03/12/23 Dumbing down the news
03/12/22 Science-fiction TV
03/12/19 I'm alive
I can't believe how stupid the news over here is becoming. And I don't mean the low-threshold-local-news programs that the commercial TV stations are broadcasting. I mean the "we're an institution" eight o'clock news on the public network. Two of last night's main topics: free Christmas dinners for the lonely and elderly, and the aftermath of the river floods some time ago in the Dutch town of Wilnis (as far as I can remember there were no casualties but there was damage - which the government is supposed to pay for, of course). The way the weather was presented would have fitted right in with "outside conditions for dummies". On tonight's six o'clock news: large traffic jams on the entry roads to some little town in the middle of nowhere that's apparently the main outlet for Christmas turkeys. (Christmas turkeys! Where the hell did that come from? Nobody ever had turkey over here when I grew up.)
All ranting aside - I'm appalled, really. I can't believe there's not anything newsworthy going on elsewhere. Keep this up, and we'll be the dumbest nation on the planet.
More Dutch politics and current events:
Dutch politics in 2003
For the past two or three days I've been watching a couple of episodes a day of the first season of science-fiction TV-series Babylon 5 on DVD (I've never been a gadgets kind of person, my TV is about twenty-five years old and I've never owned a VCR, but I love DVDs). I've bought the first three seasons on DVD, and it crossed my mind that renting or buying DVDs seems to be the only way of getting to see science-fiction TV-series that aren't part of the Star Trek franchise.
Over here in the Netherlands we do get to see series like Babylon 5 and Farscape, but they're broadcast by the commercial stations who seem to consider them filler material. This means that they're on when few members of their possible audience are likely to watch TV (Farscape at 16:00 on Sunday afternoon, Babylon 5 used to be on Saturday or Sunday afternoon as well), they're given no publicity whatsoever, you'll get a couple of episodes in the original order and then they'll start over or skip to another point in the series, and broadcasts are moved to a different time of the week or discontinued altogether without notice. Trying to follow any of these series on TV is an exercise in frustration.
On the other hand, not a week seems to pass without any Star Trek at a fairly reasonable hour on one of the Dutch channels. The reruns of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager are so frequent that every Dutch citizen in possession of a TV and a remote control must have zapped past every single episode at least three times.
I don't get it. I loved the original Star Trek (but, then again, I was at an impressionable age when I first watched it), I kind of liked Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but with the new series (with that guy from Quantum Leap, I'll have to look up the title so I can be sure to avoid it) they've been moving on from mediocre to unwatchable. In terms of ambition level, originality and new ideas series like Babylon 5 and Farscape run circles around anything that Star Trek has done lately.
So, if there's a market for science-fiction over here, why is Star Trek allowed to monopolise it? Why aren't the commercial networks trying to use their acquisitions to try and compete and draw an audience? If, on the other hand, the market isn't there, why all the Star Trek, and why bother with any of the other series in the first place?
In the unlikely case that you were worried because this site has been off-line for some time - no, I haven't suddenly died or anything as serious as that. I'm not sure what went wrong, but in the beginning of December my previous webhost decided (without telling me anything) to delete this site from their servers. Since I was on a hiatus it took me some time to become aware of the situation, but I've now changed hosting companies and all is well with the world again.
And here's everything I've been saving for you, in no particular order...
Metafilter: decrypt and enjoy
The Gnostic society library
The standard deviations of writing
Rewriting as a learned art
Museum of talking boards
James G. Mundie: Prodigies
Guardian: At home with the Führer
The cat in the (officially licensed) hat
Metafilter: Jorn Barger missing
Metafilter: The slow death of American slavery
Chanpon: multicultural Japan on-line
Everything in moderation
Reasonably clever's LEGO tarot
Bookblog: The gender genie
Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers
Why paint cats
On this page Transitional HTML 4.01 and CSS 1 are used. If you're seeing this text you either have CSS switched off in your browser, or you're using a browser that can't handle CSS. If you're using an older browser version, you might want to consider upgrading.