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« American Art, All Wild and Wooly | Main | Hudson River School, Part II »

December 11, 2002

PBS Responses

Friedrich --

As you remember, a few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be the first blog linked to by the great Arts & Letters Daily, for a posting griping about how boring PBS documentaries can be. What an honor! And what a treat, too: we got as much traffic over the next 3 days as we usually get over the course of about 25 days.

A number of visitors emailed to let us know what they thought of the posting; amazingly, an email or two on the subject is still coming in every few days. But I thought now would be a good time to go back and sum up the response.

A total of 64 emails so far.

Pro-2Blowhards or anti-PBS: 51.

Pro-PBS or anti-2Blowhards: 5.

Miscellaneous: 8.

Feelin’ good! [Dances end-zone victory dance.]

A few comments from the badly outnumbered pro-PBS or anti-2Blowhards faction:

  • At the risk of being labelled by you as some kind of PC ex hippie or the like, I confess to not watching any of the sitcom rubbish churned out by the commercial interests of the US TV industry, and to being a great fan of Ken Burns, and PBS in general.

  • The essay seemed like it was written by an 11th grader who procrastinated too long, and had to finish the 8 page essay before bedtime.

  • I am one of the silent army of PBS viewers who stick with it all, good and bad, because the commercial alternatives are so horrible. Better any amount (well, almost any) of guitar twanging and sepia photos ... than 2 minutes of the Network Horror being shown at the same time.

  • Sorry you were bored, but mayhaps you care not for education, information, or learning in general? Unless it's presented with flashy/speedy/graphics or other computer-generated illusions? PBS is the only channel TV worth watching.
    (This woman’s email signature included a quote from Gandhi)

  • As a matter of fact, I do enjoy the pace's contrast to commercial TV's rat-a-tat-tat. Also, I can putter on my computer and housework without missing much if I step away from the program.

Some comments from the triumphant anti-PBS or pro-2Blowhards faction:

  • They have certainly lost their former hard-core audience, who have fled in disgust from their PBS channels for better fare elsewhere - and it is not difficult to find. At the same time, they have not attracted new audiences simply because their programs are BAD, and no one wants to watch bad and boring programs.

  • I saw this show (the documentary about Stephen Foster we were griping about) quite some time ago. I was amazed at how they got away with running interminable shots of windows and mirrors.

  • Thank you for voicing an opinion many of us keep quietly to ourselves. 

  • I thought I was the only one who thought the same way. I haven't been able to watch any of those documentaries on PBS for years,

  • I have felt that way about PBS for years, but I thought the problem was me. They are so damn earnest, dull, pc and prissy. They are the incarnation of all the worst stereotypes of intellectuals.

The Miscellanous crowd was eager to do a variety of things, especially call attention to web sites and swap history-book reading suggestions. One visitor wrote in to ask for career advice -- from me! The self-described “media flunky”! A couple of creationists did their best to rope me in. And two readers wrote to scold me for the way I refer in print to my spouse. An excerpt:
"The Wife"????!!!! Shame on you. I didn't bother to read any further.



posted by Michael at December 11, 2002


They "didn't bother to read any further," but they did take the time to email you. Oh, that makes sense.

Posted by: Andrea Harris on December 11, 2002 10:06 PM

In regards to those offended by "the wife" remark, I wonder how they would react to the term I sometimes use, "Female Unit." And, no, we don't have sensor rings, but I have tried drinking an entire six pack at once. Which reminds me, two of the many endearments my wife uses for me are "Homer" and "the hubby," both of which I like. I wonder how your two offendees would view those not entirely pc labels. Doh!

Posted by: Yahmdallah on December 12, 2002 10:56 AM

When I got the messages criticizing my use of "The Wife," I worriedly consulted with her. She giggled merrily, told me not to worry, and reminded me that she enjoys referring to me as "The Hubster." Married couples can be so embarassing.

Hmm, I'm thinking about the two people who didn't like "The Wife"... Imagine being married to someone who polices your vocubulary that aggressively. Yikes.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on December 12, 2002 11:23 AM

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