"It's really kind of amusing to me," said Dennis Baron, a University of Illinois linguist and curator of a Web site that decodes language in the news. "People think if we don't have anything to call the decade, that maybe we will forget it, that it will be some kind of orphan decade, that it won't exist. But it's simply not true."I think we settled on "lover," just because it was too amusing not to use. Either that or "special lady."
For evidence, see: the romantic partner of an older adult who is not married. The phenomenon exists; there just isn't a good, specific word for it.
"If you are 60 years old, saying 'my girlfriend' sounds stupid," Sheidlower said. " 'Partner' sounds too businesslike or suggests a gay relationship. 'Companion' doesn't sound romantic. The Census Bureau calls it POSSLQ -- persons of opposite sex sharing living quarters. That obviously doesn't work. The fact that there is a need for a word doesn't mean it will arise."
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Let us speak right into whichever of Duritz's ears doesn't have a cockily tipped wool hat over it. Adam, we don't know if you misunderstood the song's anti-globalization, anti-industrialization, anti-corporation message, or just chose to ignore it so you could get free Frappucinos for life. But we're gonna hip you to a harsh reality. Seriously, you know the line about how they "paved paradise and put up a parking lot?" Like how they replaced something beautiful with something cold and heartless and commercial? That's you. You're the parking lot, motherf**ker. You drove your shitty steamroller over something everyone loved so you could pander your sensitive pussyhound whine to people waiting in line at the Carl's Jr. They paved Nirvana and put up a Counting Crow. Argh!added: Gang, I didn't say I agreed with the list, though I'm going to be a fan of anything that snarks on Sideshow Duritz. So, what is the Worst Song of the Aughts, then?
Any such list has to start with Survivor: Original Recipe. It created the mold into which so much which followed was poured, not just by bringing the reality competition genre to the States but by lucking into a narrator/protagonist as brilliant as Richard Hatch in both playing the game strategically and explaining to viewers what he was doing. We didn't know what we were getting into -- and neither did the Pagong tribe, which turned its name into a verb along with creating so much of the other language we now use across the genre, from alliances to "immunity" to I'm Not Here To Make Friends to -- and this doesn't get noted often enough -- putting an out gay man front and center of the show.
Yeah, okay, so they may have messed with Stacey Stillman's chances in order to keep Rudy in the game artificially, and it was a shame Gervase couldn't swim ... but it really was important for Burnett to show that this wasn't just going to be a game for the young and fit. In the end, as Chuck Klosterman discusses in his new book, "Those first voters made a critical distinction. They decided that the ability to succeed at Survivor without natural skills was more impressive than succeeding with one's own aptitude and work ethic. They decided that that the ability to drag everyone down to the middle required more strategy than transcending the group alone. They invented what success at Survivor was supposed to signify."
And it was only by one vote. The other Survivor seasons which I have to add to any top ten list are Palau and Guatemala, one after the other in 2005. Palau had the demolition of the Ulongs, Janu's quitting followed by the Tom-Ian showdown for which we had waited all season; Guatemala was one of the best strategic games we've seen, with Stephenie, Danni, Rafe, Gary
You know that The Amazing Race will get several slots on any list I'm preparing, and I don't need to like the winner to love the season, as long as the ride is fun. That's why Season 3, with FloZac, Teri-Ian, Team FireCop and the model twins tops this chart. Here's what I wrote in 2002 after the finale, and especially this: "[G]ood reality tv reveals character, and TAR does it better than any other show by placing characters in familiar settings, and not hermetically sealed bubbles. Many of us know what it's like to travel while fatigued, to have to deal with foreign cultures . . . to find a cab in an American downtown.... Plain and simple, this was television at its best -- a great travelogue, plus a great study of human emotions. Surprising, thrilling, revealing, and most of all, entertaining, and there's nothing wrong with a little entertainment now and then." Joining it on my top ten list, because I'm clearly not limiting myself to one-season-per-show, are Seasons 2 and 5 -- the first dominated by TaraWil and Team Cha Cha Cha, the latter by Colin/Christie, Chip/Kim and Mirna/Schmirna -- also make the cut as well. We've never seen racing as smart as we have in the latter, or oxen which were as broken.
No surprise to regular readers of this site that America's Next Top Model: Cycle 2 gets a mention here. It had the talent (Yoanna/Shandi/Mercedes/April/Xiomara/TinyJenascia) and the drama (Shandi), and it was back when Janice Dickinson was still on the show as, as I noted back then, "America's favorite she's-a-man-baby-uberbitch [with] a heart of gold as Mercedes' biggest champion."
