Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Nancy Pelosi

So I’m at a book event for Nancy Pelosi last night, and it was kind of like watching the most depressing three ring circus of all time.  She wasn’t depressing, nor was the actual event itself, which should have been a nice evening, no, it was the members of my political party that decide the most logical way to behave in our current society is to act like children.

Here’s the scene.  This event was at the American Jewish University (not Berkeley, not UCSC), it cost $30 to attend, it was mostly well-off jews (what’s new in L.A., that’s pretty much everyone).  There were protesters, which is to be expected at events with major political figures, standing politely on the street with their signs, to which I say ‘fantastic, protest all you want.’  The atmosphere was definitely tense, as is the political climate throughout the country.  There was a battalion of police officers and secret servicemen (who were nice, but a little scary), there were private security officers, basically there was an army of law enforcement.  Now, I’m not the biggest fan of law enforcement and have been chased by a few police officers (I’ve always evaded them), I’ve nearly been arrested several times (it seems whenever I go to Santa Cruz, I come very close to being thrown in jail), and I was never a fan of authority, especially authority that carries guns and billy clubs.  And especially in Los Angeles (Capitola cops are just bored, L.A. cops are entirely different and kind of scary).

About an hour after the Speaker of the House started talking (and after I had consumed the first food I had time to eat all day, which consisted of two mint milano cookies), the screaming started.  Some guy was screaming at Pelosi about dead Iraqis and the normal stuff that we are all pissed off about.  This of course started a chain reaction of events, that basically devolved the event into shifting tenseness, and a few other people standing up and screaming.

Here’s my deal:  I get it.  I’m pissed off too.  I think this country is shooting itself in the foot; we’re going down fast and our elected officials don’t seem to be doing much to stop it.  If you care that strongly about it, get involved.  Get a job with Obama’s campaign, go join a lobby.  GET INVOLVED.  It’s one thing to be Michael Moore at the Academy Awards (which is a nationally televised event that tens of millions of people watch), it is quite another to scream and yell in front of 500 people and no press (plus, going to L.A. county jail in a suit or a dress and heels doesn’t seem like a great time to me).

I believe in free speech.  I’m not saying that these people don’t have a right to stand up and yell at the Speaker of the House about issues that they are passionate about, but really, what’s it going to accomplish?  This is something a child does.  They’re not getting their way so they simply yell.  Democrats of America, stop being fucking stupid, the only people you rally by doing stuff like that is people who are already on your side.  I think we saw with Reagan how reactionary methods can completely screw us over, so why are we using the same tactics?  I went to the protests against the Iraq War and guess what?  They didn’t accomplish anything.

Now I don’t know a whole lot about Pelosi (I just know what my mom told me when I asked her about it) but it seems like she’s not really the problem.  In fact, it seems like she might just be one of the only people who is intent on working and not fighting.  Let’s face facts, we’ve spent 50 years fighting each other in Washington and now we’re fucked.  Perhaps we should try working this out as adults and compromise and take little steps toward something better instead of violently shoving one way and having the pendulum come flying back the other way.  That hasn’t gotten us anywhere.

I was pretty disgusted with the actions of people that are on my side of the divide and for one moment I caught a glimpse of what the other side sees: a bunch of punk kids lashing out because they’re angry.  Well, I’m angry too and maybe instead of whining about it, we should actually do something that will garner results.

Peace, Love, and Politics,


August 12, 2008 Posted by | Books, Culture, Politics | Leave a comment


So my email the other day about sisterhoods in packs of four kind of got me thinking about girlfriends.  The three other girlfriends in my sisterhood are spread throughout the west coast and sometimes it feels like a piece of myself is missing when I don’t get to experience things with them.

I was watching the news the other day and there was a story about how a group of scientists had done a study on women and their social habits and they had found that one of the main reasons women live longer than men is their relationships with other women.  I’m not a scientist so I can’t really explain it but the report said that there was/is something about that social relationship that contributed positively to women’s health.  Women who didn’t have close girlfriends lived about as long as men did.

