BILL BRIOUX has been a featured voice in a wide range of national media - both as a key pundit in a variety of radio, television and on-line forums, and as a contributor to several leading publications. He has served on the board of directors of the Television Critics Association, and his weekly television commentary "Brioux On The Box" is distributed nationally by The Canadian Press. From 1999 to 2007, as daily television columnist for The Toronto Sun, his humorous - and always outspoken - take on television and pop culture garnered numerous accolades, including two Edward A. Dunlop Awards for critical writing.
Truth and Rumors: The Reality behind TV's Most Famous Myths (Praeger Television Collection Series)by Bill Brioux
When you first heard it, you couldn't believe it: Jerry Mathers, from TV's Leave It To Beaver, had been killed in Vietnam. Then word came that Abe Vigoda, the actor who played the curmudgeonly cop Fish on Barney Miller, was dead; and that Mikey, who would eat anything as the Life Cereal tyke, had eaten too many Pop Rocks and exploded. By the '90s,/i>/i>
When you first heard it, you couldn't believe it: Jerry Mathers, from TV's Leave It To Beaver, had been killed in Vietnam. Then word came that Abe Vigoda, the actor who played the curmudgeonly cop Fish on Barney Miller, was dead; and that Mikey, who would eat anything as the Life Cereal tyke, had eaten too many Pop Rocks and exploded. By the '90s, people were certain that Steve, from the animated kiddie show Blue's Clues, had died of a heroin addiction; that watching Sailor Moon caused convulsions; and that Josh Savino, Kevin's geeky pal on The Wonder Years, had grown up to become Marilyn Manson. Besides exposing us to things we couldn't otherwise believe, television can convince us of things that never actually happened. But how did these outrageous TV legends get started? How did they spread from classrooms to boardrooms across North America and beyond? And, most important, what do these rumors, so quickly transformed into facts and common knowledge, reveal about our relationship to reality through the medium of television? Put in other words, what exactly is it that were doing when were dealing in these fabulous rumors--are we chasing after surprising truths or simply more incredible entertainment?
To take one telling example: Jerry Mathers was not actually killed in Vietnam--but the basic sense of this lie wasn't far removed from the emotions factually expressed in the two-page spread of the faces of the dead in Time magazine. In the course of this compelling work--which is supplemented with interviews with many of the people implicated in these rumors--author Bill Brioux exposes the reality behind the many stories that currently circulate in our culture. Through these stories (both true and false), he sheds a revealing light on just what role these rumors play in contemporary society--and what role our society plays in regard to these rumors as well.
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