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TV Review: “Mixed-ish” and Tribalism in American Culture

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.  He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for his decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold his deliberate decision. — John Stuart Mill – On Liberty

When I need to forget about life’s responsibilities for a time, I will watch with my wife some of the sitcoms she enjoys. Blackish, a widely acclaimed show focused upon the foibles and mishaps of trying to stay in tune with American black culture, has spawned the prequel Mixed-ish. Here we are taken back to the childhood of mixed-race Rainbow (or just “Bow,” the wife on Blackish) who started life in an idyllic commune, where supposedly race (among many other distinctions) was completely ignored. This wondrous paradise (with no flushing toilets?) was abruptly ended by an FBI raid, for undisclosed violations.

Dave Chappelle’s All-American Anti-PC Heresies Vs. Ramy Youssef’s Woke-Intersectional-Islamist Cousin-Loving

Check out my new article on Islamist entertainment at The Daily Wire

I had a new article published yesterday at The Daily Wire. I compare and contrast the comedy specials of two American Muslims, and Ramy Youssef, coming down very hard against the latter:

Among the fascinating phenomena of America’s most prominent Muslim activist organizations is how they decide which Muslims to lift up and which to ignore. Compare two recent comedy specials. One, Dave Chappelle’s newest Netflix special “Sticks & Stones,” which is generating intense reactions given its choice of material — including abortion, #MeToo, Transgenderism, “the alphabet people” (referring to the expanding acronym LGBTQIA+), and the implications of the “cancel culture,” which seeks to silence all who do not adhere to the “woke” doctrines of political correctness.

Thinking about this hilariously offensive special brought to mind another recent comedy special that challenged different cultural taboos: Millennial Ramy Youssef’s “Feelings,” released on HBO on June 29.

Why ‘Stranger Things’ Is So Wonderful

The third season of Netflix’s 80s nostalgia fest delivers again with an emotionally-gripping entertainment that harkens back to a less cynical age.

Why I Still Hate Game of Thrones But Love Rick And Morty

So tonight is finally the beginning of the end for one of the most overrated TV shows of all time.

When Short Shows Beat Movies for Short Stories

There has been a long trend of moving books to the big screen. We’re out of best-selling books that will sell well in movie theaters, so we’re mining short stories for movies instead. To me, it is rare that the two hour movie based on a short story is both good as a work in its own right and a faithful representation of the material. “Predestination,” based on the short story “All You Zombies,” stands out as unusual for adding another layer to the original story, providing rich depth to a short story by extending it to a movie, and creating a novel ending that doesn’t throw the original one out with the bathwater. This exception, however, proves the rule that when you have a short story, it is best left to a half hour or hour long episode instead of stretched out into a movie.

Which Is Better? “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” Vs “Charmed”

I’m aware of the “Charmed” reboot due out October 14. They had the option of jumping forward in time to have the three sisters raising two teen boys paralleling the precedent set by “Fuller House” and decided, nope, reboot with “more diverse” demographics instead. That’s Hollywood’s definition of new and improved today.

Choose Life: On Roseanne’s Racism, Samatha Bee’s Vulgarity, and Trainspotting’s Truth

Which is worse? A comedian calling a black woman an ape or a comedian calling a white woman a c—?

In the wake of the cancellation of the rebooted Roseanne sitcom for its star’s tweet comparing Obama administration consigliere Valerie Jarrett to a character from Planet of the Apes, many of the show’s defenders employed one of today’s most common rhetorical weapons: whataboutism, a logical fallacy aptly described by Wikipedia and linked to Russian disinformation efforts throughout the 20th century.

When Dad Dies in Disgrace

Like a lot of people my age, I was first introduced to Bill Cosby on vinyl LPs.  My father shared his love of Cosby’s comedy with me, and he delighted in watching me discover some of Cosby’s classic bits like “The Chicken Heart that Ate New York City” and his sketches about a dubious Noah trying to understand what God is saying to him. “What’s a cubit?”

For me, Cosby was part of my awakening to, well, the stupidity of racism: watching him on Johnny Carson in the early ’70s when I lived in Tampa, Florida (then struggling with the forced integration of their schools), and hearing my new friends laughing at Cosby’s jokes while they said to one another “That n—–’s funny as hell.”  While I could only stare at them and wonder Why would anyone call this smart, decent guy that word?

 

Roseanne: The Ultimate Reality Show

What is the secret to the success of the rebooted sitcom?

Obviously in a strict sense Roseanne is not a reality show – the Connor family is fictional.  It does portray the foibles of working class life humorously and accurately, but that does not set it apart from the myriad of other good sitcoms. What garnered 18 million viewers, generated a cultural phenomenon, and has set the left’s hair on fire is Roseanne’s and Dan’s clear-eyed view of the world as it actually exists, and their anticipation of unintended consequences.