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Documentaries - Reality TV in one easy dose

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  • Supposedly The Aristocrats is a joke that comedians tell each other (and it's old as the hills) to gross each other out/crack each other up. It's like a secret handshake. Some of them love it; others hate it; a significant number just don't get it.

    The basic plot of the joke is this:

    A guy walks into a talent agent's office to pitch his family's act. From there the joke can move in nearly any (offensive) direction. As I noted above it often takes the form of the family swimming in their own waste, having all manner of deranged sexual and/or violent encounters. The more offensive/over the top the better.

    After the agent hears/watches the family's act he says: Well, that's a hell of a thing! What do you call yourselves?

    The Aristocrats.

    Here is the South Park version. The only one that I found myself saying "Oh no they didn't!" to (mostly because I found the truly gross out ones more squirmy than funny):

    ETA the obvious: Not safe for work!

    Also? This is a perfect discussion of the joke, if only because it leaves most people scratching their heads. Hee!:
    Last edited by isadora; 08-22-2005, 12:40 PM.
    Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


    • I also wish there had been more deconstruction in The Aristocrats and more cutting of the unfunny, but I still laughed. A lot.
      I thought Sarah Silverman had the best delivery but then, I her. Paul Reiser seemed sadly desperate for camera time.

      My brother and I were discussing people walking out and I said I didn't think anyone would given that you know what you're getting into (the theater had about fifty disclaimers posted,) but he feels ignorant conservative folk might wander in and get pissed. Conservative folk don't generally go to arthouse theaters, right?

      Lately, the docs I've seen seem to lack a thesis and be more extended clipshows. I was bummed TA fell into that category.


      • I haven't been able to get terribly excited over any documentaries I've seen lately either. The free-to-air station that shows a lot of them in Sydney lurrrrvvvves to show ones about the political strife and the people's struggles in a "Stan" country somewhere. Whilst it is always an injustice about something, I swear I'm down enough on the world as it is and I'd finish up topping myself to get away from how pissy this world is if I watched every one of them. But I have to admit I do also go on a little guilt trip that I didn't watch so I'd at least be aware of what's going on around me, i.e. the world. Sometimes ignorant bliss is a necessity for sanity.

        So the only two docos I've seen lately were one last week where they tried to find all the people who starred in Debbie Does Dallas to see what they were up to these days. No surprise, none of them are exactly wealthy, famous or happy. Not to mention a few that are dead or believed to be dead.

        Then tonight saw a short one called The Cat Empire: Sounds From Estudio 101 about Barry Joys inviting the band over to record in Havanah and the trials of recording in a studio where blackouts, equipment blowing up and pianos going out of tune four times a day aren't anything out of the ordinary. Still they seemed glad they did it just to record in (what they said) was an amazing room - both for the history of who's recorded there and the sound it creates (even if it did have creaking floorboards that you had to be careful not to squeak whilst recording). It was interesting to watch the deconstructed way recordings are still made there. Looked like you really have to know your stuff, your music, your instruments and your ability. I don't think Britney will be recording there.


        • 'Tis the season where the rating TV shows are pulled and the docos come out in mass. There's some doozies coming up. Yay!

          I stumbled across a really good one last week. It was actually a Frontline piece (they're shown as stand-alone docos here) about Hurricane Katrina. It wasn't about the weather itself or the victims but about the fiasco of that federal agency (is it called FEMA?).

          So something I learned, which you guys probably already knew, is that it's actually the "parking lot" for the politicians who owe favours to people or as the initial stepping stone to get further into federal politics. Well, that's how it was in Daddy Bush's time. Never did Daddy Bush ever appoint anyone in charge that had any kind of disaster relief experience. But one President did - Clinton. Apparently FEMA was run excellently during that time and they even showed footage of Baby Bush running for election touting how great this guy is (was his name Witt or deWitt?). So Baby Bush wins the election and Witt/deWitt resigns. Hee. And so it goes back to the political parking lot culminating in the Katrina fiasco.

          They did give kudos to FEMA's 9/11 efforts but it was a little backhanded kudos in that they said they were right there anyway. So it's just too bad if a major disaster strikes and you don't live in one of the major metropolitan cities.

          The bald-faced lies the FEMA interviewees were giving were incredible. They outright said that New Orleans (for example) did not "ask for specifics". New Orleans officials have documented evidence of the "specifics" they asked for. But even if they didn't ask for "specifics", did FEMA need specifics? Were they really not sure whether the disaster areas needed rose petals and perfume or troops, food, medicines and water?


          • I saw that one a couple of weeks ago! Grrr. That Michael Brown is the world's biggest douche bag. I hate him! And he was still getting a paycheck just a few weeks ago! It's outrageous.

            Meanwhile our major news outlets continue to fill up their former news shows with forensic science infotainment in the form of murder mysteries and child kidnappings. It's just so frustrating!
            Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


            • That's on here soon - I think I've got Sky+ taping it. Tonight's effort is about living in the goldfish bowl that is 10 Downing Street. There's even footage of Cherie Blair answering the door in her nighty. Yay!

