Monthly Archives: December 2013

What an interesting 48 hours!

While everyone was fighting with people they barely know on Facebook about something some old guy from a show no one I know watches (it seems Duck Dynasty features neither ducks for anyone from the cast of the 80s nighttime soap!), New Mexico and Utah have both seen gay marriage bans lifted!  So let the religious right continue have their little faux-reality show.  We’re winning!  Priorities, people!

P.S. My own Facebook feed has been rather pleasant because I deleted all the right wing nutjobs following “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” a couple of years ago.  Unfriending is the best thing on the internet.  It’s quick and painless.  If only we could block such people from contacting us in the rest of our lives!

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New Rule

Yesterday I saw a twitter exchange that reminded me of a proposal I’ve been thinking about for quite some time.

On Twitter someone posted something nasty about a celebrity.  Celebrity retweeted it and followers of the celebrity posted slightly less nasty things about the original tweeter.  Then the original tweeter had a pity party about how mean liberals are.  The lack of irony was both hilarious and (stereo)typical.

Which leads me to my proposed new rule.  I’m calling it the “platinum rule” as it serves as a corollary to the “golden rule”.  We should all be familiar with the version of the golden rule found in the Bible where Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”  Okay it’s not a perfect rule since other people may be seriously annoyed if I do things to them that I wouldn’t mind if they do to me.  Everyone has different boundaries, but as general rules go it’s a pretty good one.  The platinum rule goes like this: “You have no right to expect to be treated any better than you treat others.”  It’s kind of the golden rule in reverse.  You can’t tweet nasty things about people and then get your underoos in a twist when someone smacks you in a similar fashion.  Except that people do it all the time.  I think we need to call them on it.  If you wanted to be treated with respect, then you have to give respect to everyone.  Otherwise, quite your bitchin’.

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My comment about last night’s The Sound of Music

My cable and internet were down for several hours last night, so I didn’t watch NBC’s production of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood.  I will, therefore, not comment on any particular performance.  My comment is people’s outrage that anyone would do a new version of the musical.  As much as I enjoy the film version of this show, it’s not the original version.  The film was rewritten to showcase Julie Andrews just as the stage musical had been written to showcase the talents of Mary Martin.  The “Lonely Goatherd” number is only there because Martin had taken yodeling lessons as a youngster. Most live versions I have seen have been a mash-up of both versions and this seems to be common because the orchestrations of all the songs, even songs that appear in only the stage or film versions originally, are available in both the soprano and mezzo keys.

What bothers me, aside from the obvious ignorance on my twitter feed that this show exists outside the film version, is the idea that only Julie Andrews could perform the role of Maria.  Having seen some fine stage productions of this show, I can inform you that as good as Andrews was in this role, she is not the only performer who sang and acting the crap out of it. I wish they had cast someone with more singing and acting training that Ms. Underwood, but clearly they were shooting for a younger audience who wouldn’t know the Broadway stars who would have knocked this out of the park.  I will say that singers who want to act should take serious acting training and then take small roles in very good productions to gain some experience.  Underwood had never so much been in a high school play so anything short of a disaster is probably amazing under the circumstances.  it’s not too late to undo the damage.  Mariah Carey seems to have learned from the mistake of her ill-fated Glitter project and now takes small but showy parts in movies like Precious and The Butler. I don’t know if Carey took acting classes or coachings prior to those parts but it wouldn’t surprise me as she gave solid performances in both that any actor would have been proud of.

I think live performances of musicals and plays on TV is a great idea.  I’d like to see more of them.  From the controversy over this one it seems people watched.  Perhaps next time they should pick a popular show without such an iconic film version.  And find people who have experience both as singers and actors.  But chastising NBC for doing it at all gives me the sadz.  No play, musical or opera should be frozen forever in a single performance.  To suggest so negates the entire point of live theater and music.  There can be no definitive Sound of Music any more than there can be a definitive performance of Swan Lake, La Boheme or Death of a Salesman.  If that is so, we should just quit now and stay home and watch DVDs.  No.  I look forward to fresh takes on classical material and will continue to do so.

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A few comments about humor

Today I witnessed an unfortunately exchange.  In an effort to learn from what an awkward moment I have codified a few rules that I plan to follow so I do not come off like a person who shall remain nameless.

1. If you say something and no one laughs, it wasn’t a joke.  Jokes are funny.  When something is funny, people laugh.  Therefore, if there is no laughter it wasn’t a joke.  It was just an obnoxious comment. 

2. Explaining a joke has never made it funny.  In fact explaining the joke almost always makes it unfunny.  (Exception: Louis CK once explained to Jon Stewart why fart jokes are funny.  The explanation was hilarious.  There’s always an exception.  If you think you are the exception, please see rule #1.)

3. When someone is offended by your joke, telling it again and/or explaining why it is funny is probably a bad idea.  This is even more true if people like the person who was offended and aren’t that fond of you.  When in doubt, assume this is the case.  Apologizing may or may not be necessary.  Sometimes it’s best to drop it and hope the offended person forgets about it.  Retelling the offensive “joke” will probably make things worse.

4. Doing any of this in a situation where you have authority over others makes you a jerk. 

5. Doing any of this moments before you are asking people to evaluate your effectiveness as a boss or a teacher is stupid and/or crazy.

I didn’t really need to learn this lesson.  I would never stand in front of people and tell a joke involving religion.  I am not stupid or crazy.  Well not stupid anyway.

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