The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 11
Like others, new
TV 'Court' martialed
Moore enlightens America
with new 'Stupid White Men'
By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor
What do ABC's "The Court," and
"Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)"
and CBS's "AFP: American Fighter
Pilot" have in common?
They've both been pulled from
the air within three episodes of their
debuts. These shows join the criti-
cally claimed "Once and Again,"
and the FOX animated series "Futu-
rama" and "The Family Guy" as this
season's victims. But at least the lat-
ter shows lasted for over a season.
Every season, the networks debut
dozens of new sitcoms and dramas,
hoping they fall in their respective
niches. But for every "Alias" or
"The Osbournes," a "Bob Patterson
Show" slips through and manages to
embarrass the networks.
Some shows have a chance of
returning. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus
vehicle, "Watching Ellie," may
return on NBC. "AFP" may run its
last six episodes in the summer. But
for the majority of shows, cancella-
tion means it's time to move on.
With Nielsen ratings often com-
parable to WB and UPN shows,
these series stand no chance in the
cutthroat sweeps competitions.
Occasionally an awful show will
manage to hold on for a few
episodes ("Baby Bob"), but natural
selection will eventually weed it out.
The problems with building fol-
lowings for new shows range from
seemingly invincible competition
By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor
Give Michael Moore credit, he
doesn't back down to anybody.
When Harper Collins demanded
that Moore change or excise signifi-
cant portions of his new book, "Stu-
Moore's work is not for everyone.
With portions entitled "A Very
American Coup" (about the 2000
Bush-Gore election) and "Kill
Whitey," Republicans are sure to
scream White Liberal Guilt.
"Whitey" exemplifies how Moore
Courtesy of ABC
You hate me, you really hate me.
- for example, competing against
"Friends" on Thursday nights - to
general viewer apathy in certain
time slots (Fridays and Saturdays in
particular). Thus, ratings don't
always tell the full story. Not every
show can develop fans by following
"Survivor" like "CSI" did, begin-
ning last year.
"The Court" is an example of a
show that never had time to correct
its flaws. It wasn't a particularly
bad show, and with time to correct
its flaws, it may have stood a
chance. But ABC wasn't willing to
give it time.
"AFP" couldn't even rally post-
Sept. 11 patriotism to garner inter-
erest in its chronicling of three
fighter pilots preparing to take on
their first missions.
"Wednesday" was just a poor
show, with very little chance of ever
succeeding. Few will cry over this
pid White Men...and
Other Sorry Excuses 6
for the State of the
refused to cooperate.
Thanks to his populari- STI
ty on college campuses
and the work of some
librarians, the publish- By
ing company blinked,
and Moore can now
boast that his
reached number one on most
his biting humor and
earnest desire to create
change. He makes his
arguments for affirma-
tive action, then
announces that he will
only hire black people
from now on. He goes
on further to explain
why we should fear a
group of white people
standing on a street
corner. He lists all of
The author of "Downsize This!:
Random Threats From an Unarmed
American" (which in fact, he is not
- he is a card-carrying member of
the National Rifle Assocation) and
"Adventures in a TV Nation,"
Moore has continued to expand his
popularity from his days on the
Emmy-winning "TV Nation."
the destructive things created by
whites: the atomic bomb, the cru-
Moore does not save his scathing
pen for the GOP. In "Democrats,
DOA," he lashes out at President
Clinton's abysmal record on envi-
ronmental and public health issues
and frequently shows just how simi-
lar the two major parties really are.
As a Green Party supporter, he cam-
paigned for Ralph Nader in the last
election, and he addresses Nader's
effect in some detail. He blames the
democrats, specifically Gore him-
self, for blowing the election.
