Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

I recently unsubscribed from the YouTube channels of a popular vlogger, whom I will not name directly here, as the point is not to attack or embarrass him. He covers the Korea and Japan beats, and since I live in Korea and am interested in Japan, this was an attraction. The vlogger's manner is charming and he is rather a handsome fellow, which always gets my attention. But as I watched more of his videos, I realized that there was no point of view being expressed, and therefore no real content. There was only the appealing delivery, which grows thin after a while. Everything was "cool" or "awesome." You can only coast for so long on two adjectives that convey little more than a general attitude.

So the caution is this: Before you seek to engage people's attention, make sure at least that you have something to say. It's kind of a minimum.

James MacArthur

Famed television actor James MacArthur, Lieutenant Dan Williams on Hawaii Five-O, passed away on the 28th. I was a big Hawaii Five-0 fan when I was a boy (still am), and a particular fan of MacArthur; I sort of idolized him at age 12. In recent years he has maintained a very nice personal website and "digital scrapbook," worth checking out:

His likable personality comes across strongly at this site. He was an interesting, thoughtful man, and he led a very interesting life (including his rearing as the adopted son of actress Helen Hayes and playwright Charles MacArthur). There has been quite an outpouring of affection for MacArthur in many forums these past couple of days.

As with virtually any actor, if you dig through MacArthur's IMDB credits you find some offbeat items. Although the young MacArthur was generally a wholesome presence, in films like Third Man on the Mountain or Spencer's Mountain, in his very first film, The Young Stranger, he plays a somewhat troubled kid. In a 1961 Untouchables episode, he is a punk gangster. Later, he goes all-out Sixties in The Love-Ins (a thinly disguised telling of the exploits of Timothy Leary) and The Angry Breed, my personal favorite, in which he plays Deek Stacey, the arrogant, sexy leader of a neo-Nazi biker gang! No, you didn't misread that.