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Preview: Comments on Center of Gravitas: I Hate Spunk

Comments on Center of Gravitas: I Hate Spunk





Updated: 2017-11-14T09:07:24.366-08:00

 



Was Jack Webb of Mexican descent?

2008-10-28T19:32:00.000-07:00

Was Jack Webb of Mexican descent?



I used to watxch Lou Grant all the time, but not s...

2008-01-14T11:46:00.000-08:00

I used to watxch Lou Grant all the time, but not since it went off the air. Will have to check out.

The Frito Bandito was my second least favorite stereotype of my childhood, after Pat Boone's Speedy Gonzalez.



In the midst of the inconclusive coroner's inquest...

2008-01-14T07:27:00.000-08:00

In the midst of the inconclusive coroner's inquest concerning the death of Rubén Salazar, LA Police Chief Edward Davis was in Portland. Oregon asserting, "the Communist Party in California said it was giving up on the blacks to concentrate on the Mexican-Americans." At least that's what Hunter S. Thompson asserted in "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan" in Rolling Stone (29 April 1971).

For Wonder Woman to then discover that El Movimiento was the work of "outside agitators" highlights the place of mainstream television within the Ideological State Apparatus: she appears to be employed by the public relations arm of the LAPD, as was Jack Webb and Dragnet that was able to silently work around the Watts Riot and the well documented tradition of police abuse against African Americans, assuring TV viewers that police were interested in "facts".



gayprof, it is truly sad. the fact is that the en...

2008-01-13T20:46:00.000-08:00

gayprof, it is truly sad. the fact is that the entertainment business is first and foremost a business. they're not going to jeopardize advertising revenue by showing what the real world is like. even news programs are bits of soundbites with out much depth.

i'm feeling somewhat pessimistic tonight, i guess.



DykeWife: It seems to me that the people who contr...

2008-01-13T10:15:00.000-08:00

DykeWife: It seems to me that the people who control the media are making bad assumptions if they presume that the majority of whites couldn't handle a critique of society based on race and class.

Tenure of Bust: I think that the level of Spanish would have only been acceptable in 1960s television because the figure speaking it was supposed to be comical and uneducated.

Marlan: Lou Grant was heavy handed, though maybe that is what people responded to in the late 1970s.

Al: It has been my experience that students often have a hard time coming to terms with Anzaldúa (or other Chicana feminists from that period). My only suggestion in terms of teaching would be to turn it back onto the students. If they disagree with her so strongly, ask them to explain why they think that her work has been so popular? Make them do the work.

Chad: It's hard to say who made the decisions on any of these programs. Clearly in the case of Wonder Woman, they probably weren't imagining they were making huge political statements. In the end, though, everything is political.

Torn: No hulu in Canada? That is just dumb. I tell you, the entertainment industry (especially music) has been the slowest to recognize that we live in a global market place. They are only harming themselves.

JP: If I made a casual reference to "Turbo Boost," would that help you forgive me?

Marius: You are right about terminology. In this case I chose "Chicana" for two reasons 1) as a political statement and 2) to provide some consistency of terms within this entry. They are all aribtrary terms, but that would have required too much time to explain in an already-too lengthy piece.

Lynda Carter, while not always advertising her racial identity, has also not actively distanced herself from being considered "Latina." The thing about Alba and others like her is that one's decisions about identification only carry one so far. Racial identities are decided as part of the larger discourse. Even if she (and others) repudiate that identity, it will still be assigned to her by others. At least, that's what I think this morning.



As usual, great post! I've never seen the show Lou...

2008-01-12T20:41:00.000-08:00

As usual, great post! I've never seen the show Lou Grant. But I agree that they missed a great opportunity to address (real) issues that affected Mexican Americans living in California in the 1970s.

I had a similar reaction to a few episodes of Six Feet Under, one of my favorite television shows of all time. I was disappointed at how the writers portrayed the Diaz family, the token minorities. Specifically, Federico, played by the wonderfully cute Freddy Rodriguez, cheated on his wife with an exotic dancer who also happened to be Hispanic (of course!). Well, once Federico's wife found out, she went crazy, grabbed a baseball bat, and confronted her husband's lover. It was totally ghetto. It's like the writers were too lazy to create a more interesting and creative story line for the Diaz family.

