Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

FUNNY FILMS: Today is the 4th anniversary of 9/11. It is a somber day and importantly so. Later in the week, when you need to cheer yourself up and have time to laugh, you might consider some of my all time favorite comedies. These are just recommendations, feel free to disagree.

1. What's Up Doc - early 70's slapstick farce with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. Her comedy is great in this film, but Streisand's politics have always been lousy.

2. Better Off Dead - the best of the 80's teen comedies. John Cusack is a great leading actor and there are numerous quotable lines from this film.

3. Sister Act - Whoopi's best. A good story that even manages to respect religion in the process. As with Streisand above, enjoy Ms. Goldberg's acting and completely ignore her politics.

4. Fletch - Chevy Chase is an LA reporter with a penchant for undercover disguises. Absolutely hilarious and the plot is top-notch.

5. Bowfinger - Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin. Need I say more?

6. Steel Magnolias - the best ever chick flick (from this man's perspective anyway), and some good laughs to boot. I have already written about this film's great dialogue on my blog. Hey, that rhymed. Caution: it's not all comedy -- be prepared for tragedy as well.

That's enough for now. What are some of your favorite film comedies? What classic did I leave off my list? Please put the "me" in media and let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

COLOR COMMENTARY: I was glad that this week the White House decided to strike back by having the First Lady denounce as "disgusting" any claims that President Bush was a racist. I was also pleased, and surprised, that last week on Fox News Sunday panelist Juan Williams said basically the same thing. He said the President and the Administration were definitely not anti-black. It was encouraging to hear such clarity and honesty from a Lefty that I normally disagree with. Mrs. Bush and Mr. Williams' words were in response to criticism started by rapper/musician Kanye West. During an NBC telethon to raise money for Katrina victims West ad-libbed that President Bush didn't care about black people. Other Hollywood celebrities of color, including Don Cheadle and Oprah Winfrey, have had harsh things to say about the government's handling of the Katrina disaster. And they've been joined by Celine Dion, Sean Penn, Pierce Brosnan and others who have been quick to bash Bush. This is an old and tiring Hollywood game. In the process of sharing their "wisdom" with us, they alienate half their audience. Sure, it's frustrating that they feel this way, but even more frustrating that they're given a platform to share their views, as if they are more important than yours or mine. Attitudes may be shifting. West reportedly got booed during his performance on opening night of the NFL season. Maybe responses like those Laura Bush and Juan Williams gave will continue to put a muzzle on the "Bush is a racist", "it's all Bush's fault" mantra. One can only hope.

Please put the "me" in media and tell me what you think. And visit my companion blog Mr. Media Matters.

Friday, September 09, 2005

FRUSTRATING FRAMEWORK: It frustrates me that the MSM ignores stories, or angles of a story that don't fit with it's agenda. If a story bashes a Christian or a conservative or a Republican (and yes, you can be all 3 at the same time), then you can bet it will get wide play. Senator Trent Lott's comments that cost him his Majority Leader position is a prime example. On the other hand, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd said the N-word on Fox News and used to be in the KKK, but no one is forcing him to pay a price for his actions. If it bashes a liberal or a non-Christian or a Democrat, then in my opinion, it is less likely to get reported. Having said that, I wonder what the MSM will do when the End Times are near. The Bible (which, as a Christian, I believe) states that there will be signs and wonders that the end of the world is approaching. My guess is that even though those signs/miracles may make for wonderful visuals, they won't get much air time or coverage. Or they at least won't be portrayed in such a way as to validate biblical prophecy. Because the MSM has too much invested in their anti-Christian, celebrate diversity, pro-choice, the environment is a god mantra to spend time on something that refutes or embarrasses their agenda. For example, the Air America scandal is significant and the impact that it could have on a possible Senatorial campaign from liberal radio talker Al Franken is newsworthy. But you haven't heard much about it in the news, just from a few select newspapers and hard-working bloggers. If the MSM had existed in its current form back in Old Testament days, would we have seen many images of the parting of the Red Sea? My guess is that it would get limited exposure, and any coverage it did get would focus on the environmental damage it did to the Eqyptian water cricket. (I just made that up, I don't know if there is such a cricket but it sounds good to me.) They would intentionally miss the obvious point, that they are witnessing a miracle, so that they could spin the story into the mold of their philosophical framework. AARGH!

