Monday, August 31, 2009
Here the Tribune's Glen Warchol cites my Kennedy story from Utah Policy. He wrote that my Hatch/Kennedy tribute was better than Hatch's Hatch/Kennedy tribute in Politico. Sorry, OGH.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
However, the show's still generally above average and I still watch episodes of it on Hulu when they come out.
"The Office" was (oh man, already using past tense) a gentler, warmer version of Mike Judge's minimalist opus "Office Space," sympathetically portraying the ennui of a life without meaningful challenges and comfortable tedium. The show is broadly popular with critics and a mainstream audience. Its ratings have increased every year, and it's the only non-NFL-related show on NBC in the Nielsen Top 20, which suggests it's going to be on air for a while to come, even though everybody knows it'll never be as good as when the Pam-Jim sexual tension was at its peak. (Dare I say "climax"?)
But the one thing that bugs me about "The Office" is people who say they only like the U.K. version. "Oh 'The Office' is good, but the British one is much better." or "Yeah I like 'The Office' -- you mean the original one, right?" (Here Entertainment Weekly says that the British version is the 17th best TV show of the last 25 years, but the US version is only the 61st best --- so erudite!)
People who take television seriously like feeling elitist about it. They like to feel like they've found something rare and precious, and that's an indication of their intelligence. This is one reason hard core Star Trek fans will say they prefer the original series to "Next Generation" -- "Next Gen" was more popular, ergo, they cannot be elitist about it.
People who say they prefer the British "Office" are doing the same thing. They're trying to say "I'm trendy, but in a non-conformist way."
Thursday, August 27, 2009
With the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy this week, I wanted to share my one Kennedy anecdote from when I worked in the U.S. Senate.
In December 2006, I got called in to photograph a meeting between Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Kennedy from Massachusetts. The two were discussing health care policy, and Hatch complimented Massachusetts for trying to come up with a health care reform proposal, and commented that Mitt Romney was doing a good job as Governor.
Kennedy kind of rolled his eyes, and Hatch joked, "Just be sure you don't start up with that anti-Mormonism stuff against Romney again!" Kennedy scoffed and said, "Anti-Mormonism! You call Mitt and ask him who got the spire put on your Boston Temple. Thanks to me, half of Western Massachusetts can see the archangel Gabriel all lit up at night."
Hatch replied, "It's angel Moroni, Ted, how many times do I have to tell you?" And one of Kennedy's staff members joked, "Oh no, Senator, you're going to get another Book of Mormon for Christmas."