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Copyrightę1999-2003 Terraplane Publications

Posted 20 Nov. 2003

The New Terraplane

Time to Vent


Michael H. Burchett

My intention was to write a column this month, as the time is long overdue for me once again to become a regular contributor to my own website.  But alas, I am still covered up in work, and now my software is on the blink; so a long, involved thinkpiece is out of the question. 

Still, there are a few things that I need to get off my chest, so here goes:

  • CBS recently hit another milestone in its long degeneration from the Tiffany Network to the Wal-Mart Channel, president Leslie Moonves knuckled under to right-wing pressure and pulled Their much-touted miniseries The Reagans, claiming that he had reviewed it in light of conservative criticism and found that it did, indeed, contain biases.  What?  A miniseries that does not represent persons and events with historical accuracy?  Say it ain't so, Les!

  • Funny how Mr. Moonves has no trouble locating his sense of decency when his programs offend people of wealth and influence, but can't seem to find it with a map when ordinary Americans ask him to produce it.  Although his network has placed The Real Beverly Hillbillies -- a revolting project that sought to poke fun at rural Appalachians in the name of "reality programming" -- on the back burner, Moonves still refuses to kill the program. Thousands of people complained about the proposed series through letters, phone calls, online petitions, etc., and I suspect that complaints from the local networks affiliates in the south finally got the network to table the series; yet to my knowledge, there have been no attempts to pawn it off on Showtime -- which means that it could still rear its ugly head during some future sweep period.  Perhaps it'll replace the next series that the right wing complains about.

  • But then, who knows what goes through the tiny reptilian brains of network execs?  Perhaps Moonves meant pulling The Reagans to be a concession to the "red states" of the Southeast, in the belief that we all want to see Ronnie's pompadoured visage added to Mount Rushmore.  I've got news for you, Les:  the region at which you are so anxious to poke fun is full of coalfield Democrats, independents, and centrist Republicans who have about as much use for right-wing culture wars as they have for two-faced Hollywood types who seek to exploit them.

In other news ...

  • I see where some enterprising neocon has created an Ann Coulter action figure. Cigarettes, vodka, and paranoid delusions sold separately.

  • Want to play a fun drinking game?  Watch Donald Rumsfeld's next press conference and take a drink each time he answers his own question. If you're still standing after fifteen minutes, you're a warrior.

  • Let's see ... Geo. W. Bush wants to rebuild public education, guarantee free elections, construct modern power grids, and pay teachers and police officers respectable salaries -- in Iraq.  Is it too much to ask that those things be done here first?

  • Jessica Lynch is disputing the government's account of her captivity and rescue.  I guess that makes NBC's TV-movie about her as real as any of the networks' "reality" programming.

  • CBS has gone so far as to propose a new "reality" series based on Lynch's story. It seems they want to pack a Humvee full of bikini-clad aerobics instructors and send them across the Iraqi desert with wrong directions and faulty weapons.  Zany hijinks will ensue.

  • If you think that's in poor taste, keep in mind that their first choice was to take a multi-generational group of low-income rural Americans and send them into the Iraqi desert with wrong directions and faulty weapons.  But network execs scrapped the idea after discovering that it had already been done -- by the U.S. government.

  • Which reminds me:  Does anyone remember what the "National" in "National Guard" means?

And so the farce continues.  Sadly, most of us don't seem to mind.


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