Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I now own this domain name for my forthcoming book: Joss Whedon, a Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers.

Try it and you'll see: jossacreativeportrait.com

I will turn in the final manuscript to Tauris tomorrow. Yeah!

Table Tennis

One of the pleasures of watching the Olympics has always been for me the opportunity to watch me some table tennis--the only sport I have ever been any good at.

I have been known to tell the story of how I once beat a Gold Medal Winner at the game, which I did, Clarion State's great Olympic champion wrestler Wade Schalles. (On the mat, of course, he would have kicked my ass.)

Here's a YouTube video about the sport at the London games.

And this fellow Gump shows a lot of potential at the game.

Essay of the Day, 7/31/12: "Infinite Impossibilities"

“Infinite Impossibilities?” Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (March 2011)

This meditation, largely concerned with Fringe, was inspired by Tim Pratt's short story "Impossible Dreams."

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Say hello to my little friend": "Scarface" on "Breaking Bad" and AMC

So on Breaking Bad last night Walt and Walt Jr. watch Brian DePalma's execrable Scarface.

Walt Jr. is intent on showing his dad the infamous "Say hello to my little friend!" [a machine gun] moment, and it happens just as the-coming-apart-at-the-seams Skyler . . .
"Shut up!" "Shut up!" "Shut up!" "Shut up!" "Shut up!"
. . . who looks on in horror as Tony Montana (Al Pacino) guns down his enemies.

Here's the odd thing: the channel that airs Bad, AMC, is promoting an upcoming "Mob Week" (hosted by Anthony Bourdain???--last year's host was Rudy Guliani!!!), and Bad's diegetic airing of the Scarface clip was followed by an extradiegetic "Mob Week" airing of "Say hello to my little friend."

Essay of the Day, 7/30/12: "What’s My Motivation?: The Method Goes Fantastic in Television Acting"

"What’s My Motivation?: The Method Goes Fantastic in Television Acting." Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (March 2011)

What are the challenges of acting in "fantastic" television series? That was my subject in this Telegenic.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Branagh as Brunel

I did not realize till I read about it on BuzzFeed that the ubiquitous fellow Kenneth Branagh played in the Olympic opening ceremony last night was supposed to be Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the engineer the university I taught at in the UK (2006-2008) was named after. 

"The Conversion: How, When, and Why Mitt Romney Changed His Mind on Abortion"

An interesting--and revealing--piece by William Saletan in Slate.

Take note that he quotes Judy Dushku, the mother of School of Whedoner Eliza Dushku (Buffy, Dollhouse).

Jana Reiss's What Would Buffy Do includes an interview with Eliza.

Captain America for the Birthday Boy Quinn

The joy of giving!


The New Yorker's spot-on Romney caricature (accompanying a Borowitz Reports).

Essay of the Day, 7/28/12: "Sarah Palin Meets 'Seinfeld'"

“Sarah Palin Meets Seinfeld: Politics and American Television.” Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (November 2010)

Another Telegenic (available here) inspired by the former GOP VP candidate's Seinfeld reference.

Friday, July 27, 2012

London Olympics Opening Ceremony

Mary Poppinses vs. Voldemort . . . cool.

James Bond and the Queen parachuting into the stadium . . . Astonishing.

But a musical tribute to NHS . . .WTF?


HuffPo collected some of the best Tweets.

Here are some favorites:

Mitt Romney retroactively cancels visit to London.

This is all just a scene from "In the Loop," right?

This is what happens when you send Mitt Romney to a place where the trees aren't the right height.

Mitt has proven that only his money is fit to leave the US.

The trip was meant to make him look presidential . . .  it made him look like Mr. Bean.

I'm not usually a Sasha Baron Cohen, but this new character he's playing. "Mitt Romney," is hilarious.

Andrew Sullivan on "The Dark Knight Rises"

A post today on The Dish:

The One Who Got Away

Tom Hardy says he experimented with gay sex. There are rumors that he played Bane in the latest Batman movie. I have to say: I couldn't tell. And couldn't understand almost anything he said. What a steaming pile of crap that movie was.