As I told Alan, I put American Idol 7 (David, David, Clifford the Crunchy Muppet, Michael Johns and Carly Smithson) atop any list of best Idol seasons. The level of talent was great, and the underlying narrative of scrappy, sincere Cook versus The Young David Archuleta Machine was satisfying to watch. Also, that Jason Castro meltdown is one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen. (Last season is a close runner-up; the talent level seems to keep rising on the show even when you'd think they'd have somewhat drained the swamp by now.)
Two slots remain. I originally put Top Chef Masters here to recognize its sustained, drama-free excellence, but in the end I can't leave out Project Runway 2, from back when everyone was watching the show that pioneered that "let's give professionals a shot at being awesome in their craft" subgenre. Santino, Nick, Andrae and the rest of that deep cast delivered both on the fashion and drama, and even if the show displayed entirely too much tootie at times, it was a joy to watch. Also: Tim Gunn, the mentor we all wish we had in our careers.
The final spot -- and this is pure entertainment value -- has to go to Joe Millionaire. This was the series that made clear just how much of a role editors played in the process, turning something which the competitors thought was a Bachelor-type show into one of the best comedies on television. Mmm, (slurp) (slurp) (gulp) indeed.
Other Runners-Up (not in any order): Nashville Star (season one); MTV's Sorority Life (season one); The Apprentice (season one); Rock Star: Supernova; Bachelorettes in Alaska; WWF Tough Enough (season one); The Contender (season one); Grease: You're The One That I Want.
Ruled out on eligibility grounds, but nonetheless compelling: Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens was marketed as reality tv, but really was a documentary that filmed an aspect of life which itself functions like reality tv. But nonetheless great. Similarly on Project Greenlight, which certainly had reality/elimination elements at the start but was much more of a documentary. Real World: Hawaii, the last great season, was in 1999. Finally, both Joe Schmo seasons ruled, but they're more improv comedy with reality elements than pure reality.
That's it. That's the list.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
And let's shoot for something beyond Idol mentor. Why not host a variety/talk show? (Additional question: is he ever gonna dance again?)
FYI: at present, we have 115,708 comments stored on Haloscan capable of being exported.
- As part of an extended music metaphor, the writer notes--"[I]f Alex Kozinski and Richard Posner are, say, Stephen Malkmus and Wayne Coyne, brilliant and legendary to those who follow those worlds, Supreme Court Justices are all Madonnas and Bonos and Ringos and Eltons." Please provide suitable music analogs for your favorite (or least favorite) judges and justify your answer.
- There's a discussion of her dating life (or more precisely, her lack thereof)--I would totally watch Justice Sotomayor attempt to find love, ideally with the rest of SCOTUS as her confidants and advisors. Please write your proposed "challenges" and titles for such a show.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Said the Clay Aiken wannabe who won X-Factor, "I wouldn't buy it. It's a nought out of ten from me. Simon Cowell wouldn't like it. They wouldn't get through to boot camp on The X Factor - they're just shouting."
I don't know that the promised recording contract will lead to lasting fame for the winners, but if all they got from this was a better choice of bookings in the future, well, that ain't bad. Nice short series.
Anyone who spent 12 years on Sesame Street likely need not worry about entering TV heaven, but even without that credit on her IMDB page, she would deserve passage through the pearly gates for having played tiny roles on two of our seminal modern entertainments (Herman's Head and Cruel Intentions) and a larger role in another (Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, for which she voiced the animated characters).
Sunday, December 20, 2009
As for the other Survivor, I followed this season via recaps more than by actually watching the shows (though I certainly watched tonight) -- it's a shame critics can't preview full- or half-seasons in advance to let us know when the good ones are coming. From all accounts, Russell made this one of the truly good ones. Up next for Season XX: more All-Stars, debuting 2-11-10.
added: Miss Alli! "[T]here is no such thing as a "best player" other than the player who gets people to vote for him or her. It is an intrinsic part of Survivor to play to a jury in a way that gets them to vote for you. It's the hardest, most mysterious part of the game. Winning challenges is easy; understanding what somebody will do with his or her vote is hard.... Like it or not, for all players, this game ends with a final challenge called Get The Most Votes. If you stink at that challenge, you deserve not to win.
"Third of all: If you're a juror, you don't have to put aside anything! You have the ultimate power of your own reckless, irrational whimsy! That is the absolute essence of the game. The essence of being a juror on Survivor is that you can do whatever you want. The fact that some jurors vote out of a twisted sense of "respect," some vote out of resentment, some vote out of loyalty, and some vote because they think one person needs the money more? That's the game. Those are the rules, and everybody knows them, and everybody has the same opportunity to take them into account and play accordingly."
- Great wedding picture, or greatest wedding picture? (Alternatively, that's one way to make sure your wedding announcement makes the Times.)
- Mindy Kaling has an unsurprisingly funny and somewhat surprisingly heartwarming essay about her family that's worth a few minutes of your time.