Broadchurch

Everyone just wants to talk television. Everywhere I go. They used to ask if you’d heard this or that, records and artists were top of mind, now we all just want to sit in front of the big screen.

And not go to the theatre.

I’d love to see Darren Aronofsky’s new pic. But if you think I’m gonna make an appointment you’re still watching Must See TV, now that Don Ohlmeyer is dead and Seinfeld is on Netflix. Things change. And whereas the sixties and seventies (maybe even the eighties!) were about music, the twenty first century is positively about television.

“The Sopranos” was the Beatles. And like that band, they can never get back together, because Tony/James Gandolfini, is dead. You think you want Led Zeppelin to get back together, but you really don’t. Oh, the kids will enjoy it, before they go back to their hip-hop, and the out of it oldsters who weren’t there the first time will go to crow and get a notch in their belt, but fans will be disappointed, because you can’t go back, you can never go back, you can’t marry your high school sweetheart after reconnecting on Facebook and you can’t run the mile like you used to and if you think you can, you’re delusional.

So we forage for things to watch.

Now I don’t sit in front of the screen much. Because we’re all time-challenged. The idea of flipping from channel to channel is anathema, and I don’t want to waste any precious moments, but if there’s something worth seeing…

It’s like going to the movies in the seventies.

Only in this case, the critics are irrelevant. Unless they’re aggregated on Rotten Tomatoes. How often have I opened the paper to find the latest Netflix show denigrated and then watched it and enjoyed it? But usually, it’s word of mouth.

You know the biggest word of mouth show?

“Black Mirror,” but I can’t say I loved the episode I watched. I’m planning to give it another try. When I finally finish “Breaking Bad,” now that I’ve caught up with “Broadchurch.”

That’s right, I didn’t catch “Breaking Bad” the first time through. Sling arrows all you want, but no one’s seen everything, even though there are many fewer shows than records.

But after “Broadchurch” I watched a Netflix show I highly recommend, this documentary “Heroin(e),” about the opioid crisis. Three women in West Virginia trying to make a difference. You’ll wonder about your life choice, chasing the buck, first and foremost it’s about meaning. And when you do your best to help other people, you’re fulfilled.

Now why is it that English shows are always better than American ones? With exceptions, of course, like the aforementioned “Sopranos.” Is it because everyone doesn’t have to be beautiful, because the productions are not over the top, because the stories are real?

All of that and more.

“Broadchurch” is a genre show. I.e. murder and trial. But it’s well-nuanced. And it’s ITV, not BBC, so there are fade-outs for commercials. But you watch it and you get hooked.

I want to be hooked. I want to go down the rabbit hole. I want to be taken away from this everyday life, the endless pings on my iPhone, I ironically want to live life by experiencing it through others.

Now my sister recommended this show. And when I started to mention it, after viewing a few episodes, I was stunned who had seen it. It’s like music in the sixties and early seventies, an alternative universe that gets little publicity, but drives the culture. Sure, you might see a review, but then it disappears.

And I prefer Netflix and Amazon. Because I don’t want to tune in every night to see Ken Burns’s documentary on Vietnam, I don’t want to even DVR it, I just want to dive in and go on a ride, episode after episode. Why has Hollywood got it so wrong? Dribbling out product. Refusing to make films day and date online. The record business learned, if you try and protect profits, play to the usual suspects, you’re dead. Labels played to Tower Records and then the chain went under. They played to radio and then Spotify broke records. No one I know goes to the movies, other than my mother and her aged cronies, who became addicted back in the thirties. You make your impact online, via streaming. And when your product finally comes to TV… HBO premiered “La La Land,” I’m not even gonna bother, that’s so last year.

Now the star of the second season of “Broadchurch” is Charlotte Rampling, yes the sexy ingenue I saw at a midnight screening of “The Night Porter” in Westwood. She’s on a comeback tear. And she’s had no plastic surgery.

And she’s more beautiful for it.

American actresses get nipped and tucked to appear young, to get gigs, and we can’t help but look at them and point out the deficiencies. Plastic surgery is a crapshoot, and the odds of winning are about those in Vegas, i.e. not good. But Rampling looks her age and has gravitas, she’s lived a life, she’s not chasing a dream, SHE’S LIVING THE DREAM!

