Many TV series from the black and white era seem hopelessly dated today, almost unwatchable. The Westerns hold up well: “Gunsmoke” is still excellent. “The Rifleman” is smart, ethical, and terrific. Of the dramas, “Perry Mason” and “Peter Gunn” among others still work. “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show” at their best, which was often, are brilliant. “The Twilight Zone” is probably the most acclaimed show from that period, and I love many of the episodes, but the duds, and there were quite a few, seem even duddier today. To be honest, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” which ran from 1955 to 1965, may hold up the best of all.
I thought about the show this week, after the story came out about the woman who was delivered to the funeral home and about to be embalmed when they found out she was alive. Now THAT’s incompetence! But it also echoed a famous “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode, in which Joseph Cotton played a man involved in a bad traffic accident that leaves him so paralyzed–eyes open, mouth in a rictus of horror, as Stephen King likes to say—that when help arrives they think he’s really dead. Cotton narrates his plight in real time, as we hear the desperate man’s thoughts. He tries to signal using his little finger, the only part that works, and the medics move him so he’s on top of his hand. They are zipping up the body bag when…well, you should see the episode.
Another classic is when a young Steve McQueen plays a compulsive gambler whose car breaks down in front of crazy Peter Lorre’s home. Lorre bets Steve he can’t light his lighter ten times in a row. If he can, Steve gets Lorre’s car. If the lighter fails before flame ten, Steve loses a finger. Lorre stands over McQueen’s tied down left hand holding a hatchet. You could not possibly guess the ending.
1. “Well,” as Elaine would say to George on “Seinfeld,” “That’s because you’re an idiot.” In an interview with Mediaite, Don Lemon said that CNN is not biased. The CNN anchor said in part,
I don’t really understand how people will say CNN is biased and focuses on the negative of Trump.How is being factual, bias? How is taking evidence and someone’s own words and their own actions, and their own policies, and just presenting it back to the public on television or whatever medium, whatever journalistic medium you happen to be in, how is that bias? …
As head-exploding as that statement is, it is only remarkable in that it is such a guileless indication that someone prominent in a profession where objectivity is essential literally doesn’t know what bias is, and is incapable of recognizing it.
Bias makes you stupid, but it is also true that being stupid—and Lemon is a very stupid man—makes it easier to be biased.
2. Since you ask, a Spuds update…Our rescued dog Spuds has adapted to life with the Marshalls beyond our most optimistic hopes. We have concluded, because of a lot of things, that he is what is called a “Great Bull Dane,” a mix of one of the pit bull breeds and a Great Dane. Spuds is small for the mix, but he is also still underweight, and was malnourished by his neglected owners when he should have been growing. Spuds is smart, eager to make friends with everyone. and wants to lean on, lie on and cuddle with everyone. That’s a giant breed trait (we once owned and loved an English Mastiff) and Spuds also moves and barks like a Dane. Watching how much he craves the closeness of family and affirmations of affection, it makes me both sorrowful and furious that any human being could be so heartless as to neglect a sweet and vulnerable creature like this. I just don’t understand it.
At this moment he is lying completely on his back, his hind legs a stretched out the length of the sofa, with his huge head top down on my wife’s lap, breathing deeply with his eyes shut tight. What a miracle that we found each other.
3. This is typical of the management attitude allowing Black Lives Matter to extort America. From a report that many NBA owners did not support the league placing “Back Lives Matter” on its courts and encouraging players to kneel, wear divisive political slogans in games, and generally turn the NBA into a black power activist operation:
Adam Silver told them, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’re going to do to support our players. Our league is overwhelmingly comprised of African American players. This is important. This is a partnership. We need to work together to get through this season and into next year.’
The absence of logic and management competence in that statement is enlightening. Then there is the unconscious hilarity of a sports league of millionaires “overwhelmingly comprised of African American players” protesting that systemic racism has made life in the U.S. unbearable.
4. Oooh, I’m going to have to bookmark this site! Ann Althouse found a website called “Am I the Asshole,” where people relate their actions in various situations. Her link was a story about a man who discovered that a guest was making a video in their home to show they were racists, because the moron mistook a Union Jack for the Confederate flag. The poster writes in part,
“You think we are racist, yet invite you over to our house, where you have our hospitality and our food/alcohol. In the meanwhile you are getting evidence to ruin our livelihoods? I don’t want anyone like that in my house AT ALL. So I make a scene and get her to leave. Kate and Jess say it was just a misunderstanding. I was, like, no there wasn’t, its the principle behind it. Some of our friends have came to Ashley’s side but I don’t see how you can support her.”
I don’t either. He’s not the asshole, he’s an anti-asshole enforcer, and the only way the vicious cancel and “gotcha!” culture will be eliminated is when people like the writers’ (incredibly ignorant, in addition to her other flaws) guest are shunned and exposed as the unethical, ugly human beings they are.