Friday, December 2, 2016

MIXED BAG BLOG #12: REACTION YOUTUBE VIDEOS, "CHICAGO" FRANCHISE AS ONE ENSEMBLE, and RECONSIDERING THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE in LIGHT OF THE MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE ELECTION

Well, there's not too much going on at the moment that I feel like writing about in an extensive manner, at least in the entertainment world. If you're interested in how we should overthrow the government and a 101 Class on how to rewrite the Constitution on the back of a napkin, you can try my latest article at "David Baruffi's Political Views and Reviews", which is at this site here:


So, every so often when there's nothing going on in the entertainment world that seems important or relevant enough to garner a complete and full review, we do a little Mixed Bag Blog, where we take, a couple quick looks at a few different subjects or events going on in the entertainment world, and we're gonna do one of those today.....


REACTION YOUTUBE VIDEOS

So, something I've been watching a lot of lately is an interesting new little fad and quirk of Youtube, and that's the Reaction Videos. I know, they're not exactly new, and there's definitely a whole genre of gaming videos, that, frankly I don't understand the appeal of at all, where we're seeing people's reactions to something, but in this cell phone video culture, there's been a development of numerous videotape, oneself, doing anything, and, eh, I'm not crazy about the narcissistic implications of that, but honestly I do kinda get it. It's basically the same as people who took photos of everything. Strangely as somebody with a film degree, I myself don't have this obsession or fascination, in fact I never think to film or photograph enough of everything around me, it actually does bother me that I don't but.... It probably doesn't help that my family did photograph me, a lot, when I was younger, way too much really. (Sigh) Anyway, eh, the reason I kinda starting keeping an eye for this, is that occasionally things happen, especially in the sports world where something amazing or shocking happens and you just want to see what happens to everyone, and recently there was an event in the sports, eh, entertainment world, (aka Pro wrestling) that kinda shocked people when it happened, in a good way, and I've frankly enjoyed watching a lot of reaction videos people made of themselves experiencing the event. Now, I've made some note of this before, I brought up a bunch of reaction videos people made after Villanova won the NCAA Championship, which if you know, I'm a Philadelphia sports fan, so I and everybody else was celebrating like crazy. We don't get to win much, especially the way we won, (Although admittedly, I tend to prefer watching the North Carolina fans watching the game, 'cause they lost, and it's funny!) but yeah, something amazing happened, and as trivial as it is, that shared experience is quite an amazing one to have. Nice to know exists to, for people like me, who don't live anywhere near their favorite sports town. Now, as to pro wrestling, I don't follow it like I used to, I've admitted to that as well, although I try to keep alert of it; I think it's like anything else, there's good and bad, but from somebody who's only half-paying attention anymore, it's kinda entertaining when something actually happens that surprises and shocks them. The great appeal of pro wrestling especially, is the opposite appeal of sports to some extent, since it is, pre-determined, you're more likely to get an exciting battle between the combatants instead of say, in Mixed Martial Arts, which I find boring as hell, especially when, big bouts usually end pretty quickly, so you can at least, see the wrestlers, trying to give the audience's money's worth, and the downside to that, is that especially lately, is that it can become rather predictable. Which is not entirely a bad thing, to be brutally honest, but it can get boring and repetitive, but if done well, within that string of repetitiveness, something that's startling unexpected and atypical and unexpected really does stand out. It's like any other writing, you set up A and B, and when you think C's coming, that's when Z happens, and now you got a new condition for everyone to deal with. But, yeah, that kind of shared experience, seeing people react to watching the Goldberg and Brock Lesner match, it's pretty amazing to see. Not just the shared experience part, I didn't experience that, I mostly was watching from the sidelines in laughter, like, "Hey, wow, they got them offguard, good job Pro Wrestling!" and from that perspective, it's still pretty fun to watch these reactions. 

It's kind of a weird name for them, "Reaction Videos", I mean, especially in this blogging and vlogging culture, essentially almost all Youtube videos are pretty much reaction videos. I mean, hell, this blog is essentially a reaction video. This article is a reaction to reaction videos, a review of anything is a reaction. As a commentator, basically all I ever do is watch what happens and then, react to what just happened. 

That said though, those morons who post reaction videos to reaction videos, or people watching other's videos and then record their reactions to those videos, I know I'm being somewhat of a hypocrite here, but those people need to die. Find something better to do. By the time you react and counter-react to the reactions and eventually, you forget what the hell the original event even was, and even if that wasn't a problem, that's just the ultimate worst kind of egocentric people who pervert the streaming landscape. I run my own entertainment reviewing blog and I even think that's beyond obnoxious That's too far, but yeah, sharing, or even just appreciating what others are sharing with each other, 'cause of something amazing or happy to be around, yeah, that a good use of a modern home movie aesthetic and one I can really get behind. I think this'll work best for events, things happening in real time, with people watching, and not necessarily scripted series or anything, I mean, I know pro wrestling is scripted to some extent, but it's still a real event, not like, just some amazing episode of "Game of Thrones" or anything, so sports is where this can really thrive. And you can get a decent chuckle or two out of sports entertainment with it as well, when they do something that's actually worth noting. So we're gonna talk about the possibilities of "Chicago" qualifying as a 


DOES "CHICAGO" FRANCHISE, MEAN "CHICAGO" ENSEMBLE? 



I think I've made it fairly clear that I'm not particularly fond of the idea of "franchises", or specifically, "Universes". but that's usually I'm talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or comic books in general really. I wrote one blog really criticizing the idea that such a cinematic scope of the event was overblown and not nearly as original as everybody seems to think it is, and I still by that, but I probably should be a little more lenient, because I think a lot of people don't fully realize how very often television series have made numerous efforts to cross franchises over and over again over the years. I mean, the term spin-off, pretty much comes from television, you know? I mean, I can think of a few spin-off novels and plays where multiple characters crossed over into other works, even Shakespeare did that, but this notion that feature films is a good idea for this, much less this feature films-television cross over crap, yeah, that's, that's too much and mostly just stupid fanfic fan service. I've never been one, who cared or gave a shit about whether or not Batman and Superman were friends, or in the same universe, or fighting each other or with each other, if anything, I usually just get annoyed that, if they are known and aware of each, why aren't they always together. 

But, television, television doesn't usually allow for fantasy to muck up reality, at least it used to, (Sigh) and in many instances in the past, it actually made quite a bit of sense, to cross universes and characters, especially since many successful shows would often be the predicate for some successful spinoffs. (And not-so-successful ones too, but we'll ignore them). You have shows that take place, essentially in the same time and place, usually on the same channel, since series are often design to compliment each other, it 's not weird at all, really to combine them into a universe, in the right circumstances. "Mad About You", "Friends" and "Seinfeld" being combined together for instance, it's actually almost natural. Or "The Golden Girls", "Empty Nest" and "Nurses", (I know, nobody remembers "Nurses", and frankly nobody should0 Miami, there's a few people who work in the medical field, it's Florida, there's gonna be a hurricane at some point, why not make a night of it? Especially since most of the time, these shows often have quite similar people behind the scenes as well. David E. Kelley has masterfully combined a few of his series in the past. "Boston Public", and "The Practice" crossed-over from different networks at one point, and "Boston Public", it was later revealed is in the "Boston Legal" universe, which was the spin-off of "The Practice", so there's some really great callbacks there, and it makes sense. Same people involved, similar tones, similar series. 

This brings me to a little seen Variety article about Dick Wolf, petitioning the SAG-Aftra, for a ruling regarding the Screen Actors Guild Awards. 


