1. I’m stuck with any nunber of real deadlines right now, and so I can’t devote my attention as much as I should to either POP CULTURE or BLOGGING.
2. I’m completely PRO-CHOICE on whether conservatives should be attuned to pop culture. I would say it’s a harmless vice, one which can produce some teachable moments. The danger of conservative pop-culture criticism is that it becomes too IRONIC or contemptuous. So let me say that, just like I’m not too good to be a Republican, I’m not too good to watch TV and really enjoy and learn from it.
3. A threader says (and there’s nothing wrong with this) that he wants to zone out when watching TV. And that’s why he prefers THE BIG BANG THEORY to some HBO series.
4. But BIG BANG ain’t dumb, although it would seem smarter without the annoying laugh track. Professors should watch it because all most all of our students have seen it (that’s not true of GIRLS, for example). I said in class today that the character of the theoretical physicist Sheldon–who thinks of himself in some Cartesian/transhumanist way as a brain inhabiting a machine–would have to be a man. His scientist-girlfriend Amy, despite her nerdy ways, is more honest about her bodily needs and relational longings. She will eventually make a MAN of Sheldon or cause him to discover that’s what he was all along
5. Other recent BB teachable moments involved the engineer Howard and the use to which he puts his mechanical (robot) hand and the charming emo imaginings of the astrophysicist Raj.
6. GIRLS is getting stranger and so harder to categorize. I appreciate John’s “I can’t believe,” although I continue to believe it’s a worthwhile show. The most recent episode was quite the exploration of OCD not as a manifestation of a chemical disorder but as one symptom among many of a dark, wounded, hyper-narcissistic soul. Hannah’s regression to infancy and being rocked like a baby by her savior Adam (who proclaims “I was always here”) was quite somethng–that is, something Christopher Lasch actually desribes in his account of the psychology of THE CULTURE OF NARCISSISM. And don’t get me started on Marnie’s discovery that little is more degrading than casual sex without dating.
7. I also saw the ambitious movies EMPORER and QUARTET. They both feature superb performances, but each is a failure in terms of achieving its artistic intention.