Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, September 12, 2021

In the battle for video-delivered mindshare, A.O. Scott argues that the small screen is now out-performing the silver screen:

Look back over the past decade. How many films have approached the moral complexity and sociological density of “The Sopranos” or “The Wire”? Engaged recent American history with the verve and insight of “Mad Men”? Turned indeterminacy and ambiguity into high entertainment with the conviction of “Lost”? Addressed modern families with the sharp humor and sly warmth of “Modern Family”? Look at “Glee,” and then try to think of any big-screen teen comedy or musical — or, for that matter, movie set in Ohio — that manages to be so madly satirical with so little mean-spiritedness.

…But the traditional relationship between film and television has reversed, as American movies have become conservative and cautious, while scripted series, on both broadcast networks and cable, are often more daring, topical and willing to risk giving offense.

It’s a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Obviously, television series have the luxury of weeks and months to build an audience and develop storylines, versus a movie’s one-and-done experience. And the accessibility factor is there: “Free” broadcast and cable viewing (discounting the cable/satellite bill) instead of the ever-inflating price of a movie ticket. Naturally, TV’s going to seem more dynamic by those measures.

But hasn’t this always been the case? What’s changed lately to account for this seeming role reversal between the mediums?

One factor not mentioned is the pressure that TV is feeling from below: Namely, the Web and DVR timeshifting. Going up against an even wider-open entertainment channel that’s asynchronous, television has to pump out more compelling content just to keep up.

You’d think that movies would feel the same heat. The wrinkle seems to be the barrier to entry for cinema — again, the direct cost, in the form of a ticket, demanded from the consumer. That leads to targeting the widest audiences possible, which leads to watered-down content that earns “safe” ratings of G or PG… Which, ultimately, constrains attempts at edgier or noteworthy fare.

It’s a strange outcome. Whether or not it’s a new state of affairs, or only a temporary aberration, remains to be seen. In my opinion, it’s the former.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/12/2021 09:07pm
Category: Movies, TV
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new rollLet the record show that, instead of diligently rotating the wheels on my pair of Rollerblade Twister II Pros, I’ve purchased a new set of eight wheels with bearings.

Any inline skater will tell you that it’s not very cost-effective to buy brand-new wheelies every time your existing rollers get worn down. And many skaters take pride in the elbow-greasy ritual of flipping the rollers, swapping the front-middle position with the back slot, etc. Indeed, I did all that during my college years, when I got my first pair of Rollerblades.

But frankly, the allure of that workmanlike process is now lost on me. That’s probably because I don’t skate nearly enough anymore to really get into the hardcore-hobbyist aspects of the sport. Related to that is the ultimate reason why I can justify chucking the old wheels after only a half-life of use: They’re the same original set that came with these blades when I first bought them, three years ago (save for one, which I needed as a replacement only days after my first couple of rides).

So, I figure dropping forty bucks for a complete wheel overhaul every few years is easily within my means for recreational spending. Besides, I’ll still have the nuts-and-bolts work to do in installing the new set, hopefully in time for this weekend. So I don’t feel too guilty about not following the optimal-use guidelines for the skating nation. And whatever guilt I do feel should be wiped away as soon as I experience the smooth glide of those new rollies…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/12/2021 06:43pm
Category: Other Sports
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