The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, June 10, 1999, Summer Edition, Page 5, Image 5

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[ ___
Enough, already
|v Sports, entertainment sacrificing quality for quantity
j SAM MCKEWON is the
[ Daily Nebraskan summer
\ editor.
On Tuesday night, the first game of
| the Stanley Cup Finals was played.
| Hockey on ice. In June.
There is something very, very
l wrong with that picture. Hockey ought
i to end sometime in March, April, the
| latest. The sport simply seems out of
\ place in the summer, as it is played on a
j surface created by wintry conditions.
But it is a sign of times that our
\ entertainment industry is going horri
[ bly wrong by going horribly long.
I Everything in the sports and enter
| tainment system is dominated by
| length. More and more television pro
| grams go to an excruciating hour to
keep viewer^. Sports adds more and
games, more and more channels, so
there is no possible way to escape your
favorite year-round activity. It starts at
the lowest levels and works from there.
At the core of this entire transfor
mation is a likely culprit money Itpays
for die NBA to play basketball until the
end of July. More ratings. More adver
; rising. More everything.
losing records, some years. Your
favorite team might get in, but see how
you feel when they get swept by the No.
1 seed and you spent $100 to see that
happen. (New York Knick fans please
Length cheapens entertainment.
Gone is tightly written television and
film scripts, at the behest of labonOus
film making process. Anymore, mak
ing a film costs so much that movies
feel a show has to be two hours long for
it to be worth anything.
Seriously, is there any real reason a
show like “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”
needs a full hour to tell its story? In the
30 minutes we must fill, we just a get a
bunch of talky dialogue anyway.
Movies are worse. As much as I like
Martin Scorese as a director, his movies
are~becoming the equivalent of shop
ping with a woman: you browse and
browse in a store for entirely too long,
get nothing, and move on to the next
store. His most recent effort, “Kqndun”
was a battle is fighting off sleep.
It ought to be a sign
when every movie nom
No longer are our
eyes bigger than
our stomachs, but
our brains are, too.
Thirty minutes of
news is not enough;
we need 24 hours.”
inated for an Academy Award for best
picture was two hours or longer. The
film that won, “Shakespeare In Love”
122 minutes long (two hours, two min
utes). A two-hour comedy. My God.
More and more often, length deter
mines quality when it never should
have. Of our finest literature, many of it
is short. But longer and longer nov
els get all of the attention, for no
apparent reason. In an English
class of mine, I asked a class
Professional teams love the two
month long playoffs. Ticket prices
\ always go up in tfie playoffs.
Everybody wants a piece.
I Thousands of fans waited out
j side the Buffalo Sabres’
\ arena for a ticket to the
! first Stanley Cup the ;,
; team has ever been in. J JL
j They were notified
: the tickets had sold
; out in about nine
i minutes. The
| longer the playoffs,
5 the better.
|. Meanwhile,
: length simply
; cheapens
| quality,
i There’s
I teams in the
1 NBA and
| NHL play
o f f s
mate how long the ideal novel
ought to be. She replied,
“About 700 pages.” “The
Great Gatsby” is 216. “A
Clockwork Orange” is 192.
‘Old Man and the Sea” is 127.
What is our obsession with
length? Some link it to technology.
Others, to money. Think about: are
you going to pay for $27 book if
it’s only 100 pages long? Not
More likely, it s our devo
tion to indulging ourselves with
information. No longer are our
eyes bigger than our stomachs,
but our brains are, too. Thirty
minutes of news is not enough;
we need 24 hours. Newspapers are
following in on the act, too. I’ll read
features that are 100, sometimes 150
inches long. This is brutal reading.
The world ought to be ending if I’m
reading that in a newspaper. We want
more and more information than we
can handle: more images, more pages,
more playoffs, more bang for our buck.
And when television and film give
us what we want, we’re bored or too
full to care. Pretty soon, somebody
will be inventing a doggie bag for
your brain.