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amberzak


Member

Posted Tue Oct 28th, 2008 1:12am Post subject: Criticism of the series
Someone on youtube put that Stephen didn't spend enough time in their state.

He is just giving a taster of America as a whole, for christs sake. He has to fit in all states in only a handful of episodes. Grrrr. Can't they give him a break.

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hunchster


Member

Posted Tue Oct 28th, 2008 2:30am Post subject: Criticism of the series
I love the series
it trickles along at a pace and such a pleasing angle to all
it encounters I'm sufficiently whisked away from our dreary winter
for the duration.
I have one gripe.Stephen says 'Oh My' a lot.
at least 3 or 4 times an episode
maybe he's picked this up or perhaps its an unconscious response to America
itself but someone please tell him in case he's still doing it
I don't intend this as a mean thing
I just know that if it was me I'd want telling like spinach in the teeth or a stray bogey
on the nostril it happens to the best of us....
Happy trails...
Chris

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Mares


Member

Posted Tue Oct 28th, 2008 2:58am Post subject: Criticism of the series
Has some pretty interesting (negative) points at

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/oct/07/stephenfry.usa


in his 'digested read'. Notably, that the 'tour' is a tour that none of us could possibly have made (meeting people we could not meet without the BBC greasing the way -- that is, that it is something of a rich-man's tour)
and that the set-pieces are rather painfully obvious set-pieces (the
fellow who just happened to want to tramp through the woods
to find a stone with "WV" on it was one that bugged me. There are
actually signs that say "Mason-Dixon line" on roads, you know, and
let's not get into that when the Mason-Dixon line drawn, West Virginia
didn't exist.) I don't agree with much of the critique (but I don't
agree that critics should all be hung upside down and drained of all
bile :-).

But anyway, another view.

Charles

PS - kind of surprising that ol' QI himself didn't mention that Arlington
national cemetery, indeed in Virginia, is on land seized from the
Lee family (as in Robert E. Lee.) Or is that in the book but not in
the show?

I read that article in the Guardian a few days back, and felt rather offended by it. My opinion on such critics are that they should be perfectly open to having their hat handed back to them. For example, if the critic cares so much, why then hasn't he, or the Guardian featured substantive articles clearly reporting on the realities of the poor citizenry in the UK? Why is any such reporting more of an exercise on what is exploitable for agenda only?

Seriously, the employment problems, the poverty in the UK is dire, and yet even in the Guardian it's pretty much ignored.. with whatever little attention paid to the subject is in aid of only increasing that poverty and unemployment.

To me, the review was written by a person with a chip on their shoulder, who couldn't be bothered to watch the wider body of the series before publishing what was little more than sour grapes.

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McGrew


Member

Posted Tue Oct 28th, 2008 4:33am Post subject: Criticism of the series

To me, the review was written by a person with a chip on their shoulder, who couldn't be bothered to watch the wider body of the series before publishing what was little more than sour grapes.

I believe the review was of the book (and so the ' wider body of the series' doesn't actually apply). I can't comment on the relation of the Guardian to poverty in the UK, but I'm not sure that one short review of a book can be expected to solve the problem. in any case, Mr. Crace certainly seems to have read a lot of books, and perhaps have many chips on his shoulder, but he writes well...

Charles "does drinking sour grapes make your teeth blue?"

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amberzak


Member

Posted Tue Oct 28th, 2008 7:51am Post subject: Criticism of the series
I love the series
it trickles along at a pace and such a pleasing angle to all
it encounters I'm sufficiently whisked away from our dreary winter
for the duration.
I have one gripe.Stephen says 'Oh My' a lot.
at least 3 or 4 times an episode
maybe he's picked this up or perhaps its an unconscious response to America
itself but someone please tell him in case he's still doing it
I don't intend this as a mean thing
I just know that if it was me I'd want telling like spinach in the teeth or a stray bogey
on the nostril it happens to the best of us....
Happy trails...
Chris


I love him saying Oh My. It is very endearing.

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Mares


Member

Posted Tue Oct 28th, 2008 12:44pm Post subject: Criticism of the series
Someone on youtube put that Stephen didn't spend enough time in their state.

He is just giving a taster of America as a whole, for christs sake. He has to fit in all states in only a handful of episodes. Grrrr. Can't they give him a break.

All that means is they were thrilled to see the program, and for Fry to have come there. They only wish that they could have seen what he had to say about their particular area. It's more compliment than anything else.

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struggling


Member

Posted Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 1:35pm Post subject: Criticism of the series
I think what some might note as weaknesses of the programme are just a result of what the programme was meant to be: A quick snapshot of lesser seen things from each of the fifty states of mainland America.

The programme may seem a bit nicey and a bit too friendly, especially for those who are more used to slagging America. I think the programme though could conceivably be a part of Anglo-American diplomatic relations. It may not have been for you. No programme will be for everybody. If you already know America very well, the programme migh well have not been for you.

