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Seth MacFarlane Helps LOC Acquire Carl Sagan Papers 135

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the family-guy-still-not-funny dept.
dsinc writes with news of a but of altruism on the part Family Guy's creator. From the article: "Seth MacFarlane once included a gag on his animated TV comedy 'Family Guy' about an 'edited for rednecks' version of Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos,' featuring an animated Sagan dubbed over to say that the earth is 'hundreds and hundreds' of years old. Jokes aside, his admiration for Sagan runs deep. The Library of Congress announced Wednesday that, thanks to MacFarlane's generosity, it has acquired the personal papers of the late scientist and astronomer, who spoke to mass audiences about the mysteries of the universe and the origins of life. While MacFarlane never owned Sagan's papers, he covered the undisclosed costs of donating them to the library."
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Seth MacFarlane Helps LOC Acquire Carl Sagan Papers

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  • first knee (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:47PM (#40469749)

    sssshhht Ow. sssssssshhht Ow.

  • Deserves Praise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@h ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:51PM (#40469809)
    No matter what you think of Seth MacFarlane's body of work (early Family Guy is good, the rest is meh at best) he should be commended.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      No matter what you think of Seth MacFarlane's body of work (early Family Guy is good, the rest is meh at best) he should be commended.

      Always nice to see someone who makes their filthy lucre on Fox doing some good karma. ;o)

    • Re:Deserves Praise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @02:00PM (#40469911) Homepage

      Personally, I don't really like his style of humor, and haven't been able to watch a full episode of Family Guy in a very long time. It's obvious, however, that he's a guy with a deep sense of personal morals and an appreciation for intellectual pursuits - even if his work doesn't often promote such things. This strikes me as just the sort of thing Seth MacFarlane would do. He has a particular ideological goal (that Sagan's works should be preserved and public), and will use any mechanism at his disposal to bring it to fruition.

      Mr. MacFarlane, I find your characters disgusting, but your character impeccable. Well done.

      • Re:Deserves Praise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @03:03PM (#40470641)

        he's a guy with a deep sense of personal morals and an appreciation for intellectual pursuits - even if his work doesn't often promote such things

        On the contrary. Family guy satires the lack of morals and intelligence. Not only that, but there are numerous gems spread across the show that hint at these qualities.

        If you think Family Guy is only about some dumb family doing dumb shit (but with a brilliant baby and a smart dog), then you're not watching it correctly. The jokes may often appear to be off-color, but the humor isn't in the joke itself, but in the making of the joke.

        I'd suggest you give it another shot, starting with some of the better episodes. Don't remember which ones off the top of my head, but I'm sure Google can solve that problem. Just beware of spoilers.

        • Re:Deserves Praise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by The Mister Purple (2525152) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @03:20PM (#40470829) Homepage

          I remember an episode where one of the characters made reference to Benjamin Disraeli. There is the obligatory cut to an animated Disraeli, who looks straight at the viewer and says, "You don't even know who I am." Beautiful!

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)
          I see that, and on the rare moments that the intellect shines through, it's brilliant... The rest of the time it's just irritating. I get it, Peter can belch to a tune. The first three notes were worth a chuckle. The rest of the symphony is overkill that exhausts my patience for the joke, even if the symphony itself is a beautiful piece.
          • Then you're missing the joke in a joke. It's not meant for you, obviously. Move along.

            • They routinely make fun of themselves for how much they will drive a joke into the ground. IMO the entire chicken fight stuff is them laughing at themselves for just how far they will go with that.

              I don't dislike the show, but it's well down on the list.
              • One of my favorite bits that comes up now and again started with Peter running home with his golden ticket, then falling on the sidewalk and gripping his ankle. He just rocks back and forth wincing and and gasping. The joke goes on longer than it should, and therein lies the humor.

          • by tehcyder (746570)
            I bet you're a real hoot at parties.
        • he's a guy with a deep sense of personal morals and an appreciation for intellectual pursuits - even if his work doesn't often promote such things

          On the contrary. Family guy satires the lack of morals and intelligence.

          Isn't that like saying Jackass satires stupidity and Hip-hop videos ridicule our materialistic/sexist society?

          You could watch them from that POV with your argument. With South Park it's obvious that people put some thought into the satire and try to convey a "moral lesson learned".

          • Re:Deserves Praise (Score:4, Insightful)

            by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @05:13PM (#40472189)

            With South Park it's obvious that people put some thought into the satire and try to convey a "moral lesson learned".

            Too obvious, IMO.

            • It insists upon itself.

              • To borrow a quote from another geek favorite series: "I get it!"

                For those of you who didn't immediately think "Futurama" I offer the following: "Ohhh....now I get it!"

                Seriously though, clever reference, well done sir.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            he's a guy with a deep sense of personal morals and an appreciation for intellectual pursuits - even if his work doesn't often promote such things

            On the contrary. Family guy satires the lack of morals and intelligence.

