The Very Best Stuff 

The gift that keeps on gi...

A few nights back, I was watching a television show I normally enjoy. I won't tell you the name, but it's a cartoon. The humor has always been so naughty in nature that one can only hope the target audience is more mature than the show's writers. Before each episode it announces it's not for everyone, but I doubt that announcement ever stopped any children from watching it--as I said, it's a cartoon--and for years, it has been a favorite among teenagers and young adults. I'm relatively sure its popularity is in large part because it has crossed, and continues to cross, lines I would never have imagined I would see even approached on television.

Normally, I don't mind some lines being crossed, some irreverence being flipped and some sacred cows being tipped. Increasingly, though, there is so much programming--and I'm sticking to television for my purposes here, even though it is hardly the only medium which has pushed the limits to the red line and beyond--that seeks out the crude, the tasteless, the icky for no reason I can understand other than to be crude, tasteless and icky.

Still, I usually enjoy this particular cartoon. It doesn't hide its crudity under a pretension of being a "reality show," and the animation somehow dissipates some of the discomfort when it gets too uncomfortable. Plus, it's very funny. Usually.

On the night in question, however, the story went far beyond mere "uncomfortable." It was revolting. I wouldn't dare tell you why it was so utterly disgusting; suffice it to say the plot revolved around something called a human centipede--and fair warning: Google "human centipede" at your stomach's peril.

By mid-way through the episode, my inner red line had been breached. I felt soiled. I felt like my sense of propriety had been sucker-punched. I had to escape and cleanse myself of the travesty this show had thrown in my face, this sewer into which I had been dropped. I couldn't simply turn the ickiness off; I needed a massive dose of the most non-icky antidote I could reach, and fast.

Thankfully, I knew where to go. On cable, it's Channel 98. I don't know where it is on Dish TV, but I'm sure it's there, somewhere. And trust me, it's worth finding. In fact, it is my gift to you this holiday season--the Classic Arts Showcase.

In truth, we must thank Treasure Valley Community Television. That endangered institution got it for you--with substantial help from the city of Boise and funding drawn from cable subscribers' bills--and they did it years ago. Yet I doubt more than one person in a hundred knows it's available, so my part in the gift is pointing out that it's there, for you, anytime you feel like injecting some beauty into your life. Some inspiration, some grandeur, something that might move your stony, cynical heart for a few minutes and make you thankful once again to be part of something as marvelous as the human race.

It's a virtually endless collection of great music, dance and film clips, and it runs 24 hours a day. It's what PBS might look like if it aired nothing but Great Performances, back to back, with no ads and nobody stopping the show every few weeks to beg you for money.

I can't begin to tell you all the wonders you'll find there: Pavarotti, Marion Anderson, Yoyo Ma, Heifetz, Nureyev, Horowitz, anybody and everybody, stretching back over a century. The Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York, the London... you name it. String quartets, piano sonatas, violin concertos, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bernstein... they're all there. Clips of scenes from the vintage movies, musical segments from vintage television, songs and dance numbers from vintage Broadway... it's like the Great Library of Alexandria, right there on the same machine that brings Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore into your homes.

I realize the most accomplished musicians and dancers, performing the most glorious creations to ever come from the minds of the most creative humans, is not for everyone. But the very best stuff has never been for everyone, has it? And it's not so much that the very best stuff is too good for all but an elitist few, but that there are so many who have never given the very best stuff an honest chance, settling instead for the very mediocre stuff, if not the very worst stuff.

But this fine, magical thing, this Classic Arts Showcase, it changes all that. It makes the very best stuff available to everyone. And even if only one out of every 100 people hereabouts ever turn it on and give it a try, it is a measure of how broad a community is that it provides such a variety of resources to its people, yes? And while this gift, this Classic Arts Showcase, may never be as popular as a football game or a zoo or a Greenbelt, its very presence demonstrates what a large-hearted and generous city Boise is. Yes?

So then tell me, what does it demonstrate when Boise leaders make the decision to stop funding that resource, which virtually ensures that a gift available to 500 other communities across America will go black here in the Treasure Valley?

The details of the impending demise of TVCTV have been reported in this paper for weeks, and Boise's decision is more involved than I have room to tell you about here. It's also pertinent that should TVCTV go dead, it will be the loss of more than the just Classic Arts Showcase.

Yet with the prospect of losing such a gift, I think it's fair to ask city leaders what sort of future they see for Boise: a great community for all of its citizens? Or just another crowded place?

Pin It

Latest in Bill Cope

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3


Comments are closed.

More by Bill Cope

Submit an Event

Today's Pick

Tuesday Dinner

Popular Events

  • Outdoor Conversations With Carolyn White: Bricks Underneath a Hoop Skirt @ Rediscovered Books

    • Tue., Nov. 20, 7 p.m. FREE
  • Oinkari Sagardotegi Dinner and Auction @ Basque Center

    • $50
    • Buy Tickets
  • Boise Farmers Market Indoor Winter Market @ Boise Farmers Market Indoor Winter Market

    • Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 22 FREE

© 2018 Boise Weekly

Website powered by Foundation