Jewish World Review June 5, 2003 / 5 Sivan, 5763
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.
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
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.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales