April 17, 2004

Video on Demand ... "The Dalton Girls" ... "Born Rich" ... The Apprentice. I caught the documentary "Born Rich," which is playing on HBO on Demand. And let me just pause to say I love the whole video on demand technology--except the way on my service if you leave it on pause too long a too-happy female voice booms "Welcome to video on demand!" Since I pause a lot, leave the room, enter into conversations and so forth, that "Welcome!" voice is the least welcome thing on TV. But a little video on demand and you can't help wanting the future of TV to arrive quickly. Right now some of HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime is available free and some other things are available for a price, but why isn't every movie and TV show ever made available? Why isn't TV more like the Internet? Why can't I just watch any old episode of, say, Dobie Gillis or I'm Dickens, He's Fenster whenever I want? Why can't I sit down any night and call up, say, "The Dalton Girls"? (Althouse trivia experts should know that was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. According to an IMDB user summary it's "Just another 'B' western, except the outlaws are babes." I see the plot was "After the Dalton boys are killed by the law, one of the Dalton girls is forced to kill a lecherous mortician who tries to rape her. Being branded a murderess, the sisters follow in their brothers tracks and take up a life of crime." Hey, this was some 1950s "Thelma and Louise"! Hmmm ... I wonder if that shaped my whole life. And how bad were my parents to let me see that when I was six? Ah, don't worry, she's not going to get the mortician rape part. She'll just see a bunch of cowgirls. Like Sally Starr! She loves Sally Starr!)

"Born Rich" was a nice documentary, made by a born-rich guy who had access to other born-rich kids, because (as I learned in the documentary), born-rich people are an inbred subculture. They hang out with each other and interact with each other, in part because only another rich kid can understand the sorrows of inherited wealth. The rest of us can look on with horror, amusement, sympathy, or whatever we like, now that we have this film to watch.

There's a nice variety of rich kids to react in different ways to. And I must say one of the nicest ones was Ivanka Trump, which has to remove a layer of loathsomeness from Donald Trump. And here's a good article in today's NYT on the aftermath of The Apprentice, for those who are still wondering if Bill Rancic is actually going to be trusted to run that billion dollar Chicago construction project. ("This is a large and sophisticated project, and the job is like being the conductor of an orchestra ... I don't know how somebody can conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra if they've never gone to a concert before, and if they've never played any of the instruments.") Read about the complexity of the project, and consider how absurd it would be to only make $250,000 (Bill's new salary) for running it. So why didn't Trump pick a more practical project to put Bill in charge of? Are you kidding?
"I felt that this was a great opportunity to promote a great project," Mr. Trump said.

Well, isn't the whole TV show an infomercial for Trump's projects? He features one project or another not because it makes for a good prize or competition, but because he needs to advertise it, as the end of the finale show on Thursday made crashingly obvious.

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