A "Conan" Title

Are You There, God? It's Me, A Narcissistic Jerk Who Thinks He Can Talk to God.

"Chick-Fil-A's Anti-Gay Marriage Announcement"

Hilarious Colbert commentary on Chick Fil-A's repugnant anti-gay stance (clip below). He quoted Santorum's support of it (see Tweets below), including a lovely image of Rick.

Of course Stephen noted that the sauce Santorum's family loves is a "frothy mix."

Heard on NPR

A newsreader on NPR just spoke of a journalist who was "Turkey-based."

But I heard it as "turkey-basted." 

"Chris Nolan’s Favorite Shot, and What It Means"

Forrest Wickman contemplates "the roll, a camera movement in which the camera does a barrel roll turning everything in view on its side, or—if it keeps turning—upside-down" in the work of the Memento/Batman/Inception director.

Jane Espenson on Joss Whedon as Superman

If you’re running a footrace against someone and a person gets across the line just ahead of you, you might get jealous. But if they’re like 600 yards ahead, you can’t get jealous. I was so in awe of what Joss could do that all I could do was marvel. Nobody’s jealous of Superman. You just gape.–Jane Espenson

Quoted by Adam Rogers in “With The Avengers Joss Whedon Masters the Marvel Universe”)

Essay of the Day, 7/27/12: "The Ephebe of Television"

“The Ephebe of Television.” Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (October 2010).

If Harold Bloom were dead, he would be rolling over in his grave. This substantial essay attempts to apply Bloom's influence theory across media and, in particular, to the small screen.

You can find it here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bryan Cranston, Lego Meth Super Lab

Conan had "Walter White" on recently. Conan showed Cranston this: an amazing Lego version of Breaking Bad's meth super lab.

More images here. (Tip of the hat to Jeff Frame.)

Here's part of the interview.


"In Bruges"

Finally saw this after many recommendations I should.

Exemplary. An unusual contribution to the gangster genre. Wonderful performances by Fiennes, Gleason, and Farrell.

Essay of the Day, 7/26/12: "Bad Quality: 'Breaking Bad' as Basic Cable Quality TV"

Bad Quality: Breaking Bad as Basic Cable Quality TV.” Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (September 2010). 

Another Telegenic piece on one of the greatest television series ever.

Read it here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On the Cliffhanger . . .

A fine piece by the always fascinating Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker.

"The Dark Knight Rises"

I have been meaning to write about TDKR since I saw it on opening day.

As I said earlier, I have not been a big fan of Parts 1 and 2 of Nolan's trilogy, and I did not like this one any better. Lugubrious--my one word review.

David Edelstein pretty much nails it in his Fresh Air Review.

Essay of the Day, 7/25/12: "God, Death, and Pizza: 'Supernatural' and the Death of God"

“God, Death, and Pizza: Supernatural and the Death of God.” Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (August 2010).

My second Telegenic, a preliminary investigation of a series I would later do a book on (with Stacey Abbott), a piece that would find me thinking again about the Death of God debate about which I had been obsessed as an undergraduate.

Read it here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Misery Loves Comedy"

I love this ad and love Louie.

"42 Reasons Why Nicolas Cage Is The Greatest Actor Of Our Generation"

My hatred of Nicolas Cage is legend among my students, but even this hilarious catalog (on BuzzFeed) leaves me completely unconvinced.

"How HBO Made It Look Like Critics Liked 'The Newsroom'

A discerning piece by Jeff Bercovici in Forbes showing the duplicity of the premium channel's marketing of the new Aaron Sorkin show.

Essay of the Day, 7/24/12: "Thinking Inside the Box: Heisenberg’s Indeterminancy Principle, the Paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat, and Television"

“Thinking Inside the Box: Heisenberg’s Indeterminancy Principle, the Paradox of Schrödinger’s Cat, and Television.”

Telegenic. Critical Studies in Television (July 2010).

