Archive for April, 2008

My latest book

April 16, 2008

BookcoverOn April 15, I published a book written with Dave Hall and Tym Burkey about an interesting undercover operative.  I also posted a long blog about it at:




Tabloid Nation

April 10, 2008
This week on “Boston Legal,” a sleazy legal show, Alan Shore, the star attorney, went on a ten-minute rant about the lack of standards for tabloid TV.  He made some pointed remarks about how we parade mentally unstable people before the cameras so more mentally unstable people can feed off them and the networks can increase profits.  While some people consider this a spoof, I do think the writers use the platform of a sleazy show to get audiences to think about serious issues, usually through Alan’s impassioned speeches.  It’s why I sometimes tune in (though I’m tired of Denny Crane’s one-note sex addiction).  Alan once went on a rant about the caretakers in New orleans who apparently assisted the deaths of patients rather than leave them behind, which was really quite philosophically impressive.  But I liked his rant on tabloid culture because he’s correct that we’ve become a culture driven by profit and “embedded lies,” and that the lowest common moral denominator usually rules, because that’s what audiences tune in to see.  The film, “Untraceable,” poor as it was in many ways, had a similar thing to say, in terms of group greed for seeing the worst images and the worst aspects of another human being.  We think it’s fun.  I’d go so far as to say we’ve become a culture of mean, making a spectacle of winners and losers.   It’s not as if the winners are anything special or the losers are worthless, but we’ve arrived at the point where we’ve endowed them with that aura.  One of my associates, a forensic psychologist, likened our culture to a school playground where the bullies rule and there’s no teacher to step in and say, “That’s enough.”