For those who aren't as familiar, instead of a Best Picture or Series' category, the Screen Actors Guild always gives out a Best Ensemble category, where they honor all of the actors for that particular movie or TV show, which can be a bit confusing, and there is a distinction between the two, the SAG, is not traditionally a great Best Picture Oscar predictor, 'cause they tend to lean more towards films with more actors and performers than perhaps. Anyway, Dick Wolf, is no stranger to franchise building and combining, the most famous of which, is "Law & Order" which stretches over a Tommy Westphall nightmare amount of series, not to mention all the ones that are crossed into that franchise, including, his current major franchise, "Chicago". I've never been a fan of "Chicago Med" or "Chicago Fire" or any of those series really, but at some point he decided to basically create a multi-series universe, just based around, well, the city of Chicago and the-eh, different aspects of the emergency sector, basically. Like I said, he experimented with this a lot on "Law & Order", but he's basically just gone and created this epic multi-series franchise, with numerous revolving door of characters that come in and out through the numerous different series. So, he's making an argument, since all the series are unusually interconnected with each other, that the entire franchise of series, should then count in consideration for the Ensemble category. 

Now each of these series, has, quite a few regular characters alone, if I were to guess, I'd say they're in the 12-20 range, there's a decent argument to be made for each of these series separately to be considered one of television's best ensembles, and we're talking four series now, that's close to eighty people. If you combine them, I'm pretty sure it'd rank as the "Most Ensemble", even more than other series that seem to have casts of dozens. Now, I've tried to find whether or not there was a ruling on the issue from the Screen Actors Guild, it's been awhile, I have to presume they made a call on this by now, but has just announced it publicly, and if I guess I would say, they probably rejected the petition, and for good reason. Other series get an hour, this series would be four and would encompass four different shows, and..., it would be a bit elaborate, and to some extent, almost unfair, and frankly the precedent it would set.... I mean, this could lead to a bunch of crap, especially now that there's so many shows on multiple mediums and channels that cross over into each other's universes, and god comic books are so annoying to television.... (Frustrated sigh). It does pose a few interesting questions though. about the possible future influences of these universes. Now, this was only the SAGs, but what if in the future, say the Emmys decide to consider the entirety of a franchise as a whole series? I mean, it wouldn't effect things Writing, Directing or Acting too much, but Production Design, Costumes, Make-Up, Casting especially, but most importantly, Series, in the future. Now, I don't think any of the "Chicago" series on their own are really good enough to compare to the better television dramas on television right now, but combining them together, could they possibly upend a "Game of Thrones", maybe? Perhaps? I don't know, and to be honest, I doubt it, maybe some other franchise in the future could? Or, how about the real horrible scenario, let's say the Oscars did this? Counted multiple movies in the same franchise as one movie, that happen to come out in the same year..., or not? Now, to me, one of the worst fuck-ups in recent Oscar history was when "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" swept every category, including Best Picture, not the least of which was that it was just a terrible movie, but really, if we're being honest here, they gave the award, for the entire trilogy of "The Lord of the Rings" as opposed to just the one movie, so in a sense they were honoring three films over three films as one. Which begs the big question, why the hell didn't they just make it as a miniseries? 

Seriously, why not? Why waste a spot for actual films, when instead, they could air it in it's proper medium? Those films essentially took Oscars from other films, and it's not like it was a film and then there were two sequel, they were all made together and at the same time as though it was one project. It's perfect for television, why place it as feature films, when it could've been placed like "Roots"? (The other-, the original "Roots"! [Sigh] We are remaking too many damn things]) Anyway, but now that there are all these cinematic universes, what's preventing the Oscars from looking at multiple films as one in the future? (Sigh). 

Yeah, I'm not exactly crazy about these hypotheticals. I think it makes more sense with television, 'cause it's something that is continuous and the crossing over opportunities make more sense and it's more sensible to create continuous universes over several series as opposed to several movies, but yeah, I suspect this will ultimately be a non-starter, at least I hope it is. It's a nice thought from Dick Wolf to showcase more attention on what he's doing with the "Chicago" franchise, but I don't know, this is a stretch, and this could be disastrous in the future. 


ELECTION MEDIA COVERAGE FINAL THOUGHTS: RECONSIDERING THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE

Yeah, yeah, there's no getting around talking about the election to some degree, although to be honest, there's not much left to talk about. Everybody either was already, or is now a media critic, and if they're not, they're getting appropriately criticized for it. Maybe, if, there's any silver lining-, oh fuck, there's no silver lining to anything going on, okay, none! That said, if this is what it takes to get the media to actually be the media, then fine. It should've been a long time ago and frankly, now that there's so much viral media that's overflowing our Facebook pages, too much of being complete crap, and worst too many people believing it, I think the only thought that I've continued to go back to long after every abnormal insanity has happened since, that nobody else that I can find has looked back on is a simple question of "How did we get here?"