From the time I first learned about Schrödinger’s infamous paradox in an undergraduate philosophy of science class, it was perhaps inevitable I would write about it, and in this essay, the first of a recurring column/blog--"Telegenic"--I would do for CST, I finally did.
Read it here.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Rhonda Wilcox, Heather Porter, and me at the Gage Residence Hall, U. British Columbia, on the first night of The Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses 5
Those familiar with the famous Matt Hills distinction (in Fan Cultures) between "scholar-fans" and "fan-scholars, here is an illustration.

It was Tanya Cochran who noticed the pun-in-progress and snapped the photo.

Funnel Cake Fries

Before last night's Breaking Bad these were unknown to me.

Funnel Cake Fries, a new funnelicious item to add to any dessert menu.  Following the trend of bite-sized, portion-controlled foods, Funnel Cake Fries are an ideal finger food item.  For Full-Serve and Casual Dining, add some food theater and shake the Funnel Fries tableside, serving with powdered sugar.  For an added flair, serve with a ramekin of chocolate, warm caramel or fruity preserves for dipping.  Enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages!

"The 25 Best 'That Girl' Actresses"

A companion to an earlier "That Guy" slide show on Buzz Feed.

Essay of the Day, 7/23/12: "’Secret Shit’: The Uncertainty Principle, Lying, Deviance, and the Movie Creativity of the Coen Brothers"

“’Secret Shit’: The Uncertainty Principle, Lying, Deviance, and the Movie Creativity of the Coen Brothers.”
Post Script 27.2 (2008): 141-153.

I was a prime-mover in getting this special issue of Post Script on the Coen Brothers published, and I wrote this essay for it. One of my favorite titles, BTW.

Why am I so fascinated with notorious liar/creators (the Coens, Fellini, etc.)?

You can read it in The Ventriloquist.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Olympic Torch, Meet the London Eye


I suppose it was absurdly inevitable. Andy Borowitz has the report.

Superman, Reimagined

So the Man of Steel is a longshoreman now?

First Zack Snyder casts a "mist-based life form" as Superman, and now he's no longer a mild-mannered reporter for The Daily Planet?

How does this alter Bill's understanding of Clark Kent?

Heard on "Newsroom"

HBO's Newsroom is starting to grow on me. I love lines like this--from Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels):

I'm a registered Republican, I only seem liberal because I believe hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not gay marriage.

Then and Now (Advertisement for Myself)

Found this brief biography on the syllabus for a course (on Stanley Kubrick) I taught in 2003. Below is the bio for this Fall's incarnation of the same course.

I have done a lot in a decade (if I may say so myself).

David Lavery is professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, where he teaches courses on American literature, science fiction, modern poetry, popular culture, and film. He is the author of over sixty published essays and reviews and author/editor/co-editor of six books: Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age (1992), Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks (1994), ‘Deny All Knowledge’: Reading The X-Files (1996), Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002), Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV Discourse of Tomorrow (2002), and This Thing of Ours: Investigating The Sopranos (2002). He is also co-editor of an in-development collection of essays to be called "Part of Popular Culture": Exploring the Sitcosmos of Seinfeld, co-edits the e-journal Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, and is the organizer of a major international conference on Buffy to be held in Nashville in May 2004. This summer he was a keynote speaker at the Sonic Synergies and Creative Cultures and Staking a Claim: Exploring the Global Reach of Buffy conferences at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. Next April he will be the keynote speaker at the Contemporary American Quality Television International Conference at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. To learn more about him, visit his home page at http://www.mtsu.edu/~dlavery/.

Dr. David Lavery is Professor of English at MTSU (1993- ), where he won the University's 2006 Distinguished Research Award. The author of over one hundred and fifty published essays, chapters, and reviews, he is author / co-author / editor / co-editor of twenty two books, including Joss Whedon: Conversations and The Essential Cult TV Reader, the forthcoming Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers and Television Art (a textbook), and published books on the Space Age, Lost (2), Twin Peaks, X-Files, The Sopranos (a trilogy), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teleparody, Seinfeld, Deadwood, My So-Called Life, Gilmore Girls, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, and Crying. The organizer of international conferences on the Whedonverses, Lost, and The Sopranos, a founding co-editor of the journals Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, Critical Studies in Television, and Series/Season/Show, co-founder of The Whedon Studies Association, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London. In the Fall of 2013, he will become the Director of Graduate Studies in English.

