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Wanted to take some time and reminisce about some of the best things from that old warhorse the 20th century. she carried us far... and furiously, and left us with memories both wondrous and wild.

 

Defining Moment: The defining moment of the century, the piston that drove the world and changed it, actually occurred in the century before. Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin that effectively launched the industrial revolution, and changed the very fabric of the world. Moving us away from an agrigarian society, to a new, oiled, cold, and brutally efficient Industrial one. All that was to come, the war of north and south, the auto, the plane, the computer, the bomb, oppenheimer, einstein, America as world power, all ripples from this one rock of an invention. One man's vision. It's funny how the importance of an invention begins to effect even the color of the inventor. When I was growing up Eli Whitney was in the history books a free Black man. An inventor in the brotherhood of men like George Washington Carver and ######. But lately, like Jean Baptiste Dupont before him, like Egypt, like even the Statue of Liberty, I've watched him get painted by encyclopedias, and mass media,  and the new history of a rising south, I've watched him get painted a paler shade.

One of the dichotomies of a 19th century America that declared war on a whole group of people and called them cattle, that most of the inventions of that age, the gothic architecture, the music, the poetry, the books, even the streets of the Capital of the nation, forged from this captured humanity, these prisoners of war, from this so-called... cattle.

The Great and Secret Show Television while not the greatest invention of the century has managed to make itself the most prevalent and powerful. Televison has become not just a means of entertainment, but has become the chronicler of our times, the shaper of it. Mass media has proved itself the single greatest weapon, instrument of our age. It wins the war of hearts and minds. For more on this click here.

I tend to as a whole see serious problems with mass media, how more and more the "truth" is brought to us by fewer and fewer companies. How more and more our choices are being made for us, our options distilled to us. Over 20 people ran for mayor in the last Baltimore City Election only three got any airtime, only three were distilled to the people as true contenders. An election before the election, where the media decides for you the eligibility of candidates. Needless to say the candiates without airtime were disadvantaged, they became non-entities, and whether their message was good or bad we'll never know. We'll never know. Democracy is not supposed to work like that.

This is why the public needs greater access to mass media, to protect their rights, and as a counterpoint to corporate interests. I believe public access channels is a right, and it should be implemented better than it is, true acroos the board visibility alongside the commercial channels, we should have public access over the air, via cable, via sattelite, digital spectrums should have been given to the public, not corporations.

That having been said I believe television when done right can do so much... good. It can bring us together in our common laughs, our common hopes, our common moments of sorrow or joy.

Here's my vote for televison done right:

Single Most Important Program of the Century Bill Moyers Liberty for all--purchase here, absolutely essential viewing

Best Comedy Program of the Century  While I was a big fan of the early days of Tele and shows like Honeymooners, Our Gang, I Love Lucy, the shows that made my best of list came from the last quarter of this century. Sanford and Son Seinfeld Everybody Loves Raymond

Best Drama Homocide 1st season of NYPD Blue ER

Best Sci-Fi Fantasy TWILIGHT ZONE STAR TREK BABYLON FIVE STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE ROBIN HOOD (1980 bRITISH SERIES)

Best Action/Adventure WILD WILD WEST SPENSER FOR HIRE

Best News/Talk Show- None. Bunch of prostitutes, off with their heads.

  

Best Movie of the Century. Wow this is a hard list to put together in roughly the 80 years of cinema, there have been a lot of great movies. Sometimes as many as 8 great movies a year. Even if we figure 2 great movies a year, we're still talking about a 160 movies. So we of the Rambling One, we use our very refined Movie Pallette to give you a short concise list of only the bestof the best.  If all movies were to be burned tomorrow and we ccould save a handful of them, to teach those yet born of the power of cinema. It would be theese movies.

Some names that stand out when deciding best movie are the following:

Best Director of the Century: Orson Welles

Though a lot of worthy contendersDavid Lean, sergio Eisenstein, Stanley Kubrick, Stanley Kramer, and of course the master Hitchcock,Orson welles edged them all out. His body of work being the defining images of an age. The long shadows that held the past, riveted the present, and spoke to the future. Simply the finest director ever to hold the title. CITIZEN KANE Welles' first movie is the most mentioned and the most praised, but it is not his best. His second movie MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS is one of the greatest movies ever made, and is superior to KANE in every area. MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS is a large,lofty panorama of changing times, and changing values as seen through the eyes of one turn of the age family.  If you haven't seen it, give yourself a present and go rent it. And even better than MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, is the movie he didn't get directorial recognition for THE THIRD MAN. I cannot hide my preference or my love for this movie,   and while what came before

 

Favorite Television ShowComedy .   The shaper of our timesWalter Mosley's WHITE BUTTERFLY
Today's favorite CD:     John Coltrane's A LOVE SUPREME
Today's favorite Movie: I don't get out to the movies near as much as I would like; so thank goodness for videotape, laserdiscs, and DVDs. Thanks to these modern mediums I get the chance to revisit what is best in cinema, revisit the new literature of our Millennium.  From the silent glories of directors like Sergei Eisenstein, Abel Gance, F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, Victor Sjostrom, Erich von Stroheim to the modern day Masterpieces of Directors like Carl Franklin, Kenneth Branagh, Ron Howard, David Fincher, John Woo, Mamoru Oshii, Albert and Allen Hughes to the classics in between, like John Ford's Searchers, Michael Curtiz's Casablanca, Anthony Harvey's Lion in Winter, Orson Welles' Third Man (I know this one is credited to Carol Reed, but that's a load of hooey, what is best about this movie is definitive Welles. His lines, his Superciliousness, his angles and shadows. Welles, the pariah, the fallen son, making from behind the scenes the finest movie of all time.) this section in the weeks to come will touch on them all. And if you have a favorite you'd like reviewed drop us a line.