The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for July, 2010


Posted by Matt on July 27, 2010

And now for the regular reader unfriendly posts.
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Posted by Matt on July 23, 2010

Here’s a dumb little newspaper column.

There’s obviously a tongue-in-cheek element to it, but it does bring up an interesting point. Do Canadian shows need to be more ‘American’ in order to sell anywhere? What makes a show ‘Canadian’ and ‘American’?

I’ll start off by saying that I haven’t seen any of the three shows mentioned in the article, and I don’t plan on it; not my thing. Even so, I find the failure and success of shows like these at least somewhat interesting, as they are the industry’s scattered attempts at mainstream entertainment, and I like to see how that’s going. Because you need some sure-fire hits in order to fund the better stuff, most of the time (unless you’re cable. But they’re off in their own little fantasyland of rainbows and freedom, so we’ll just leave them out of this conversation).

The thing is, up here, the major networks usually only greenlight a very select few new shows per season. This, of course, hurts their chance of success even more by putting all the network’s eggs in one basket, thus leading to the networks getting a new excuse they can use to convince the government to loosen the original content spending requirements so they can continue to air American shows while still being government-protected. In most TV seasons, there’s a larger number of new programs so that the likelihood of success is greater; not every show is going to catch on, but the more you air, the more likely you’ll find a winner. Canadian network television doesn’t seem to get that luxury, or aren’t willing to spring for it, making their own shows more out of obligation than actual desire to create their own hit programming.

The point being that new shows in fewer numbers may mean that, if the networks like CTV are serious about making these shows successful, they will try to make them as safe as possible. Combined with the need to make sure the show succeeds in the US as well, a second revenue stream that they have seemed to embrace more often now, and you can see why the ‘Americanization’ of the shows seems to be taking place.

But on the other hand…what would make a sure recognizably ‘Canadian’ to viewers like this guy? Aside from the stereotypes, and settings being recognized, what would make a cop procedural made in Canada different from a cop procedural made in the US? Maybe I need to do more research on the subject, but I can make a guess that cop shows are pretty similar all over the place, based more on adherence to formula than real cultural imperialism. The column writer seems to think that having the shows be cliche-ridden high-octane thrillers is not representative of Toronto, or Canada in general, but what the fuck else is a big budget cop show going to do?

When I think of successful Canadian TV shows, I think of the same two everyone else on the Internet does: Trailer Park Boys and Corner Gas. The two are on opposite ends of the spectrum (a cable comedy able to do whatever it wants and an unabashedly mainstream network comedy, although one that still seems to be of a greater quality than most), but they both have what most shows in either country would envy: long, successful runs that ended on their own terms. I’m not too sure if they ever found any sort of success, or even a cult following, anywhere else, but they were both big deals in Canada. Were either of these shows noticeably Canadian? They seemed to capture their own unique settings in this country very well, but I don’t think there’s really anything either show did that made them unaccessible to Americans, or anyone else really. So, what is the ‘Canadian voice’?

To me, at least, the Canadian voice is simply whatever it is the people who create entertainment and those who buy into want it to be. We should just attempt to share ideas in order to build up our ‘culture’, whatever they may be, without having to worry whether or not these are identifiably ‘Canadian stories’. In my mind, if they come from a Canadian’s imagination, they’re a Canadian story. It doesn’t matter if they’re set it in Ontario, Alabama, or the distant moons of Shabadabahey; whether they accurately depict our municipal bodies, or whether or not people talk about milk bags and lacrosse; the whole point is to support the ideas of the creative forces in this country, so we can learn what is ‘Canadian’ from their output.

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You cannot escape the lists

Posted by Matt on July 19, 2010

Top Seven Worst Songs Played on the Store Radio Where I work

7. “Life is a Highway”, Tom Cochrane
6. “A Moment Like This”, Kelly Clarkson and Leona Lewis (They’ve played both versions. On the same day)
5. “Give a Little Bit”, Goo Goo Dolls
4. “Manic Monday”, The Bangles
3. “Clocks”, Coldplay
2. “Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me)”, Blessid Union of Souls
1. “Welcome to My Life”, Simple Plan

Some of the much better songs they have played:

“Cult of Personality”, Living Color
“Cool the Engines”, Boston
“Let’s Dance”, David Bowie
“Man on the Moon”, REM
“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”, Crash Test Dummies (Yes, I do like this song)

Some songs I don’t hate, but have been soured by repetition

“Wake Me Up When September Ends”, Green Day
Pretty much every Tom Petty song they play

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Conspiracy Theory Rock

Posted by Matt on July 14, 2010


Q: I have no questions. I do however have a statement. The time of reckoning is at hand.
A: It is not


Q: 1). Don´t you get sick and tired of the lack of real quality in the Music and the Movies?
With your power/money/influence why do you not prime the pump with some really good stuff?

A: 1. The ones who search hard will find the gems in Music, in fact they are out in the open.
It is not our duty to enlighten you, that is yours.
We hand out the tools that can be used in the way you choose to, “good or bad”.


Q: Do you think Insider that
This current battle is in two stages. Now, on the etheric. And, a thousand years from now, on the
astral, once all the HEart people have dropped their physical bodies and HAVE GRADUATED TO
The whole show starts all over again, with different players.

A: You are confusing a few matters. There is just 1 struggle and it is now, here on this planet and on a personal level….meaning you
There is no enemy you can attack except yourself.
If you are busy attacking something else, you are wasting precious energy and you will fail.
If you succeed, there will be no struggle anymore

Is he telling them to kill themselves? I hope so!