But President Bush is the true tar-
get. Between listing his cabinet
members and their voting records
(sample: Michigan's own Spencer
Abraham voted to eliminate the
Department of Energy before being
appointed secretary), Moore's open
letter to Bush demands to know
whether he is illiterate, if he was
ever a felon and if he is/was an
alcoholic. He lists relatively
unknown facts about Bush and his
family (that his wife, Laura, was
once the driver in an auto accident
that killed her friend), and questions
George W.'s influence on his twin
He also makes several proposals
on how to reach peace in the former
Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland and
Israel. For what it's worth, his ideas
seem far more rational and moder-
ate than most people give him credit
for, especially in situations so com-
plicated by history.
His rapid switch from a serious
plea to humor is a pleasant style to
read. He covers a wide range of top-
ics many would be hesitant to
address and often finds it necessary
to be serious for a minute, but he
usually manages to find the humor
of the situation too. It also doesn't
hurt to be a liberal in order to enjoy
But his facts, backed up from the
top newspapers in the country,
make his arguments very convinc-
ing. It is these facts that make the
work very intriguing and yet fright-
ening. Someone who did not know
about Texas's involvement in deny-
ing blacks the right to vote in the
election by listing them inaccurate-
ly as convicted felons will be out-
raged at the level to which the
election appears tainted. And it's all
A man whose new film is called
"Bowling for Columbine" and who
demands a counter-coup to amend
the results of the 2000 election,
Moore is passionate and dead-set in
his attempts to reform the system
driving down America.
When he came to the Michigan
Theater just a few weeks ago, he
showed rough cuts of his film
(including scenes in which he
accosts Dick Clark and Charlton
Heston) and read the open letter to
Bush. He shows no signs of slow-
ing down or moving toward the
We've been found guilty of being worse than "Baby Bob."
Neal Pollack crashes Del Rio's
By Ryan Blay
Daily TV/New Media Editor
It wasn't the most typical place for a reading. The
crowded atmosphere at Del Rios contrasted
with the typically smaller crowds at Shaman
Drum or even Border's. The standing room *
only crowd came to see author Neal Pollack, N
who has proclaimd himself "America's
greatest writer." He opened by noting that WSG GL
the last time he was in Ann Arbor, he read at JIMI
Zingerman's, calling the restaruant a step up.
After mingling with the crowd waiting At D
outside, Pollack began to read from his first Tu
novel, "The Neal Pollack Anthology of Apr. 9,
With Jim Roll and his band rocking
behind him, Pollack read his story, "Memories of Times
Square," a nod to a sex-toy juggliing dwarf, a prostitute
named Tristan Isolde and a gay nightclub called the Neon
Ass. Naturally he compares the newer Disney-fied version
of New York to the age when the streets were full of strip;
clubs, hookers and bars.
He howled like a beat poet at times. In between occa-
sionally witty banter with his guitarist and hawking T-
shirts featuring him being driven in a 1975 Cadillac by the
comic book character Ghostwriter, he asked for tips and
for scotch, which he proceeded to down.
The few kids in the crowd may not have understood his
ode to Jewish penises (rhyming about the "Cock Mitzvah"
and "cock" tails, get it?), but the rest of the crowd was
often left laughing, like during his commen-
tary on certain authors, especially Jonathon
His verses slammed Oprah's book club,
OLLACK writers whose novels he wipes his asses with
ITARIST (Franzen, Joyce Carol Oates, et al.) and
.OLL many more.
The "McSweeny's" writer failed to men-
Rio's tion fellow writer Dave Eggers, but was
AdaY alternatingly shocking and humorous; not
.7 p.m. surprising since the book includes acknol-
wedgements to Allen Iverson, Joey Ramone
and Bishop Tutu, and the work also contains
AP English-style study questions (sample: Is Neal Pollack
better looking than Norman Mailer? Is his prose sexier
than Phillip Roth's? Could he kick John Updike's WASP
ass at golf? What about putt-putt golf?)
Announcing that his next work would be a poetry col-
lection titled "Poetry and other poems," he graciously
signed copies of his book. As Roll noted, rarely does one
hear a famous person call himself America's greatest poet
and follow it by advertising for $15 shirts. Yet that is what
the unpretentious Pollack continued to do.