Whereas my email before was more of a look at specific numberings of groups of women (and not altogether serious), this is something that I find to be really interesting.  As much as I love my girlfriends sometimes they drive me crazy, and I’m certain I do the same to them.  I mean, there have been times when I was simultaneously holding their hair back as they vomited boxes of wine into our previously clean bathroom, and wanting to absolutely kill them for putting me in a position where I was now covered in bile.  There have been times when I want nothing more than to just go see a movie with the three of them but can’t because we live 1000 miles away from each other.  And there are times when I’m completely in my own life, not a thought about them, but somehow, as ridiculous as this sounds, they’re still with me.  They made me who I am and I can’t be anyone else around them because they know me completely.

Maybe that’s the part that really lends itself to healthier lifestyles, when you have a group of people who won’t allow you to be anyone but yourself, you can’t put up defenses or put on tough girl acts.  Embarrassingly enough, after watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, I came to the realization that we’re all out there kind of putting on a tough front (specifically when you have to be in the dating pool).  I know my friends and I are constantly pretending like certain boys and certain things don’t have any sort of hold over us when they do.  Sure, we might be able to brush certain things off, but sometimes it hurts, and sometimes we pretend it doesn’t.  The thing is though, when I’m with my girlfriends, they always know.  They know when it really hurts and when it doesn’t.  They know when I need to lie to myself and when I need to be slapped in the face with the truth.

The girlfriend dynamic is an interesting one.  As Tibby says in the original Traveling Pants movie (I’m paraphrasing), we can fight because we know that we’ll always love each other.  That’s really what matters to me.  Who cares that we refuse to grow up (we are talking about the girls who sneak booze into the movie theater, take pictures with our asses showing in Las Vegas and who all would rather travel around and visit each other than start working on a career)?  We will always, in some ways, be eighteen years old around each other, and in other ways, we’ll always be the older one taking care of the others when we need it.  And that’s the beauty of female friendship.

Peace, Love, and People Who Know You Better Than You Know Yourself,

August 8, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Movies | Leave a comment

Fearsome Foursome

I just got back from watching The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 with one of my best girlfriends (yes, she and I and two others have matching tattoos of lips on our left butt cheeks; we’re classy ladies, I know), and I got to thinking about girls and groups of four.  What is it about female groups of four friends?  Is it that we form foursomes because we so often see them in the media or is it that the media is simply saw these fabulous four-groups of women and saw huge potential?

In any case, it is an interesting kind of phenomenon.  Sure, groups of four lend themselves to drama.  Sex and the CityLittle Women, even The View, have four women talking and not talking, agreeing and disagreeing, fighting and loving each other.  In every case the four women are significantly different, and yet they all turn out to be such good friends.  Sex and the City we all know and love, the pessimist (Miranda), the optimist (Charlotte), the writer (Carrie), and the slutty one (Samantha), who, throughout the course of the show realize that they each have a little bit of the other ones inside of each other.  
In fact, all the four girls movies carry this theme be it in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,Grease (before Sandy joins the Pink Ladies), Now and Then (if you’re my age you know it well),Designing Women or even Golden Girls, all the ladies couldn’t be more different, yet couldn’t love each other more.
It’s the same with my three best girlfriends.  We all come from different backgrounds, different places.  We all behave differently in different situations.  Sometimes we bug the crap out of each other, but we always love each other.  We call each other on our bullshit, we let each other believe the bullshit when we need to, and sometimes we know each other better than we know ourselves.  What is always fun to me is when we try to discover ourselves within our onscreen counterparts.
I was lucky enough to have lived with my three girls in college and in that time we made what can only be referred to as an urban family.  We were shoulders to cry on when boys broke our hearts, we poked fun when certain bodily fluids from certain gentlemen callers ended up on articles of clothing and whatnot, and we were there when we just needed to be crazy.  In fact, we’re still there for all of that.  We’ll still go see the Sisterhood, sneak in and drink a bottle of champagne on a Thursday afternoon, and come out talking about how much we all miss each other, how much we want to all be together when these kind of movies come out.  And it doesn’t feel like a socialized construct for the four of us to be friends, but is it?  Are we just a product of reading Louisa May Alcott or seeing Golden Girls, are we a product of watching Now and Then ad naseum as kids, are we products of numerous nights of Sex and the City and cosmopolitans?  Or is something older, something more primitive and primal at work?  Are we like the women of yore who hunted and gathered in groups of four (did they even hunt and gather in groups of four?  did they hunt and gather?)?
What’s the deal with the foursomes?  
Peace, Love, and Sisterhoods,
P.S. Perhaps I’ll have to write about threesomes (and not the naughty kind) someday where we will discuss Charlie’s Angels, Crossroads (starring Britney Spears), Clueless and Mean Girls, among others.  

