- - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not engaged

“‘The Brady Bunch’ was created by Sherwood Schwartz, who, like a number of people in showbiz in the 1960s, was looking for a way to reflect the increasingly fractured state of the American family. … [Critic Harlan] Ellison noted the phenomenon in his column: ‘The network mufti who bought all of this drivel, from “The Doris Day Show” to “Here’s Lucy,” in their paralyzing fear of portraying anything even remotely resembling the realities of life in These United States, have opted for crippled families of husbandless wives or wifeless husbands, all playing Pygmalion to raise their kids with a vested interest in “acceptable morality” and the beliefs of generations nudging the grave.’

“That just about sums up the most persistent problem with ‘The Brady Bunch.’ Here was a show that was plugged into its times in so many ways, given that it was about a blended family, living in au courant Los Angeles, with six children of varying ages and dispositions. And yet the show’s mandate was to keep it light and bright, while pushing traditional values. On the rare occasion that ‘The Brady Bunch’ addressed issues of the day like racism or women’s rights, it did so with no particular passion for the causes, any more than the writers really cared about whether Cousin Oliver was a jinx, or whether Cindy’s Kitty Karry-All doll was cursed.”

Noel Murray, writing on “The Brady Bunch, ‘Dough Re Mi,’” on Sept. 23 at the AV Club

Not engaged

“In a way, it’s appropriate that [David] Fincher has become one of the best current studio filmmakers, since his approach to filmmaking symbolizes how we now perceive our actual surroundings. More and more people read books on Kindle, watch concerts on YouTube, and talk to friends on Skype or on Gchat. Just as Fincher’s films process the world through computers, we process our world through computer screens too.

“‘The Social Network’ tells a version of how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while a Harvard undergrad recovering from a breakup. In the movie’s press kit, Fincher compares Zuckerberg to a film director. The comparison, an absolutely right one, also says a lot about how viewership has become immensely interactive. The Internet is a space where people actively make their own entertainment in addition to consuming it, not just through discovering their own favorite sites, but through defining and redefining themselves within the space of a profile. It’s possible for someone to tell you an enormous amount of information about himself or herself long before he or she ever actually interacts with you, which changes the way you interact with him or her once you finally do.”

Aaron Cutler, writing on “New York Film Festival 2010: The Social Network,” on Sept. 27 at the House Next Door

Not engaged

“As for Moldova’s so-called Twitter Revolution, Evgeny Morozov, a scholar at Stanford who has been the most persistent of digital evangelism’s critics, points out that Twitter had scant internal significance in Moldova, a country where very few Twitter accounts exist. Nor does it seem to have been a revolution, not least because the protests … may well have been a bit of stagecraft cooked up by the government.

“In the Iranian case, meanwhile, the people tweeting about the demonstrations were almost all in the West. ‘It is time to get Twitter’s role in the events in Iran right,’ Golnaz Esfandiari wrote, this past summer, in Foreign Policy. ‘Simply put: There was no Twitter Revolution inside Iran.’ The cadre of prominent bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan, who championed the role of social media in Iran, Esfandiari continued, misunderstood the situation. … ‘Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi.’”

Malcolm Gladwell, writing on “Small Change,” in the Oct. 4 issue of the New Yorker

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