Now on one hand I hate these whodunits. Because you’re hooked and there’s a twist.

But it’s life in the Dorset area that is so riveting. A small town in the U.K. where everybody knows each other and everybody is imperfect and the attorney wants a shag and the barristers, even women, wear wigs and…

Police don’t normally work to music. And the law is boring.

But life is fascinating.

Art, when done right, reflects life, it gives us insight into the human condition.

How can TV get it so right and music get it so wrong?

Yoga Pants

I get it.

I read about a year ago that yoga pants were eclipsing jeans, that’s what “Bloomberg Businessweek” said, and they rarely get it wrong.

This was confusing. Wasn’t Lululemon on the verge of bankruptcy, having made clothing that was too sheer, where you could see women’s derrieres?

Although I always found stretchy material to be somewhat see-through, undies visible, but I didn’t think too much about it. I mean the pants were on the market for months, it took that long for people to figure out there was a problem?

I’m a jeans and polo shirt kind of guy. That was a big breakthrough in high school, the ability to wear jeans to class. But back then we called them “dungarees.” And by time I was a senior you could learn sans socks. But jeans were our uniform. I preferred Lee, never Wrangler, sometimes Levi’s.

And then the designer jean tsunami hit and lifted all boats. I bought pairs of Chemin de Fers, never Sasson, but definitely Guess. Jeans were forever…

Until yoga pants.

Now let me tell you, we men have no problem with yoga pants. Once we figured out what they were. The way they hugged your curves. But I don’t pay attention to fashion, I read about yoga pants before I could pick them out in the wild. And then I had Felice point them out to me, nice, but I didn’t care.

Until we went to Lululemon.

They opened a store in Vail, right across the street from the condo. Felice wanted to visit, I tagged along. I didn’t even KNOW they made men’s stuff, but waiting while Felice shopped I tried stuff on.

And decided to buy a pair of shorts.

It was a whim, something you do on vacation. I could wear them in Vail, nobody would notice, there’d be no cred at risk.

But now I wear them all the time.

That was my first pair, which the cleaning lady burned with an iron. Melted, that is. And she was apologetic, but there was no point in excoriating her, I’d just buy another pair.

But you couldn’t get them.

I thought this was a fashion issue, whatever you like they stop manufacturing, but they were out of stock!

Now the model I wear is just above the knee. But they didn’t even have the short-shorts available. That’s right, this year in Vail the store was wiped clean. But the clerk was a maven, he was going to open a store in Oklahoma in days. He checked inventory. They had one color in Santa Monica, a few online. And I meant to buy them immediately…

But I didn’t.

And Santa Monica was wiped out and they had one color available online so I clicked.

And now I can’t take them off. BECAUSE THEY’RE SO COMFORTABLE!

I know, I know, you’re supposed to look good, that’s what it’s all about, especially in Los Angeles. But first and foremost you’ve got to FEEL good, at least I do.

The material is soft and stretchy, it doesn’t irritate my skin. Since I’ve gotten my new pair I’ve worn them every day, for weeks. (Of course I wash them, don’t even think otherwise.) And I regret when I have to wear long pants, and am thinking that maybe I should buy some long pant Lululemons (no, the men’s are not hip-hugging).

So either you’re in the know or you’re not. Either you get what I’m talking about or you don’t.

Once upon a time you had to dress in black, that was the rock and roll ethos. Before rock died and everybody listened to different music and didn’t care about what you were wearing. The older you get you realize no one is really paying attention to you, unless you’re famous, and I’m not, and if you are they love you until they hate you and then you’re nobody and irrelevant once again.

So I guess you’d call this a sales pitch.

But it’s really a testimonial.

Lululemon is not cheap.

But like divorce, IT’S WORTH IT!

The Works Short – WARPSTREAM 11″

The Sale Of Rolling Stone

“Rolling Stone, Once A Counterculture Bible, Will Be Put Up for Sale”

And sooner or later
Everybody’s kingdom must end

“The King Must Die”
Elton John

That’s where I found out about Elton, “Rolling Stone,” but Elton soldiers on, “Rolling Stone” is headed for the dumper. Like “Men’s Journal,” sold to “The National Enquirer”‘s David Pecker, which in one issue under its new owner lost all credibility, lacked any soul, any lengthy riveting article of the stripe that used to make the subscription worthwhile.