Please put the "me" in media and tell me what you think.

Because this post covers both the media and politics, it is cross-posted on my political blog, Mr. Media Matters.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

MY WISH FOR THREE WISHES: The new Amy Grant hosted reality series Three Wishes debuts on NBC at 8 PM on Friday, September 23, 2005. You can bet I will be watching. Ms. Grant, a multiple Grammy Award winning singer, has mesmorized me since the age of 14. I own almost all of her CDs and I have seen her in concert 5+ times. But besides my crush on Ms. Grant (don't tell the Mrs.), the show seems promising for other reasons as well. It got a solid review in TV Guide's fall preview issue. And it has been compared to ABC's hit reality show Extreme Makeover:Home Edition. I looooooove that show. It encourages me every week. (Truth be told I'm usually bawling my eyes out by the end of the hour.) Three Wishes promises to do more good deeds, granting surprises to deserving people all over the US, all while the cameras are rolling. With Grant and do-gooding, what more could you ask for? (I'm ordering extra Kleenex right now.)

Please put the "me" in media and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

THE WHOLE KIT AND KABOODLE: Thanks to Kitty Litter's post from today, I have decided to further the book discussion. My wife is one of those people who read only one book at a time. And they don't start a new one until the first is finished. How boring! Me, I've got a dozen books started at once. Currently my list includes:

1) Shut Up & Sing by Laura Ingraham - I love her radio show and her common sense conservatism

2) Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell - her first novel and she is one of my wife's favorite authors, think CSI in book form

3) Brainlock by Jeffrey Schwartz- scientific look at facets of anxiety disorder

4) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers - hysterically funny and flippant novel about two brothers

5) Wild At Heart by John Eldredge - Christian guide to masculinity

6) Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren - bestselling Christian guide to modern life with meaning

7) Understanding the Borderline Personality by Jerold Kreisman - more anxiety self-help

There are probably more that I've forgotten about, with a bookmark 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through, waiting for me to rediscover them. I do have to admit that finishing a book is a very satisfying feeling.

What kind of a reader are you? Please put the "me" in media and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

WORDS OF STEEL (PART TWO): Since there are sooooo many great quotes from the hit film Steel Magnolias. And because my first post on this subject garnered the most comments I have ever received, I have decided to post more of my favorite words to live by from this classic American movie.

Dolly Parton (Truvy) -- "There's some pretty sick tickets in this town."

Shirley MacLaine (Ouiser) -- "What's wrong with you these days? You got a reindeer up your butt?"

Olympia Dukakis (Claree) -- "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."

That's enough for now. Go rent this classic and watch it again. There will be more favorite quotes in a future post. What are your favorites?

Please put the "me" in media and tell me what you think.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

SO THE SAYING GOES: The other morning my wife and I were joking around and she said something I have heard a million times, but this particular morning it struck me as especially funny. And odd. She said, in response to a question I had asked, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." That is such a bizarre sounding phrase. Where do weird phrases like that come from? The English language and our catch phrases and slang are so fascinating. Now, I think I know what the phrase means -- Just be glad for the gift you got, but don't press your luck by examining it too closely. In other words, be thankful someone gave you a horse. But don't examine it's teeth up close or you might be disappointed in the overall health of the horse, and therefore the value of the gift. The funny thing is, in today's modern times, we don't often give horses as gifts. And how did an awkward sounding phrase like that get used often enough that it became a part of our lexicon?

Another odd saying that my Grandma (God rest her soul) always used to say was "cuter than a bug's ear." That always made me chuckle. Do bugs even have ears? And if so, I doubt they are cute. I seriously question whether or not they are even big enough for us to see with the eye to evaluate their cuteness. Yet my Grandma would always mutter that saying when something caught her eye or tickled her fancy. A smiling baby was "cuter than a bug's ear." A drawing by one of her grandkids was "cuter than a bug's ear." Where did that saying come from? Where did she hear it first? And how did it catch on? Funny thing is, now I sometimes catch myself saying it. And the only reason I know what it means is because I experienced what it meant for my Grandma. Nevertheless, it is a bizarre sequence of words. I would love to know the etymology of this phrase and other weird ones out there in the English language.

What weird phrases strike your fancy? Put the "me" in media and tell me what you think.