Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pitying "I Pity The Fool"

So TV-LAND is now running their new reali-T series where Mr. T steps in and makes people's lives better. (If you haven't seen the show, just think Mr. T meets Supernanny.)

I've caught two episodes now. They reran a show last night about a fat, lazy man who wouldn't get off his chair to be with his family.

Tonight, the show was about Mr. T helping a real estate team get their act together.

The fat man show was very unimpressive. It seemed like the result of taking an everyday person (or family) and trying to make them into actors. The result is not pretty. The canned reactions, fotched-on scenarios and stilted dialogue made it seem incredibly staged and unreal. When the dad finally gets out of his chair to teach his son (who looked to be about mid-20's) to drive, he is all frustrated at his son for knocking some cones over, but with one invervention by Mr. T, the dad calms down, and the son miraculously doesn't hit a single cone on his second pass.

Mr. T forces the dad off his chair again to help cook dinner, but just as soon as T steps out of the room (rising from his chair rather stiffly, as if he had a sore back, my mother observed) the dad lurches his way back to the recliner, providing an EXCELLENT opportunity for T to get in the man's face and be, well, Mr. T.

In the final segment (which required a recap...a RECAP? Of a half-hour show? Can you say "stretching the clock"?) the family minus the dad is asked out into a field for a reason they just can't seem to figure out. They spy Mr. T and the dad hauling the recliner to a pyre (with more bad acting..."What is that? Oh my, it is the chair!") and setting it afire rather theatrically.

The advertisements really had T pegged as being a holy jerk to people to make them shape up. But one could see that T struggles to maintain that image. He's probably ready to ditch the growling and hairdo for a stint in the recliner himself.

The show was slightly better tonight. I don't plan on making a habit of watching, but I happened to catch it again. This time, it's a 'team' of struggling real estate owners/sellers who are sloppy, unpunctual, and (the ladies) dress for the alley ways of LA. Mr. T hones in on the leader who shirks his position as leader, but forces them all into line. When things still fall apart, T hauls them to a challenge course for a lesson in teamwork, and leadership.

Once again, the solutions are far too quick. It is possible that T's work actually pays off, but you hardly get to see the real crux of the changes, so it's hard to believe such drastic transitions take place within the ~23 minutes he's alotted.

T seems to be in his element a little bit more in this show. If T actually gives good lectures, most of them aren't seen. One would expect a lecture from Mr. T on why you shouldn't be a fool would be valuable, but instead, T does what anybody could do; take the team members to a challenge course and force them to work together.

25 minutes later, the boss is now a decisive leader, and his co-workers are all happy, and decidedly better dressed. T can hike off into the sunset now. Aiming for that recliner, no doubt.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Letter to K-LOVE

Note: K-LOVE is a network of radion stations that carry contemporary Christian music songs.

The following is a copy of the e-mail I submitted to the K-LOVE general comments address on October 22, 2006.

Dear K-LOVE staff:

I listen to your station every so often when I do not feel like listening to some of my Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and other epic soundtracks while driving to school and back.

I'll admit up front, I'm not terribly fond of some of the music on the station. Please don't misunderstand. I'm a true, Biblical believer. I am a Christian, committed to Christ.

And there are quite a few good songs on your station.

But there's one in particular that made me stop and think. Superchick's "Stand in the Rain." I'm not a big fan of rock or heavy metal (hence, why I dislike some other songs you play) but despite that, I still enjoyed the song.

However, the song gave me pause to ask, what about the song points to Christ?

Even though I'm young, and have yet to weather some of life's heavier storms, I can still identify with the song. I think most people can identify with in one fashion or another. Everyone feels beaten down by the world at times. A lot of people have to hold back the tears that they want to shed over the situations they've been in, or are in.

But on a station like K-LOVE, Christ is supposed to be central. Yet "Stand in the Rain", while inspiring, doesn't mention Christ or even point to Him as any kind of solution to the problems the world throws at us. It sounds like an inspirational feel-good song one might hear on a soft-rock station (I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it turns up on one some time in the future.) where the only virtues are "belief" and holding fast to what you believe, and staying true to yourself. With no hard foundation (Christ) for why these are virtues.

There was at least one other song K-LOVE plays that is similar, the song "I Need You." This song was able to make the transition from K-LOVE airwaves to secular airwaves as a love song to a boyfriend WITHOUT CHANGING A SINGLE WORD. Nowhere in the Bible do I find anything to suggest Jesus is anyone's boyfriend.

This message isn't intended to demoralize, condemn or shame the station or its staff in any way. I'm not going to stop listening or write nasty letters. I still enjoyed the song, and I still enjoy some songs on the station.

I'm just saying perhaps it didn't occur to K-LOVE producers that the song, while powerful, has nothing Christian about it, and they may want to consider this when reviewing content for airing.

Submitted sincerely,
David


**Update**

E-mail response received on November 8, 2006:

We appreciate you taking a moment to share your perspective about Stand in the Rain--I'll pass on your message to our Programming Department.

As an evangelistic ministry, our vision here at K-LOVE is to glorify God and reach those who might not yet know Christ. While we do not want to offend those who have made a personal commitment to the Lord, we do include some mainstream style songs in our playlist to appeal to a broad range of listeners. Part of this vision is to include bands or songs that are mainstream but not anti-Christianity.

Thank you for checking with us and giving us an opportunity to address your concern. May God bless you.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

I am vindicated

Happy, confident students do worse in math

Naturally, US math teachers in this article say we should worry less about people being happy and more about learning math.