The Guilty Party

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's with the Spastic Editing

Couple of things today.

Number One: I am a Mr. Toad fan. I came to him through the ride at Disneyland, which led me to the animated short on which the ride is based which then led me to the book by Kenneth Grahame.

Isn't that the way it often happens? Like "discovering" the great blues players like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy and even Mississippi John Hurt through first listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and Peter Paul and Mary. Well, a couple of those anyway. So now I have discovered
Toad Triumphant by William Horwood with illustrations by Patrick Benson. The library did not have The Willows in Winter, which precedes Toad Triumphant, but it doesn't seem to be essential to read them in order. So now I have come back to the present to newly enjoy a roundabout discovered original.

Or something like that.

Second thing: Why can't television directors just let us see what is happening? Yesterday I came home exhausted far beyond anything I have experienced for many months. New day job is to blame. We are setting up a brand new store and that takes a lot of lifting, moving, squatting, climbing and general physical exertion. So, yesterday evening I was too tired to object to the wife's choice of television, which was "America's Got Talent". From the evidence I saw last evening they may want to rethink the title, but that isn't my Second Thing. Neither is the fact that the producers very cagily placed the one honestly talented person last, making viewers wade through a dance ensemble of gay men from Washington D.C. wearing what gay dancers wear when they want to look like gay cowboy dancers (did that make sense?); a male Britney Spears imitator (it was more than a little weird/creepy); a tiny and quite absurd little man who lives in a very different world and really seems to like it there; and the Blue Man Group without the monochromatic outfits. No, the Second Thing is that it was honestly impossible to tell if there really was a spark of talent in most of the acts because of all the camera movement and quick editing. Constant cutting back and forth and sweeping across and close-up changing to long shot changing to audience shot. This happens all the time when an act is performing on television and it irritates me no end.

There is a reason Fred Astaire had a clause in his contract that stated that when he was dancing the camera had to show all of him all of the time. Its the only true way to either appreciate a great performance or detect a lousy one.

Today we will likely have an even more exhausting day at the store. And America's Got Talent is showing again. If I'm lucky I'll sleep through it.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.


Timber Beast said...

I agree completely on point #2. The back/forth/up/down/in/out cuts and shots make me dizzy. But I'm freakin' olde. My attention span is close to a mayfly's life expectancy, not that of a rat on speed.

Lexi said...

Well, I don't know, Alan, you make the television programme sound rather riveting. Especially the gay cowboy dance troupe.

Once one notices what the camera is up to, one might as well switch off. A handy technique I use more often than not, is not switching on in the first place.

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.