August 8, 2008 Posted by | Books, Culture, Hollywood, Literature, Movies, Sex and the City, Television | Leave a comment

Who Watches the Watchmen?

I’m back from the best weekend of my life. That may be an exaggeration, but it was freaking awesome. Yes, that’s right, this weekend for the first time I went to Comic-Con International in sunny San Diego California (shout out to my cousin and cousin-in-law who let me crash in their house with the, literally, tons of free crap that I accumulated.

Comic-Con is not for the faint of heart. It is four and a half days of fanboys and fangirls dressed as anything from Storm Troopers to Cling-ons, Sailor Moon characters (I apologize but that is the only anime I know) to The Spirit. It’s a veritable free-for-all of nerds. In other words, it’s my mecca. As Phoebe said in one episode of Friends, ‘It’s like the mother ship is calling you home.’ Of course, she was speaking of Bloomingdales, but I did get a big frakkin bag to take home with me.

Yes, it was a fantastic weekend. But Comic-Con 2008 just happened to be the Comic-Con where the most anticipated comic book movie ever was being promoted. It’s a little movie I like to call Watchmen.

Yes, Watchmen is a movie based on a Comic book. But it’s based on THE comic book. Basically, if any of you came to me and said, Julia, I want to start reading graphic novels because I’ve heard that they aren’t just men in tights battling weird creatures. I would say to you, okay, start with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, both of which were written in 1986 and basically changed the face of comics as we know them. Before these two books comics weren’t taken seriously, but these books went to a darker, more adult place with superheroes. Basically, they went somewhat realistic because really, if superheroes were real things they would be fucked up in the head. I mean, we’re talking about men and women who put themselves above the law and the workings of the law. They dress in costume and fight criminals, sometimes killing them in the process. Batman may never kill the Joker, but there are other bad guys that die along the way at his hands.

Yes, comic-con was a Watchmen-fest. But one other big comic book movie is coming out at the end of this year, and its presence didn’t go unnoticed in the face of the Watchmen-mania. This movie would be The Spirit. Will Eisner, the king of comics (the awards for comics are called the Eisners for a reason), created The Spirit in the 1940s. He’s a grittier and sexier superhero along the lines of The Shadow and the movie is directed by a comic book writer you may have heard of: Frank Miller (he wrote Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns among others).

Yes, it’s a good day for comics and for film. What I realized at Comic-Con while walking through the 135,000 people in attendance: These are the people that dictate popular culture. These are the people that make The Dark Knight the fastest grossing movie of all time (it’s been out for just over a week and has made over $400 Million worldwide), they are the people that make or break t.v. shows, they are the people who dictate what’s cool and what’s not, yet they are the people who get/got picked on in high school, who’d rather spend time in front of their computer than at a bar. It’s quite a spot to be in, both loved and mocked, but no one ever said that being a geek was easy, and would we like our geekiness so much if it were mainstream?

