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Mindhunter is overrated artsy psychobabble designed to impress the pseudo-intellectual




When reviews came in for Mindhunter, the Netflix crime drama set in the 1970s, I was extremely excited. I’ve been impressed with pretty much everything Netflix has put out (my favorites have been Stranger Things and Longmire), and as a lover of crime dramas I had high expectations following the rave reviews.

I was disappointed. There’s not much here other than an interesting premise.

No spoilers, but the premise surrounds a small team of FBI agents and a consultant who are compiling data by interviewing serial killers. The start is brilliant and edgy. The character development is creepy but enthralling. The technical aspects like cinematography and editing are spot-on.

What’s the problem? It has no true drive. It’s artsy without the art. It’s suspenseful without the anxiety. It confuses criminality with motivations and leaves the viewer wandering around waiting for the real juice to boil over. Then, it never does.

I can understand why it’s so nicely reviewed. It’s attractive from many angles, but there seems to be confusion over how to piece it together properly and build up the suspense without getting too cheesy. They avoid the cheese so well that there’s not enough suspense. Because they err on the side of caution, reviewers find very little to dislike. What they don’t realize is that they don’t find much to like, either, other than the grimy feeling it leaves on our psyches after the season ends.

Perhaps the best way to explain it is through art itself. It’s easy to duplicate the style of Jackson Pollock and most people couldn’t tell the difference between a Pollock and a junior high art project. That’s what we have here. It has the components but refuses to deliver the payoff. They are moving through slowly to prolong the series, but this should have been made with the intention of two or three seasons, max. Instead, they’re setting it up for the standard five+ seasons that make it financially prime.

I’d love to have seen it designed to be shorter. Then, they would have been forced to pack more into it rather than focus on too many nuances.

Okay, one minor spoiler just to give you an example. To develop one character, the put a cat in her laundry room. We never see the cat. But we hear it (it’s apparently a kitten) and we have evidence that it’s there because the tuna can she leaves it every night is empty the next morning. One morning, she goes down and finds bugs in the full can.

That’s it. This is character development designed to express her loneliness. It’s creepy because it’s in a dimly lit public laundry room. There’s suspense because we want to know if there’s anything to the kitten story, whether it has something to do with the cat itself or if her nightly trip is being monitored by a dangerous element. So far, there’s nothing. After one season, there was just a cat that she fed a few times.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some amazing scenes in this show. The elevator scene from the image above was nothing short of outstanding.

Perhaps I’m the pseudo-intellectual who just doesn’t get it. Maybe the critics are all at the right level and I’m just too dull to grasp what the emperor really does have clothes. After season 1, I’m sticking with my perspective.

+Jesseb Shiloh is not-so-new to blogging. He enjoys things that most don't and doesn't mind and occasional nap. And he's never ambiguous nor contradictory most of the time. Find him on Twitter.

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  1. Norman Doyle

    February 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    If anything, Mindhunter is fodder for the crowd of ID, Oxygen and TruTv “re-enactment crime” shows. Most of those are cheap, gratuitous, exploitative trash that either place a no-name pseud above the title or the killer as a kind of mythologized figure.

    The latter is the main problem with Mindhunter. Rather than strip away the mystique around a group of people that has been romanticized ever since Douglas and Ressler identified them AS a group, the program adds another layer of ‘boogeyman’, re-igniting a fire around people who were sliding away from the public consciousness.

  2. Monday Loner

    February 10, 2018 at 3:22 am

    Many years ago I read an interview with writer James Ellroy, can’t remember where. Discussing his appreciation for Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, Ellroy indicated that fictionalizing serial killers and the people who hunt them was a literary cul-de-sac, so to speak. Harris had hit the mark so well, according to Ellroy, that the sub-genre of serial murderer in crime fiction was perfected, therefore played, so he turned his attention to the filthy underbelly of post-WW2 LA.

    Ellroy’s Black Dahlia shares an aspect with Joe Penhall’s Mindhunter: real victims, fictitious investigators. Of course, Mindhunter has real killers too, which sadly, from a non-fiction standpoint, The Black Dahlia does not have.

    But there I think the similarities end. It may be that in the late teens of the 21st Century, with serial killers (or their body counts, at least) on the decline, a new dramatic light could be shone on the crimes in the last third of the 20th.

    Unfortunately, Mindhunter fails in this regard. Instead of a more clinical, detached approach, Penhall, David Fincher etc. have reclined in the perverse romance and mythology around serial murderers, with the killers as stars. All Mindhunter does is remind us that the victims are footnotes. I’ve started to notice once again the comments from people who call themselves fans of murderers, which I just don’t understand. Moreover, these people look at depictions of Ed Kemper and Richard Speck as uncannily accurate, when nothing could be further from the truth.

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Entertainment and Sports

The AAF is the NFL’s newest worry



Two months ago, the NFL’s long-term demise may have been spelled by the revival of the XFL. The XFL was initially a football league in 2001, but now Vince McMahon wants to revive it. While announcements about the XFL have been dormant since January, a new player is emerging and faster. The Alliance of American Football or the AAF has been formed and will play a 2019 season the week after the Superbowl.

