Air Kiss

Friday, March 19, 2010


Darryl Pinckney is a serious writer and journalist who has been a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books for more than 30 years. He was also, for more than a year, a fiercely ardent fan of the long-running CBS soap opera "As the World Turns." How did he get hooked? In his piece "Lonely Hearts Club: A Star-Crossed Obsession with As The World Turns," in the February issue of Harper's Magazine, Pinckney explained.

Comments [8]


It is funny because I can relate very well to what happened to Pinckney. I myself have fallen into some shows I never thought I would give the time of day. The OC for example, was a TV drama about kids living in the California OC, trying to get through high school and trying to start and hold onto relationships with friends and girls/boys. IT is a little word thinking about how much a person can fall into TV drama, but hey if we weren't watching they the writers are doing something wrong. In this case however writers seem to be pulling audience from people who never expected to enjoy shows such as these. So I guess keep up the good work fellas.

Apr. 28 2011 02:52 AM
Devin Burch

Overall this selection is very interesting . It is pretty much talking about what goes on in real life situations in teenage years. During high school a lot of people change and become there own person and have there own personality. Most teenagers are so caught up in there social life that they don't spend time trying to pass classes and focus on education.

Nov. 30 2010 08:41 AM
Bianca Butler from Raleigh NC

Honestly as a high school student, soaps, reality shows, and dating schemes seem to mainly captivate the teens in my era. Personally, I see no reason for them and can't imagine actually getting lost into them because for the simple fact that it isn't real. People spend a lot of their time getting wrapped up into these things when there time could be spent on more important things.

Nov. 08 2010 07:49 PM

Bob, your take on "lesser forms" is what it is -- but can you articulate for us the redeeming social value of omitting capital letters?

Aug. 17 2010 10:58 AM

Are we tuning in for your sentiments? My mistake, I thought we were supposed to be listening to issues of importance as regards the media, which extends beyond journalism to the entertainment industry (not that there's much of a wall these days).

My guess was that the piece was included because it pointed out how powerful the media can be in reaching people in unexpected ways, and that reach may end up telling them something about themselves that they didn't previously know. But if that wasn't the purpose, then why was this guest asked on the show? He's not a politician being caught in one of the many common lies, and misrepresentations made to the public. He's not an example of the media failing the public in some way that needs to be exposed and deconstructed. What was the reason for behaving so unprofessionally towards him?

Also, I'm not clear what forms of entertainment are worthy of your attention since it was only the terrible dreck of everyone else's enjoyment that got mentioned, but if you're happy in your small sandbox, more power to you.

Mar. 22 2010 02:04 PM
Bob Garfield

would love to apologize for elitism, condescension, etc., but no can do. surely you wouldn't wish for me to fake my sentiments.
so, yes, i regard romance novels, supermarket tabloids and soaps -- not to mention reality tv, smooth jazz and most hollywood fare -- to be lesser forms.
much lesser. lacking redeeming social value.
in a word: crap.

sorry. i'd love to have a wider tent, but i do not and i will not pretend otherwise. mind you, my tastes run more middlebrow than high. but on some matters, i am simply a snob.
bob garfield

Mar. 22 2010 12:55 AM

Wow, could Bob Garfield have been any more insulting towards the guest, and to soap opera viewers in general? I don't even watch them myself, but like most people am a fan of something, and I fail to understand the apparently common impulse to make one's own interests seem superior by denigrating those of others. The number of "pointless" things people do with their time (not to mention money) is endless. Perhaps we would have had more time to learn about Pinckney's experiences if we'd have had less time taken up by Bob sneering at them.

Also, I'm unclear why a gay romance storyline should be labeled "unexpected" on a soap. Apparently no one involved in this segment has paid any attention to the latest fast growing segment in romance publishing. There are plenty of women out there writing and buying them.

Mar. 21 2010 10:31 PM

As a script writer for daytime serials for over twenty years, I would point out that while soaps feature their share of back from the dead characters and evil twins, they also explore current societal issues in "real" time with characters the audience relates to and feels connected with. Abortion, rape, emotional/physical/sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, AIDS, homophobia, homelessness, mental illness and a host of other important issues have been explored in depth by soaps with great sensitivity and compassion. Seeing their favorite characters deal with issues they, too, may be struggling with in their own lives often gives the viewer a feeling they aren't alone, that there is hope, help and healing. When viewers write saying they were able to finally confront their childhood abuse because their favorite character Stephanie ("The Bold and the Beautiful") was able to finally confront hers, suddenly soaps no longer seem fodder for ridicule. As for the genre being "plebeian," some of soaps famous fans/viewers have included Lady Bird Johnson, Hank Aaron, Billy Jean King, Thurgood Marshall, Eleanor Roosevelt, Judy Garland, Van Cliburn, Harry Belafonte, P.G. Wodehouse, Cole Porter, Bette Davis and Michelle Obama... to name just a few.

Mar. 21 2010 06:55 PM

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