Peace, Love, and Rorschach,

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Movies, Television | Leave a comment

Psychological Damage

I don’t know if anyone has ever witnessed the actual act of a parent fucking up a child, but it’s pretty disturbing.  Yes it’s true, I’m not a parent (nor probably ever will be).  I also think that no matter what you come out of childhood with some kind of damage to your psyche, isn’t that the very nature of becoming an adult?  Being damaged to some extent.  But when you actually witness a parent say something to a really young child that is sure to give them a serious complex, it’s one of the most disturbing, and sadistically fascinating experiences of all time.  

I went to go see Mamma Mia! for the second time – yes it opened on Friday and I’ve seen it twice – this morning in Century City.  Century City is directly next to Beverly Hills and below Westwood, it’s kind of ritzy to say the least.  So I see the film and I’m in my euphoric ABBA-induced haze, humming Waterloo to myself.  I’ll admit, I probably don’t look all that sane.  I’m making my way through the spotlessly clean, Leave it to Beaver outdoor mall, the perfectly manicured palm trees swaying in the mild Santa Ana winds.  And to my left I hear a family, a mom, a dad and a daughter that couldn’t have been more than two.  The little girl was squirming to be put down and toddle along next to her parents.  This girl’s mother was one of those uber-yoga ladies.  She was in a Juicy Couture yoga suit, perfect blonde highlights and a body that must have cost more than my car.  Her daughter is walking at the pace of a two year old, as two year olds tend to do and the mother actually asks her daughter if she knows what speed walking is, tells her that she’s going to need to walk faster if she has to walk, then claps in time with how fast she should be walking.  Now all this is simply annoying, and I wouldn’t have been appalled if the mother had not then said to her daughter, and this is verbatim, ‘C’mon honey, you have to walk off that ice cream you ate.’  
It’s a sad shocking feeling when you are listening to a conversation like this and realize that poor innocent little girl with blonde ringlets and chubby little kid legs will have issues with food for the rest of her life.  It made me glad to have not grown up in L.A. and made me happy that I’m not one of those people who gets dragged into the crap of it.  
I guess that little girl will become an adult early.  Good luck kid.
Peace, Love, and Mamma Mia!
P.S. The Dark Knight is great (Heath Ledger steals the show) and Mamma Mia is great if you’re cool with an hour and a half of ABBA cheesiness.  I’m down for hours and hours and hours of it. 

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Movie Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

Seventh Heaven

The world as we know it is coming to an end.  I just thought you all should get the heads up seeing as you seem like the kind of people that like to be informed about things like this.  It’s the apocalypse.  How, you might ask, do I know this?  ABC Family has aired a show that may be the beginning of the end of Civilization as we know it (that is if said position has already been filled by George W. Bush).  I’m not going to lie to you, I was attracted to the show for two reasons, 1) it’s about teenagers and I’m a sucker for teen drama, and 2) it co-stars Molly Ringwald.  Yes folks, the lady that 80s danced into our hearts, the lady that made herself the ugliest prom dress of all time, the lady that made us girls fall in love with Jake Ryan.  That’s right, Molly Ringwald, the mistress of the Brat Pack is back and lord do I wish she’d stayed in the 80s.  To be fair, she’s not the problem.  It’s the show she’s on.  