Essay of the Day, 7/22/12: "Deconstruction at Bat: Baseball vs. Critical Theory in Northern Exposure’s' 'The Graduate''"

Deconstruction at Bat: Baseball vs. Critical Theory in Northern Exposure’s ’The Graduate.’”Quirky Quality TV: Revisiting Northern Exposure.” Critical Studies in Television 1.2 (Autumn 2006): 33-38.

I had a great deal of fun doing this piece for a special issue (co-edited with Jimmie Cain and John Zubizaretta) of Critical Studies in Television on Northern Exposure's most hyper-literary episode.

Republished in Baseball/Literature/Culture: Essays (Ed. Ronald E. Kates and Warren Tormey. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008: 98-104).

You can read here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Binge Viewing"

A useful term from John Jurgensen in The Wall Street Journal.

I find it fascinating that 60% of Netflix's streaming is now television.

Abrams at 100

A tribute by Adam Kirsch to the great literary scholar/intellectual historian M. H. Abrams, who just turned 100.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.

Our French "Lost" Book

Until today I had never seen the French version of our first LOST book. 

Apparently our names (Lynnette Porter's and mine) were completely removed from the cover.

Essay of the Day, 7/21/12: "The Crying Game"

"The Crying Game: Why Television Brings Us to Tears.”
Flow 5.9 (March 9, 2007).

When I wrote this Flow piece, inspired by the final episode of Six Feet Under, I queried several TV friends about their own television-provoked crying.

Michele Byers' suggestion that there was a book in the subject led to the book we would do on it. Verge's intro was a slightly revised version of the Flow piece.

Read the essay here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Surprise Honor at Slayage

Rhonda Wilcox and I are honored (and suprised) with a plaque at SCW5. Go here to see it.

"The Master"

Can't wait to see this, Paul Thomas Anderson's latest, supposedly about Scientology.

The British Open Supernarrator

Watching the British Open on ESPN and for a moment could not place the Supernarrator talking about the Open's traditions. Then it hit me: it's Deadwood's Al Swearengen--Ian McShane.

What a treat for us cocksuckers!

Best Superhero Movies

The Daily Beast  has a slide show of the top dozen.

Essay of the Day, 7/20/12: "’No more unexplored countries’: The Early Promise and Disappointing Career of Time-Lapse Photography."

“’No more unexplored countries’: The Early Promise and Disappointing Career of Time-Lapse Photography.” Film Studies (special issue on “Film and Time” ed. Sarah Cardwell). Issue 9, Winter 2006: 1-8.
This was the second of my published pieces on time-lapse photography, written for a special issue of Film Studies.
Available in The Ventriloqust.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stars Who Turned Down TV Roles On 'Breaking Bad,' 'The Shield,' 'Sex And The City' And More

HuffPo has the slide show.

Some of these seem preposterous to me. Ryan Reynolds turned down Xander in Buffy? Katie Holmes as Buffy herself? Pamela Anderson as Scully???? 

"Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight"

In preparation for seeing The Dark Knight Rises tomorrow, I have just finished rewatching the first two films in Nolan's trilogy.

I must confess, I have never been fond of either. Both, in fact, disappointed on first--and second--viewing (though, like everyone else, I admired Heath Ledger's Joker in the sequel).

This time, both films seemed worse than ever: plodding, heavy-handed, mostly humorless, obscurely plotted, raspy--Bale's awful voice work and the films as a whole.

I  realize  that this is very much a minority opinion, but neither film works for me (or on me).

"What Did Obama Say?"

Andrew Sullivan dissects what Obama said (about the American Dream) and how it's being misquoted by Romney, et al (now including even Jeb Bush).

