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J6P in Sheep's Clothing (Article)

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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   Larry Eshleman

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Posted July 08 2002 - 08:13 AM

I just ran across this and thought I'd post it, if for no other reason than out of disbelief that people like this actually exist. He claims to be a serious film lover, and then goes on to rail that DVD is edging his beloved VHS (?) out of Blockbusters (??) everywhere.

He rants about LDs, Circuit City, and how he looks forward to the day when DVD aficionados get edged out by "FMVD". Posted Image

VHS lover's lament

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#2 of 27 OFFLINE   GaryEA


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Posted July 08 2002 - 08:32 AM

This article is more about the changes in video entertainment than about the format or his love for film. Or maybe he's just paid to write really long, rambling articles about what gives him a mental wedgie. He doesn't get HT mentality, or the fun we get out of this hobby, so in lack of better material, he mocks it and everything he can connect it with. He doesn't like Block Buster - and makes it abundandtly clear by attacking it from 900 directions. Yet he still goes there. Wow, what a difference indeed. He's trying to be smarmy and oh so sarcastic - "Digital VD" - but comes across as a writer with a flimsy plot with a lot of pages to fill up but no inventive ideas. Besides, if his illustration doesn't give away that you should expect nothing more than sour-puss writing, I don't know what does. Basically, he's brilliant - if you are a mainstream consumer resisting DVD. Other than that, he's one more url to purge from my Temporrary Internet Files directory. -g

#3 of 27 OFFLINE   GlennH



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Posted July 08 2002 - 08:37 AM

Sounds like a Dave Barry wannabe, trying to be humorous. Whatever. Too bad he doesn't even mention OAR. As a self-proclaimed film-lover, I'd love to hear his defense of pan-n-scan.

By the way, here is a counterpoint editorial on the same website.


#4 of 27 OFFLINE   Jodee



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Posted July 08 2002 - 08:45 AM

[quote] When I told one colleague that I was sticking with VHS, he asked, "Dude, do you also like your women with no breasts and huge butts?" [quote]
Posted Image

#5 of 27 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted July 08 2002 - 08:55 AM

He was complaining about renting movies and listed not being able to record on DVDs as a drawback. What does recordability have to do with renting or buying movies? Is he making the assumption that someone can't have both a DVD and a VHS player in their homes? It's not like we throw out the VCRs after we buy a DVD player. Or maybe he's just too stupid to figure out how to connect both players.

#6 of 27 OFFLINE   Matthew_Millheiser


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Posted July 08 2002 - 09:05 AM

He bitches and whines about DVDs poor selection, yet he patronizes Blockbuster? Gimme a break. Go to an independent video store, ya jackball. If you don't have one in your town, move to a town that does. Or rent by mail. What a simpering, whining idiot. Must have been a slow night at the tractor pull...
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#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted July 08 2002 - 09:16 AM

I zoned out after the "Palestinian food court" and "latino prison movie" bits. Hint for ya, Mattie: Don Rickles, you are not. You really can't pull off those type of quips with your poor comedic sense.

Ah, hell... I went back and read the bloody thing. I can only assume he intended this to be a satiric piece and The Onion rejected it, so he sold it as a serious article.

Time and time again I've argued that it's wrong and unfair to assume the average J6P is as uncultured as the moniker suggests. Mr. Labash has caused me to seriously revise that position. I'm two stweps away from becoming the ranting elitist who wants DVD to go back to a niche market Posted Image

[quote] Perhaps most cloyingly, they will launch into turgid discourses on their home theater set-ups, which center around their DVD player as if it is a sacrificial virgin or a golden calf. They will tell you about their plasma flat-screens, and their shaker boxes, their five-speaker surround-sound setups complete with deep-bass subwoofers. They will say all this is for people who "really love movies." No it's not. This is for people one step removed from the greasy mooks you knew in high school who used to install neon lights in the undercarriage of their Camaros. When I watch a home movie, I don't want thundering bass rolling up my spine. It makes me feel like I'm back in ninth grade, sitting in my friend's older brother's Barracuda, listening to Zeppelin while waiting for him to drive to the liquor store to buy us beer. [quote]
Until I read that part, I thought J6P was a symbolic fictional character, much like Uncle Sam, Juan Valdez, or Ross Perot. I stand corrected.

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#8 of 27 OFFLINE   Geoffrey_A


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Posted July 08 2002 - 09:42 AM

Man oh man, what a tool this guy is. I especially love how he seeks out crap films on DVD in order to get a feel for the kinds of extras he can look forward to. Now, I wonder what he'd think if he compared the dawn of VHS to the dawn of DVD. How many of the films he's lementing no DVD for were on VHS in the first 5 years? And how expensive were they? Hmmmm. Doesn't take a super genius to figure out that DVD, while not having the huge library of vhs, is gaining fast, certainly much faster than vhs's initial pace. Prices are cheaper of course, you get better sound and pciture, and on top of all of that, you get extra features. How could anyone stick to VHS under such circumstances? Damned if I know. Of course, if he thinks that buying a DVD player means he has to toss his vhs deck, well, I just don't know what to say to him.
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#9 of 27 OFFLINE   John Spencer

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Posted July 08 2002 - 09:47 AM

After reading this "opinion piece", I really feel sorry for this man. Instead of attempting to learn how to use it correctly, he's bitching about not being able to drive onto the Information Superhighway in his '79 Caprice . And he's firmly convinced that everyone should be just as confused.
Never heard of this. I'm a honky.

