Archive for the ‘funography’ Category

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Life in the future continues to befuddle me.

May 4, 2009

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I forget who originally brought it to my attention, but the TV show ‘Deadliest Warrior’ is hilarious. Like everything else on Spike TV, it appears to be aimed at fourteen year old boys, with a pseudo-scientific/historical format providing cover for a lot of crashbang goreporn. Do have a look at it, because it needs to be seen to be believed (not necessary to watch the whole thing…you’ll get the idea after a couple of minutes).

But ‘Pirate vs Knight’ is not why I’m posting. I’m posting because of a future episode, which is called–and I really hope that someone is pulling an elaborate, Chris Morris-style joke on me here—‘IRA vs Taliban’. I shit you not.

Click on ‘Schedule’ for the description. Well, no, don’t bother, here it is.

“The Taliban – deadly extremists battling in the mountains of Afghanistan, versus the I.R.A. – elusive, hard-hitting masters of Ireland’s urban jungles. It’s a battle to the death, between two lethal guerilla warriors, armed to the teeth with flamethrowers, rocket launchers, carbines, mines and devastating home-made bombs.”

Ooooh! Please let the IRA guy be wearing an Aran jumper! Please let there be a hell so the makers of this program can go there!

(thanks to @stephen_normal for the heads up)

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More argy bargy…

July 13, 2008

Another bit of fallout from the piece in ‘The Stage’, and The Independent picked up on it too. This is why I got narked at the angle of the original piece. I knew all this stuff would start swirling around and I’d end up spending too much time explaining myself…

I don’t want to have it said I’m complaining about shows that I actually love, so I want to be clear: ‘Pulling’ is great, ‘Gavin and Stacy’ is great, and (on Channel 4) ‘Peep Show’ is great. The latter, especially, is one of the shows that other writers have to watch in order to raise their game. I don’t have it in for shows that tackle ‘adult’ themes. I have it in for shows that tackle adult themes when the writers actually have little or nothing to say about them (or when what they do have to say is a disgusting lie).

I do, however, have a problem with BBC3. I’ve had a problem with BBC3 ever since I was in their office and saw a poster that described the ideal BBC3 viewer. I can’t remember the full shameful list of demographic-chasing bullet points, but the one that stood out for me was “She smokes Marlboro Lights” (seriously).

Since then, most of the material that I call funography has originated from BBC3. Programs like ‘My Penis and Everyone Else’s’ (pictured) and titles like ‘Pram Face Mansion’ made me suspect that it was actually morons who were being courted, not young girls with a cough, and while there are a lot of comedy shows that use the freedom the channel provides to good effect, there are as many if not more that have entirely the wrong tone because the creative teams behind them are being encouraged to appeal to that demographic.

A few of my favourite shows have been, or are in the process of being, ruined by this way of thinking. And  it’s not an ethos that is unique to BBC3…the relentless push for outrage and cheap, nasty, easy laughs seems to be endemic. I swear, if I hear the words “This program contains strong language from the start” one more time…

None of this is news to anyone who has been reading this site for any length of time, so I don’t quite understand why it’s being touted as such now. Except, as I said before, journalists do love a bit of argy bargy.

By the way, Independent editors? Asking me for an interview, stating that if I refuse “We’re just going to run the Stage story” (which they did) and then asking me to write a piece for the newspaper, is not the best way to get me to write a piece for your newspaper. You know what that process needs? A rethink.

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A brilliant documentary

June 4, 2008


Don’t miss the portrait of Father Michael Cleary on BBC4, June 16. It’s a powerful piece of work. (After reviewing the situation, BBC4 have decided not to call it ‘The Real Father Ted’, so I’m removing my earlier comments. Hurray! It all worked out!)

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Spot the slight irony!

January 24, 2008

“After criticism from the BBC Trust that some of its programme titles, such as ‘My Man Boobs and Me’ and ‘F*** Me, I’m Fat’, were too sensationalist, BBC3 appears to have toned them down and has also introduced a string of new current affairs programmes and documentaries. They include ‘Pram Face Mansion’… Link

Oh, well, yes, ‘Pram Face Mansion’, that’s much better! Thanks, BBC3! I’m certainly very glad they’re destroying the rest of the BBC to keep your sorry ass alive!

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Help, Anthea! I’m infested!

December 27, 2007

I missed this when it went out…

To give him his due, Mr.Lyons goes on to say “These may well be the type of programs BBC will not be making in the future.”

(Thanks to Ray for this one)

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If you lived in France, you’d have to watch this over and over again.

November 20, 2007

I’ve seen it once and I don’t even like remembering it.

Not only does this not make me want to drink Orangina, it actually makes me want to purge myself of any Orangina I may have accidentally ingested in the past. Any time you go mad and decide to buy a bottle, just think about what happens just after the panda’s bra falls off. That should sort you out.

I mean, JESUS CHRIST! WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYBODY?!!!

(via Cracked)

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Funography–YouTube special!

November 5, 2007

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Some ‘Balls of Steel’-type humour from Singapore.

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Apology

September 27, 2007

Hmm…first time I’ve had to write one of these and hopefully the last. I just wanted to apologise for my last post about ‘The Truth About Food’. Why? Over to one of my readers…

“You are right about their response, it is nothing more than banal
lip-service – but your response to theirs is just puerile. It’s got
name-calling, non-sequiturs, putting words in their mouths, ignoring
points you don’t like, the whole works. I cannot reconcile that any
person who had a hand in Big Train could
be so vapid.”

I have to say, I can’t disagree with any of this. I’m quite embarrassed about the post. I fired it off too
quickly and let my anger and contempt get the better of me and now it sits there, a permanent reminder of what I’m like when I let my emotions take the wheel. Yes, the show is disgusting, and I do have contempt for the people responsible, and I hate how some producers feel they need to sink to the lowest level imaginable in order to scoop up viewers too morbidly fascinated to change the channel, but that’s no excuse for being shrill.

From now on my rule is, count to ten before posting anything. And as for ‘The Truth About Food’, rest assured, I will not speak of it again.

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Funography Watch. Programme makers fight back!

September 23, 2007

A few days ago, I linked to a clip from a BBC program entitled The
Truth About Food
in which (not to beat about the bush)
women drank sperm from test tubes and then described the taste. I
didn’t really know what to say about it, because I was so stunned, and
the implications seemed so enormous. To my mind,
if you can show women drinking sperm from test tubes, and pass it off
as quite a light hearted, ‘educational’ experiment, then British
television has turned into something very ugly indeed. Let me put it this way, if anything
worse is around the corner, I don’t want to turn the corner.

I’ve sent the clip to quite a few people (including a BBC executive)
and everyone has expressed utter disgust and amazement that the thing
managed to get broadcast. I was interested to see what would happen if
I actually complained, so I did.

I went to the BBC site and asked whether there had been a change in guidelines regarding sperm-eating on the BBC. Then I ticked the box that said I required a response.

Here it is, with my notes.

Dear Mr Linehan

Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘The Truth about Food’. I note that you found certain footage to be offensive.

Yes, the sperm-eating. (They can show it on television, but they can’t bring themselves to write it down.)

It has to be noted that all programmes must pass our stringent editorial guidelines, so none of our rules were broken in regards to the footage itself.

Any set of guidelines that allows sperm-eating in any form cannot be described as ‘stringent’. Perhaps the truth is that the guidelines haven’t quite caught up with the cynicism of some producers. Perhaps there needs to be a review of these “stringent” guidelines in the light
of the fact that demented JG Ballard characters are now making television programmes?

A spokesperson for the production team has issued the following response:

‘We apologise if this story offended you. It formed part of a wide investigation by BBC Science into the way food affects all aspects of sex and sexuality – for post-watershed transmission only. The story wascarefully set-up at the beginning of the programme, giving viewers the option not to watch if they felt they were likely to be offended.

The warning before programmes like this one is the funography badge of honour, and it appears before so many shows that it has become meaningless. A warning can mean you’re about to watch something edgy and brilliant (like ‘The Sopranos’) or the most moronic and grim thing
you’ve ever seen, like this. A punch in the face is always a punch in the face, no matter what kind of notice you receive before you get it. Maybe the warning on these types of shows could in future read “This programme was made by cynical pricks .”