Now I can reminisce, about me and the mag, cheering for it and its outsider status and then watching as it became mainstream along with its coverage of Patty Hearst.

But the future is in front of us. And anybody who continues to look back, is doomed.

That’s what Jann Wenner did. He kept satiating an old audience that fell off and failed to cater to a new audience that just didn’t care.

Who is the cultural guru of the last twenty years of the twentieth century?

It wasn’t anybody in radio, which followed trends.

And it wasn’t anybody at the record companies, which stopped investing in careers and went for flash.

I’ll argue it was one man, with a team of sometimes unheralded charges, and that’s Tom Freston, who ran MTV Networks.

You see Freston realized you’ve got to burn the past to enter the future. Something that Wenner didn’t even try until way too late, shortening its best feature, its record reviews, to compete with “Blender”‘s bits before it was revealed that Felix Dennis’s music magazine fudged its circulation numbers, and then bit the dust.

Or, as the bard so often lauded by Wenner once sang…

He not busy being born is busy dying

The original VJs were the biggest stars in youth culture, even bigger than the musicians featured in the videos they played.

But what did Freston and his team do?

FIRED THEM!

They were too old. MTV made a conscious decision to appeal to the same young demo consistently.

And the outlet learned that videos got lousy ratings, MTV started airing half hour shows, the game show “Remote Control,” and the reality series “The Real World.” And the oldsters bitched but the youngsters ate it up.

And then Sumner Redstone blew out Tom Freston, after handing Tom the reins of Viacom.

And what happened?

Viacom tanked.

Meanwhile, Freston invested in “Vice” and overseas TV outlets and looks like a seer.

Jann Wenner looks like a self-satisfied blowhard.

This is not about the UVA debacle. This is not about the decline in print advertising. This is about a man who refused to believe the future was coming.

Now let’s credit Jann. He started “Rolling Stone.” There were competitors, but they all failed. The power of the individual can never be underestimated.

But Steve Jobs eliminated the floppy and legacy ports.

And “Rolling Stone” refused to go online and looked no different than it ever was, as it turned into “Mojo,” albeit with crappier writing.

You can live on your heritage in the arts. Copyrights have value.

But not in tech. And not in news. You have to look forward, you have to destroy your past to have a future.

And Jann Wenner was living in the past.

Now don’t lament the sale and the eventual irrelevance. Because the magazine is already irrelevant. Music does not drive the culture, the oldster players don’t do anything new of value and although Matt Taibbi is a star, he’s in a ghetto of blah, like having Einstein preaching to six year olds.

Taibbi will continue. As did Tom Wolfe, as for Hunter Thompson…he just burned out, but he’s certainly radiating.

But those were different days. when talent was revered and seen as bigger than the executive. But in the moneyed culture of today it’s the business person who is considered to be a rock star, with their riches and perks, and the artists take a back seat. Furthermore, the artists try to imitate the business people, and if you think this is untrue you’re unaware seemingly every successful artist invests in startups and has a perfume and clothing line and it would be enough to depress you if you weren’t scrambling to put food on the table to begin with.

We need to believe in something.

Once we could in “Rolling Stone.”

Now we can’t.

There’s a vacuum.

Won’t anybody fill it?

Income Inequality

How do they expect us to buy thousand dollar phones?

The left has a messaging issue. It also has too many elites who believe they worked so hard to get ahead that they don’t want to sacrifice anything they’ve got. As a result, the right’s disinformation campaign has triumphed. And the left keeps complaining a record they released a year ago should be at the top of the charts, even though it stiffed.

Watch Robert Reich’s explanation of economics.

Oh, that’s right, he worked for Clinton, he’s a bad guy, you can’t pay attention. Whereas the left keeps evaluating your ideas. That’s another conundrum. How the right won’t even look at the left’s ideas or media, while the left is subjected over and over again to the right’s opinion. The right has labeled the media biased to such a degree that we end up with false equivalencies. The left says the earth is round and the media amplifies the right’s perspective, that it’s flat, and therefore issues like climate change remain open questions, when they’re not.

