Skip to comments.Coming Soon to TV Near You!
Posted on 01/20/2009 1:52:24 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
Notice how the screen writers for TV like a pack of pigeons on a handful of popcorn kernels? One finds brief success. The others hurry to claim a part of it. A few years ago CSI succeeded. Suddenly the TVs were full of dead people shows (as we call them with guilty pleasure).
Now, another shift has occurred. In the new wave of dead people shows, the heros and heroines are solving crimes with their minds, not microscopes and chemistry sets. These involve intuitive leaps while the camera is tight on the eyes of the star. Think of all those spaghetti westerns by Sergio Leone with interminable shots of Clint Eastwoods brooding brow.
The lady enters the thinkers office. He observes her in detail. Then he says, You are an unmarried lady who lives in Brighton. Your brother is in the Navy. Oops. That was long before TV. That was the beginning of an Arthur Conan Doyle story about Sherlock Holmes. One more proof that nothing is ever new. It is just presented as new by someone whos counting on cultural ignorance among the audience.
But we are about to witness a new super hero. Hes not here yet, but he will appear, and will dominate your TV sets for the next few years.
The title is The Pencil Pusher. Its about an accountant. I know that sounds crashingly dull, but bear with me. I add that it does not apply to the two CPAs who have worked with me for forty years. First Ben Coburn and now Curtis Mathews are both smart, well-educated and funny, no match for the stodgy image of accountants generally.
With that said, our hero is by day a mild-mannered accountant in Des Moines, doing the books of bowling alleys and cab drivers, but by night he becomes Forensic Accountant, tracking down the ocean of money that will shortly flow in even greater measure than ever before in American history. The new tide that will flow in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act is set at $825 billion of your grandchildrens money.
It is sure to grow to over a trillion dollars. And it will be our grandchildren will have to pay the debts, if they can. Or otherwise send the nation into real bankruptcy. As you have guessed, this is not an entertainment program, but a series of news programs. Since Roone Arledge (remember him?) because of ABCs Wide World of Sports (remember it?) was given the helm of ABC News the line between news and entertainment as disappeared..
The veteran newsmen at ABC threatened to quit. Then they accepted the next Fridays paycheck, and hard news turned forever into happy news. But occasionally, an issue is large enough to break through and got covered. Here is the math:
The general level of waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs is about 7%. The waste increases to the extent that the people who get the money have no obligation to pay some of the costs. And to the number of political hands that the money goes through on its way from Washington to Peoria. And the size of the money pile that started the trip.
To understand the Iron Law of Shrinking Taxpayer Dollars, consider going to the Potomac River at night and taking away a quart of water. Who will even know its gone? From a starting number of nearly a trillion dollars, stealing a half million here and there is like that quart of water. You have to be dumb as a hoe handle to get caught.
But to find the smart crooks, to follow the money from where it began to where it disappeared in the dry sands of greed, will require an army of forensic accountants. At the low percentage and the smallest total, at least $5 billion is about to disappear.
The survivors in the shrinking print media, cannot do the job. If financial sanity is to be applied in the next four years, the cable news channels, aided by the best people on the Internet, will have to become, paradoxically, the Pencil Pushers. You may not like what you see, but do watch it, and learn from it, lest our nation die of second-most common cause of national collapse, simple bankruptcy.
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About the Author: John Armor practiced law in the Supreme Court for 33 years. He now lives on the Eastern Continental Divide in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
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John / Billybob
I’ve noticed the recent proliferation of TV shows and movies glorifying mixed racial families and non-traditional lifestyles at the expense of all the old fuddy-duddy shows sporting traditional values. That’s a bit disturbing.
I’ve also noticed in recent years that anything goes as long as the participants all feel good about themselves at the end of the program.
Maybe I can get a TV show. I see stupiid people everywhere!
Notice USA channel’s “character pledge” commercials. Looks like a typical lefty political/PSA commercial, but supposedly “calibrating” diversity. A real shame because USA channel does have some good shows now.
“The general level of waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs is about 7%.”
This I believe was the immediate reason in ‘93 we instantly became riled about Hillarycare. Not so much the program itself although of course we were upset about that as well, but the audacity of the Clintons’ targeting for theft all that money right in front of our faces was our priority anger.
So do I. They are getting to the level that they rival the numbers of stupid people.
One of my favorite interview was with a crusty old New York City homicide detective and a so called “profiler.” The profiler could not name a single crime that profiling had helped solve, and the old cop said “crimes get solved with legwork and following leads.”
Yes..I’m huked on fonix..
“Notice how the screen writers for TV like a pack of pigeons on a handful of popcorn kernels? One finds brief success. The others hurry to claim a part of it.”
Entertainment types are lazy. You think comic book movies are everywhere because the audience is clamoring for them? No. Not that their audience has dried up, obviously. My feeling is audiences will show up for any variety of pleasing genres, comics included. These movies are simply everywhere right now because the original X-Men made money, then Spider-Man made loads of money. Any time someone finds a way to make money, others will jump on board.
Ever notice how game shows looked before Who Wants to Be a Millionaire showed up? You can still see the classic game show set in shows that pre-existed Millionaire, like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. For some reason, once Millionaire revived the genre for primetime, every game show had a host with metallic suits, ominously dramatic music, warehouse-like sets with moving lights, etc.
Smae thing with Survivor. Not only did it’s success launch a billion reality game shows, it launched a billion smarmy hosts with open-collared shirts and shell necklaces, a billion shows where one person gets voted off per week, a billion hours of television padded with shots of nature that vaguely enhance our understanding of the plots by metaphor.
Like I said, entertainment types are lazy.
Martin L. Gross has been covering this stuff for years, yet here we still are making the same old mess worse.
Kudos for the reference to Sherlock Holmes. “Monk”, “Psych” and the better characters in the forensic shows owe it all to the original mack-daddy of cluefulness. Well - Poe’s detective in “The Gold Bug” predates, but that was a one-shot.
The genre is indeed jumping the shark now, what with Zen-enlightened detective (”Life”), Algorithm detective (”Numb3rs”), Actual Psychic detective (”The Mentalist”) and Human Polygraph (”Lie To Me”). It’s only a matter of time until we see a guy sip urine samples and report on the contributors’ lifestyles.
Don’t know about you folks but I’m ready for a Western resurgence. Preferably before electricity is rationed.