Thursday, June 23, 2011

Teevee News

Billy Wilder at work
Not the news "on" the teevee.  Last night I happened to watch some of Thom Hartmann's show, waaaaay over on the Dish dial at 9415.  (Bet you didn't even know there were four digit channels!)  Thom, who blogs and has a radio show I believe, and is generally a thoughtful kinda guy, was trying to talk to two Gen X rightwingers about our collective future--which was immediately difficult since those two didn't recognize even the concept of "collective" or "community," or the idea that they were part of a conversation.  Instead, it was the usual stuff--riding the talking points of the moment.  Somehow, for example, corporations and the wealthy needed to be taxed less.  I was embarassed for them, for a moment.  There aren't any economists asserting the voodoo any more, and it's simply proven that you cannot fill up a vessel with a hole in the bottom.  Factually speaking, if cutting taxes led to low unemployment and that shining city on the hill, we'd be there.  Because all we've done is cut taxes. No one really believes the gigantic economic catastrophe that concluded the Bush II years was all the doing of one chubby gay Congressman.

(On the other hand, and reverting to a quick blog reference in a piece about the teevee, if you doubt the utter fantasy world American conservatives live in 24/7, read this short piece at Gin and Tacos:

And now back to our commentary.)

I simply couldn't stand listening to this conversation for more than fifteen minutes or so.  It's too depressing.  Over on the Turner Classic channel I ran the schedule ahead a bit to see what was coming up.  I'd already had the good fortune to catch the wonderful conversation with Billy Wilder which they ran earlier.  If you can find that somehow, it's as good as it gets.  Who else worked with the best talent of the '40s, '50s, and '60s, and made the best films of that era--or at least some of the best.  Well, John Huston of course, and John Ford.  Too bad they weren't there too.  Anyways, running the Turner Classic schedule, I found that this weekend they're showing "Out of the Past," one of the best movies ever made, as well as an assortment of other Jane Greer vehicles.  Hope you have time to at least watch "Out of the Past."

Oh, one of the interesting things in the Wilder interview was the reminder that Otto Preminger was the original Col. Klink.  Wilder said many of the smaller players had been directed by Preminger in other films, and that apparently he was as dictatorial on set as in his role.  When he wasn't looking they aped him constantly.  The other interesting thing apropos "Stalag 17" was that Paramount suggested to Wilder that he make the spy (played by Peter Graves) Polish so as not to offend Germany, where Paramount expected the film to do very well.  Wilder resigned over this issue, leaving the studio he'd made countless hit films for over some 18 years of work.  It was refreshing to listen to a true realist.

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