It’s really horrible for me to complain. I’m blessed with a family that’s only mildly neurotic, a roof over my head, a full refrigerator and work I enjoy. These facts only make me more apt to gripe, because these things should be adequate. Adequate is not enough.
So here are some things I would smash, if I were the Hulk:
• The city of New York, particularly the construction parts of it. I know Manhattan is the Center of the Intelligent Universe™, but there is no reason to drill through the surface of West Houston Street at one o’clock in the morning on the weekends. Because of this work, half of Houston Street is closed, so buses that pick up students on our block now do so on my street. For some reason, they think it’s appropriate to get here at least half an hour early, and idle their engines for the entire time. This is a violation of noise and environmental laws. Where’s my costumed vigilante?
• Talk shows. During the writers’ strike, progressives with principles refused to cross the picket lines of those programs – The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher – that counted on opinionated conversation. Faced with empty seats, the producers hired those willing to cross a picket line. For the most part, these people were right-wingers, apathetic to the issue, Joe Quesada, or some combination of the above. And that’s fine. It’s their choice. The show must go on. Baby needs a new pair of shoes. However, it made for rather boring talk. Now that the strike is over, there could once again be more, funnier talk, but there’s not. Bill Kristol has never been right about anything. P. J. O’Rourke isn’t funny and makes me miss Michael O’Donohue. Get them off my television!
• The problem with sweeps (and circulation-driven publishing stunts) is that, when they’re over, the rest of the episodes feel like so much filler. The strike made this worse on television, with no new episodes of anything scripted except for the odd stray series that was supposed to start later in the season. There’s nothing to watch, and my knitting is suffering. I need new House. I need more Psych. Or else I need more books on tape.
• The news media, particularly the pundit class. Hillary Clinton is not my candidate, but every time Chris Matthews or Tim Russert or some other chump starts to talk about her, I want to throw something at the television set (we need a new one anyway). Apparently, the thought of a woman with a brain, an education, and a marriage more complicated that Ozzie and Harriet’s, is too much for them. She must be a nag, a scold, a castrating bitch, an unfilled woman whose ambition takes the place of her husband’s love. It’s enough to make me vote for her.
• The Academy Awards. Much has been made about the fact that the ratings this year were the lowest in 30 years. People have posited several reasons for this. I think it’s because the Academy, like so much of this so-called elite in this country (including the comics press), hates entertainment that makes them feel good. If it inspires pleasure, it must be crap. Only dark dramas, preferably with costumes, can be art. I know that our popular arts reflect the anxieties of the culture, and these are anxious times, but it doesn’t help. Bring back the funny!
With luck, we’ll talk about something funny next week.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of all things ComicMix, wants to wish a Happy Birthday to Dave and Johanna.