitting so many racist images in a 30-second scene!
Update: The defendant in the episode is a store owner who claimed justifiable homicide. The character Phil Servino, we are told, has investigated 19 cases of police killings and found all justifiable. The story strikes too close to home these days. I think the racist imagery in the scene I highlighted is meant to set up the idea that the victims “deserved it.” Sadly, many people continue to believe that about black men like Travon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Update 2: Law & Order Spoof Video
Law and order spoof from Leland Krane on Vimeo.
The British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Ripper Street” is my new favorite TV show. I watched Season 1 on Canadian Netflix, and I purchased season 2 from Vudu. Season 2, Episode 5, “Threads of Silk and Gold” has the banker villain Stone instruct Inspector Reid on the ways of the world:
Your naivety demeans you. Those whose fortunes I have saved are free to think ill of me, to shun me at the club, to divest themselves of their sullied funds, in tender compassion to give every squalid pound to their stricken fellow men. Do you imagine they will? No. Because love and justice are not the primal forces of our world, sir. Gold is the primal force of our world. You believe, as Sol did, in right and wrong, but there is only profit and loss. You believe in laws, but there are only ledgers.
You can purchase the episode at YouTube or Vudu. Here’s the episode’s trailer:
GAME OF TROPES: RACEFAIL (SPOILERS)
The books are better than the HBO TV series in the racism. I expressed similar feelings after watching the first few episodes on HBO. I’m about to start book 5. I understand that all does not go well for the Mother of Dragons in her occupation of the lands across the narrow sea …
I’ve been watching Börgen on LinkTV. In Season 2, Episode 1, Prime Minister Nyborg changes the position of her party, The Moderates, on Afghanistan from expedited withdrawal of Danish troops to escalation with a 5-6 year timetable. (more…)