Saturday, May 15, 2010

Law & Order: tort fable?

An article Why We'll Miss 'Law & Order' includes text:

But the true secret of the show's appeal is that it's not a crime show at all. It's a fable about the field called tort law—the branch of civil justice in which people hurt by others' sloppy or vicious conduct can wring some measure of payback from those who hurt them. The idea may seem ridiculous.

LBE liked the show because it was well-written, especially episodes involving Zuckerman. Simple vindication themes can be found in comic books. Law & Order took contemporary ("ripped from the headlines") themes and explored complexities and nuances.

CBS Sunday Morning on 16 May 2010 had a lead story on crime shows, including Law & Order ("To Die For"). Crime shows as the "mac & cheese" of television. The producer of CSI emphasized that murder was what the audience cared about, not about, for example, the theft of a painting. [ "Murder is the ultimate catalyst for a good story, because the stakes are the highest," said "CSI"'s creator, Anthony Zuiker. "There's no higher stakes than human life. We have done shows where there's an art heist. They failed miserably. Nobody quite cares that Mrs. MacGillicutty lost her $10 million painting. But America understands the person next door was brutally murdered and she had a whole life ahead of her."
] Post-9/11, watching good guys win has become more important [Aurora Wallace]. The shows generate fear AND control fear. A producer noted real dead bodies do not look exciting ["The real dead bodies look fake, but your fake dead bodies look real," said Smith. ]. "I'm always afraid the audience will get bored." Nevertheless, science goes far beyond blood. If you commit a crime, we're going to catch you.


Patents and Fritz Haber in Law & Order on 9 Jan 08

See also L. B. Ebert, Issues in Etiquette: Zurko, Pfaff, and Scientific Doormen, Int. Prop. Today, pp. 30-31 (Jan. 1999).

Separately, a story on Mark Fuller about streams of water. Of Fuller, from the LA Times:

Upon graduating from Stanford in 1978 with a master's degree in mechanical engineering, Fuller got a job at Disney Imagineering. "I loved it. You're creating this imaginary world where people step out of the mundane and have a great time. Plus, there's a lot of technology."

Going independent: Fuller created Wet in 1983 but the company struggled, sometimes operating out of his garage. He had trouble convincing clients that an expensive water feature could be more than decorative. "We're not an amenity," he told prospective customers. "We're something that can make you more successful."

Big break: In 1995, billionaire hotel developer Steve Wynn was looking for ways to promote his upcoming Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. A landscape architect on the project recommended Fuller, and the resulting $2.7-million display of dancing water and music was a hit, drawing crowds and international media attention. "Bellagio charges $50 extra for rooms with a fountain view," Fuller said. "That fountain has paid for itself many times over."


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