#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Jon Robertson

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:17 AM

[quote] While Blockbuster's DVD-worshippers like to say that it is a format for true film-lovers, it seems they care more about the content delivery systems than the content itself. If somebody buys beautiful leather-bound, gold-leaf paged editions of John Grisham and Jackie Collins novels, we do not consider them serious lovers of books. And with holes like this in their catalog, it is becoming apparent that Blockbuster is to a good video store what an Odessa bookmobile is to the Library of Congress. [quote] I'll say this - the above statements I am in complete and utter agreement with.

The majority of people who buy DVDs quite honestly wouldn't know a great film if it came up and slapped them and are far too timid to waste a few dollars renting out films that look a little off the beaten track. Until Blockbuster start promoting some of the great films (even those that are silent, black and white and subtitled), the public will not become aware of the world of cinema beyond gross-out comedies and high-octane action flicks.

#11 of 27 OFFLINE   Tom Ryan

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:30 AM

Well, this guy's got it nearly all wrong. I won't say that he doesn't have some points (Blockbuster should NOT be yanking VHS titles that are NOT available on DVD yet, and the recording solution for DVD has yet to really impact the market), but he neatly sidesteps the really big issues; OAR, original language tracks, degradation (or lack thereof) of the medium, things like that. It would be interesting for someone to write a counter-article mentioning pan & scan on VHS, director's commentary for the widescreen (no MAR available!) presentation of The Godfather on DVD, things like that.

#12 of 27 OFFLINE   Josh Dial

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:33 AM

I simply don't think that this individual is very intelligent Posted Image



#13 of 27 OFFLINE   Geoffrey_A


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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:38 AM

Well, I sent in a response to his article, probably won't get put up, but for those who might be interested, here it is: There's nothing quite so heartwarming as when ignorance and bias come together in blissful union to produce an article as completely devoid of rational thought and logic as Matt Labash's article "Digital VD". Perhaps it's a lack of research. Perhaps it's an irrational fear of change. Perhaps it's some manner of head trauma he suffered as in infant. Whatever the reason, Labash seems incapable of understanding some of the most basic flaws in his arguments. First, to tackle the lament that DVD's library is inferior to VHS. On the surface, this is most certainly true, but it is an unfair comparison made between a format that is 20 years old versus a format that is 6 years old. How, I wonder, Does the current dvd library compare to the initial VHS library? I wonder how many of the movies on Labash's 'best picture Oscar' list were available in the infancy of VHS. The fact is, the DVD library is growing much faster than the VHS library ever did. It is delivering movies with picture and sound quality that blows even the best VHS transfer away, and it is including special features with these films which, while they may not be of interest to everyone, will surely be of interest to someone. I find it laughable that in his search for worthwhile special features that Labash chose such mediocre to terrible films. Of course he won't find special features to his liking there, unless he's a fan of said bad films, the special features aren't going to be for him. One must also question Labash's knowledge of film presentation. Surely, any educated film buff knows that films on VHS are almost exclusively presented in "Pan and Scan", a practice which butchers the original composition of the film in order to make the picture fill the whole of the TV screen. A practice in which 40 to 60 percent of the image is cut off depending on the films original aspect ratio. How any self-respecting movie fan can support a format which mutilates the very films they're professing they're love for is a mystery that is perhaps never to be solved. Let's take the hard line view of things and see how VHS stacks up against DVD: VHS offers Low Fidelity picture quality, and is only capable of delivering stereo sound, no surround sound for this format I'm afraid. DVD offers picture quality of over double the resolution of VHS, with multiple sound options which will suit most anyone’s sound system, be it full out hometheater or simple in-TV speakers. VHS is physical read format that if handled properly will eventually show wear and breakdown. DVD is an optical read format, nothing ever physically touches the disc. If handled properly, dvd's will last longer than their format is around. VHS delivers films in Pan and Scan, deleting much of what the director and cinematographer intended for you to see. DVD presents films in their Original Aspect Ratio, giving the viewer the entire picture, thus preserving the Directors intent. (There are, of course, exceptions to this rule in both formats) VHS is subject to “Rental Windows” and as such takes 3 months before arriving on the consumer market. DVD goes straight to sell through, available for rental the same day as for sale. VHS during its run as king of the hill, averaged a 24.99 MSRP DVD usually retails between 18 and 25 dollars, for which it brings the added value of extra features and better quality. VHS is large, heavy and relatively sensitive to heat and humidity. DVD is compact, light and relatively resistant to heat and humidity. So, the choice seems clear. VHS simply can not compete with DVD. Does this mean you have to go out and buy a DVD player and throw your VHS deck out? Of course not, but that’s an assumption Labash appears to be making in his article. As long as recordable DVD remain as expensive as it currently is (perhaps another 2 years) then VHS is not going anywhere. Even after affordable, recordable DVD hits the market, VHS will likely hang around for many more years, until such time as every film available on VHS makes its way to DVD. VHS will never be king of the heap again, but it’s not going anywhere. Audio Tape is still around after all, it’s just not as prevalent as it used to be. VHS is going to hang around for a good long time. A little more research and a little less fanatical clinging to the way things were might serve Labash well in the digital age ahead. Then again, if he really wants to continue watching his films in low resolution, missing about half of the picture that was actually filmed, listening in glorious stereo sound, well, I’m sure his parents won’t mind him loafing around in their basement for another 20 years. Thoughts?
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#14 of 27 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted July 08 2002 - 10:38 AM

