Friday, September 26, 2003

Coupling: the anti-Dawson's Creek

While the critiics have widely given Coupling an "F", I was amused by its exposure of the widespread shallowness of Americans. It actually seemed like the anti-Dawson's Creek. The Creek had young people talking in terms well beyond the average for their age; that was one of the show's most appealing aspects. It did seem unreal when cast against the language of average people the age of the Dawson's crowd. Coupling travels away from the deep angst of the Creek to the selfish level of most people. The undercurrents or subcontexts were obvious. Coupling is a Sienfeld type of directionless, plotless show where the real purpose is to expose the unfeeling nature of people. Sienfeld really is about four people divorced from their fellow humans and unable to recognize it. This is clearly recognized in the final episode where sitting in the jail celll the four of them just do not get it. Their part in humanity is just invisible to them. Coupling is about the same, except sexual encounters are the whole purpose of life. The goal is to point out that the gang on Coupling is no different from the body- and self-obsessed people of America and television.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

The Ten Commandments

The real cost of this whole process of removing Christianity from our public life could be an increasing withdrawl of the Christian community from the American community. In this I look not just to the more active Christian crowd, but the larger silent Christian community.

In larger perspective, the removal of the monument in Alabama is just one tiny piece of a gigantic attack on anything of Western Civilization. As the public culture of the United States separates itself more and more from its past and its roots, what remains may not be something that any one wants to support. We are already viewed by many as a nation of lost sheep. To further cut away our underpinning will only leave Americans looking for more support. Those attacking the roots of our nation may find that they have removed all elements of our past to find that nothing good is there to replace them.

A nation of tolerance is a worthy goal, but can America take tolerating everything at the expense of diminishing what is of value to a majority of its people?

Friday, August 29, 2003

Computer Adjustments

This has been a week of adjustments to new computer programs at the college I work at. It did not go well for most. The new records system does not seem to have been created by people who efficiently want to get the job done. Records are hard to access in the sense that it takes a bunch of clicks and the filling in of three to four blanks to accomplish what one would expect to do in a couple of clicks. The pathways are not those that those of limited computer ability would follow. To make it all worse, following some quick training, the system was expected to work under high pressure get the job done fast, fast, fast conditions. It failed. Under more relaxed conditions I found it worked falwlessly subjec to its ineffcient structure. The result is that by not making it easy for the non-computer folks [not me] it will languish when it could have been a real triumph.

Why do people do things in this backward way? We have come so far in making computers friendly, we emphasize it; then some just go the other way and spoil the work.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

power outages...

I am amazed that things like power outages are connected to political figures. Congressman Dingell pointed out that we had no power outages like the recent one during the Clinton administration. That is the kind of remark that makes it hard for people to generate respect for the political process and political people. People on the networks were also so bent out of shape that Bush was not at the White House for damage control during the outage. If he were there could he have driven to NYC with a flashlight? The engineers are the problem solvers in this. That an engineer in the power system is on the job is a milion times more important than where any of our political fgiures were.

I remember when Clinton came to view the Grand Forks damage from a flood in 1997. Grand Forks could have done something with the money it cost to tranport him and his crowd. Being here was truely useless, except to media people who need a story to be said to be doing their jobs.