Also, I have a question (er, comment?) about your use of the word Chicano. First, does Lynda Carter consider herself a Chicana? I suspect she doesn't. There are a handful of America actresses who have a lot in common with Lynda (e.g., Alexis Bledel, Catherine Bach, Jessica Alba, and others), and these women don't seem to identify as Chicanas. In fact, Jessica Alba, much to the chagrin of Latino bloggers, stated in an interview that she doesn't consider herself a Latina. I personally don't think the term should be used to describe all Mexican Americans. I'm sure some would disagree with me, but it's a term that means different things to different people. Also, the term Chicano is almost nonexistent in the lexicon of some Mexican American communities.



I don't know that setting a show in Los Angeles di...

2008-01-12T09:46:00.000-08:00

I don't know that setting a show in Los Angeles dictates an expectation that the Hispanic population be adequately represented in the cast (though I'll agree that an opportunity was certainly missed.) Now if it would've been San Francisco and none of them were gay, I'd have a blogpost.

But that's not the real issue here. You made fun of Knight Rider. I'm not speaking with you for at least the next 2 hours.



I'm glad I wasn't sitting there with you watching,...

2008-01-12T07:27:00.000-08:00

I'm glad I wasn't sitting there with you watching, lol. That really fired you up. Also, I got my code for hulu but they won't let me watch anything since I'm in Canada. I gave my password to my cousin. Sigh.



I wonder how much of these issues came from the or...

2008-01-11T21:54:00.000-08:00

I wonder how much of these issues came from the original writing sessions or from editorial intervention from above. Certainly high-ratings shows like "Wonder Woman" would have seen a great deal of studio influence over the writing process.

I read somewhere this is how some soap operas from roughly the same period managed to dabble in some controversial issues (for the time) like interracial marriage, abortion, and artifical insemination: they weren't taken seriously.



Your statement about the Chicano/a movement in the...

2008-01-11T21:45:00.000-08:00

Your statement about the Chicano/a movement in the U.S. is very true. I myself don't know much about it, though I recently taught essays by Renato Rosaldo and Gloria Anzaldua (well, an excerpt from one of her books). My students absolutely hate the Anzaldua excerpt, "How to Tame a Wild Tongue." She claims that her language is her identity, and that until she is able to speak without having to translate for Anglos, her tongue (Spanish-English blend) will always be illegitimate. Many of my students are working adults with families to support, and a lot of them are non-native English speakers. They all argued that if you live in the United States, you should speak English. And they absolutely hated her style of writing, and felt that she demanded too much from her readers. I don't know why I'm sharing this...it doesn't have anything to do with the television shows you've mentioned...but I guess I don't know how to help position my students to be more open to why Anzaldua's argument has merit. If you're familiar with the work, would you be able to give me your perspective on it?



As a journalistm student in the late 70s at the ot...

2008-01-11T19:24:00.000-08:00

As a journalistm student in the late 70s at the other major U in your adopted state (yes, that makes us rivals!), I recall anticipating Lou Grant and watching it avidly--at least for a few shows--until its heavy-handed, pseudo-journalism style effectively killed my interest in MTM's spinoff.

Like Dykewife, I carry a backpack of white privilege also, and didn't really notice the plotline direction, just the lack of spunk from the writing team at MTM.

In retrospect, a truly good spinoff would have been something starring SueAnn Nivens. She could have whipped up a batch of tacos--and made a few salacious (yet positive) comments about the men of Mexico. Just sayin!



As a Prof. of Spanish, I am amazed how much Spanis...

2008-01-11T17:01:00.000-08:00

As a Prof. of Spanish, I am amazed how much Spanish was deemed "acceptable" to a 1970s(?) audience with the Frito Bandito, with his "mucho' and "uno, dos, tres...." Nowadays, there is a lot more in commercials and shows, but back then. Wow.



like nearly all euro-canadians, i carry a backpack...

2008-01-11T14:59:00.000-08:00

like nearly all euro-canadians, i carry a backpack called "white privilege". it benefits me in ways that are too numerous to mention, but one of those is to have my entertainment as free of real issues as possible. white privilege also means that if real issues are encountered in the entertainment industry, they are made as palatable as possible. this palatability includes making sure that i'm secure in the knowledge that the centuries of colonialization, racism, exploitation and oppression won't be put on my shoulders, but will be blamed on those who were colonialized, are oppressed, discriminated against and exploited.

that's what the entertainment system is about, especially television, and especially in the 1970s.

it makes me very sad.