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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Freeloading Off Of Other Bloggers

Thursday, September 28, 2006

NPH has been dragging his blogo-feet for nearly a month now. A Bradley Whitford post here, a Boondocks quip there, but largely emptiness on the great grey screen that readers (especially our Hollywood production assistant faithful) have come to depend on. We are sorry.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel. But this is still the tunnel. So here are some quick notes and references that NPH readers are sure to, if not enjoy, benefit from.
  • First, our beloved comic strip "Boondocks" has decided to call it quits. This is sad news indeed, although it is made less sad by the continuation of the Boondocks animated series. The end of the strip marks the quickest cessation of a comic that was syndicated by as many papers as Aaron McGruder's was. Here's how it went down, compliments of Wikipedia: "In late February 2006, McGruder announced that his strip would go on a
    six-month hiatus, starting March 27, 2006, with new installments
    resuming in October. Repeats of earlier strips were offered by
    Universal Press Syndicate in the interim. According to Editor & Publisher, two-thirds of The Boondocks'
    client list substituted different features rather than publish reruns.
    Universal Press Syndicate president Lee Salem announced on Sept. 25,
    2006, that the comic would remain on hiatus indefinitely, saying, 'Although Aaron McGruder has made no statement about retiring or
    resuming The Boondocks for print newspapers ... newspapers should not count on it coming back in the foreseeable future'. McGruder's editor at the syndicate, Greg Melvin, met with McGruder in
    Los Angeles over the course of at least two days unsuccessfully
    attemping to have the cartoonist abide by his agreement to return in
    six months." Happy [paper] trails Huey Freeman.
  • Second, NPH's friend and colleague, Kairos, has been writing an important series of posts on torture. Kairos is a PhD candidate in Christian Ethics, and so speaks of the issue with a clear understanding of what is at stake, especially for the church, in the legislature's current debate over what is and what is not legal treatment of human beings. I recommend this post, this post, and this post especially.
  • Finally, NPH's annual October Scary Movie Blitz is about to begin. Many NPH readers will no doubt recall last year's collection of reflections on the werewolf genre, which extended from "The Werewolf of London" and "The Wolf Man" to Neil Jordan's "In The Company of Wolves." Well, after much thought, NPH has decided that this year's theme will be haunted houses. Thanks to Netflix, we have a number of films qeued up, from the classics, "Cat and the Canary" and "13 Ghosts" to the very contemporary "The Amityville Horror." We are open to suggestions. What we're aiming at here is more than a glut of scares; gory orchestral hits need not apply. We're actually interersted in tracking the evolution of a genre of scary film, with special attention to the mythology employed and the literary and cinematic devices brought to bear on the story. We try hard to avoid lots of violence and gore, which is kind of like a bungee jumper saying he tries to avoid that stomach-in-the-throat feeling, I know. But NPH's experience has been that the best scary films tend to be those that rely only minimally on blood. We look forward to your participation, whatever it may be.
October is NPH's favorite month of the year; we're glad to have you along for it.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 5:57 AM | link | 4 comments |

Correction

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NPH has two acquaintences in California who responded (one gently, one not so gently) to our last post about the disappearance of the WB. We admit our error and dutifully provide the following links to news and opinion pieces regarding the merger between the WB and CBS' UPN network.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/entertainment/14565431.htm

http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/24/news/companies/cbs_warner/

Astute NPH readers (is there any other type?) will notice that these stories date from May and January of last year, respectively; we're a little slow on the uptake. One would think that the NPH home, which knows nothing of cable, would be on top of such major network developments, but, alas, we have dropped the ball badly this time. We sincerely apologize if we caused any alarm over the suggestion that Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill might be going off the air. As these news stories explain, they'll stay, along with tried-and-true UPN successes (uh . . . ) and some new original programming, all aimed at the coveted 18-34 year-old demographic. NPH wonders, is anything on television not aimed at the 18-24 year-old demographic?

We're intrigued by this development, largely since it involves a network (UPN) that one of our heroes (Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder) has repeatedly trashed. The irony of this merger is that, in all probability, most of UPN's all-black casts will be axed; speculation is that Chris Rock's Everybody Hates Chris will be the only UPN sitcom to make it. So UPN's cheesy, stereotypical, and just plain badly written sitcoms will be gone, but so will one of the best major network television avenues for black actors.

There's got to be more to this.

posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:29 AM | link | 0 comments |

The Death of The Frog

Sunday, September 17, 2006

So the WB is signing off the air forever, eh? NPH has to say that's the best television news we've heard in months. That the network that brought us such teenie pseudo-dramas as "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity" will no longer exist produces a profound sense of relief; no longer will NPH be forced to bite his tongue as his wife insists on another episode of "Gilmore Girls" or "One Tree Hill." Seriously, did the WB make any kind of serious contribution to television programming?

Don't answer that. Let's just enjoy the news and enjoy the . . . silence.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 3:40 AM | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Conservative Christian groups are in an outrage today over yesterday's signing of SB 1441, a California state law that extends anti-discrimination protection in state or state-funded activities to cover "sexual orientation" and "sex." Here's the text of importance from the bill:
"SECTION 1.  Section 11135 of the Government Code is amended to
read:
11135. (a) No person in the State of California shall, on the
basis of race, national origin, ethnic group identification,
religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, or disability, be
unlawfully denied full and equal access to the benefits of, or be
unlawfully subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity
that is conducted, operated, or administered by the state or by any
state agency, is funded directly by the state, or receives any
financial assistance from the state."

Conservative groups (like this one) are claiming that the bill will force Christian and other faith based schools, colleges, and child-care centers to "support" homosexuality. Other words being used are "condone" and "accept." The fundamentalist news service WorldNetDaily.com says that the Governor (not the bill, mind) has "tossed out all sexual moral conduct codes" for schools and institutions that apply.

One opponent simply concludes from the bill's signing that "The gates of Hell are prevailing against the church."

NPH admits to needing some help understanding this. So a state law that makes it illegal to deny full and equal access to or discriminate against persons based on sexual orientation in state conducted, operated, funded, or administered programs and activities amounts to a forced "acceptance" and "support" of homosexuality? You-can't discriminate=You-must-condone?

Let me just go out on a limb here and suggest that it makes Christians look bad when a law banning discrimination gets them this upset. I mean, why aren't the gates of Hell prevailing against the church because of its lavish wealth and complicity in war? Why is the devil only at work in those things that limit the exclusion of persons in democratic state programs? One would think that the whole of Christianity amounts to the practice of exclusion and discrimination, because when the government curbs those activities these Christians react like martyrs.

posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:55 AM | link | 2 comments |