So ABC Family started airing a new show called The Secret Life of the American Teen which was created by the same person that created Seventh Heaven, the long running show on The WB that showcased an overpopulated Christian family.  As horrifically offensive as Seventh Heaven was (and man did it browbeat Jesus into it’s viewers), this new show is even worse.  It’s as though the 1950s ideal of what was proper behavior by teenagers crashed into American teenagers in 2008.  Basically, it’s horrendously unrealistic.  It is taking the ideas of abstinence only education and over the top Christian morality and ramming them down the throats of its 2.8 Million viewers.  
And on top of the fact that it’s trying to cram a pro-fundamentalist agenda into an hour of television, the acting is undeniably awful, the writing is trite and unrealistic, and the plot lines are just appalling.  It’s about a Christian teenager who gets pregnant (she states at one point that she’s not sure she even had sex, score one for abstinence only education) and has to deal with the consequences.  Hm, Juno but crappy much?  The sub plots revolve around a christian couple who have decided to wait until marriage, but the guy in the relationship is an unrealistic horny teenager who thinks about nothing but sex 24 hours a day.  Now, I know what it is to be a horny teenager, but realistically, I can see something like 18 hours a day, maybe 12 hours a day, and even less if you want to make an interesting t.v. show, but come on.  And really, what kind of a shitty character thinks about only sex and nothing else?  Of course, he’s sixteen years old and asking his girlfriend to marry him as soon as they get out of high school presumably so they can have sex.  I personally don’t have a problem with sending the message that sex should wait until one is ready (they even waited on Gossip Girl, which looks like a Las Vegas burlesque compared to American Teen), but what kind of society do we live in where it’s completely acceptable to get married to someone simply because you want to fuck them.  And we wonder why kids are so screwed up when it comes to this kind of stuff.  I’d also like to point out that this is, for the most part, the same demographic that opposes gay marriage because they would ruin the sanctity of it.  
Oh yes folks, the end of the world is near.  And the American Teen is reigning it in.
Peace, Love, and Sex Before Marriage (because it’s the smart thing to do),

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Gay/Lesbian, Hollywood, Politics, Sex, Television | 1 Comment

Culture War and the City

No matter what you thought of Sex and the City, the T.V. Show or the Movie, there is no question that it was groundbreaking.  Finally a show that showed women, real, flawed women.  Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte aren’t cliches, though they may be somewhat caricature-like at times.  

Since the release, and amazing success, of the movie, dozens and dozens of articles have been written about this ‘phenomenon.’  The articles have mostly been about how shocking it is that this movie did well; the ones I like are about how ridiculous it it to find this shocking.  But one article in particular caught my interest.  Not only does it bring up a somewhat horrifying look at a, I guess you can’t call it a culture war, gender war, but it brings up a particularly terrifying point about how far women have come really, the consensus, it is considerably less far than we thought.  
Consider this, Sex and the City was the first time on television (and it was on a channel that most people don’t get) women got to be flawed and imperfect and sexual and deep and shallow and tough and weak and fashionable all at once.  And the show came on the air in 1998.  
According to the Newsweek article, many men can’t stand Sex and the City, and not in the way many women can’t stand Football season or the Final Four or Sylvester Stallone Movies where we don’t want to watch it, but have no problem going out and doing our own thing while the men in our lives enjoy them.  No, men seem to actively hate Sex and the City to the point where they will bombard to make the movie’s rating one the lowest of the year.  This is a movie, that, on the whole, got relatively positive reviews, and, I’ll put in my two cents, I absolutely loved.  More importantly, it was a movie that my mom, a self-proclaimed SATC hater, loved.  So why this backlash?  I can’t bring myself to bear the thought that a great many men would actively take this source of so much joy as a threat, but is there another explanation?  Are men threatened by the thought that our female friends are exceedingly important to us, perhaps, at times more important than men themselves?  In this new age where we are getting married and settling down later and later, your friends are the ones that have been there.  I’m not much of a relationship-y kind of person, but the vast majority of my friendships have outlasted multiple romantic relationships.  I’ve been there through numerous of my friends breakups and they’ve been there through my heartaches as well.  It stands to reason that these relationships become important, and more important than many of our romantic involvements.  Now, this is not to say that I don’t love men.  I do, sometimes to my own detriment.  This is not to say that I don’t want men.  Again, I do, sometimes to my own detriment.  This is just to say that my romantic relationships with men are not necessarily the most important relationships that I have.  Perhaps this fact scares men, but when the tables are turned, I completely expect that men will have close bonds with their friends that might be more important, and, for the most part, much different, than a relationship they have with me.  Do I feel threatened by this? No.  
On an almost completely unrelated subject, but still a Sex and the City subject, someone, as we were having a discussion about the men in the movie, asked me to name one ‘good’ man in the movie.  This struck me as somewhat of an odd question seeing as, I, as do many other women, love all the men that our ladies ended up with.  Personally, and I can’t speak for my friend, I think that all of the men in Sex and the City are ‘Good’ Men.  They’re not perfect men, that’s for sure.  They’re real.  Like our ladies, they have flaws, they make mistakes, they say the wrong things, sometimes they do things that hurt their significant others, but they are good men.  I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, but I will say that all the men make mistakes, as do the women.  Much like in the show, the people in the movie are not, as I said, cliched-stereotypes.  Mr. Big is not some asshole out to break Carrie’s heart.  Steve isn’t some poor bartender who has to, over and over again, convince Miranda to not be so cynical when it comes to men.  Smith isn’t constantly trying to get Samantha to open up.  And Harry, is well, he’s Harry.  And sure, as in any good movie, there is conflict and people hurt for a time.  But really, in the movie the girls and the guys hurt on equal scales.  It’s just that the story is about the girls, not the guys.  And really, that’s the point.
Peace, Love, and Culture Wars,

