Sunday Diary: The Addams Family and Why Television Sucks and other crapPosted: May 8, 2011
I have been away from the keyboard for some time. The last few weeks have been filled with preparing for Brooklyn Free School’s Annual Gala. My wife and I have taken a big role in moving the marketing for this to another level. The reality behind doing that is that it requires a lot of work. As a result, we have created the first souvenir journal for this event.
If you are not aware, a souvenir journal is done at many institutional fundraisers. It is a small book, which includes information about the school, the event and solicits ad space from community supporters. In this case, it involved a few of us going out into the community and selling ad space. We have received ads from parents, friends, business associates and most of all, local businesses. I have sent off the final proof and there are a total of 59 ads.
Making a journal profitable though is not the only goal. The book lists cash donors as well. This is aimed at the journal being a long term fund raising tool. Granters and benefactors will see, firsthand how the school has manged to raise support for itself, and therefore becomes more attractive to a wider range of support.
So this is how I spent the past weeks and I just released the final file to the printer this morning.
On another note, I still get occasional comments and I am always surprised that my blog is being read, even when I am not posting new articles. According to my visit register, the post that still gets the most visit, is a story I did a while back on The Addams Family. To read the original post, which is quite entertaining, click this link: addams-family-revisited.
Below is the comment I got last night. I am re-posting, because my response started getting a little windy. It is probably because I have not written for a while, and I am in the need of some verbal venting. So here we go.
Coincidentally I watched this very Adams family episode this very day and thought many of the same points you brought up: a culturally rich environment brought about by knowing one’s own geographical family history and heritage and because of having done this research so to speak of ones own lineage shows other humans who you are and your identity respectively in relation to the world around oneself. The Adams family is a good analogy because it makes them seem like the odd ones in the community. But is that the true assessment? Or are the Adams Family miles ahead because they are not being told who they are by the media or by institutions but by what they know about themselves and family heritage. And so I agree with you that there are no longer script writers or producers giving this aspect. Now its mostly shows about how you can be like everybody else and god help you if you don’t fit in. The game now is to please. Really, to fit in. Either its Vampire Diaries or Gossip Girl. You best be from the upper east side if you hope to have a life. American television has lost their way. What will become of America? Everybody in America is from someplace else except Native Americans and look at where they have been placed on the American food chain. This is my rant. Peace out~
Thank you for reading my post. I am amazed when I check the stats on my blog, that this post gets the most visits. I guess the Addams Family is still popular.
I agree with much of what this commenter says. Although I never think American TV ever found its way. It has always been a boob tube as we used to call it back in the day. I no longer watch mainstream TV and only see one or 2 shows streaming. The Addams come from a time when bohemian thinking had entered the creative workforce. Writers from this time were cool. They had a larger world view. For example, compare the old Saturday Night Live with the new one. The old one would venture into odd territory. Be inventive. They created characters which stood as a social commentary on the way we live in this country. The current incarnation takes aim mostly at what is shown on the news. Basically, they sit and mock celebrity culture. Vacuous, media personalities. The result is very tepid attempts at humor. It is just a lot of BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Recently, we have borrowed from the library, old episodes of Get Smart, which also drop subtle criticisms on American politics and world affairs.The adventures of secret agent Maxwell Smart, was created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. These are funny guys. Just as an example of their irreverence, in one episode, CHAOS, the bad guys, get hold of a nuclear bomb. As the chief explains “They intend to drop the bomb on an American city where we have the greatest amount of intellectuals and innovators in this country!” To which Max replies “Well, I guess Washington is safe!”
It is not a new idea that Capitalism is dying. It has been dying for a long time. It is a system which is based and thrives on inequality. But as the middle class begins to meltdown in this country, that reality seems more real. Almost all “isms” favor one group of people over another. It is not a new idea that government is dysfunctional. Most are. When greed is the motivating force in our lives, all rational thinking is tossed aside and seen as a threat.
The Addams Family were a group of eccentrics who were very well read, well traveled and had a healthy way of viewing the world. They were happy! How unusual. That is just not acceptable. One is expected to buckle down and lead a hum drum existence, spout the party line, pay your taxes and abandon curiosity. Americans sometime seem like an incurious people. But in truth, Americans really are a left wing country. And the corporate media is not. Most of us want lower taxes, cleaner air, better food, clean water, health care for all, less drugs, less prison, less intrusion into education. Corporations what the masses at the service of a giant money machine. A debt producing machine which only profits by your loss. If you want a meaningful existence, it precludes feeding the machine.
I think television has become what it is, because corporations are dictating the content. You cannot have contrary ideas to the sponsors, and in the current case, the owners. The media is now owned by 6 mega corporations in contrast to the dozens back in the 60’s.
Though I do not watch TV, there was a period when the only show I liked to watch once a week was ER. Every Thursday, I would look forward to indulging myself in the melodrama of this Chicago Hospital. But one episode ended all that for me. It involved a child who contracted measles. Measles. A disease I had as a child. My brother had it. My sister had it. My friends had it. My mother had it. Everybody got measles. All of us got over it. No one died. But this episode focused on the fact that the child’s parents did not vaccinate. (incidentally, I do not subscribe to vaccinations, and my son has not been subjected to any.) So, by the end of the episode, the child died, and the parents got a big lecture on how it was their fault for not vaccinating. It was a terrible feeling watching this. Especially if you have children. But here is the tipper. The commercials that ran between episodes were from the pharmaceutical company Merck, manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. This is what television is really about. I am not going to enter in a debate about vaccinations. I only point out the connection between the plot and the sponsors.
There was an episode of Law and Order where the murderer was an organic farmer. You think there is no agenda? Probably Monsanto had some influence. Or Dow Chemical. I have seen villains made of artists, hippies, pot smokers and generally, anyone with a counter cultural idea. They all seem to become criminals on television. TV is seriously deprived of reality. This what television is all about. Always has been. It is about drawing you in, and then selling to every aspect of your existence it can. The corporations want to shake every last ounce of blood out of that breathing organism you have there. They want you to eat badly (fast food), get sick, buy their drugs, their cell phones, their insurance, their holidays and every other thing they have to sell. They want to stuff you full of their bull shit.. Yes, they want to erase your past, and replace it with a vision of their world that is based on fantasy and illusion. and while you sit hypnotized, they will be busy robbing you of every last shred of hope you might have for living a fruitful life. That is the American Nightmare.
Abandoning television is the first step to developing a free mind. We live in a media ravaged environment that is hard to get out from under. The media is everywhere, so that even though I do not have cable, I have the internet, which is very good at delivering content to me on a daily basis The only caveat is that i get to choose what I look at. That is my rant for the day. I could go on, but I will save it for another day.
Last note: another activity I have been very involved in the past weeks is drawing. I have been drawing constantly. When ever there is a moment of repose, I am sitting in a corner, with a pad on my lap, and doodling. I am hoping to have a Blurb.com book ready in a few weeks. Much of this phase is nostalgic for me. It takes me back to a time, and approach that are concurrent with my teenage and early art school years. I have tapped into that other world that has always thrived in the depths of my imagination. And to boot, it makes me happy to be doing it. I am including an image by my biggest influence on my work during my formative years, R. Crumb. As the image, circa 1970, also relates to my rant on television, I think it is appropriate. Thanks for reading.