Justified isn’t back yet, and Dexter kind of blew this season, so there’s not much to report. Archer is great, Top Chef is the only reality competition worth watching, American Horror Story was the sort of train wreck from which one couldn’t avert one’s eyes. That’s about it, really. It’s kind of weird to be American and realize that you only tied your hopes and dreams to a couple of series this time around. I honestly haven’t been fully invested in a series since Lost, and that’s probably why I won’t give my heart fully to another series ever again.
So groundbreaking Swedish hardcore outfit Refused punctuated its reunion with an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. And of course they killed it. If you’re one of those people who thinks that nothing ever really changes, take a moment to consider A) How much less insanely unique and envelope-pushy the group’s sound feels than it did in 1998, and B) Holy shit, Refused was on NBC.
So I started to write about the 2012 Copenhagen Consensus findings. About how these brilliant economists — several of them Nobel Laureates — got together to study affordable real-world solutions to the problems of underdeveloped nations that would have rapid and lasting beneficial effects on the global economy. About how, every four years, this project keeps returning to the same straightforward conclusions: spend pennies preventing malaria, dysentery and tuberculosis rather than dollars treating their effects; educate impoverished citizens on the power and potential of education itself; distribute inexpensive nutritional supplements and promote higher-yield farming techniques of healthier crops to more than offset the cost of dealing with health issues that arise from poor diet.
It’s kind of nauseating to learn how cheap and easy it would be not only to improve the health of some Third World populations, but also to ease the world’s financial crisis a bit by freeing up some of the billions wasted on the back end due to inattention, ignorance and the glacial pace of bureaucracy.
(UPDATE: After Creative Loafing went to press, video surfaced that appears to show George Zimmerman immediately following the Trayvon Martin shooting. And people are already seeing more than it shows.)
Back in the very early ’90s, I caught a documentary on cable about America’s then-nascent culture of candid video. (Don’t hold me to it, but I believe it was an episode of HBO’s America Undercover series titled “Surveillance: No Place to Hide.”) It was full of manipulative, button-pushy emotional swings typical of programs made by folks who don’t want to come right out and tell you that THE WORLD IS GOING TO SHIT, PEOPLE — in the interest of journalistic integrity, they balance the doomsaying with a few beneficial elements, and let the music and the tone do the talking.
So you got, like, 45 amusing seconds of a naked guy caught locking himself out of his apartment by the building’s security camera, and 45 harrowing minutes of hockey-dad fights and gay-bashing and dash-cam footage of state troopers getting shot and stuffed into the trunks of the stolen sedans they pulled over for burned-out blinker bulbs. I vividly remember a segment in which a group of troglodytic kids steal a tourist’s camcorder and tape themselves gleefully beating said tourist unconscious. It might’ve been the first time in history a video made by criminals of their own crimes was used as evidence in their prosecution.
Sure, I could spend the next 20 minutes on YouTube viewing all manner of carnage, mayhem and pranks that end with surgical staples, and I wouldn’t be bothered in the same way. I’d probably be bothered in that vague my-soul-needs-a-shower sort of way. But come on; destructive young morons are hoisted by their own cinema-verite petards about once a week on average, and real-life death is just another prime-time entertainment option.