We decided to include the piece during the research phase of the project when we discovered a commonly held belief that what men eat can affect the taste of their semen. Some people claim (for example, see reference 1) that pineapple and parsley improve the taste, while meat, dairy produce and asparagus do the opposite.

Ahhhh, forgive me, if I had known the idea had come about during the exalted “research phase” …How, pray, was this research conducted? I know you didn’t use Google because if you had written in ‘sperm-eating’, you wouldn’t have stopped masturbating long enough to make the show.

“Research phase”. Puh-leese. You and I know that the research phase involved you and the monkeys you made the show with sitting around in the office trying to make each other laugh (an easy gig, if ever there was one).

If you think I’m being harsh here, consider for a moment what this section of the letter is doing. They just said they were sorry if I was offended, and now they’re providing me with lots of loving detail on sperm-eating. Basically, they’re making fun of me for having the temerity to write, and the BBC are colluding with them by forwarding the letter. Way to “restore trust“, guys!


This idea seemed like a good place to start an investigation. If we could find evidence that this is true, it would provide an unusual and memorable illustration of the fact that ‘you are what you eat’.

Here, they’re just trying to break my contempt-o-meter.

It is known that molecules associated with food flavour do pass into bodily fluids. Several studies into children’s flavour preferences, for example, confirm that
complex food molecules pass directly from mother to foetus. In one study, children whose mothers ate garlic during pregnancy were far more likely to take to garlic as they grew up (e.g. Schaal2, 2000). The same happens for children whose mothers eat foods with strong flavours when breastfeeding (e.g. Mennella3, 2001).

Furthermore, experiments into the effects of vitamin E and the mineral selenium supplements on semen quality (e.g. Vezina4, 1996) on sperm motility found that levels of these micronutrients in semen increased when supplements were taken.

Given the above it seems reasonable to investigate the possibility that flavour-carrying molecules can make it into semen.

Let me summarise the above…”Breast-milk contains food molecules that
affect their children’s eating habits. So we thought we’d show you some
women eating sperm.”

Incidentally, there are several products available that are designed to improve the
flavour of semen. One of them is even the subject of a US patent. That product’s manufacturers claim 98.5 per cent customer satisfaction. This product has been featured previously on television.

Wow. Again, they’re just making fun of me here. “That product’s
manufacturers claim 98.5 per cent customer satisfaction.” Tee hee!

References:

(Can you believe this?)

1. One of many websites dedicated to this subject:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Semen—Sperm-Taste-Improvement-Tips&id=7858

2. Schaal, B, Marlier, L. and Soussigan, R. (2000) Human Foetuses Learn
Odours from their Pregnant Mother?s Diet (Chem Senses) 25:729-737, 2000.

3. Mennella, J. A., Jagnow, C. P., Beauchamp, G. K. (2001) Prenatal and
Postnatal Flavour Learning by Human Infants (Paediatrics) Vol. 107. No.
6.

4. Vezina D, Mauffette F, Roberts KD, Bleau G. (1996)
Selenium-vitamin E supplementation in infertile men. Effects on semen
parameters and micronutrient levels and distribution (Biological trace
element research).’

What are these meant to prove? Nothing. It’s just more fun at my expense. It does accidentally prove that the contempt they feel for the viewer is not simply a vague, general contempt, but one that can be refined and tailored for individuals.

Public service broadcasting that hates the public. Haven’t you heard? It’s the new thing!

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Funography…the final frontier.

September 13, 2007

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I’ve been trying to process this for some time now and, uh, I have to say, I’m having a little trouble with it. I simply don’t know what to say.

I tell you what. I’m just going to post the link and go to bed. Maybe things’ll be clearer in the morning.

Here we go. This is a clip from a BBC show called The Truth About Food, and…uh…

Maybe you should just watch it.

Anyway. I’m going to go to bed to stare at the ceiling.

(Warning: It’s a clip from a BBC light entertainment program that shows women doing something that would not expect to see on a BBC light entertainment program.)

Thanks for the link, Mark G.