The AAF, in contrast, Vince McMahon and the XFL have given more concise answers to the many questions asked. Make no mistake, the AAF is a substantially more potent threat than the XFL. The AAF not only is going to begin a year earlier but also has TV contracts ready with CBS. The AAF will also stream games and incorporate fantasy football.

The biggest reason the AAF is a threat is management. The AAF is founded by Charlie Ebersol, who has worked for the NFL and sports media. He even made a documentary as to why the 2001 XFL failed. The AAF also has a number of credible football players serving as executives and advisers. Among them are Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Jared Allen, and Justin Tuck. The AAF also has the legendary team builder and executive Bill Polian. A B-List idea with A-Team management is a recipe for success in business. This is why the AAF has garnered the backing of venture capitalist firms such Founders Fund featuring the country’s top VC, Peter Thiel ad Cherning Group.

The AAF during its announcement stated that it would fill a void where the NFL ends in February. In this void, many sports fans stop watching sports and stop participating in fantasy sports. The AAF also wants to reach the large pool of college football players who don’t wind up in the NFL. Other sports have multiple professional leagues in the NFL.

The AAF will have 8 teams, 10 games, and a two-week playoff. In eliminating injuries and maintaining excitement, the AAF is eliminating the kickoff, and will instead start the 25-yard line. For teams seeking an onside kick, will have 4th and 10 on their 35. The extra point is eliminated; teams have to go for 2. Teams will have two replays a game. To speed the game, the play clock will be 30 seconds, matching the increasing pace of the game. The AAF will also change the way players are compensated with win bonuses, stat bonuses, and fan engagement bonuses. On top of these bonuses, the league will also provide scholarships for their future off the field.

For fans, the tickets and concessions will be cheap. This is in sharp contrast to the NFL where tickets prices are rising even for mediocre teams. TV timeouts will also be done away with. Commercials will only take place during natural breaks. In April the cities will be announced. Note: they’ve already been decided, but they want us talking about it later, something that isn’t happening with the XFL.



Unlike the XFL, the Alliance of American Football announced its existence with far more questions answered. While the Alliance didn’t touch on the National Anthem or criminal records, they also answered far more questions about their gameplay than Vince McMahon’s vague announcement. While the NFL has a complement in the Alliance of American Football, this alliance may in years to come be a fierce competitor. In the meantime, rather than being disruptive, Charlie Ebersol and his staff are focusing on being useful. This strategy is far more conducive to long-term success.

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Entertainment and Sports

Billy Graham and the emergence of Christian media.



From the start, Billy Graham was a media magnet and he knew how to use the power of media. Even most liberals and progressives (although there were exceptions like William Edelen and the Gaylor family/FFRF) could not shoot down this man who wore his faith on the sleeve and actually respected Graham.

Did you know that without Billy Graham, Christian media as we know it today might not have taken off and flourished? In his time and prime there was a Federal Council of Churches that consisted of mostly mainline churches and basically fought to keep “evangelical voices” off the air on both radio and even TV when it was brand new (follow the attendance and the money). When Graham became president of Northwestern Bible College in 1948, he through the college applied for one of the construction permits that the Federal Communications Commission approved of in the 1940’s. Northwest Bible College got the green light from the FCC and a year later KTIS AM signed on in the Twin Cities. Today Northwestern Media owns 18 radio stations (9 FM, 9 AM) and in honor of what Graham did continues to be the media outreach of what is now called the University of Northwestern. You can read more about Graham and Northwestern Media here.

Soon after Northwestern Media and Graham’s inroads into mainstream media, others quickly followed. Most notably Percy Crawford who began his TV program “Youth on the March” on the fleeting ABC Network who also carried Graham’s “Hour of Decision” on their radio network. In 1958 Crawford started his namesake radio company to buy up radio stations and carry full-time Christian formatted programming. Percy Crawford would pass away in October 1960, but his son Don and later grandson Don Jr. would carry on his legacy to this day. While Moody Bible Institute was in radio since 1925, their respected radio network did not talk off until 1958. The same year that the Crawford Broadcasting Company started.

Another important Christian broadcaster Dick Bott grew up in a Christian home and while no stranger to Christian evangelism choose a different path. After marrying his wife, Bott got involved in her father’s radio station selling ads that would air on the respected station. He would later buy and operate a secular station in Salinas/Monterey, California which Bott would eventually sell off. Bott was compelled to build a radio station on consistent Christian programming but with integrity and accountability. Bott bought a country music station in the Kansas City metropolitan area and quickly changed the format and call letters. The station that was KANS-AM became KCCV 760 AM “Kansas City’s Christian Voice” in 1962. It and its FM simulcast sister with the same call letters are still the flagship stations of the now “Bott Radio Network” which consists of now 118 stations that it owns. In 1966 Warren Bolthouse stated Family Life Broadcasting (aka Family Life Radio or FLR) which today owns 43 stations and is now based on Tucson, Arizona.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Lester Sumrall made his inroads into Christian media stating with WHME-FM in South Bend, Indiana and later into TV with the acquisition of WHMB-TV in Indianapolis and later the sign on of WHME-TV in South Bend. These three stations laid the groundwork for LeSea Broadcasting. Paul and Jan Crouch started their own TV programming with would become known as the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in 1973. The Bible Broadcasting Network signed on in 1971 with a single station in Norfolk, Virginia growing to 49 full power stations.

