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Thursday, August 14, 2008

What Do You Mean They're Not Superheroes?: America Hates Smart People

Okay, first off, it's just plain true. When smart musicians or smart novelists or smart filmmakers or ... hell smart people ... start to become popular the first thing that happens is that everyone, not just The Left, not just The Right, not just Hollywood, not just the South, not just the West Coast, not just the East Coast ... Everyone starts throwing rocks at them. And that just plain sucks. America has become a place where everything, music, film, television, theater, talk radio, media ... almost all media ... is praised for it's mediocrity. That I live in a country where programs like The Wire can be on the air for 5 seasons and almost everyone I have ever talked to has never seen it ... I mean I realize that it's on HBO but just about everyone alive has seen an episode of Sopranos ... and that was on HBO as well. I am talking about this at least in part because of what Robert Kirkman had to say over on CBR (see I told you he changed my life). But also because I decided to start watching one of my all time favorite television shows again from the beginning. It debuted on September the 18th in 2006 and was watched by 13.14 million people ... a little over six months later it was cancelled. It's final episode aired on June 28th, 2007 and it was seen by 2.7 million people. It was created by two of the most publicly and critically acclaimed men to work in television in this young century. And after just one season it was cancelled. It was, it is, called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

It was the second, maybe third, smartest show I had ever seen on television. It is in my top 5 favorite television shows of all time. Two of that top 5 and three of my top 10 are all created by the same guy. Aaron Sorkin. He's maybe one of the most brilliant writers who has ever worked in television, he's also one of the most brilliant playwrights who has ever worked on the modern stage, he has also written some of the most intelligent films of our generation. He has done a good majority of his work in the last decade or so with an equally incredibly intelligent producer by the name of Thomas Schlamme, or as he has been referred to by his friends and those who work on his shows "Tommy Schlamme" (which I personally think is hilarious to say out-loud).

Seriously it was my favorite show of that season of television, and in that season we also got Heroes. But it was too smart. Which is ridiculous. Just like the brilliant show Lost when the network got it's hands on it tried to interject too much inter-character romance to appease to the masses. I am of the opinion that the highest form of art must always exist in a vacuum, separated at all costs from the nagging voices of the public and the unwarranted interference of those who are not truly creative. It is my belief that there has never been a show where the interference of the network executives have made a show better. Every time a show is toyed with by the people who only care about the money end it is dragged kicking and screaming toward mediocrity. The same could be said about comics, music, movies, novels, stage plays, paintings, sculptures, radio shows, any form of artwork. There is too much interference in the world.

When Marvel started putting it's grubby fingers into the JMS run on "Amazing Spider-Man" it suddenly started getting bad reviews. When DC got to mucking around with Rucka's run on
"Wonder Woman" it lost quality. When Marvel pushed Bruce Jones to write a particular kind of story during his stint on "Incredible Hulk" it made the whole of his run feel bloated and the story feel schizophrenic. And I don't think that there is a better example of what can happen to a great book when too many cooks start wandering around the kitchen is what has happened over in DC's once epically good title "The Flash". Intelligence ... being thrown out for appeal to the masses.

So, stop the insanity. Start supporting intelligent art. Start buying books like Criminal, Fear Agent, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, House of Mystery, Resurrection, Queen & Country, Fables, Daredevil, Powers, 100 Bullets, Walking Dead, Invincible, Jack Staff, Terry Moore's Echo, The Sword, Manhunter, Locke & Key, DMZ, Wasteland, The Spirit, Elephantmen, Hawaiian Dick, Scalped, Ex Machina, RASL, The End League, Godland, Madman: Atomic Comics, Boy Who Made Silence, Atomic Robo, Rex Mundi, Young Liars, and on and on and on ...

Support intelligent art. Just do it for gods sake.

1 comment:

Rob Anytime- Anywhere said...

great now i know america hates me. your right, of course, studio 60 was a great show (among many others) that was short lived.please, tell me one of his shows you like is sports night. remeber... we now have other great shows to fall back on like, american idol, deal or no deal, dancing with the stars... must i go on. have you seen californication? you might like it. it stars you in about 20 years. actually, i will save our tv series talk for another time. i feel we are fighting a losing battle. until corporations realize it should be about quality not quanity we have to take what we can get, for as long as we can have it. i vote we all pick up books and read them instead of tuning in to brain destroying shows. congrats my friend scotty you sound like a true elitest.

p.s. if anyone out there has friends who don't remeber what books are, re-introduce them to it. they are great.