Program Notes

The media circus:...plenty of sex, natch. To be or become intellectually well-rounded one must occasionally invest time in teevy journalism. Last week such heady pursuits allowed one to view naked people involved in various sex acts, the sort of thing you normally have to go to the video store for. Dateline NBC on November 17 offered "Sex and the Media," an ironic title if ever. With all the journalistic substance of a Marmaduke comic panel, the report was nothing more that a blatantly hypocritical excuse to show some T&A while superficially addressing the effect of teevy T&A on young people. Silly, stupid, naive stuff, although I must admit I do see how a Prince video, or Prince itself for that matter, could lead to sexual confusion. The next night we were (mis)treated to 48 Hours' "Porn in the U.S.A." It was even more offensive because it was an hour's worth of fairly substantial reporting. No problem with the nudity and actual nontraditional sex acts shown, but the slant was way skewed, and there's the harm. Much of the sometimes hysterical reporting attempted to lend credence to the notion that porn somehow "brainwashes" people into going out and committing rape or murder. One guy had watched a sicko flick over and over, then committed a heinous act, and one legislator pitched a bill that would hold filmmakers, distributors, and retailers liable for such crimes. Might as well add an amendment that says you can sue Denny's if you're the victim of a crime perpetrated by someone who ate breakfast there.

Pet corner: Ever thought about leopards? I was reading where the males have distinct territories each to his own, but will also cross onto females' property, and not just during the weeklong mating period. Besides the patriarchal societal structure, distaff leopards have an accelerated gestation period (three months) so the family-valueless feline mother can hunt for herself and the young she must raise alone. Leopards possess sensory strength -- particularly hearing and sight -- several times that of humans. Solitary by nature, they're also aware of their planet -- they can be deposited hundreds of miles away and find their way back home. The gorgeous animals once ranged over most of Africa and Asia, but leopards (including the misnomered "black panther") are now, of course, protected because of wildly declining populations. This Friday is Fur Free Friday. If you see any animals, namely humans, wearing leopard-skin wraps, poach them.

Greg Brown lyric of the week: Yeah, yeah, I'm always mouthing off about how great this guy is, so here are some other opinions about Brown and his latest album, Dream Cafe: "MacArthur Foundation: Give Greg Brown a genius grant" (Utne Reader). "Dream Cafe's songs rival those on Dylan's masterpiece, Blood on the Tracks" (Z Magazine). "An unassuming triumph" (Washington Post). As for dissenting opinions, I haven't seen any.

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