As for substance, the first issue had a four-paragraph interview with the mayor, a three-paragraph preview of the Celtics season, and 41 pages of party photos. My Boston Common reading since then has been spotty since I’m in the wrong tax bracket for the distribution model.
4) Reality TV
This goes for everything from Survivor to Wife Swap to Bonds on Bonds — in short, all the reality junk that has invaded our screens like the Mongol hordes.
For starters, reality TV is the spiritual stepchild of those shameless afternoon talk-TV shows hosted by the likes of Jerry Springer and Phil Donahue. Those programs preyed on “regular people” who, seduced by the fleeting glare of the camera, eagerly exposed their problems — obesity, adultery, lack of sobriety, and general idiocy — to the delight of the peanut gallery in the studio and at home.
And reality TV lets Hollywood get off cheap when it comes to competing for our eyeballs. How about hiring gifted writers and skilled actors and creating some original entertainment for a change? Instead, it’s a hunt for celebrity wannabes whose goal in life is winning the approval of a shameless huckster like The Donald.
If it’s workplace yucks you crave, I guarantee that The Office trumps (pun intended) The Apprentice.
5) NBC sportscaster and HBO host Bob Costas
Costas has two things in his favor: he has been known to carry a Mickey Mantle baseball card around, and he turned down a gig guest-hosting for Larry King rather than do a program on missing teen Natalee Holloway.
But somehow Costas — through the course of an illustrious career — has managed to morph into someone who is too oily smooth and too annoyingly bland. He seems less like a sports personality and more like a sports-casting android constructed in some laboratory. (Maybe it’s the fact that the older he gets, the more he looks like one of those well-coiffed, carefully aging Las Vegas crooners.)
For my money, the most interesting sportscasters are or were funny-looking, obnoxious guys who had the guts to drive you nuts — like Howard Cosell, Dick Vitale, Hawk Harrelson, Bill Walton, John Madden, and Harry Caray.
This blog post of a few years ago put it better than I can: “In a world of 31 flavors Costas asks for vanilla yogurt in a cup.”
On the Web
Mark Jurkowitz's Media Log: http://www.thephoenix.com/medialog
The Smoking Gun: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/