I am real

Thanks for reminding me. I was starting to believe otherwise.

Q: And why do you misspell simple words such as ´malicious´? I find that very interesting.

A: English is not my native language, not even my second nor third, maybe fourth and I type fast
without checking so I can answer as many questions as possible in a limited amount of time.
On top of this I just realized I have to type even faster because the proxies I use disappear.

Oh sure, I haven’t heard that excuse before…

Q: are you a Rothschild? Here is my question, although petty in light of the many questions posed to you on this thread, why aren´t the any of the Rothschilds listed in Forbes top 500 richest people.

A: If you read closely you would have not asked this question.
The ones who are known in public are not in control, the Rothschilds are at the same level as
your Knights Templar ancestors were….you shouldn´t be proud that you are from that lineage by
the way….

Second, you accepting Forbes as a reliable source for these kind of lists shows you are easily manipulated and do not grasp what is happening

Finally, something we can agree on.

The rule is:
If promoted/praised/applauded/critically acclaimed/free, be very wary.
Be it food, medicines, latest technological product, “artist”, politician, musician, book, show,
beverage, etc.
Some of these allegedly “stand the test of time”, that is orchestrated for a reason.
Problem is if too wary, you could miss a few gems that are deliberately passed on in between the
manipulation tools by some.

I now read My Year of Flops very differently.

Q: If the “Christ” came in another era, why did he fail his mission?

A: Be careful with what you say, you are harming yourself.
The real Christ did It´s duty fully and succesfully, now it is your turn.
If you fail do not blame The Divine.
Divinity is blameless in Earthly matters.
When you get sunburned, do you blame the Sun which maintains life on Earth and beyond or do you blame yourself for laying hours doing nothing on the beach without protection

Yeah! Dumbass.

Why leave after just a few days when the goal of a hoaxer would be attention or misinfo, stretching it
for weeks, months and longer like others do?

This dude doesn’t know trolls like I do, it seems.

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Posted by Matt on July 8, 2010

An article analyzing Armond White’s controversial Toy Story 3 review.

I’ve only had White’s reviews relayed to me by others, and from that I can tell that I have no interest in reading his reviews. He seems to be like Michael Medved, only instead of souring his reviews with hardcore religious moralizing, he sours them with mediocrity. He’s no worse than the millions of talentless unknowns who get hired to review movies for small markets.

Of course, the reason anyone ever talks about this at all is because White’s opinions on popular movies are usually the exact opposite of what everyone else’s is. This is not a new phenomenon; there always seems to be one reviewer who seems to be the odd man out that the Internet finds and posts repeatedly for no reason other than pointless outrage (I seem to remember the one goober who hated Pan’s Labyrinth was the Armond White of his time). This seems to be exasperated by Rotten Tomatoes, which not only shows all the different reviews and how they generally skew, but also uses them to rank a movie. And once you bring in numbers and rank, people turn stupid fast.

There did seem to be a contingent of people who were mad at White because his one negative review kept Toy Story 3 from getting a 100% positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, which they all thought it deserved for some reason. Of course, the overall ratings on the site are pointless guff, created using an arbitrary selection of ‘choice’ critics and never actually reflecting the movie’s quality, but just how many people liked it to some degree (does Up‘s 98% make it better than No Country For Old Men with its 95%? Of course not.). It can be good to get a general gist of where the critical sway is going, but the next step is to actually go into the page and look at the reviews. Most people skip that last step because, hey, the numbers say it all, don’t they? Like the box office armchair analysis, it turns film into an oversimplified numbers game, and that is a far greater blot on the face of the medium than some random hack’s differing stance.

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Posted by Matt on July 8, 2010

Hoo boy, what a way to come back to substantive posting.

Ebert’s little ‘Video games or Huck Finn‘ turned up some pretty ‘interesting’ results. Well, even a sarcastic ‘interesting’ overstates it, since the results were pretty obviously skewed so the voters could prove a point. What the point could be, aside from ‘easily manipulatable polls are easily manipulatable’, is a little lost on me. Even Ebert recognizes that an online poll is essentially worthless.

The main problem I see with his recent campaign is that seems to be, as James Urbaniak posted on Twitter (I refuse to call it ‘tweeting’), just comparing apples and oranges. The question of whether someone ‘valued’ any great video game over Huckleberry Finn just seems pointless. Value in what way? It also seems strange to use one specific novel, even if it’s one of the most influential American novels in history (and no, I haven’t read it. Maybe I will one of these days. Maybe. I’m not making any guarantees.)

Even so, if I were to have voted in the poll, I would vote for Finn. To use another one of Ebert’s scenarios, I too would sacrifice every game in existence for Shakespeare. Not that these exaggerated A-or-B questions are particularly insightful, but I still have a stand on these things. The thing is, as much as I have loved video games and continue to be an avid game enthusiast, I know their place in the canon of human thought.

I tried reading the comments, but within the first dozen I found myself pained by the pro-game arguments. I see the ‘you need to play them to realize they are art’ bit (Ebert already admitted that he shouldn’t comment on them without much play time, much to the delight of slow news day blogs everywhere), or the ‘well, GAME X is art’ (which, as has been established isn’t how it works; if one game is art, all games are art), or bringing pop culture into a discussion about art (the two are intertwined, but not the same thing). Worse, we get a bunch of people saying Huck Finn isn’t relevant to today’s youth or whatever, which is all kinds of fucked, whether they’re right or not. In any case, I see the same whining, the same illogic, and the same need for validation, even among people who seem generally more intelligent.

In short, video games are the worst.

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