An FM rock station in Orange County, California KYMS 106.3 which could not compete with the more powerful rock signals of KMET (now KTWV) and KLOS in the greater Los Angeles area found its niche with the emerging Jesus people in 1975. In addition to Christian teaching and talk programs, KYMS also played the fleeting “Jesus Music” that was popular with that respected audience and while KYMS was not the very first Contemporary Christian Music station (that honor went to a station in Lincoln, Nebraska), it was the first one that was successful. KYMS’s run as a Contemporary Christian station would last for 20 years. WHME-FM would jump on this music and eventually spinning it off on a station of its own in the 1990’s. Northwestern Media’s FM stations and FLR would also adopt a CCM format in due time.

Radio broadcaster Bob Anthony also caught on to this emerging genre and would be one of the founders of Educational Media Foundation which signed on a single FM station in Santa Rosa, California in 1982 playing Contemporary Christian music. Today EMF owns and operates over 245 radio stations with its Christian music services K-Love and Air1. Another radio company devoted to Christian programming also was started up around this time. This for-profit company was founded by Stuart Epperson and Edward G. Atsinger III and they still head up this company we know today as Salem Media Group. In the late 1980’s Bob and Felice Augsburg started up what would become know as WayMedia and it’s Way-Fm brand which originally targeted Christian youth with Christian Music that appealed to that respected audience.

The list is almost endless with so many other Christian broadcasters over the years and many not as big as the ones I listed. For better and for worse the Christian media we take for granted, even in the new media likely would not have happened had it not been for Billy Graham.

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Entertainment and Sports

History repeats itself: Once again the National media praises a Socialist Dictatorship.




Being like-minded is the only reasonable explanation for this behaviour.

The occasion was the Olympic games with the national media falling all over itself to heap praise upon the a leadership of a socialist regime. But instead of a murderous socialist regime in North Korea, it was a murderous socialist regime in Germany just before WWII:

“Foreigners who know Germany only from what they have seen during this pleasant fortnight can carry home only one impression: it is that this is a nation happy and prosperous beyond belief, that Hitler is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, political leaders in the world today, and the Germans themselves are a much-maligned, hospitable, holy, peaceful people who deserve the best the world can give them.” New York Times, editorial August 16, 1936

Presumably this was before the nonsensical ‘Godwin’s law’ made the mentioning of Socialist monsters of the past verboten. Curiously enough, this is primarily used by Leftists in trying to suppress discussions of their blood soaked history. ‘Never forget’ is extremely difficult when one can ‘Never Mention’ the murderous past and present of the collectivist ideology.

Back then the New York Times had a bit more balance in it’s coverage with these headlines:

100,000 Hail Hitler; U.S. Athletes Avoid Nazi Salute To Him;

U.S. Welcome Is Mixed, Whistling Interpreted as ‘Bronx Cheer’ Is Heard as Team Gives Its Own Salute.

So why are we witness to a somewhat similar display from the national media reporting on the representatives from another Socialist nation, one that hails from North Korea instead of Germany?

Could it be they are merely ignorant that they are helping that authoritarian regime and do not understand it’s true nature? A government that starves, tortures imprisons and publicly executes it’s own people?
Was it as some have suggested in these cases, cheering for the rebel or the underdog?
Perhaps it is their way somehow going after the Trump administration?

Or could it just be that they are of the same ideological mindset?

We can dispense with giving them the benefit of the doubt. These are people of allegedly high intelligence, as is most of the Socialist-Left – Just ask them. With few exceptions – namely Buzzfeed of all places – it is hard to believe they do not understand the role they are playing with the woman who heads the ‘Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Nor can they be excused of not knowing the horrors taking place in what is essentially an open air concentration camp. Again, these are people who fashion themselves as the intellectual elite of the nation, the crème de la crème of the Left, standing up for the downtrodden everywhere, except North Korea.

It’s also hard to believe that the National media is really cheering for the underdog, given that description hardly extends a Germany under the iron fist of the Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei or the Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik. It should also be clear that the national media has a history of this kind of advocacy that existed long before Trump ascended the public stage.

So, the obvious conclusions is that they are of the same collectivist mindset. No doubt if pressed, they would offer the same excuses for the starvation, oppression and mass murder used for other collectivist nations as ‘not really socialism.’ Or that the Socialism they advocate (were they truly honest about who they are) would be ‘done correctly’ in their case.

No, these were merely people cheering for their ideological brethren, and we’ll just leave it at that.


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