In fact, I think the third programme had the most negativity in it, though Fry did not flag it up. If you remember at the 49th Parallel and Fry remarking the lack of hordes of Canadians trying to reach American freedome.

There was also a good compare and contrast, though again not flagged up. Remember the Sally Army in one of the northern locations and the belly dancer who gave her time and herself to it and then the rich in Houston who were buying off their consciences by donating money. Of course, had oil been discovered beneath whichever northern state we saw the Sally Army in, perhaps they could afford huge charity contributions too.

Also, Fry was quite rude about that Polish guy's sculpture. Now that's edgy tv.

Now, i don't think the programme will make me change my mind about America, as I am not directly on the receiving end of US domestic policy; it get US foreign policy. However, I did not watch the programme so that my mind might be changed. I watched it to chill out to a gentle ramble (at least for me in my living room. One hopes that Fry's last stop is a warm, shallow sea around Hawaii where he can rest his weary feet) around America. I enjoyed seeing Morgan Freeman in his club. Now, will it be last stop for Fry in a San Fran bathhouse?

Schama's programme by the by was different. It was aiming more toward the academic. It was explicit with its themes. I didn't see the Snow, but by the ads I guess he was looking at lower class America, which neither series above focussed on.

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struggling


Member

Posted Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 1:41pm Post subject: Criticism of the series
As to the tour being a rich man's tour... D'uh? Since this is a BBC produced tour, of course Fry will have access to places and people that might not be open to everybody. This does not mean that what was put on the screen does not exist, or, that there is no point to be drawn from it.

Much of British tv is not looking at poverty. Were you expecting something with the production values of Soviet tv?

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Mares


Member

Posted Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 2:41pm Post subject: Criticism of the series

To me, the review was written by a person with a chip on their shoulder, who couldn't be bothered to watch the wider body of the series before publishing what was little more than sour grapes.

I believe the review was of the book (and so the ' wider body of the series' doesn't actually apply). I can't comment on the relation of the Guardian to poverty in the UK, but I'm not sure that one short review of a book can be expected to solve the problem. in any case, Mr. Crace certainly seems to have read a lot of books, and perhaps have many chips on his shoulder, but he writes well...

Charles "does drinking sour grapes make your teeth blue?"

The Guardian as a newspaper has a duty, and they do make a claim of reporting in the public interest, of covering important issues. Their over all indifference to poverty in the UK, only reporting it narrowly, for their own agenda shows that they don't truly care about the issue.

To an American, like me, any harping on American poverty from the Guardian doesn't reflect any real concern they have for it, it's merely a reflection of their need to grasp whatever cudgel they can to attack us..

I started reading the Guardian online regularly in 2000, because it represented itself as more representative of journalistic integrity.. that impression didn't stick with me very long. The view I came away with is that they are as given to hypocrisy, a willingness to lie, and misrepresent the facts. They're nothing more than a far left wing rag, hatemongers.

BTW, I'm a liberal democrat.

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nickb123


Member

Posted Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 9:22pm Post subject: Criticism of the series
Well I like most of the people here disagree with the criticisms of the show. I doubt mainly that Stephen Fry and Simon Schama would be influenced by each other, as they are both individual eccentrics, and that's putting it lightly. Their focus was entirely different in terms of revealing the truth of America.

I also don't see any problem with the BBC perhaps even coincidentally placing Fry's programme at the time of the US election - it may be that it helps garner extra viewers, and I disagree when people say "there's too much about America right now" - do they not realise that the US election has such huge repercussions for the world? It's the overblown equivalent of saying there's too much death on TV when we're in the middle of a war.

And finally, to the argument that Stephen's motivations for exploring America are arbitrary - so what? How many programmes do we see on TV where the presenter's link to the topic is non-existent? A lot I'd wager. I doubt anyone would be slating Stephen if he'd said that he simply wants to go there "to explore and learn more of the culture" and yet he's being judged for perfectly acceptable reasons. I was born in the UK but was almost born and raised in Australia, and I have occasionally wondered what my life would have been like. What's wrong with Stephen Fry doing the same, and actually wanting to act on this? Do you honestly think he was just after a free holiday? A highly stressful, non-stop filming, break your arm and almost get attacked by killer bison holiday.

Actually, sounds like my kind of trip.

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Tue Nov 11th, 2008 11:26pm Post subject: Criticism of the series
Was there ever any pretense that things just happened by chance in the series? Was tehre ever any pretense that this is all just some happy roadtrip anyone could take and full of meetings and experiences anyone bumbling round in their car could happen upon? No. At least I didn't get that impression at all. It's like with Michael Palin's shows. Stuff is arranged beforehand. It seemed obvious to me that stuff was prearranged and it was never pretended to be otherwise. This is supported by how whenever Stephen Fry goes to meet people in the series they are always expecting him, it's not a "oh who are you?" moment at all.

Assuming direct control...

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