This is not a matter of interpretation (as Sullivan, unusually reticent here, seems to suggest). There is no question about what Obama was trying to say.

As an English teacher, I will acknowledge only that the antecedent of Obama's "that" ("you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen") is a bit unclear.

Essay of the Day, 7/19/12: "(TV)antipathy"

“(TV)antipathy: A Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Television Hating,“ Part One. Flow 4.2 (April 14, 2006).
“(TV)antipathy: A Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Television Hating,“ Part Two. Flow 4.6 (June 16, 2006).
This was a two-parter for Flow revisiting my early distaste for television through an exploration of some prominent television hatred treatises, including Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Gitlin's Inside Prime Time, and Mark Crispin Miller's Boxed In.
Read it here: Part IPart II.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

At ComicCon, Matt Smith Tells a Little Girl He Will Protect Her from the Weeping Angels

"The 25 Best 'That Guy' Actors"

BuzzFeed has the gallery.

Romney's Running Mate Revealed!

Andy Borowitz (now with The New Yorker) has a scoop: the identity of Romney's running mate.

"135 Shots That Will Restore Your Faith in Cinema"

Tip of the hat to Slate.

"Jerks defend 'Dark Knight'”

Good grief.

A mirror of our politics?

Mary Ellen Iatropoulos Wins the Mr. Pointy Paper at SCW5

That's me on the far left.

"The Dark Knight Rises," Bane/Bain, and Rushbo

I have been joking about the synchronicity for months, but apparently Limbaugh actually believes it is part of the Vast Hollywood Conspiracy.

Andrew Sullivan explains here:

Limbaugh: Batman Is A Democratic Plot

Essay of the Day, 7/18/12: "Climate Change: Television Books, The Series"

“Climate Change: Television Books, The Series.”
Critical Studies in Television: Scholarly Studies on Small Screen Fictions 1.1 (Spring 2006): 97-103.

In Dublin, at the American Quality TV Conference (March 2004), we (Janet McCabe, Kim Akass, Steve Lacey, Robin Nelson) sat in a pub and discussed the plans for the roll-out of a new journal. When it was launched two years later, I wrote this piece, primarily concerned with the kind of books on TV I had been doing (and continued to do) since Full of Secrets, for its inaugural issue.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Heard on "Colbert"

Anderson Cooper gay? If Anderson Cooper is gay, then I'm a secret liberal.
--Stephen Colbert

Obama's Drug Use

So the drug-addict Rush Limbaugh insists yesterday that it's time we talked about Obama's drug use (as a teen) and now, of course, John Sununu does as instructed:
A top Mitt Romney supporter went on a rampage against President Obama Tuesday morning, bringing up his teenage drug use and urging him to “learn how to be an American.” [from Talking Points Memo]
Good grief. We suffered (the world suffered) through eight years of the presidency of a man, W, who was a coke-head in college and an alcoholic, and we heard almost nothing about that. Where were these voices then?

Essay of the Day, 7/17/12: "The Allusions of Television"

“The Allusions of Television.Flow 3.10 (January 2006)
Another Flow piece on one of my natural English-professor-become-TV-scholar major interests.

Read it here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"The Whedonverse: This is War"

The Whedonverse: This Is War (MrMorda898) from Fred Smith on Vimeo.

Tip of the Hat to Alyson Buckman.

Schuy Weishaar's "Masters of the Grotesque"

Originally a doctoral dissertation I directed, Schuy's excellent study (forthcoming from McFarland) now has a cover.

Honored by the WSA

At last week's Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, Rhonda Wilcox and I were both honored with plaques, not to mention Class Protectorish umbrellas signed by everyone in attendance.

Yes, I shed a tear.

A wonderful conference. More later.

Essay of the Day, 7/16/12: "Irony Irony: The Mission (Accomplished) of 'The Daily Show'"

“Irony Irony: The Mission (Accomplished) of The Daily Show.Flow 3.6 (November 2005)

Another of my pieces for  the online journal Flow.

