Jewish World Review June 5, 2003 / 5 Sivan, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Here, Spike


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Cable TV network TNN changed its name to Spike this June. Let's see, at first it was the Nashville Network, and then the National Network, I think, and then it was just the initials T.N.N. that didn't really stand for anything -- The Nothing Network maybe -- and now, Spike.

Why? To attract men. Spike will be the first cable network, according to president Albie Hecht, to explicitly attract men as its prime directive unlike, I suppose, sports networks, Fox News, USA, Comedy Central, or any station that shows Stephen Seagall movies.

This name change strikes me as capitalism at its most desperate. Well okay, I don t understand capitalism, but I do understand nicknames. For one thing, you do not give yourself a nickname, unless you're Sting.

Nicknames are supposed to be given to you. And you get them for a reason. You get a name like Shorty because you re either short, or very tall. You get called Lefty or Red because of certain physical attributes you possess. If you re called Snake or Smoky, it's because you re really really cool. You get a name like Waxy or Killer because your fellow gang members fear and respect you.

Why Spike?

The only other two Spikes I can think of are Spike Milligan and Spike Jones. Spike Milligan was a great English comic mind, creator of the Goon Show back, which launched the career of Peter Sellers, and inspired Monty Python s Flying Circus.

Spike Jones was a great American musical genius, who took the novelty song to dizzying heights of cacophony.

Oh, and there's the Spike of Spike and Mike s Festival of Twisted Animation. And there's Spike, the cute but conflicted vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And the other Spike Jonze, who directed BEING JOHN MALKOVICH.

(Oh, and Spike Lee, of course, but if he loses his lawsuit against Spike for stealing his name, he might have to change HIS name. Wouldnt that be cruel irony? )

Is Spike the network going to resemble any of these Spikes? Somehow I doubt it. Right now it's best known for reruns of STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION, and airing the entire GODFATHER series at the drop of a canolli. I suggest that they drop Spike as well, and go back to the drawing board.

Some suggestions. Sluggo. Stinky. Sparky. Three-Finger Bob. If they really want manly men viewers, call it the Test Toster Zone. Or if they want to go in a whole different direction, there's a network whose name just might be for sale cheap: Oxygen. Give the gals over there a call, why don t you?

Be prepared to grovel.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

05/07/03: When Hippies Retire
04/09/03: Your mommy could have told you that silence is the stoic's path to personal salvation --- hey, but who would have listened?
04/01/03: Hedging the war
03/28/03: Space: The Penultimate Frontier
03/18/03: Hour of the Narc
03/07/03: Home entertainment tips for pinkos --- no joke!
02/28/03: When Anorexia is a good thing
02/21/03: Aussie invasion!
02/11/03: This museum of my dreams would be no accident
02/03/03: Hasn't 'reality TV' always been with us?
01/30/03: Get tougher?
01/21/03: Spinning through the 'newscycle'
01/16/03: "G" for verbal violence?
01/03/03: Farewell to novelty
12/23/02: Neo-frontiers
12/18/02: A nation of hypochondriacs?
12/11/02: Cursed
11/08/02: Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
11/01/02: "Extreme" annoyance
10/24/02: Snipers are people, too!
10/16/02: Hockey Therapy
10/08/02: Cupid, the parasite
10/03/02: How to have fun in Africa
09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
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06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/14/02: IN THIS CORNER SUSAN LUCCI AND STEPHANIE ZYMALIST!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/31/01: I COPY, THEREFORE I AM
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales