Media Life

Right before I left for Paris and Vienna, I did an email interview with a writer from Media Life magazine who was working on an article about The Anxiety of Obsolescence. The interview, unsurprisingly, was mostly about the television end of the novel-and-television relationship, but the questions were interesting, and the article turned out pretty well, I think. (And it may be the first time in the history of ever that a review of an academic book ended with the weekend box office report.)

Given how little of my rambling made it into the article, though, I thought I’d post the entirety of the interview, for my own future reference, if nothing else.

Continue reading “Media Life”

Former Students Make Good

So I really honestly did add them to my blogroll a couple of hours before Liz popped up in the comments, and had made a note-to-self to post an actual bloggy link this afternoon, before getting all distracted by the notion of my disappearing audience, and then wrapped up in a little bit of work. But all this is neither here nor there.

The thing that is most important: two of my most fantabulous former students have started a blog, Glowy Box, focused on the most serious matter of watching television.

I like to think that I taught them, if not everything, at least some small subset of what they know.

Watching the Net

We’re headed out of town sometime this afternoon, starting down the road toward SoCal.

There’s not that much left to do between now and then, so I’m watching television.

Or not really television. Shows originally broadcast on television, now streaming over the net.

ABC is streaming episodes of four of its series–Lost, Alias, Desperate Housewives, and Commander in Chief, which is what I’m watching, as I never managed to catch it on-air. It’s a pretty decent interface, with limited commercial interruptions.

I’m hoping that this kind of streaming becomes more and more a standard practice, but I fear that there’s soon to be a paywall thrown up around the service–the proud announcement “Watch full episodes online for free!” is followed by the fine print: “May 1 – June 30, 2006.”

We’ll see. More from the road, if I can.

Product Placement

On another note: last night’s Alias contained what I have to call the worst moment of product placement in the history of crass commercialism. It went something like this (names have been elided to avoid spoilerage):

Scene: car interior, en route to crucial surveillance mission.

Operative 1: So you finally bought the Ford Hybrid.
Operative 2: Electric. Good for when you need to be quiet.

Cut to: zoom on Ford Hybrid logo on back of car.

And I thought that season three’s “Quick! To the Ford F-150!” was bad.

If there’s good news, I guess it’s that it’s a bit harder to effect such product placement on Lost.

And They’re Out, in the Regional Semi-Final

I haven’t been paying much attention to LSU basketball this season, though my stepfather has repeatedly told me that I should. And I didn’t watch much of yesterday’s first round games in the annual celebration of Madness (except, of course, the bit that I caught while I was having my nails done. Yes, I was the only customer, and the guy who did my manicure was a guy, and the only other employee in there was also male, and there was basketball on the television set. The whole thing was a little odd). But I did have a wincing moment of precognition when I first saw the bracket, given that the Atlanta regional bracket looked like this:


What did I foresee? LSU getting slaughtered by Duke in prime time. And now, given that the bracket has begun to look more like this —


— well, it’s beginning to look pretty much inevitable. I guess there are worse ways to go out.

Do You Know What It Means, to Miss New Orleans?

This is why I love NOLA, courtesy of Wonkette:

SHEPARD SMITH: You’re live on FOX News Channel, what are you doing?
MAN: Walking my dogs.
SMITH: Why are you still here? I’m just curious.
MAN: None of your fucking business.
SMITH: Oh that was a good answer, wasn’t it? That was live on international television. Thanks so much for that. You know we apologize.
SMITH: “I’m watching two dogs drink out of a glass of ice water, and it’s none of my business why they are still here.”

Way to handle the locals, Shepard.


So I’ve spent the last twenty-four hours watching obsessive amounts of CNN coverage of Katrina’s onslaught on the Gulf Coast. The good news, insofar as there is good news, is that none of the nightmare projections of what could have happened to NOLA appear to have come to pass. There is water in the streets, and there is substantive structural failure, but the levees held, and the worst is just about over.

I haven’t talked with my family in Baton Rouge yet this morning, but the reports from there appear to be pretty good — big-ass storm, but not the kind of devastation that was feared. The CNN reports are just bizarre, though: Anderson Cooper standing out on a pier on the Mississippi, getting the hell blown out of him in order to point out that this crane, right here, has broken free of its moorings and is swinging in the wind, periodically bashing into the pier. And some local numbskulls out walking around, testing the wind, seeing if they can fly.

The best of Anderson’s coverage thus far, though, was an exchange a few minutes ago with the meteorologist in the CNN studio, who was explaining to him why Baton Rouge wasn’t being hit as hard as the cities like Gulfport and Biloxi to the east of the storm’s eye. I was reading blogs at the moment, so I was only half-listening, but it apparently has to do with geometry, as the terms “hypoteneuse” and “Pythagorean theorem” both came up.

I went to sleep last night afraid that my favorite city on the face of the earth was about to be obliterated from it. It now appears that things are bad, but not that bad. My thoughts are with everyone on the Gulf Coast, and with everyone worried about their loved ones there.

[UPDATE, 8.20 am: Just talked to the fam. They’re fine, though they lost power early this morning (so, weirdly, they were asking me for news). The real disappointment here is that this was going to be the first opportunity my stepfather was going to have to use his Y2K generator, but it seems not to be working properly. And if that’s the worst that’s happened, they ought to be okay.]

[UPDATE, 9.19 am: Apparently CNN correspondent John Zarrella was able to go into the French Quarter, shoot a report, and file it with CNN via computer, due to a new technology called FTP! Or, as the anchor has it, “our new FTP technology.” What will they think of next?]