June 21, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Hollywood, Movie Reviews, Movies, Sex and the City, Television | Leave a comment

Reflections on (Re)Watching 90210

Like I said a few days ago, I’ve been on a 90210 binge for the past week or so.  This is the show that made me love television, the show that everyone my age was completely addicted to, the show that shaped certain desires of mine that have yet to go away.  90210 went on the air in 1990, when I was approximately 7 years old.  Prompted by my best friend at the time, one Sarah Jones, I started watching the show mid way through season 1 and never looked back.  Of course, the cheesy dialogue and moral messaging was lost on my younger self.  I do, however, remember vividly the exact plot lines of all the major characters through the first 7 or 8 seasons.  What a strange and mysterious creature memory is?

What strikes me now is not merely the moral stronghandedness that permeates every episode, but the political awareness that is so prevalent among our favorite group of students at West Beverly.  It seems like every other week Andrea Zuckerman was leading protests determined to implement a condom distribution at West Beverly High, or the gang was leading a picket proclaiming the innocence of their best friend when she got drunk at prom and was forbidden to graduate (who can forget the ubiquitous chant ‘Donna Martin Graduates’?).  The political activism that ran like a carotid artery through the series would never ever make it on t.v. today.  Which begs the question, have teenagers become less political or does television just not portray it anymore?  It’s a chicken or egg question, but one that begs consideration.  
As much as the politicization of the West Bev gang is somewhat jarring when they are viewed with modern eyes, the most depressing? interesting? thought-provoking? themes and issues 90210 touched on are ones that would be completely relevant in any modern television show.  They talk about fighting against abstinence-only education in school and the potential harm that could cause.  They mention recycling and not using aerosol spray cans, so as to not cause harm to the already fragile environment.  They talk about taking care of veterans from a different Iraq War, but an Iraq War all the same.  If you lost the early 90s clothing that we all wish we could forget, the show would play today, and I’m pretty sure it would be just as popular as it was then.  The CW is banking on it.
Peace, Love and Random Thoughts,

June 9, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Hollywood, Politics, Television | | Leave a comment


The gays are out in L.A. this weekend.  That’s right, it’s pride weekend in L.A. and I had front row tickets.  Lord knows I can’t miss out on spending the weekend with a bunch of Fabulous men and women.  