And now, in the wake of the hurricanes, you’ve got the left begging the right to address the issue of global warming, but the right won’t do it, because the open question is baked into their viewpoint by inane commentators with an agenda and the reasonable righties in Congress are afraid to speak up for fear of being excommunicated, or primaried, which is the same damn thing.

So, if you watch Reich’s video, all of one minute and forty one seconds, you’ve got the time for that, right? In between posting on Instagram and watching YouTube? The second of seven economic fundamentals he utters is:

“Consumer spending accounts for 70% of all economic activity in the United States.”

And the wealthy can’t and don’t buy two hundred cars and go out for ten restaurant meals a night and utilize fifteen hotel rooms when they go on the road. So, if the middle class has money, it spends it, and improves not only the economy, but fattens the pockets of the rich.

And at this point the rich are not comprised of those who inherited their wealth, but those who made it. A consumer society definitely helps them.

But we’ve been sold the canard that the wealthier you make the rich, the better the middle class and poor do. So how’s that been working out?

IT HASN’T!

But the right not only has its media-mongers, but an army of regular people who have been taught to fight back. They’ve been enabled with disinformation and they’ve been militarized. Look at what happened in Charlottesville. And the right’s response? ANTIFA! It’s like walking into a destroyed kitchen and having the eight year old perp point to his nonverbal baby brother and saying it’s HIS FAULT!

Or blaming the baseball loss on the shortstop who missed the ball and didn’t allow any runs to be scored instead of the home run hitter who forgot to tag the bases on his round trip.

This is the world we live in.

Because the right is organized, it gets the word out.

Whereas the left is self-satisfied and sits there and cries that it’s right while nothing happens. As their media organizations are so busy bending over backwards to appear fair that they let the right run away with the ball. The “New York Times” hires righty Bret Stephens and the “Wall Street Journal” hires lefty…

Oh, it doesn’t.

And now the right bitches that MSNBC is biased when we’ve been harangued by right wing b.s. for decades on Fox. Rachel Maddow wins the ratings war and all she gets in response is epithets. Think about that.

So we live in a country where the poor and those left in the middle class are alienated and falling behind and the left, although a better deal for them, doesn’t give them a seat at the table and we end up with…

Trump.

Even worse, you end up broke.

So the left has to fight back. And what I mean by that is not yelling, but having a multi-decade playbook. Its own Federalist Society. A recognition that this is a war for the heart and soul of our country and if you don’t get your ideas out…

Robert Reich’s video couldn’t be more simple. Grade-schoolers could understand it.

But Republican Congresspeople want to cut taxes on the wealthy. And are getting away with it because they’ve got a bastion of blowhards spreading disinformation. We’ve got to keep hearing the story of how Rush Limbaugh said the hurricane was a hoax, until he fled by private jet out of Florida, hell, we kept on hearing about Hillary’s e-mail server. And no e-mail server scandal is gonna keep your ass safe when North Korea blows nukes into America.

Could happen.

Thank god the rich are immune, with their tax cuts.

OF COURSE NOT!

We’re all in this together. Drop a bomb and we all suffer.

Leave most Americans without spending power and we all suffer.

But the downtrodden are the problem. They overextend, they don’t manage their money, they didn’t pick themselves up by their bootstraps. No investigation goes into hiring practices that leave everybody as an independent contractor sans benefits. Yes, the problem is TAKERS!

You’ve got to hand it to the right, they know how to deflect and point fingers.

So, when they gain power…

They can’t accomplish anything. They’ve achieved their goal. They rule. But it turns out their disinformed constituents love public benefits, like Obamacare and FEMA.

So, if you’re on the left, fight back. Post Robert Reich’s video everywhere. Don’t be a snowflake, and by that I mean, endure the blowback from the right, they’ve been trained, you need to toughen up and train yourself, because this is a war and you’re losing.

And it’s got less to do with guns and ammo than messaging.

The left feels it’s right and lays back.

The right keeps hammering the same old b.s. day after day after day.

Robert Reich-“The next time you hear someone say we need to cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations, mention these 7 economic fundamentals”: