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You're All SUCKERS! PBS Will Show You Why...

El Cosmico here, now THIS is something I'm going to watch. Not because I think they'll tell me something new, but because I like having my worldview validated.

A fine reader points us to tonight's show on PBS, a truly excellent bunch of folks...the name of the show: "THE MERCHANTS OF COOL". There's a website up for the show, check it out at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/, and then watch the show tonight. Hey, it's better than most of the crap you could watch. I mean, if you're gonna be sucked in by television, at least PBS doesn't have commercials (and I don't THINK it's pledge-season). Here's our reader, with his thoughts:

Just wanted to drop you a line about a show I'm rather interested to see later tonight and I thought that mention of it might have a place on the Coaxial section of your site... The show I'm referring to is the PBS show "Frontline" which will have a special expose on the manufacturing of teen culture tonight.

Obligatory link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

I, myself, am an avid media junkie, drinking in the movies and music that have layed out in front of me. My appetite is almost never-ending...

Therein lies my conflict, though... Although I'm an excellent consumer of media culture, I'm also very wary about it and what it's capable of when it uses its power to make evil instead of good... So, on one hand I support those that will bring me fantastic visions of Frodo and Co., but on the other hand I loathe the transformation of Tom Green into a teen role model, and all this despite the fact that it's not hard to starting thinking of the two as different sides of the same phenomenon (hype)...

Might this be a topic worthy of discussion on your site? Where should super-consumers of media like us stand on issues like the ones that are going to be raised in this special? What limits, if any, should be placed on media companies? Is it appropriate for them to create demand for their products in the way that they do?

(Sigh) My head hurts....

Cognoscento.

Hey, my head hurts too! Probably for a different reason. Anyway, check it out, and maybe post some talkbacks, eh? Tonight, on PBS, 10 PM Central.

-El Cosmico

elcosmico@aintitcool.com

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 27, 2001, 6:48 a.m. CST

    No commercials?

    by Key_Card

    Maybe PBS is different in your area of the country but the spots they place at the beginning of the shows are the same damn things they run on network TV. And here in the Rocky Mountains its pledge drive season all year round. Sounds like a good show tho.

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 6:49 a.m. CST

    ...

    by Key_Card

    Oh, and First.

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 9:11 a.m. CST

    This is a related subject

    by Toshlines

    Don't often talkback - and although I'll never get to see this programme, being in the UK and all - but people out there should read 'No Logo' by Naomi Klein as it attempts to deal with the shaping of our culture by the powers that be. If you have any interest in the power of branding and Huxleyan visions of the present - go read it.

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 9:59 a.m. CST

    This is PRECIOUS ROY! You kids stay outta my pool!

    by spacehog

    Boy, I was hoping this was somehow news about Sifl and Olly being on PBS. Damn.

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 1:56 p.m. CST

    "This is Precious Roy! And I listen to the Indigo Girls!"

    by user id indeed!

    "Buy my hookers! SUCKERRRRRS!!" Damn, I feel your pain, spacehog. But we shoulda known better. PBS showing Sifl and Olly is about as likely as MTV picking up 13 new episodes of "Reading Rainbow". Dammit! This has been a Moment with Chester... er, Use ID Indeed! "Oh, and you KNOW the problems I've been having with squirrel eyes."

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 2:28 p.m. CST

    God, I miss Sifl & Olly...

    by Kent Allard

    And, user id indeed -- dude, you've got SERIOUS-ASS squirrel eye problems... :-)

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 3:04 p.m. CST

    "Greetings from the Lap Dance"

    by All Thumbs

    Dammit, why did you all have to make me long for Sifl and Olly again? I just got over my depression that MTV hasn't made good on their plans to at least air episodes online. And now Kathy Griffin has a show about the reality shows...there isn't a God, people, there isn't a God...Oh well, at least I have a few episodes taped to keep me company. Sifl and Olly DVD is what we need...full commentary and everything. I'd buy it in a second.

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 4:23 p.m. CST

    PBS Hasn't been the same since

    by DocStrangelove

    Degrassi Jr. High got the boot. Am I right?

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Thought I was the only one ...

    by Penny Dreadful

    who loved Sifl and Olly. *Sigh*

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 7:10 p.m. CST

    study of popular culture

    by jccalhoun

    actually what I think people should do is take a class in popular culture. But then again I'm biased, since I'm getting my masters in it. A few years ago, one of the people who graduated with their masters in popular culture from here (Bowling Green State University) got a job with one of these "cool finders."

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 8:43 p.m. CST

    George Lucas is a hack... but he never made me cringe like the M

    by Basic Alias

    Oh fuck. I just got finished watching the show and it turns out they're right: the truth does hurt. I knew marketing had a strangle-hold on Gen-Y, but it really hit me between the eyes when they showed Barbara. I mean for cryin' out loud, she's only 13! Fuckin' 13 and completely obsessed with her looks! And wasn't it creepy as hell when those older women auditioning her found out her true age, turned to each other and cackled, I mean laughed, I MEAN CACKLED?! They looked like pedophiles who just found their next squeeze toy. ***** But as mentally vacant as the girls looked, the guys were even worse! I don't listen to Insane Clown Posse, but any group that convinces their fans that it's cool to chant about "titty-huntin'" is full of shit. The only good thing about ICP is they make true musicians like the Beastie Boys look even better by comparison. You know, it's funny: Eminem gets called out for constantly saying "faggot," and he shrugs it off with a "whuz-da-problem-I-didn't-do-nuttin'" attitude. Meanwhile, I think it was Out magazine that pointed out the gay jokes in License to Ill when the B-Boys were releasing their anthology, and even though for years now they've all but disowned the album, they STILL couldn't admit fault and apologize fast enough! And that's why they're gonna be remembered long after Marshall Meathead burns his candle out at both ends. They've got something a lot of bands, hell a lot of people, could really use these days: a sense of responsibility. ***** As for all the other mass-market icons out there (Britney, N'Suck) I just wanna remind everyone out there that they WILL go away, 'cause it's just like the show pointed out: what's "cool" only last so long. And when you get right down to it, how long can Justin Timberlake's career survive when his resume can be summed up as "pretty face on poster?" ***** Good night, and all hail Frank Zappa.

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 9:04 p.m. CST

    When will people stop getting spoon fed what to think?

    by s1mps0n

    I just finished watching the PBS show and let me just say it should be shown in every high school. When are people going to realize that major corporations are telling them quite successfully what to eat, think, and do. Everyone is always worried about governments socializing people, but it is american corporations that do that already and have ingrained this consumerist insanity into people's heads. People have to wake up and just say NO! Get your heads out of your asses and go buy a Nine Inch Nails album or go watch more indie movies! GO THINK FOR YOUR DAMN SELF!

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Patrick McGoohan had it right thirty years ago in "The Prisoner"

    by Uncapie

    Check out the episode on speed learning through computer called, "The General". He's right on target with that show. Good PBS show too. Thanks, El Cosmico!

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 10:14 p.m. CST

    The next 10 years with Gen-Y will be "Interesting Times"

    by MGTHEDJ

    Gen-Y is the most whacked out generation in US history. They have never known a recession until now (if they were not born in Louisiana, Texas, or Oklahoma who went into one in 1982 so the rest of the country could boom on cheap oil). There size is due to the number of teen pregnencies amoung Gen-X (those born between Nov. 23 1963 and Spring 1982), added to the large number of children Bommer men had in their first and second marriages (and sometimes 3rd). Media did not set out to blantently sell to Gen-X because we were more immune from the 1970s (there was some BAD stuff going down: SWAT anyone) and our size compared to boomers. Sadly Gen-Y has arrived (save the last dance number 1?) so it is perhapes time for us to move on,we have done our part as teens and 20 somethings: WE SAVED POP MUSIC--------TWICE!!!!!--------later-------m

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 10:20 p.m. CST

    The next 10 years with Gen-Y will be "Interesting Times" (with c

    by MGTHEDJ

    Gen-Y is the most whacked out generation in US history. They have never known a recession until now (if they were not born in Louisiana, Texas, or Oklahoma who went into one in 1982 so the rest of the country could boom on cheap oil). Their size is due to the number of teen pregnencies among Gen-X (those born between Nov. 23 1963 and Spring 1982), added to the large number of children Boomer men had in their first and second marriages (and sometimes 3rd). Media did not set out to blantently sell to Gen-X because we were more immune from the 1970s (there was some BAD stuff going down: SWAT anyone) and our size compared to boomers. Sadly Gen-Y has arrived (save the last dance number 1?) so it is perhaps time for us to move on,we have done our part as teens and 20 somethings: WE SAVED POP MUSIC--------TWICE!!!!!--------later-------m

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Present: Blackjacks!

    by InDaGreen

    There is some terrific entertainment out there for those who want it. Coldplay, At The Drive In, and A Pefect Circle run rings around 99.999% of stuff in the "pop" spectrum [from a man whose bills are payed by KIIS fm in Los Angeles; how's that for irony?] Buffy, Sports Night, and West Wing provides the most consistent entertainment and quality in every episode in any TV show since MASH. Its out there. We just have to shove it down everyone else's throats. You're probably too young to remember the short-lived "Itchy & Scratchy & Friends" show... Disgruntled Goat had his moments-Bart Best Vacation Ever

  • Feb. 27, 2001, 11:55 p.m. CST

    lousy keyboard

    by InDaGreen

    *Insert apology for leaving space insufficient here!*

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 7:48 a.m. CST

    The Grand Illusion

    by Redbeard_NV

    Boy, STYX pegged it right with this song years ago. "The stage is set, your heart is pounding, wishing secretly you were us all. Don't be fooled by the radio, TV or the magazines. Show you photographs of how your life should be, compared to someone else's fantasy. So if you think your life is complete confusion, 'cause your neighbor's got it made, just remember that, it's a grand illusion, and deep inside we're all the same!". How very true, even today!

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 7:55 a.m. CST

    by marsyas

    It's interesting that this story is even covered at aint-it-cool-news, a site that basically thrives off of media junkies like myself (the first step to recovery is to acknowledge that you have a problem). If you're interested in reading more on this topic, or doing something to fight the stranglehold that the Big Five have on our culture, query your favorite search engine for "culture jamming".

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Seen your video, that phony rocknroll...

    by PLACEMATSFAN

    I think the replacemetns had it right when they recorded their seminal album "let it be." Throughout their existence they gave the finger to MTV, understanding that it would crush minds and try to strangle the spirit of rock n' roll. Their first couple of videos were soley of a stereo speaker. And the lyrics to seen your video say it all, "seen your video, we don't want to know, we don't want your phony rock n' roll." It saddens me that the corporate giants have adopted shite like Matchbox 20, Limp Bizkit, and N'Sync when bands of substace like Wilco, the jayhawks, travis, and marah struggle to sell records. At least Radiohead and Travis are seeing some success. Not only are corporations dumbing down what passes for culture in america, but they are propogating hate, violence, and sexualizing pre teens... for profit. The united States global empire... indeed. -Bryce

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 9:57 a.m. CST

    REAL culture....

    by Strabo

    If you're really concerned about this, then get some real culture. The last decent music written was by Dmitri Shostakovich, and he died almost 26 years ago. Yes, classical music. Die, you pop culture morons. The Onion couldn't have been more accurate with it's story titled something like, "MTV devolves into shiny things network."

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 9:58 a.m. CST

    WHAT?!! Teen Culture is MANUFACTURED!!!!???

    by Bono

    Huh? Wha-? Errr...sorry. For a moment there I forgot what planet I was on.

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Missing Generation

    by Sudbo

    Those of us born in that transitional 8 year cusp (1961-1969) period between Gen Y and Gen X can more appropriately be referred to as the S&MK (Sid & Marty Krofft) Generation.

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Culture Jamming and Olly

    by Pulzar711

    Recommended culture jamming site: the Billboard Liberation Front (www.billboardliberation.com)- excellent DIY tips on how to strike back against the corporate oppressors. And let me say that I too am pleased that I am not the only secret Sifl & Olly fan out there... now let there be DVD... or at least VHS...

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 10:42 p.m. CST

    Some astrology for y'all

    by iloveryan

    Another interesting way to look at what characterizes the generations is placement of the planet Pluto in the Zodiac. The Baby Boomers were the Pluto in Leo generation, and true to what one expects of Leo, they really were the original "me" generation. My generation is the Pluto in Virgo generation (children of the 60s), the true astrological Generation X (the "Friends" generation, if one must cast it in pop cultural terms). Virgo is a great sign, but Pluto has a way of bringing out its bad qualities, namely pettiness, vindictiveness, self-righteousness, neurosis, and extreme self-involvement. (Maybe I could have been a little more charitable had I not had to suffer through going to school with you rugrats!!) The children born from 72-84 are Pluto in Libra. Like Libra, they are tolerant, open-minded, egalitarian, easy to get along with, but a bit on the lazy side. From 84 on is the Pluto in Scorpio generation. Scorpio is not a shallow sign, so I predict that when this bunch becomes young adults, they will spit out marketed mass culture like the bad clam it is!

  • Feb. 28, 2001, 11 p.m. CST

    But to be fair....

    by iloveryan

    ....Pluto in Virgo is also hard-working, tough-minded, and observant. There, that's a little more balanced.

  • March 1, 2001, 7:42 a.m. CST

    Pluto

    by pedant

    As impressive as your analysis sounds, I must gently remind the more credulous Talkback readers that astrology is bunk. Millenia of astrological tradition were called into question by the discovery of Pluto and its rather arbitrary classification as a planet rather than a comet. Never mind the fact that the doctor who delivered you exerted more gravitational force on your body than all of the planets combined. Never mind the fact that 95% of all people given the *exact same* horoscope will describe its vague, trite, shallow ramblings as a "very accurate" description of themselves. Never mind the fact that the planets, sun, and stars do not actually revolve around the Earth. Never mind that the astrologers themselves cannot agree whether to base their results on the tropical or the sidereal year. I could go on...

  • March 1, 2001, 9:18 a.m. CST

    RE: Pluto

    by iloveryan

    While I don't care to start a flame war about astrology's validity or non-validity, I should point out that siderealists are little more than an obnoxious splinter faction among astrologers.

  • March 1, 2001, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Could this be...

    by Nocturnaloner

    the most unintentionally ironic talback ever?

  • March 2, 2001, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Siderealists

    by pedant

    And yet the siderealists' results are no less accurate. That should tell you something.

  • March 2, 2001, 1:14 p.m. CST

    re: zerocorpse

    by marsyas

    To borrow a line from The Matrix, "Welcome to the real world." Seriously, having your eyes opened up to what's going on is a real epiphany... I remember when it happened to me. It was like a ton of bricks, a pseudo-religious conversion. But don't look at the past through rose-colored glasses... The fledgling MTV was better than it is now, but it was still pretty bad. Fight the good fight...