Television is, for the most part, complete crap. It is filled with lowest-common-denominator programmes (or programs, for the Stateside readers) that do nothing to stimulate us other than to reach for more coke and crisps and join the ever increasing ranks of the obese. I have never understood the success of reality TV; the fascination with other peoples, mostly scripted and pre-planned, fortunes and misfortunes – can it be that some viewers really are dumb enough to believe that these shows are an insight into how others live? Are their own lives really so dull?; Or the overwhelming fascination in how a group of differing personalities put together in a house resolve their issues, or not as the case may be. If most family members turned that acute interest on their own homes and situations perhaps we wouldn’t have as many dysfunctional families in the world.
I digress slightly. There are only a handful of TV programmes that I watch at home – mostly because I don’t have time but also because even the scripted shows aren’t as good as when I was growing up. One of my favourite is Californication, a show to which I have caught onto late in the day (I’ve only just bought the first series on DVD and the second is about to start in the U.S.). Created by Tom Kapinos, it stars David Duchovny as the acerbic Hank Moody, a famed writer who is suffering from writers block, pines after his ex-girlfriend, is trying to help raise his pre-teen daughter and who copes with it all by having excessive amounts of drink, drugs and sex. Don’t you love him already? Tom Kapinos wrote this screenplay originally as an exercise to break through his own writers block by writing the first thing that came to mind – and it is partly that premise that gives the show it’s unique air.
One of Hank’s more appealing traits is his candour. He makes no apologies for who he is and he speaks his mind with very little thought for the consequences. Through his scathing, yet mostly eloquent comments, Hank deals with people and situations the way that most can only dream of after the event has occurred. While his comments may offend they are not necessarily offensive. There are plenty of extremely offensive people in the world but being offensive for offensive’s sake is asinine at best – morons without a cause. To put down the annoying guy at the coffee machine or the queue jumper or the arrogant bank manager and to do so with articulate wit is far more effective. Hank is a modern day rebel, a fictitious, politically incorrect beacon of hope in a non-fictitious world drowning in it’s own apathetic blandness. With so many uninspired and uninspiring male roles around we need more extreme characters like this. We need Hank Moody!
There is another aspect of the character of Hank Moody (and by default his creator Tom Kapinos) with which I can relate too completely – his complete intolerance of stupid people and his dismay at the degradation and dumbing down of the English language. As most of you know, I am trying to play my part in the fight against the growing tide of illiteracy and abuse of the English language both online and off. I am beginning to find other like-minded souls online and will be adding them to my blogroll. If you know of an intelligent, articulate writer or blogger that you think I should get in touch with and add to my list, then please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, I’m going to end with some comments from Hank in an episode of Californication, entitled LOL. It’s from a scene where Hank is doing a radio interview and it perfectly captures my opinions on the subject of the internet and the English language – in fact it could be me! The irony of writing this in a blog is not lost on me!
Henry Rollins: So, what’s your latest obsession?
Hank Moody: Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber, you know? I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically 4 figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratise us but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. You know, people …. they don’t write anymore, they blog; instead of talking they text, no punctuation, no grammar, LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me that it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo communicating with a bunch of other stupid people in a protolanguage that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.”
Rollins: Yet you’re part of the problem. I mean, you’re out there blogging with the best of them
Hank: Hence my self-loathing