21 August 2002

Overuse, of, commas.,

Clearly the folks at SoulTrain.com have to start using Ye Olde MS Worde Grammar Checker.

First, a little background. California high-school sophomore Rommel Zamora, unhappy with Soul Train's decision to award Ashanti their annual Aretha Franklin Lady of Soul Entertainer of the Year award, started up a webpetition to give it to his choice, India Arie. Folks liked the petition so much that it got a mention on BET and ended up with more than 18,000 web signatures. Then Soultrain.com got funky. In a response Zamora says was sent to him on August 9 from the Soultrain.com's Webmaster email address, the entertainment site alternately suggested that Zamora's Internet campaign be called, "I'm a fucking loser, I'm not talented or successful, I don't know shit about the music industry and I need to get a motherfucking life!!"

SoulTrain apparantly calmed down and decided to address the petition and the flood of emails they were getting. Then the commas started flying...(I'll include the full text here in case they get pulled later):

1. Please see our response to all e-mails received, recently, at this Web site, from persons wishing to address any issues surrounding a petition, the purpose of which, we have roundly expressed our opposition to.

It is our view that (with the exception of the majority of such e-mails received, which are in, full, support of our position) all such e-mailers should, not only be concerned but outraged, over the fact that a people, whose ancestry suffered 400 years of slavery, can be herded, so easily, into a, virtually, bottomless mud hole and be taught to sling such mud therein, on command, at parties who, essentially, mean them no harm, whatsoever.

Indeed, we at Soultrain.com, are very saddened to learn that, during an age when suicide terrorists have been able to level skyscrapers, in America, more than eighteen-thousand (18,000) mud-slinging, petition signers and a handful of, hateful and negative, e-mail writers, have nothing better to do with the precious time they all have left on Earth.

May we take this opportunity to make it very clear, that during an era when a number of Internet Web sites are visited or clicked onto by tens of millions of persons, worldwide, every single month and many, many TV outlets are viewed by tens of millions of viewers each day and each week, eighteen-thousand (18,000) responses to anything, on the worldwide Internet, cannot and must not be construed, in a relative sense, as a large number.

2. Why are the overall creative decision-making instincts and abilities and even, the integrity of the professionals who have crafted and guided Soul Train into becoming the longest running TV program, of any genre, in the entire history of American television’s first-run, national syndication programming category (i.e., Oprah, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Hollywood Squares, the Arsenio Hall Show, and countless others) – being disrespected and challenged, so aggressively, by such a large group of individuals, having, virtually, no insight or information as to how "Soul Train people" have managed to accomplish their jobs and objectives, so effectively, for so many years?

Indeed, we were astonished to learn of the existence of such a large group of individuals, who are under the belief that they, as mere, although, extremely valued, music fans and record buyers, could even, imagine having an honest justification for, aggressively, challenging a, fairly, routine creative decision, made by people who have been, enormously, successful at making sound creative decisions, for more than three decades.

While not, in any way, intending to promote racism, we must concede that we are also, quite, amazed that such a large group of individuals, undoubtedly, mostly African-American, can be provoked toward such vivid expressions of disrespect and hateful speech (against a young, Black recording artist, as well as Soul Train), under the leadership of an individual whose foreign-sounding name (Rommel Zamora), may be an indication that he is not African-American.

Accordingly and regardless of whether Zamora is African-American or not, we are no longer angry over what has been a turmoil of insults. We remain, however, much saddened and we will, probably, never understand the psychology which breeds such mass Black-on-Black disrespect and hatred. Nonetheless, we will continue to pursue our original dream and to follow our own creative instincts, while remaining committed to an idea of resisting outside interference from those having a tendency to overvalue their personal opinions. A commitment, which we have, miraculously, succeeded in maintaining, for all of thirty-two (32), consecutive, years.

I'm not even bothering to take issue with the logically ridiculous and blatantly racist content. It's, the, commas, that, bother, me, the, most.,

13 August 2002

Network TV Sucks.

After watching the latest wonderful episode of the soon-to-be-cancelled Greg the Bunny, I have finally accepted that the folks who run the 4 major networks simply have no ability to accept original ideas and are just more comfortable rehashing whatever they see doing well on other networks. So now all we have are various incarnations of the "reality" show, where real folks, not actors or comedians, are shown being humiliated, starved, tortured, or whatever all for the hopes of making a quick buck and possibly breaking into show business. I can understand the motivation of the "contestants," and the morbid fascination of the watchers (who are the same folks who slow down to a crawl for accidents on the 405 and drop everything to watch a car chase through downtown LA), but what happened to telling a story? I'd rather watch Three's Company circa Jennilee Harrison than see whatever miniskirted, synthesized dreck they're serving up on American Idol. So keep cancelling great shows like Greg the Bunny and Family Guy, and I'll just go to cable for good and watch The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and South Park.
Wait, this isn't porn!

xXx: 3 Stars. Vin Diesel is here, and clearly he's here to stay. Frankly, this movie was exactly what I'd hoped...good story, great stunts, beautiful women, and it basically rates as the best Bond film since True Lies (and if you want to call that an indictment of the Pierce Brosnan era, feel free...I miss Timothy Dalton). Vin was great as an extreme-sports athlete/political prankster forced into NSA servitude to avoid jailtime. He was believably intelligent, resourceful, and, yes, patriotic and seemed to be having a good time throughout. I look more forward to xXx-2 than to Die Another Day.

05 August 2002


Signs: 3 Stars. M. Night Shyamalan likes to take his time. He builds up the suspense, minute by minute, into a crescendo, when he releases it all at once. Or so he believes, anyway. This movie was saved by its last 30 minutes, which were just great, but for the first hour and change, I was so bored, it was all I could do to stop from fidgeting in my seat. Great performances all around, but Shyamalan needs a co-writer, or co-producer, or co-director, or someone, anyone, to help him out, rein him in, and make sure he doesn't sink into the destructive self-adulation that George Lucas is entrenched in and J.K. Rowling seems to be on the cusp of. Still, I walked out happy.