Open Thread for September 4, 2009

We’re not even taking Labor Day off, that’s how much we care.

We’re not even taking Labor Day off, that’s how much we care. (Well, I’m taking the week off and heading to Vegas. But the crew will keep the site going in my absence. If you notice a marked improvement in the quality of the site, that’s why.)

We’re sitting in a strange annual plateau in the pop culture landscape. Summer movies and TV have, by and large, wrapped up, and fall has not yet brought its cavalcade of new television and Oscar-bait. The Grammy deadline is past, so every big album that was likely to drop has dropped.

So how are you keeping yourselves entertained? What are you looking forward to? Glee? House in rehab? Hillary Duff on Gossip Girl? Downey as Sherlock Holmes? Putting the iPod on shuffle and laying in the sun for one final glorious weekend?

In honor of Labor Day, here’s a short video of Mike Rowe (of television’s Dirty Jobs), talking about the value of hard work and its unconscionable degradation in our popular entertainment.

4 Comments on “Open Thread for September 4, 2009”

  1. Gab #

    Well, the Daytime Emmys were this past Sunday, and for the second year in a row, “Cash Cab” won best gameshow, beating “Jeopardy” and “Millionaire.” I think that’s kind of a big deal, considering “Wheel” wasn’t even nominated, nor “The Price is Right,” a classic, gone downhill since the host change; and “Deal or No Deal,” a big, flashy event/spectacle show that probably costs multiples times more to produce than “Cash Cab.” And Oprah didn’t even get nominated for best talk show OR host; but from what I have seen of the talk shows nominated, the winners in talk show-related categories seemed like good choices. Granted, I don’t watch soap operas, but it sort of makes me wonder if the Daytime Emmys are less politicky/corporatized/whatever than the Oscars or Grammys. Did the winning soaps and actors deserve it?

    Oh, Labor Day. It’s an excuse to have a barbecue/day off now. Your average Joe doesn’t think of it as intended for celebrating the workers that make the economy and civilized society possible- even those meant to be celebrated. Bless Mike for his “war” theory. It’s very, very true. It relates directly to how it’s hip and cool to wear a John Deere shirt and tattered jeans to Starbux, but how one would never “dream” of driving a tractor or working so hard they tear holes like that daily to make a living.


  2. sean #

    i agree with both mike and gab, and i think this all stems from our societal obsession with college education. it is conventional wisdom that the goal of a middle class child is to go to college to get a degree which will allow them to climb up the social ladder to the next income bracket. we haven’t forgotten all of the great, steady jobs that pay the bills and created the middle class, but we now look down on them, as not good enough for our precious trophy-children.
    in addition, there is a large subsection of people who are just not suited for a traditional liberal education. That doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t smart. they are good with their hands or have a talent for spatial reasoning that would make them fantastic carpenters or electricians, but because our culture views attending a trade school as a failure, they instead struggle through a college degree that they don’t really want. There should be a greater emphasis, and a reduced stigma, on both trade schools and associates degrees. i find it very hard to justify forcing a kid who really just wants to be an electrical engineer to study medieval poetry. a liberal arts degree is a great thing, but it’s not for everyone, and i believe it is unfair to make everyone who wants to earn a reasonable salary undergo one.


  3. Gab #

    Nicely put, Sean. I feel compelled to add to it that since our society puts so much emphasis on college education, it should literally put its money where its mouth is and help fund that education.


  4. Trevor #

    I’m looking forward to “the Beatles RockBand” video game, in no small part because (shameless plug time) I wrote a related article and sent it off to here for possibly publication, please pretty please editors (end of shameless plug time). I gotta keep my kids fed somehow, right?

    On a lighter note, the dawn of fall TV’s lineups allows us all a glimpse into whatever people at the networks think will keep us from our iPods and Blackberrys and internets and nail our butts to the couch for endless hours of entertainment. The only thing that’s new that looks good is “Community”. Joel McHale and Chevy Chase in a sitcom setting does not necessarily say “ratings giant,” but I trust it to be perhaps a longer-lived “Arrested Development” or “Newsradio” in that it promises to be quirky and oddball for something that would be on a major network’s big schedule.


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