              And how stupid do you have to be to open the door to number 10 in your frickin' nighty?


              • Poor old Cherie. She's just not the full quid.

                Saw the most brilliant damn doco tonight. It was the first part of a three parter. The BBC's The Power of Nightmares: Baby It's Cold Outside.

                Just when I start getting the feeling I'm one of about three people in the world thinking a certain way, something comes along to reaffirm my belief that other sane people are still around.

                What pisses me off though is that we are basically still as unsophisticated as the crazies building nuclear shelters in the 50's. Why can't people see that it's the same scaremongering to keep control? I've never understood why people haven't stopped to think back on the barrage of what the IRA used to do in Britain and remember that was a lot more frequent and a lot more real but a lot less people running scared from it. I think it only shows that the reality of all that wasn't half as frightening as the rhetoric these days.

                The funniest part of this doco is that the neo-cons' new buddy in '80s heading the CIA (Casey) tried to use, as evidence to present *to* the CIA (against the Russians), the black propoganda that the CIA themselves had written.

                I also loved the bit where the neo-cons said the Russians were using new acoustic technology in their subs to make them undetectable. The CIA shot that theory down because they were already all over what the Russians were doing. So the neo-cons simply switched and said a-ha! the Russians were using even newer technology that *wasn't* acoustic to make their subs undectable! Am I the only one reminded of Maxwell Smart script dialogue?

                And when the USSR's resources were failing and the CIA had evidence that their air missile program was falling apart, the neo-cons jumped up and down and said the Russian air missile program was about to go into full gear. For evidence they used the Russian air missile program manual. Like that would officially say the air missile program was failing! Hee!

                Of course all my old friends like Wolfowitz etc were featured.
                Last edited by deux; 12-06-2005, 08:07 AM.


                • Murderball was amazing! It was even better than I expected. I just thought it was funny and smart and interesting and had great visual elements. And it's genuinely compelling and the people are just completely real and flawed and lovable and messed up. Well worth seeing!
                  Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                  • Not exactly a doc:
                    First CTV made Terry Fox unwachable and now they're doing the same thing with Dudley George. Apparently 10 years have taken him from savage to noble savage. Quite frankly it's pissing me off.
                    Not that much
                    changes in Indian country anyway.


                    • Finally saw the March of the Penguins last night. I kind of felt like it was a kiddy movie and that's totally fine, of course, but I wasn't really into the heavy-handed desire to humanization the birds in narration. It's not a romance; it's a pursuit for survival and that's sort of more amazing than the story of love they were weakly trying to sell.

                      I did appreciate that deaths were handled discreetly because, frankly, I'm probably more upset by a penguin baby being eaten by a mean old predator bird than most kids would be.

                      I think it would have been more impressive visually on the big screen what with the grandeur and the textures but mostly I just felt it was a cute old fashioned animal documentary. And I still hate that the camera crew doesn't help dying animals. I don't care if it's the Prime Directive!

                      When I was a kid I saw a movie about Foxes and the one baby fox was blind and couldn't hunt and didn't know the tide was coming in and got separated from the fox and they did NOTHING! And it was the tiniest baby fox ever and I HATED them. I was so traumatized by that as a child I swore off animal shows/movies pretty much forever so that might be clouding my vision here.
                      Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                      • Finally saw the damn Enron movie! OMB. I can't believe how blatant it all was and how sordid and how everybody loves money so let's all just get on board without, you know, asking for a balance sheet. WTF?

                        Totally worth seeing if you are not completely sick of hearing about CEO/Fortune 500 Execs being robber barrons. Which they totally are! Dammit!
                        Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                        • What's that one called? I totally don't understand what went on there - I missed the deets about it, and they all started coming thick and fast after that, so I didn't like to ask. Hee!

                          I've got a book "Why things fail", and it talks about these companies. It's next on my list after learning about doughnuts and topology and fourth dimension maths.


                          • It's a book, too, Ginni! They're both called Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's pretty fascinating. I knew a rough sketch of what went down but hearing the details was deeply painful! You can't trust corporations, yo!

                            Also see the movie The Corporation -- it covers some of the same ground, in terms of what corporations are capable of/about.

                            Now on PBS also covered similar ground last weekend in pay difference between the top and bottom of the corporate ladder: Now on PBS
                            Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                            • I watched a Frontline one last night called The Last Abortion Clinic (apparently you can watch the whole thing online). As a clinic worker said, they'd be better off if the right to lifers just contested Roe v. Wade outright because, at the moment, it's just being chipped away at and legislation's being passed for little legal loopholes or legal misinterpretations. They said there have never been so few abortion clinics in the US (since Roe v. Wade) as there is at this point in time. 33 years later!

                              I will not rant. I will not rant.


                              • I saw that one a couple of weeks ago! Very infuriating! I had no idea that my home state required a waiting period. WTFE.
                                Last edited by isadora; 01-24-2006, 09:28 PM.
                                Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.