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Despite this being a free to the public publication and this column being its wild card, there are 3 basic rules to its content. 1. No politically correct politics; 2. No direct sacrilege to religion; 3. No racism… in this instance racism is used as an umbrella term. Encompassing not just discrimination by skin color or nationality but also based on a person’s sex, sexual preference or gender identity. We shall now scatter the eggshells and continue.

The latter of that trio of justifiable regulations can be a bit tricky to navigate at times. The problem one encounters is the low level of potential tolerable offensiveness allowed. This is due to the simple fact that in our current times, if someone doesn’t like your opinion, on any subject, they will instantly and defensively retaliate by citing bigotry. Let us step out onto the tight rope without a net.

Now to be honest and perfectly clear, regardless of race, sex or creed, my opinion on people is universal… I hate everybody equally. Until upon meeting and greeting, at which time they may prove to be somewhat likable.

All that being said, we delve into the digital world of currently available streaming media. Backing up a bit- I hated Paul Feig’s 2016, female-casted “Ghostbusters”. Moving forward a little, I detested Kevin Smith’s 2021 take on the MOTU with- “He-man Revelations”.

Currently, I utterly despise Mindy Kaling’s self-absorbed, 2023 outing as “Velma” (in the animated series of the same name) based on the character from the Scooby-Doo franchise. They were all open mindedly met and greeted and found quite worthy of hate.

And the ice grows painfully thinner.

Now immediately chants and accusations of anti-wokeness sentiments arise. For those who are unfamiliar with the term “wokeness” the easy definition is the quality of being alert to and concerned about social injustice and discrimination. So, if you seem to be or verbalize anything against any media-based expression of what is considered “woke” you may be classified as un-woke and deemed an unjustified sexist, discriminating racist or biased bigot.The Empty Table

Luckily, the whole woke movement has nothing to do with my detesting of recently televised content. In this particular instance and context, I could care less about how awake anyone is or wants the world to be. Because this has nothing to do with that.

Where my problem initially arises is when people climb onto the shoulders and disrespectfully step onto the faces of original creators in their own creative process. Taking something someone else has created, twisting it about to their preferences and then calling it their own. However, this is, as aforementioned, just the initial arising of the issue. For it is not the manipulation of original source material that is the problem, but rather the fact that they’re using source material in the first place.

It would seem that almost (and that’s a very minute almost) everything that graces our screens big and small, in recent times, lacks originality. Cartoons are “based off of” original already established characters. Television series are remakes or spin-offs of those from the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Movies are franchise reboots or outdated sequels (these are okay sometimes). And all are a re-envisioning (this said with a wide-eyed, hand spreading gesture and as much sarcasm as humanly possible) of something that already had a pretty clear vision to start with.

Current media creators are bringing nothing new to the table. Instead, they serve up the same reheated leftovers time and time again. Calling it a new dish because they added some spices or preempted it with some visually fresh hor d’oeuvres. Are we out of fresh recipes? Doomed to forever dine on the same dishes, just prepared a different way? Or is it the fault of the diner who fears trying something new? Or maybe everyone lacks envisioning the beauty of starting the meal with an empty table.

I welcome almost all questions, comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused! See ya.