…I haven’t watched a made for TV show other than the news in a very long time. The quality, but mostly the subject matter and the “Reality” trend so common over the last decade, simply leaves me cold. The sitcoms I will admit to enjoying as a child are now being repeated, the same situations and jokes are being rehashed with only the names and faces changed. The dramas, most of which still involve crime and assorted pseudo-political crises have changed even less once you take away the additional violence, and the movies they show are so mangled through editing and five-minute commercial breaks, they aren’t worth anyone’s time…even more so since the proliferation of cheap DVD’s and even cheaper digital streaming outlets! No, TV…at least in the general sense…has become a wasteland designed for those with no artistic sensibilities, no reading abilities, and absolutely no concern for quality, value, or self-education. One of the few prophesies to actually come true in our lifetime. Yes, TV today really is being created for the average somnambulist boob! Yet last week I purchased a new television!
Those of you who have read my past blog entries know that I’m a diehard movie fan. And not having access to what I consider to be a “good” theater since moving back east from my old L.A. digs, I was one of the first to try big, flat screen HD television. Naturally I was quite impressed, and have remained so through each successive and additional breakthrough in visual technology. But I think now, at least for my own needs, I’ve gone about as far as I will until the time comes when they actually get rid of the screen these new super high-definition images need to play upon. After all, my new television, a 60 inch Sharp AQUOS Liquid Crystal HD, besides displaying the very best image quality I have ever seen at a variety of resolutions and with full CC ( color control ), smart apps via built-in WiFi, Internet and Home network support, and even allowing me to use as a monitor for my computer and Kindle, is already more than I could ever hope for! The ONLY way they can make it better at the current level of technology is by providing the new Super High Def pictures that are just now beginning to appear in the marketplace, and in all honesty, I don’t believe I’ll want it!
Maybe it’s just me, but when watching movies made over the last ten years or so on ANY HD screen, I find that despite its inherent sharpness, high-resolution, and color fidelity, something else…something more subjective and elusive to naming…is missing! Have you noticed it? It’s almost like what you also see missing from a 1st generation, HD digital video image of a scene when compared to the same image made on film in lustrous Technicolor. There’s something undeniably wrong with the digital image. Something cold, lifeless, and unnaturally lit about it. Call it what you will, but it is for me the same, though not nearly as acute, as the difference between a film-based movie and a digital copy of that movie! And because digital copying of movie film is the primary technique used to bring movies into our theaters and homes these days…whether by streaming, download, DivX files, or hard media like DVD’s and Blu-Ray…it has become nearly impossible to view any film as it was originally conceived and photographed!
Because of this, and other differences in the way movies are made and viewed today, film is no longer the medium it once was, and that is something we should all be saddened by. The difference we have no choice but to accept may indeed be of little importance to the aforementioned TV watchers, but for those of us who cherish the look and other subjective values of older films as well as those being made today, it has lessened our enjoyment, our subconscious and emotional responses, and our overall appreciation of the medium we have loved our entire lives! I know that I am not the only one who can no longer watch a film like “Casablanca”, “Gone with the Wind”, or even “Star Wars” with the same wonder and enjoyment I once did.
Unfortunately, and like so many things today, there doesn’t seem to be a lot we can do about this except take the extra time none of us has to re-infuse our digitized copies with a more natural and eye-pleasing semblance of reality by a somewhat radical skewing of those values our television sets allow. subduing colors, altering white and black balances, contrast, and sharpness can indeed often help make them more palatable, however doing so must be handled individually for each movie because of the varying types of media they were originally photographed on, how they were processed, and the variable alterations made by the methods of digitization and those who oversee the process! I’m more than picky when I do this myself, and have already spent up to an hour fiddling with the controls to get a film to look just a little like I remember seeing it the first time! But luckily for all of us, the newer TV’s are now coming out, for the most part, with programmable settings so that we can at least provide ourselves with one-button access to four or five pre-set styles or methods of our own individual visual interpretations. They won’t solve all your visual needs, but with careful planning by those like myself who really care, it can get you close enough to make finer alterations a lot easier and a lot quicker!
On the lighter side, there are any number of events and considerations to laugh at this month, starting with Mississippi’s passage of the “anti-Bloomberg Law”, and ending with the worldwide commotion over the color of smoke coming out of a Vatican City chimney! And right in the middle of all this nonsense is a video gone viral in which Conan, one of America’s favorite late-night comics for reasons I’ll never understand, takes a shot at the latest “Lara Croft Tomb Raider” video game, in obvious support of yet another incomprehensible waste of our tax money as the government tries to find a link between video game violence and the recent increase in unreasonable school shootings! Not that any school shootings can be thought of as reasonable, but let’s face the real facts here…! People, the terrible and often horrifying things they do, say, and believe in without cause or enlightened consideration, and our expected revulsion to such events and thoughts, haven’t changed in thousands of years! As a race we haven’t gotten worse than we ever were…we’ve always been this bad! The damages we inflict upon each other cannot, by any statistical enumeration, be said to occur any more often than they did in our long past! It’s simply a matter of there being more people than ever before along with instantaneous communication across the entire world. Just a few decades ago it could take weeks or even months for a tragic story like those, which money-grubbing politicians use to further line their own pockets, to find its way across our own continent, and by that time it was old news and often no longer of any real interest! People just didn’t care who got murdered hundreds of miles away…or why. They were too busy worrying about their own problems!
It should be easy for anyone schooled in the U.S. to appreciate the lunacy of Mississippi’s lawmakers after they passed a useless and incomprehensible bill like the “anti-Bloomberg Law”! What, like they don’t have any real problems to deal with down south? Whether they know it or not, this is still the land of the Free, and we have the right to ingest anything we want. We certainly do not need any more laws to prevent unconstitutional lawmaking like they’ve been trying to do in New York! And if that city is so worried about the health of its citizens, maybe they had better start looking at a few of those real problems that they and every other city doesn’t want to deal with! I don’t believe I need to make a list…I’m sure you can do that by yourselves! But I would start by making it illegal to import antibiotic laden frozen fish from China as a start. I wouldn’t dare to tell someone they can’t serve or eat it, nor would i give them a fine or prison sentence for doing so! But I would make it unlawful to import it or any foodstuffs that have been proven that unhealthy with normal use. And that’s where people like New York’s lawmakers have it all wrong. People have to be responsible for themselves. Making them responsible by taking away their rights leads to fascism. It’s as simple as that!
Finally, if you thought I would make some nasty comments about the Vatican, Catholicism, or religion in general, I’ll have to disappoint you. My opinions on such topics would not go down easy for many of you, and I have no interest in chasing readers away by remarking on the idiocy that supports them. I’m afraid the world won’t be ready for my own thoughts on such considerations for a very long time…possibly never at the rate we’re regressing. You can be sure however, that if I’m still around when we are finally ready to challenge such things in a meaningful way, I’ll have a lot to say about it all!