Friday, July 25, 2008

That Leftist Media

As mentioned, I prefer my entertainment politics-free, and would argue that the early Simpsons episodes were better in part because they focused on social satire rather than partisan clap humor. Springfield used to remind me of the classic tales of Gotham, in that it transcended cheap political points.

When the bias gets really deep, it comes through even when the writers probably don't even realize they're taking a side.

As a case in point, recent episodes of both The Family Guy and The Simpsons featured situations where the local government was going to do something really swell, and it was only going to cost a penny (or a nickel, or somesuch). The townspeople react with horror and hysteria.

Ha ha. The government, no matter how much money it has, never seems to have enough in some people's view. (Back in the old days, there was often at least a nod to government corruption and incompetence. But now it's just "look how dumb people are, they don't want to pay more taxes".)

Normally, not only do I not notice this stuff, but when I do, it doesn't bother me because almost any story can be looked at as an individual set of circumstances. For example, our soldiers have done terrible things (in every war in our history), but those acts are outweighed by the everyday heroism--and the fact that they're probably less inclined to do such acts for their demographic groups, all other factors controlled for.

But still, it's legitimate to tell a story about bad behavior among soldiers. It's when every story is about bad behavior that you begin to suspect the world view--or intentions--of the people making them.

Well, not really. A Hollywood writer being left wing is hardly man bites dog.

But I did think of it when I saw this over at Protein Wisdom.

California state government spent $145 billion last fiscal year, $41 billion more than four years ago when Gov. Gray Davis got recalled by voters. With all that new spending — a whopping 40% increase — we ought to be in a golden age of government with abundant public services for all.

So why does it seem like the quality and quantity of government is not all that different from 2004? How many of us feel like we are getting 40% more public services, 40% better schools, roads, parks and so on?
When the gov't takes 40% more to deliver the same services, but threatens us whenever they get less money--and always from core services--I think the viewpoint of the public being stingy is about as funny as a "stoopid Bush" joke.

And as insightful.


  1. This bias is also why I can't watch the Law and Order spin offs anymore. Originally they were done relatively straight, but now every one of them is a liberal morality play. And the cops are just not real. If Eliot was like most cops he would definitely be much more conservative in his attitudes and ways. Now Lenny Brisco was a very recognizable type. The liberal outer Hourough Jewish guy. But Mike Nolan and Eliot from SVU are not representative at all of outer borough ethnic guys of their generation who became cops. And all of the episodes are morality plays where the military, the religious and business men are dirt bags. The problem is you can't get away form it, because the thirty seven shows they have are always playing somewhere 24 hours a day.

  2. The one show that gets it right is The Wire. It shows how it really is. It's not just the white corporate guys who are crooks. The bangers selling dope on the streets
    are there because that's where fate placed them. The courrpt officials are both black and white as are the gangsters. The union guys have their hands out. And the reporters are lying sacks of shit who make stuff up. That is realism.

  3. Now I won't say that these hacks can't disguise what they are doing most of the time. My father in law who is an ex NYFD fireman and who is as conservative as Goldwater ever was, watches Law and Order all the time. He’s a smart guy, so he and I catch the subtext and the way they put messages about how bad mainstream conservative institutions are by embedding commentary in a simple morality play where you almost have to root for the liberal perspective. But while we are shouting at the TV, my wife and mother in law don't know what we are talking about. And they are your basic audience. Intelligent people who are not really informed and don't know when they are being manipulated.

  4. I started losing interest in L&O--well, after Jerry Orbach died, that was a big loss--but there was a combination of events.

    JO dies.

    NBC moves the regular show from Wednesday night. (When networks move the shows around, that's usually it for me. I can't really be bothered to look for a TV show.)

    There's an episode of CI that's so convoluted in its attempt to condemn torture, that I watch it three times trying to figure out what actually is supposed to have happened. In other words, the "torture is bad, mm-kay" message is so important, the actual story never seemed to be communicated at any point.

    But, just like "The Simpsons", it went from balanced (after a fashion) to pure leftist.

    One of the first episode of L&O, for example, was essentially about the Tawana Bradley case. And they played it pretty straight: the girl hadn't been raped and the loudmouth preacher caused riots because it helped him personally.

    Today they'd do that story and make it the one they wanted. When that show was very smart, what it would do is take you to the edge of some question, and then swerve and say, "Well, whatever the answer to this dilemma is, in this case, it was just someone killing someone else for the money."

    And that's probably dead on. Most murders have the usual motives (greed, jealousy, etc.).

  5. Have you been watching "Generation: Kill"?

    I've avoided it so far because it sounds like it's not well-informed. But it is from "The Wire" guys.


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