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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

May 23, 2003
Television

Because it's late on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend and I'm tired of politics.

Richard Just's article pleased me, not because it confirmed my own opinion that West Wing is less about liberalism than it is about intelligence and commitment, but because it confirmed my opinion that John Goodman's appearance on the final episode this year could have been a piece of stunt casting.

I'm willing to reserve judgment (after being slapped in the fact by those who are apparently appalled that I'm not aware of Goodman's Great Acting Talent), but my first reaction when he appeared on-screen was, "Oh, no! It's the Roseanne! guy!" and nothing that happens in the future is going to change what my first reaction was.

It's probably not going to change the reactions of the others of millions of viewers who didn't see whatever short-lived series Goodman had a couple of appearances on, either. Maybe he will turn out to be a Great Talent, but for the next three months, he's going to be the "Roseanne guy" in my house and unless the people in charge of casting on WW are insane, they know that 80% or more of their audience knows Goodman from only the one show.

I hate stunt casting. I hate a show that's as rich and complex as West Wing breaking the spell by bringing in a major character who is a "face" from another role. I think Lily Tomlin is great, but even when she's being the President's secretary, she's still Lily Tomlin when I look at her. Fortunately, she's a minor, occasional character.

When I look at Josh, I just see Josh (even though I've seen the actor in other parts.) Ditto for Toby, Donna, and the others. Even Sam was just Sam, in spite of the many previous times I'd seen Rob Lowe. They don't break the spell.

With a party like this one, one that has to be pivotal in the first few episodes next year, I'd have preferred an actor without so much baggage. That's all I'm saying.

And I haven't watched the BtVS show-ending episode yet. In fact, I haven't watched either of the last two episodes yet, but surely with a three-day weekend, I'll find time?

Beautiful Words

And, finally, to those who say that the on-line world contains no liberals gifted with rhetorical grace, I offer Lewis Lapham's "Hope For What Might Be.

"It is the business of the future to be dangerous, and most of the people who magnify its risks do so for reasons of their own. Jealous of a future apt to render them ridiculous or irrelevant, they bear comparison to the French noblewoman, a duchess in her 80s, who, on seeing the first ascent of Montgolfier's balloon from the palace of the Tuilleries in 1783, fell back upon the cushions of her carriage and wept. "Oh yes," she said, "Now it's certain. One day they'll learn how to keep people alive forever, but I shall already be dead."
If it is the business of the future to be dangerous, then surely the future is upon us, for we live in dangerous times.

Dangerous for what we call democracy, dangerous for civil liberty, and dangerous for the survival of cultures not our own but possessing their own beauties and value. Citizens of this country rarely stir themselves to protest the inner machinations of those in power, but when they do wake, they shake the foundations of the world.

Those in power have decided that Benjamin Franklin was wrong. That you can and should those who would sacrifice liberty for safety while still deserving both.

I suspect that those who believe this further believe that we're not all entitled to the same measure of liberty and that their safely lies in keeping the majority of us cabin'd, cribb'd, confined.

[Deleted 500 words on the importance of citizen activism these days. I demand gratitude for not making you wade through that! kidding]

Posted by AnneZook at 04:41 PM


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