Unfortunately a lot of different points are getting mixed up in this article. Yes, there are lots of classic films on vhs not yet available on dvd. But hell, most of them aren't available at your local Blockbuster anyway, and if they are they're on a horrible vhs cassette that's probably nearly unwatchable, and certainly p&s if the OAR isn't 1.33. But this moron seems to think that the only thing available on dvd is current blockbusters. That's clearly wrong. If you want to rant on Blockbuster for not providing a good selection of dvd, fine. But don't go off onto some weird tangent about how dvd is bad and we're not real movie fans. It's because we are real fans who want OAR that we BUY our dvds. If your Blockbuster doesn't carry Adam's Rib, The Big Sleep, Dr. Strangelove, Double Indemnity, The Gold Rush, A Hard Day's Night, The Manchurian Candidate, Modern Times, Patton, Some Like It Hot, Sullivan's Travels, 2001, or Zelig, blame Blockbuster, don't blame dvd. Dvd is what let's me watch all these great classics like never before, in OAR, and nondeteriorating prints (often restored and anamorphic). Oh, and don't go ragging on laser disc. Until such time as they do come out on dvd, it's the best way to watch The African Queen, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Thin Man, To Catch a Thief, To Have & Have Not and many others.
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#15 of 27 OFFLINE   Jay Sylvester

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Posted July 08 2002 - 11:02 AM

[quote] Sounds like a Dave Barry wannabe, trying to be humorous. Whatever. Too bad he doesn't even mention OAR. As a self-proclaimed film-lover, I'd love to hear his defense of pan-n-scan.

By the way, here is a counterpoint editorial on the same website.

http://www.weeklysta...01/420vjqzr.asp [quote]
Unfortunately, they both bash laserdiscs, so I tend to think that they're both technologically retarded. I'd love to see their opinions on D-VHS. That is, if they even know what it is.

And where did the DVD basher learn how to write? What a long-winded, poorly paced article. How many lame metaphors can one guy come up with?

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#16 of 27 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted July 08 2002 - 11:26 AM

Here's my take on the bottom line: He came up with a cute title: "Digital VD". He wrote an article that supports the "view" of the cute title. The "paper" - if you can call it that - which he works for was obliged to print it, not having anything with a stupider, uh I mean cuter, title to run in its place. Oh, and it formed the basis of the "counterpoint", which filled up more space in what I assume is a rag built for shit like that. It *did* have a couple of good points in there, like the ones George Kaplan mentions. But they get lost in an article that's nonsensical from beginning to end, and fails to even entertain us in its ineptitude.
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#17 of 27 OFFLINE   GaryEA


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Posted July 08 2002 - 11:27 AM

Geoffrey, your letter is thoughtful and articulates our views wonderfully - two concepts that will probably frighten him.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that he'll "tune out" after the second paragraph and simply label it as "hate mail", which I'm sure he's seen a lot of.

On second thought, maybe he's a complete masochist. Judging by the laborious way he took to say "I hate Blockbuster", he may actually enjoy reading and replying to your letter. Point by point.

Let us know if you hear/read anything. Posted Image


#18 of 27 OFFLINE   John Thomas

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Posted July 08 2002 - 09:19 PM

[quote] Unfortunately a lot of different points are getting mixed up in this article. [quote]

Agreed. I actually read the article before reading the responses here that were generated by it. I have to say that if you look beyond the guy simply being "anti-DVD", you'll see that he has a few valid and interesting points.

Of course as usual, I show up late. Posted Image Been there, done that.

#19 of 27 OFFLINE   streeter



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Posted July 09 2002 - 01:05 AM

Okay, who here thinks this guy is just a poor schmoe who can't afford a DVD player?? Plus, if he really liked movies, he would embrace the fact that DVDs most often offer the films as they were originally presented in theaters. I'm glad that he's putting down Blockbuster, but unfortunately not many people will take this guy seriously.
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#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Paul O

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Posted July 09 2002 - 03:29 AM

"..until finally their home entertainment is beamed off a satellite straight to the VD chips implanted in their heads. With any luck, the radiation will kill them. "

Posted Image Posted Image Maybe im the only one who finds this article funny. Everyone relax, its called humour - something to balance off the infinite threads about whether Black Hawk Down is available in DTS, or the availability of Pearl Harbor Directors Cut or the release date of Back to the Future Trilogy Box Sets - hell, there was that guy who was going to go to best buy with his OAR Shirt and stand in the aisles - you don't think thats obsessive?

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