Like, how did our media, end up like this? Why? Why are we in such a swirl of, facts and opinions being confused and retweeted for each other. Where did we go wrong, how did we get here, and other questions that sound like they should be in a Talking Heads song.

(Sigh)

Well, if we go back far enough, there's one thing that keeps across my mind, that strangely I haven't seen brought up anywhere and that's the possibility of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.


I always think of that commentary from Bill Moyers that I scrounged up from DailyMotion just to put on here. That was from nine years ago, and he was talking about how some of the far right commentators particularly on talk radio had inspired the acts of domestic terrorism that left people dead. He wasn't in favor of bringing it back, and to be entirely honest, I'm not entirely sure about whether or not I think it should be brought back.

For those, who aren't aware, the Fairness Doctrine was enacted in 1949, and it required broadcasters devote airtime to presenting controversial issues that pertain to the public interest, as well as to air contrasting views on those matters. Now, the misconception is that the FCC Rule required that facts be reported, it doesn't, it doesn't even require that equal time be given to the controversial subjects, It was repealed in '87 by President Reagan. Since then, that's what led to the increase in more bias news organizations, stations and in particular, the rise of talk radio. Now, there's even more of a divide and everybody's stuck in their own bubble, and some of those bubbles are so far off from reality...- (Sigh)

Look, I don't quite know the answer, regarding the Fairness Doctrine, and even if it was reinstated, how would it be adopted to modern technology. The FCC doesn't oversee blogs and websites and to be honest, they shouldn't. Should they? I mean, if they're putting themselves out there as a news site and a news source, then maybe.... I don't promote myself as a news site, it says so in the title, My Views and My Reviews, this law wouldn't effect me, and it's not biasness either that's the problem, even neutrality itself is a bias perspective, but when the news and fact themselves get sideswiped by the fringe in order to create an alternative reality, then maybe it shouldn't be left for everybody to simply make the correct choice. I mean, that's why we have laws, 'cause there are choices people and institution make that are against the public interest. All laws are made because of that. The reason murder is illegal is because if it wasn't too many people would be killing and getting killed, and besides would we do during wars if that's being done normally. It's also proven the other way, you take a standard law and suddenly make it legal, the people who would most benefit from doing that former law, they start doing it. That's basically what's happened every single time there's been a repeal of government oversight, especially when it's corporate oversight, immediately those corporations began making these newly legal processes apart of their overall money-making stream. Don't misunderstand this either, the was specifically repealed in order to eventually create something like a Fox News and to exacerbate the growing right-wing dominance in talk radio, it's not coincidental and you could claim that, yeah, but they also helped create MSNBC or The Young Turks, but then again, those organizations are also reactionary responses to the far right-wing media, who at that time, complained furiously, incorrectly that the mainstream media was overly left-winged,.... (Sigh) 

Look, I'm certainly not saying it must be enacted or that the government should get involved in regulating or owning the media, but now that, somebody in their basements can create a website, make it look legitimate enough to confuse some people who don't closely enough and perpetuate a lot of fake and/or misleading news stories, not to mention the growing industry of outside countries hacking the country and trying to overthrow the American government from afar...- I think it's at least time to consider bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, or at least some modernize form of it, if not to regulate but to at least combat the media creating industry. Now, again, I don't know if we should bring it back, or even if it's possible to enact if we do, or for that matter, if we need to limit it to the FCC, or creating a new governing agency for online/alternative media, or all of the troubling things that that possibility might mean or entail, and how to regulate that kind agency from becoming too powerful, and... like I said, I think it needs to be discussed and considered at least. It will certainly not happen anytime soon, but if there's one discussion that should be explored considering the media and they're reaction/coverage of this presidential election, this is it. 



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