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (which had only just begun its run when this was published) have been a continuing obsession.

Read it here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Essay of the Day, 7/15/12: "'Lost' in a Good Story: Serial Creativity on a Desert Island"

in a Good Story: Serial Creativity on a Desert Island.” Flow 3.2 (September 2005) .

This was the first of seven invited short essays I would write for the excellent U Texas grad student online journal Flow, co-founded by This Thing of Ours contributor Avi Santo.

It was great fun to write these short essays, which served as an opportunity to explore a number of television topics.

Lost, about which I would write two books with Lynnette Porter and Hillary Robson, was only in its 2nd season when I wrote this.

I also gave a version of this at PCA in Atlanta.

Read it here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Essay of the Day, 7/14/12: "Aesop After Darwin: The Radical Anthropomorphism of 'The Far Side'"

“Aesop After Darwin: The Radical Anthropomorphism of The Far Side.Studies in Popular Culture 28.1 (October 2005): 71-83.

I had been giving a slide show in popular culture classes on The Far Side for some time, fascinated with animal behavior even longer, so when I was asked for a contribution to the final issue of Studies in Popular Culture edited by Michael and Sara Dunne, I took a paper I had given at PCAS years before and transformed it into this.

Now available in The Ventriloquist.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Essay of the Day, 7/13/12: "’I wrote my thesis on you’: Buffy Studies as an Academic Cult"

“’I wrote my thesis on you’: Buffy Studies as an Academic Cult.” Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, Numbers 13-14 (2004).

This was a keynote I gave at the first Slayage Conference in Nashville. It was a kind of apologia written in part as a response to a piece (co-authored by the soon-to-be famous Steven Schneider) trashing Rhonda Wilcox and I that appeared in Jim South's Buffy and philosophy collection.

Read it here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Essay of the Day, 7/12/12: "Response to Jonathan Gray”

“Response to Jonathan Gray.” Film-Philosophy 7.18 (July 2003): http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol7-2003/n18Lavery.

Teleparody did not get nearly the attention it deserved, but this review by Jonathan Gray, a young British scholar who would go on to become one of the major media scholars of the decade, was extremely satisfying. I was asked to write a response.

Read it at the link above.

This week Jonathan will be giving the keynote at the fifth Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses in Vancouver.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Hearing loss an 'invisible,' and widely uninsured, problem"

When recent hearing tests showed I definitely (to no one's surprise) have pronounced hearing loss, I was shocked to discover that hearing aids (which are very expensive) are considered by Cigna to be cosmetic. Really? Hearing? For a professor?

Now this CNN story confirms how widespread the lack of coverage is.

Tip of the hat to Joyce for the link.

Wittgenstein and the Higgs Boson

Robert Wright contemplates their relationship in The Atlantic.

The Real Reason "The Amazing Spider-Man" Exists

I saw this yesterday. Good enough. I would give it a B+.

But this is the real reason why it got made.

"RIP Andrew Sarris, 1928-2012"

Andrew O'Hehir's piece from Salon last week.

"Pacific Rim"

Guillermo Del Toro's next.

Blastr has more on the film.

Starring Sons of Anarchy's Jax Teller (Charlie HUnnam).

Essay of the Day, 7/10/12: "A Religion in Narrative: Joss Whedon and Television Creativity"

“A Religion in Narrative: Joss Whedon and Television Creativity.” Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, Number 7 (2002).

Another of my pieces for Slayage, one of several that would culminate in my forthcoming book on Whedon.

Read it here.

Monday, July 09, 2012

My Action Figures

So here I am last Saturday with my new friend Quinn, the wonderful son of Amy Reesman (an old friend of my wife's from Girl Scout days) and Dawn Strunk Reesman, checking out of my books on super heroes.

When he saw this in my study, he asked "Where did Addy"--our two and a half year old granddaughter--"get these?"

Well, they are mine, of course.

"The New Geography Of Oil"

A fascinating post from Andrew Sullivan.

The end of Middle Eastern oil domination is in sight.

