WBEZ | nostalgia http://www.wbez.org/tags/nostalgia Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cell phones, cell phones, cell phones: Americans now outnumbered by their electronic devices http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-08/cell-phones-cell-phones-cell-phones-americans-now-outnumbered-their-electronic-d <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-21/Cell Phones Cell Phones.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>New statistics show that America now contains more cell phones than it does actual people.</p><p>Maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic, but I think there’s something peculiar about the fact that we, as a nation, are outnumbered by our electronic gagets:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/zMmxA0i6Epo" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em>Al Gini is a professor of business ethics and chair of the department of management at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of&nbsp;</em>Business Ethics Quarterly,<em>and the author of several books, including</em>&nbsp;My Job, My Self&nbsp;<em>and</em>&nbsp;Seeking the Truth of Things: Confessions of a (catholic) Philosopher.</p></p> Thu, 08 Mar 2012 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-08/cell-phones-cell-phones-cell-phones-americans-now-outnumbered-their-electronic-d Fall TV: Nostalgia for the glamorous 1960s needs a tune-up http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/fall-tv-nostalgia-glamorous-1960s-needs-tune-92208 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/The-Playboy-Club-007.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two of this week's most talked-about TV premieres have very similar settings: <em>Pan Am</em>, first airing on Sunday, is about attractive young women working as Pan Am flight attendants in the 1960s. <em>The Playboy Club</em>, which premiered Monday night, is about — well, attractive young women working as Playboy bunnies in the 1960s. Both shows are trying to imitate the success of another show set in the '60s: <em>Mad Men.</em></p><p>(NPR pop-culture blogger Linda Holmes wrote about <em>The Playboy Club</em> when the network <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/08/02/138924658/the-bizarre-pitch-for-the-playboy-club-its-all-about-female-empowerment">introduced the show</a> to critics over the summer, and she weighed in on <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/09/19/140598200/the-playboy-club-dont-skip-it-for-women-skip-it-for-humankind">the revamped pilot episode</a> this week.)</p><p>In <em>The Playboy Club</em>, new bunny Maureen has a pretty good setup. She's fresh in from Fort Wayne, Indiana, with a job at the coolest nightspot in town, Chicago's Playboy Club. She gets caught up in some mob action, but when she's told to leave Chicago — for her own good, of course — she wants to stay because being a Playboy Bunny is her dream job.</p><p>The opening even features narration (and an implied blessing) from an actor portraying <em>Playboy</em> founder Hugh Hefner himself: "I built a place in the toddlin' town where everything was perfect," he intones. "Fantasies became realities for everyone who walked through the doors."</p><p>Male-dominated fantasies, mostly — and for all its nostalgic glamour, NBC's <em>Playboy Club</em> gets stuck between its roots in a pre-liberation era and the reality of women's prominence in modern television. Because we're watching it in 2011, <em>The Playboy Club</em> has female characters argue for bunny work as empowerment; they say it's the best option for an ambitious woman in a troubled world.</p><p>"Honey, all I'm saying is that life is always going to be rough out there," explains the one African-American bunny. (She calls herself "chocolate.") "We're in here. We're at the party, and the party just started."</p><p>But because this is also about the Playboy life, the women's jobs and successes depend on serving and pleasing men. It's a hard line to walk. The show doesn't even give last names to the bunny characters, including star Amber Heard's troubled Maureen.</p><p>Worst of all, because this is network TV, the show commits what's a cardinal sin in Hugh Hefner's hedonistic universe: It isn't sexy. It's hard to believe, but NBC made a show about the Playboy Club that has almost no actual sex in it. It's not much more than a transparent homage to the <em>Mad Men</em> era of Rat Pack songs and sleek suits.</p><p>Sex appeal is not a problem for ABC's <em>Pan Am.</em> The airline's stewardesses — again, it's the '60s, so we're not calling them flight attendants yet — emerge as the ultimate symbol of buttoned-down beauty, the cameras lingering on their wide eyes, occasional cleavage and tight skirts. It's a decidedly male vision that at times seems sexier than anything <em>The Playboy Club</em> has to offer.</p><p>Here, the nostalgia on tap is for the Jet Age, the first time you could fly a plane anywhere in the world on an hour's notice, with more leg room than you find in today's airport lounges. So what if the only way for a woman to get ahead in this world is by serving drinks in the sky, enduring girdle checks and mandatory weigh-ins before she puts on her sleek stewardess hat?</p><p>Both <em>Pan Am</em> and <em>Playboy Club</em> attempt the same balancing act that <em>Mad Men</em> actually pulls off. They want to bask in the sexy glamour of the 1960s while also exploring its oppressive reality. This way, the networks hope to draw male viewers — whom advertisers love — without losing the female viewers who watch TV far more often.</p><p>But for these series to work, they need to dig deeper, moving beyond the superficial glitz of a time when too many lives were unfairly limited. Otherwise, <em>The Playboy Club</em> and <em>Pan Am</em> will just be celebrating a time when women had less freedom and less power. That's a history lesson no one needs to learn.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/media/">Eric Deggans</a> is the TV critic for the St. Petersburg Times. </em></p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/fall-tv-nostalgia-glamorous-1960s-needs-tune-92208