For anyone who hasn’t experienced it Pride Weekend in West Hollywood looks something like a huge carnival full of beautiful men that have no interest in me and beautiful women who also have no interest in me.  They shut down San Vicente Blvd., take over multiple parking lots and a relatively large park, there are four different D.J. areas, all complete with dancing, there’s a gay cowboy/cowgirl area (one of my personal favorites), an erotica exposition area where proper use of whips and chains are demonstrated to the public (this area is also inhabited by many older people wearing neon fanny packs and sporting huge cameras, taking pictures of the cute boys in boxer-briefs who hand out condoms and flavored lube).  Basically, it’s my heaven. 
Now, in comparison to San Francisco, West Hollywood is just much different.  Not better or worse, but different.  It isn’t as in your face as San Francisco (I have to say, after hours in SF, I tend to have to have a whiskey or three; there are some things better left to the imagination), but there also aren’t as many drag queens.  In fact, I only saw one in WeHo.  She happened to be a pretty famous one named Chi Chi La Rue, but there was only one.  Drag Queens are one of my favorite parts of San Francisco and pride weekend, they’re just so over the top, so flamboyant, it brings out my inner fabulously gay man to be around them.  
Of course, this being Los Angeles, we had to have some wonderful movie items.  I happened to score a Mamma Mia! poster and a fan proclaiming me Dancing Queen.  There are some rather incriminating photos with a fake chiquita banana hat on and one with my head in the body of a buff cartoon proclaiming my avid use of rogaine.  
On the plus side I also got to sign up for the AIDS walk and the human rights council that fights for gay rights (I finally have time to take up political and humanitarian causes now that I’m not working 100 hours a week).  Plus, I got to dance to DJ Chi Chi La Rue.  
All in all, it was everything I could ever want from a pride weekend.  Free stuff, surrounded by people celebrating themselves (and their newfound right to marry), sun, and great music.  The only thing missing was my harem of gay men.  So fellas, next year I expect you to be here.
Peace, Love, and Girls who like Boys who like Boys,

June 8, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Gay/Lesbian, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Movies, Parties, Politics | Leave a comment

Television Moral Code

I’m sitting here, in my convalescence from surgery on my deviated septum (no really, I didn’t get a nose job or anything), making my way through season 2 of Beverly Hills 90210 and I got to thinking about the morality on television.  It seems like back when I was a bit shorter (and in exponentially less pain and discomfort) shows always had these blatant morals.  I mean, Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World and even 90210, which was so often condemned for being this total corruption of America’s youth, had these very very distinct moral messages.  Sure, when we look back now, they seem, well, antiquated to say the least.  I mean, really, who can forget Jessie’s addiction to caffeine pills on Saved by the Bell, or the fact that Full House always ended with what was painfully similar to a moral of the story from Aesop’s Fables.  But what really got the historian in me going is this notion that youth television programming had to have a moral message.  That is definitely not the case any more (one need look no further than an episode of Gossip Girl to figure that out).  There is no neatly little wrapped up television show telling us why cheating is wrong in some blatantly flat out way.  

Now, back when season 2 of 90210 was airing, and I remember watching religiously, it was 1991 and I was approximately 8 years old.  So I can’t really remember the political and social climate of the time.  What I do know, from reading history books, is that Reagan had recently left office, Bush the first was in, and Clinton had just won the presidency.  To me it sounds like the political and social climate was somewhat conservative and moralistic, not unlike the one four or eight years ago.  I also, however, know my television history well enough to know that FOX (the channel we associate with conservatism actually totally pushed the envelope back then) was brand new, and 90210 actually changed the face of T.V. drastically.  I know that shows like Dallas and Dynasty had been on and shown some pretty racy stuff, thank you Joan Collins.  But why was television so saturated with in your face depictions of morality?  Was it simply that the Reagan/Bush administrations had turned away from the perceived hedonism of the sixties and seventies and wanted to inject some sort of order into society?  But government doesn’t run t.v.  So is that what viewers really want, and was the backswing of the pendulum so strong that by the mid to late-90s these moral driven shows were pretty much completely off the air?  
My question is what happened?  Not that I’m complaining because I think television is in a golden age, but seriously, what the hell happened and why was it just in young people’s programming?
Peace, Love, and Questionable Morals,

June 5, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Hollywood, Television | Leave a comment