Thursday, November 22, 2007

Things for Which Todd Seavey Is Thankful


…not to a non-existent God, mind you, but to the purely material circumstances that led to these things, in deterministic fashion (since I don’t believe in free will either, in the strict philosophical sense of the phrase):

•Talented British r&b singer Amy Winehouse is not yet dead or in prison, against all odds, though “You Know [she's] No Good.”

•Another childhood memory is about to be remade, but this time it’s being done with the utter disrespect it deserves — yes, I speak of the impending deliberately low-budget and self-parodic production of Land of the Lost.

•I am also grateful to Sid and Marty Krofft, producers of the original TV series, for inspiring a day-long retrospective of their oddly psychedelic early-70s kids shows (such as Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and H.R. Pufnstuf) on Nickelodeon about a decade ago that at one point featured the Nickelodeon announcer calmly intoning “We’ll be right back with more of the what-is-this, what’s-happening, where-am-I Sid and Marty Krofft marathon.”

•I must confess I am less grateful for the end credits song to the Krofft show Lidsville, which is perhaps the worst song I have ever heard (note that I refer to the song heard in the second half of this short clip, not the merely-vapid opening song) — so bad that, as a few things do, it makes me shudder and feel almost dizzy for a moment when I think about it (by contrast, the theme song for one season of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is a triumph worthy of the Monkees).

•But even Lidsville has made one important, indirect, contribution to popular culture for which I am grateful: a clip from the show of Charles Nelson Reilly piloting his magic flying tophat was used in my favorite episode of Millennium, an uncharacteristically  comedic episode in which Reilly played a character (embroiled in an investigation of a serial killer who was an adherent of Selfosophy, a parody of Scientology) who at one point reminisced about his days making “avant-garde films” (i.e., Lidsville).  The same character appeared in my favorite X-Files episode (by the same writer), Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space”, itself a psychedelic and Rashomon-like, multi-layered, and funny episode (memorably featuring Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura as Men in Black who merely “looked” like Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura) — an episode that in retrospect revealed more about the alien conspiracy to us than any prior one had.  (But for an explanation of the entire conspiracy, all nine seasons, see the obsessively long footnote I wrote about it.)

•And speaking of UFOs: We all knew that special effects would someday make it possible to make fake things look perfectly real — but one ironic side effect, it’s recently occurred to me, is that even if something real and paranormal were videotaped now (not that I believe such things exist), we’d never be able to be sure it wasn’t fake.  I mean, if flying saucers were visiting, how much more convincing would the footage likely look than this Haiti clip (can you spot the two saucer-like objects)?  I am thankful, though, for skepticism about such things.

•I am also thankful that pop culture’s current tone of vicious irony can, on at least some occasions, act as a valuable stand-in for traditional standards.

•By contrast, I watched about five minutes of TMZ, the new show with a mix of amateur and professional footage of Hollywood misbehavior, and I don’t know that anything I’ve ever seen made me feel degraded faster.  It takes only a few minutes of that show before you see something that makes you think either “Why aren’t they arresting that person?” or “How can she still have a career after that?” or “When will the looting end?” or possibly all of those things at the same time.  It’s like watching civilization melt away into chaos and slap-fights right before your eyes, underscoring how thin the veil of order truly is.  TMZ may be the Cops of the twenty-first century.

•I am grateful, though, for the twenty-third century (as depicted by Star Trek).  I am, however, alarmed by the fact that I am so old now that even Spock’s mom, scheduled to be played by Winona Ryder in next year’s relaunch movie, is younger than I am.  She’s also hotter than the mothers of John McCain and even Lefty Leibowitz (noted in Tuesday’s entry), come to think of it.

•Obviously, and perhaps most of all (aside from my friends and family), I am grateful for the existence of capitalism (especially when it is unfettered by useless, counterproductive regulations and taxes), since it creates so much abundance that there are niche markets for things you never would have imagined.  Enjoy.


Lefty Leibowitz said...

I’m thankful that my mom has now been mentioned twice in rapid succession on the great!

Seriously, I’ll be glad to set you guys up on a date, provided your intentions are honorable. I think you’d make a great step-dad.

Ken Silber said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Todd. Count me in for some future debate where I get to argue against strict determinism.

Todd Seavey said...

And come to think of it, Lefty looks a little like Spock — coincidence? Or do fabulous babes birth Vulcans?