Shameful Harvest

Harvest of Shame still had a powerful message after all these years, even if the players and settings have been changed. There’s still a huge discrepancy between our nation’s poor and privileged, a gap that has shrunk and expanded over time but remained a gap nonetheless.

Harvest of Shame made great use of TV, even if it’s methods weren’t all together truthful. They cut corners and showed what they wanted to show; a tactic that persists in television to this day. Edward Murrow and the production crew DID shed light on a problem, that much must be said. Even though not everyone had a television, it’s so much easier to drive a point home with a camera, instead of just a radio mic.

In Tube of Plenty it was said that people would rather give up basic needs in order to keep the radio humming, but TV would soon replace that desire. Being able to see AND hear programs, even bleak and illuminating programs like Harvest of Shame, would soon become the norm.

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News Media

Meet the Press and 60 Minutes have long shed light on the biggest news stories of the day. Meet the Press, having been around since 1947, is TV’s longest running series. Meet the Press tackles the big issues with some exposition on the events before going to a round table with each guest having something different but important to contribute. I like this format, you get to see some honest differing of opinions, without each guest losing it and getting into a shouting match, like some other talk formats. 

60 Minutes takes a more entertaining approach, with a clear and concise story for each segment. These stories, like this one and the recent story about Americas’s rigged stock market, follow a path that explores the story or person of interest, the rise/fall of that subject, and the climax. Most of the segments I have watched have a happy ending for the subject matter and make for good TV. 

The means and methods of delivering political news have vastly changed from President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats on the radio. Meet the Press, while interviewing Governor Nixon, seemed aggressive in the manner of their questioning (and with good reason.) Sometimes it feels like the news media, for all of the good AND bad they have done, are the only ones that give us answers.  

 

Ad Mania

TV and Radio Commercials aren’t made like they were in the good ole days…and that’s a good thing. The message and methods used were kind of…super sexist and sometimes racist. It’s a good thing today things have changed for the better! Oh wait, no, they really haven’t. It seems the uptight sexual attitudes of the first half of the century (thanks a lot, Puritans!) were lost to time in exchange for treating women like people that could do more than cook, clean, and pick out the right goddamn coffee. So, women go from disrespected sex objects to just..sex objects? Is that a win? It’s half credit, just take it!

It’s kind of jarring (but hilarious) to hear a plug for Petri wine during a radio drama about Sherlock Holmes. This tactic has thankfully been phased out over the years because it kind of takes you out of the fantasy or mood. They even did it on TV! I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz both shilled cigarettes during the show! Arnaz died of lung cancer years later, irony, you are a cruel bitch.

In Erik Barnouw’s book, Tube of Plenty, Radio and TV commercials, even at their conception, have been thought of as “aggressive” and “shoddy”. It’s kind of comforting to know that there have always been terrible commercials and programs for products that don’t work. Or maybe it’s depressing that we’ve made so little progress…whatever, i’m going to watch Netflix. 

O Captain! My Captain!

Robin Williams was just a man…when he wasn’t a genie, a cross dressing nanny, or a multitude of other characters. Williams was a hilarious maniac, able to turn on a dime and shoot off into a different yet related subject. His comedy and heart not only touched me, but millions of others who grew up and laughed with and at him. 

Williams improvisational techniques are astounding; he genuinely sounds like Jack Nicholson or an irate Scotsman at times. This and his genius comedy skills are what launched his movie career. However, Williams not only stuck to comedy, he could also make you cry as easily as laugh. 

His roles in Dead Poets Society, Goodwill Hunting, and even Memento were proof that Williams knew how to play drama as well as he could humor. Many of these roles were imprinted on impressionable young adult minds that had grown up with Genie and Mrs. Doubtfire. 

Williams wasn’t just a humble humanitarian who donated large sums without much fanfare, he was an avid nerd who had a deep love of video games. He loved the Legend of Zelda series so much that he even named his daughter after her, and was always happy to tell nonplussed gamers that he had often played World of Warcraft and Call of Duty with them, without their knowledge. 

Robin Williams wasn’t just a great comedian and actor; he was a cultural icon and all around great human being. He made us laugh and cry, he championed noble causes in reality and was just as eager to step into virtual reality and play around with fans. Robin Williams is gone and the world keeps spinning but it’s hard to deny that it’s gotten a tad less funny. 

Nintendo E3 2014

 

Holy sweet baby Jesus, Nintendo needed a win and they finally got one! NEW ZELDA FOOTAGE! PLAYING AS YOUR MII IN SUPER SMASH! ACTION FIGURES! YOSHI…made of…wool! YEAH! WOOL! Oh, and a make your own Mario game!? Did they just hand us a reason to never buy a 2D Mario game again!?

Come on, we all know we’re here for Zelda and they Goddamn delivered. It’s gorgeous and HD. It looks like a painting. It’s open world.

Yeah, I said it. OPEN WORLD! I don’t think you nerds fully understand what that means, it means embracing what made the original so special, going where you want with what you have at your disposal. Nintendo used this formula last year with A Link Between Worlds, and it was amazing. Just imagine that in a beautifully rendered 3D setting. I can only fathom and I start to lose it.

