Inhuman Swill : Television : Page 5

Sesame Workshop on SNL

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Did you catch SNL over the weekend? I missed it myself, but one of my coworkers forwarded this to the department today:

Did anyone see Saturday Night Live? If you didn't, the Workshop made it onto a headline on Weekend Update for the firing of 60 employees. Rumor has it the firing was "brought to you by the letters F and U." It kind of brings a tear to my eye . . . well, that passed.
If I'd captured it on videotape, it would have been a keeper.
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All that Ken Burns

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I don't know if any of you watched Jazz, or if you decided to boycott PBS for the duration of January. I've been prowling around for alternate points of view, and I found some interesting ones at www.birdlives.com. This is a site run by a former colleague of mine who also happens to be a jazz journalist of two or three decades' standing. He calls himself the Pariah when writing and editing Bird Lives, because his opinions have done some damage to his connections in the jazz world.

Anyway, there's an article on Bird Lives right now that provides a nice antidote to all things Jazz: "J'Accuse Burns and Marsalis" by Michael Zilber. Give it a look, if jazz interests you at all, or if you happened to have swallowed the documentary. Zilber is articulate, even if he hasn't yet learned how to set his words down on paper to best effect. (He could use some editing too, Mr. Pariah, if you happen to be reading.)

But still, Zilber's drift comes across pretty well, and I recommend his article. But if you can't be bothered, attend to this snippet of email from my friend Andrew, who runs www.jazzhouston.com and played jazz piano for a living for nine years:

The sentiments reflected in [Zilber's] article summarize my take on the series and reflects the views of many on my site too. Most jazz musicians recognize JAZZ as a well-orchestrated Wynton Marsalis puppet show. He was scorned by his hero Miles Davis in the mid-80's and has since turned his back on him, along with the whole post-60's jazz movement. Is it any coincidence that the show reflects Miles in a poor light, dismisses music made after 1959 and lionizes Louis Armstrong to the point of the absurd? And isn't it interesting that Wynton was virtually the only musician interviewed? Too bad, JAZZ is going to be regarded as fact by most long after its opponents are dead. Oh well, at least the music speaks for itself.
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Sweeping the clouds away

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By the way, for all you closet Sesame Street fans out there, I thought I'd point out that we have at long last made your favorite old songs from the show available on our Web site. Just try Sesame Street Radio if you really want to annoy everyone near your cubicle.

Alternately, you can call my office and I will put you on hold. Then you'll hear the same thing.

(For the record, we launched a cosmetically altered version of the site last week. It's very cool—if you have Flash, a powerful machine, and a fast connection. Try it.)

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Today's weather

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Okay, I'm a little slow on the uptake, but finally I get it:

MOSTLY SUNNY
MILD
JACLYN SMITH
It's Charlie's Angels week at Biography. Pretty boring week for weather poetry.

(Btw, after all this talk about childhood television, I have to point out that Charlie's Angels is probably not the show I would choose to live on if I could choose only one. Now, if I could choose two . . .)

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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