Essay of the Day, 7/9/12: "David Chase, 'The Sopranos,' and Television Creativity"

(with Robert J. Thompson). “David Chase, The Sopranos, and Television Creativity.” Television Quarterly 33.2-3 (Summer-Fall 2002): 10-16.

At the beginning of this century I would write several pieces, mostly reviews, for Television Quarterly, the official journal of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the Emmy people).

This one was co-written with pre-eminent television scholar Bob Thompson and would eventually appear in This Thing of Ours.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

"Not a Perfect Metaphor": Reince Priebus / Dr. Horrible

[Reince] Priebus [head of the Republican National Committee] went on to pin the stagnant economy on Obama, arguing that Republican obstruction, including last summer's unprecedented debt-ceiling standoff, was not a relevant factor in the November election.
"The president is the head of this country. The fish rots at the head," Priebus said. "I don't think people are begging for another four years of this misery ... with a president who acts like he's not living on Earth.
--Huffington Post (July 8, 2012)

"Penny: I was saying um, maybe we could get the city to donate the building to our cause. We would be able to provide 250 new beds, get people off the streets and into job training so they could… buy rocket packs and go to the moon and become… florists… You’re not really interested in the homeless are you?
Dr. Horrible: No, I am. But they’re a symptom. You’re treating a symptom and the disease rages on, consumes the human race. The fish rots from the head as they say. So my thinking is why not cut off the head.
Penny: Of the human race?
Dr. Horrible: It’s not a perfect metaphor . . .
Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog 

Essay of the Day: 7/8/12: "Emotional Resonance and Rocket Launchers"

“’Emotional Resonance and Rocket Launchers’: Joss Whedon's Commentaries on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.” Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, Number 6 (2002).

In 2001 Rhonda Wilcox and I launched Slayage, now the official journal of the Whedon Studies Association. This was the first of several essays I would publish in the refereed online journal. It's an examination of the indesensible Whedonian DVD commentaries then available.

Read it on the Slayage website.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

More on Schrodinger's Romney

More here.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.

A Scientology Lexicon

With Scientology in the news again because of the pending TomKat divorce, this DailyBeast guide to its basic concepts is timely and useful.

See also this earlier post:

"South Park" Explains Scientology

In that earlier post I wrote the following, and I quote it again:

Watching this I am reminded of the late Thomas Disch's plaintive question (in The Stuff That Dreams are Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the Universe): why, if a science fiction writer created a religion did it have to be the worst SF writer in history, L. Ron Hubbard, and not, say, Philip K. Dick?

"Dinosaurs vs. Aliens"

A collaboration between Grant Morrison and Barry Sonnenfeld.

Essay of the Day: 7/7/12: "The Soul of Andy Sipowicz"

“The Soul of Andy Sipowicz: Depth of Character and the Depth of Television.” PopPolitics.com (March 2001): http://www.poppolitics.com/articles/2001-06-11-sipowicz.shtml.

My second piece for PopPolitics was this under-the-influence-of-Keats (the idea of human existence as a "vale of soul making") and Bakhtin (the essay treats NYPD Blue as TV dialogism) study of Dennis Franz' memorable character.

Go here to read it.

Friday, July 06, 2012


A brilliant Tumblr inspired by the Romney campaign's utterly incompetent use of Venn diagrams. My favorite:

"Doctor Who and London"

A talk I will be giving in November.

Essay of the Day: 7/6/12: "Coming Heavy: Intertextuality, Genre, and 'The Sopranos'"

“Coming Heavy: Intertextuality, Genre, and The Sopranos.PopPolitics.com (March 2001): http://www.poppolitics.com/articles/2001-03-03-heavy.shtml.

I would eventually do three books on The Sopranos, but this was the first time I wrote about the HBO series.

The famous feminist Sandra Gilbert took a pot shot at it in Regina Barecca's A Sitdown with The Sopranos, and a Vanity Fair oral history of the series would mention it somewhat derisively as the sort of thing academics do when they study popular culture.

Read it here.