I was up at 10:30 waiting for the show, eating my bullshit healthy toast that tastes like cardboard, unless you put peanut butter and berries on it to make it taste like cardboard with peanut butter and berries on it, because I care about being a healthy grown-ass man. When the show started though, I didn’t feel like a man that needs to grow up, I felt like the kid I used to be that never thought he would.

I love Nintendo for that feeling alone, and always will.

Crusadin’ like I just don’t care

Crusadin' like I just don't care

So apparently, the dark skinned Crusaders went west to a smelly bog 200 years ago, and coming back now are a bunch of blonde haired, blue eyed face smashers. It’s like reverse Christian missionaries!

New Comics Day at Heroic Adventures

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Every Wednesday at comic book shops everywhere, it’s New Comic book day!

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Couldn’t resist…anyway, yup, all the newest comics release on Wednesday, and there is no better place to get your looky-picture-books than Heroic Adventures in Edwardsville. That includes your DC favorites like Batman and Superman, your Marvel heroes such as Wolverine and Iron Man, and Dark Horse’s Hellboy. Who wouldn’t like a giant horned demon fighting for humanity against every horror trope imaginable? He also drank rum with skeletons once.

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Drew, Russel, and Tatiana (that’s an awesome supervillan-esque name) were all there, imparting comic wisdom and suggestions earlier today. Drew and Tatiana both recommended Auteur, a new comic releasing today, and I would NOT go to the Google Image section when you look it up…at least not while at work or near small children that revere Abe Lincoln. Russell recomended the new Tomb Raider comic based off the new game that released last year. Also of note is Forever Evil, with an unmasked, very battered Nightwing, AKA, Dick Grayson on the cover. Is he going to die?! Read and find out! (Buy the comic first.)

Heroic has way more to offer than just comics, it’s your one stop shop for every Magic The Gathering card, action figure, board game, tabletop game, and nerd memorabilia you could think of. Want to get the new Born of the Gods Magic set? Buy tons of packs, then you should probably buy some more. They have a slew of action figures, even Link from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword! He has interchangeable parts and his YOU CAN CHANGE HIS FACE FROM NEUTRAL TO ANGRY! Oh, and they have Justice League drink ware. That should be all I have to say on the subject.

I’ll admit it, I am kind of a Batman fanboy (i.e. whore) and I mostly stick to Batman comics. Now it wasn’t out today, but the Batman series that released at the roll out of the New 52 event two years ago is what everyone, Batman fan or not, needs to be reading. Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo, Batman looks at everything in a new light. That includes Bruce Wayne’s transformation into Batman, how he handles a threat he never knew existed, and a terrifying new look at the Joker. Just to give a clue, Joker has his own face cut off, wears it like a horrifying mask, and goes to scary, dark places I never thought even he would go. I won’t lie, this picture creeped the hell out of me when I saw it. Now get up to Heroic Adventures and pick up the Batman Court of Owls, Death of the Family, and the ongoing Zero Year. Snyder’s has a new series called The Wake that needs to be checked out, it’s too epic and crazy to explain why (hint, it involves mermen).

Ok, Batman tangent over. Seriously, Heroic is pretty great. They have other events and games besides the weekly New Comics, neato things like tournaments for various games and FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! You like free? You like comic? I’m sure you like day, but the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day, and you can get a plethora of freebies and even win prizes. It’s a great way to sample some new comics to see if you like them before you buy. Go in on a Wednesday sometime, and check out the new stuff and have the staff recommend something for you, they are pretty reliable. I promise, you get no Comic Book Guy attitude/snark.

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“What a bunch of a-holes…”

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The new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer debuted during the Jimmy Kimmel live! show earlier this evening and if the trailer is any indication, audiences this summer will be in for some ridiculous fun. Yes, that is an anthropomorphic and indignant raccoon (Bradley Cooper) blasting away atop a sentient tree-alien (Vin Diesel). Yes, seriously, you read that previous sentence correctly.

The James Gunn directed film will be the second to last film to close out Marvel’s phase 3 campaign, with Avengers: Age of Ultron being the last. Chris Pratt, known as man-child Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec, leads the film along with Zoe Saldana, the aforementioned Cooper and Diesel, and Dave Bautista. Numerous stars will also pop up, with Benicio Del Toro as the film’s bizarre villain(?).

I was skeptical upon hearing the premise of this film, especially being on the grittier (USUALLY) and more grounded DC team. When you think of Marvel, you think of Iron Man or Thor, and if your nerd dreams come true, they fight. Well that has happened, and while it was a gamble, it payed off big time (mostly thanks to Joss Whedon being…well, Joss Whedon). A walking, talking, and trigger-happy raccoon might be a gamble, but if anyone has earned a little credit, it’s Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. 

With it’s unrepentantly goofy attitude (come on, that’s ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ playing during the trailer and in the movie!) and Star Wars-esque flavor, Guardians looks to recapture the fun and thrilling feeling of classic sci-fi. It also doesn’t hurt that Guardians will eventually tie in to Marvel’s other future films which will lead to nerdgasms of epic proportions. Personally, I’m hoping for an eventual team up of Rocket Raccoon and Iron Man. Sorry, my brain just melted at the thought of it.

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I guess Luthor can screw Superman out of some social media deals at the climax of the film

I guess Luthor can screw Superman out of some social media deals at the climax of the film

Batman 23 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Batman 23 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Bruce has a beautiful epiphany