            Isn't that like saying Jackass satires stupidity and Hip-hop videos ridicule our materialistic/sexist society

            Yes it's like that almost exactly, apart from the fact that iit isn't

        • by Raenex (947668)

          I stopped watching after the episode where Stewie was seriously hurt, and instead of getting him to a hospital they kept on trying to cover it up until the whole thing turned into a dead baby sick-and-twisted animation. I put up with the Conway Twitty and other overly-long jokes ridiculousness, but that whole episode was repugnant without being funny at all.

          • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @04:13PM (#40471525)

            I stopped watching after the episode where Stewie was seriously hurt, and instead of getting him to a hospital they kept on trying to cover it up until the whole thing turned into a dead baby sick-and-twisted animation.

            On other words, you threw the bathwater out with the baby.

          • by Kozz (7764)

            I put up with the Conway Twitty and other overly-long jokes ridiculousness...

            The first time that Conway Twitty went on for more than a minute, I shut it off. It sort of felt like Seth was simply a masochist, relishing in the abuse of his audience. It just felt like, "Ha-ha, you're a fucktard to sit there and keep watching this, but I know you're gonna anyway". So I called his bluff.

            • Wow... you sure do put a lot of thought into how people around you want to do bad things to you, don't you?

              • by tehcyder (746570)

                Wow... you sure do put a lot of thought into how people around you want to do bad things to you, don't you?

                He can't hear you, his tinfoil hat's slipped over his ears and he now thinks Seth has made him go deaf through the power of mind control.

            • by Roachie (2180772)

              The Conway Twitty gag was the greatest coup in adult cartoon history.

              "Hundreds and hundreds" of hip adolescents, of all ages, sitting around and ironically watching a `70s polyester country-western nightmare. "Huh? what the hell is the crap man?"

              • Yeah, I gotta agree with this. I think those Conway Twitty gags are hilarious.

                Well before family guy existed there was an infomercial for some country and western hits compilation and his song "You've never been this far before" was on it. They showed him singing it, and it remains one of the creepiest things I have ever seen in my life. An OLD man, eyes closed singing a song about taking someone's virginity. I always wondered if that was the seed of the gag.

                An aside....does anyone (some of them are proba
                • by tehcyder (746570)

                  An aside....does anyone (some of them are probably posting in here) know any young people that watch the show, love it, and get almost NONE of the references the jokes are making?

                  My eight year old daughter probably misses most of the references, but she still loves it. Unlike some people posting here, she is well aware that it's a cartoon and doesn't keep saying "it's really stupid that a dog can talk or that the baby is so clever".

            • It sort of felt like Seth was simply a masochist, relishing in the abuse of his audience.

              FYI, that's sadism. Masochism is what Seth would be into if he watched any of his own shows.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            I stopped watching after the episode where Stewie was seriously hurt, and instead of getting him to a hospital they kept on trying to cover it up until the whole thing turned into a dead baby sick-and-twisted animation. I put up with the Conway Twitty and other overly-long jokes ridiculousness, but that whole episode was repugnant without being funny at all.

            You do realise that it's a cartoon and no real babies were hurt in the making of it?

      • by istartedi (132515)

        I feel the same way. It started out as regular humor, and quickly went to shock humor in cartoon form. Oddly enough, this seems to make a LOT of money for some people. Maybe executives have an affinity for this type of thing. How else do you explain Howard Stern?

        At the end of the day, if you can make the suits laugh, it doesn't matter if viewers laugh. It only matters that viewers watch. Whether they are watching because they like it, or because they are making copius notes for the next PTA meeting is

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Then again, there's the outside possibility that the reason Family Guy and American Dad are so popular is simply that they are fucking hilarious.
          • by istartedi (132515)

            American Dad doesn't have quite the same problems that FG does. Yeah, it's got some shock too; but it's not quite so gratuitous as FG, and there's some real humor mixed in. "hilarious" is subjective of course.

      • Re:Deserves Praise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FrootLoops (1817694) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @04:13PM (#40471531)

        even if his work doesn't often promote such things [as personal morals and an appreciation for intellectual pursuits]

        I don't think you've watched enough of it if to say that. Some counterexamples:
          * A Hero Sits Next Door [wikipedia.org]: a disabled guy gets added to the cast; Peter reacts badly at first but becomes friends later
          * If I'm Dyin', I'm Lyin' [wikipedia.org]: Peter starts a religion, Lois says it's wrong, God punishes him for his arrogance, Peter repents.
          * The Thin White Line [wikipedia.org]: Brian gets addicted to cocaine and eventually takes responsibility for it by going to rehab

        Some of the MacFarlane characters are pretty much immune to personal responsibility considerations, but they're portrayed as highly unrealistic--eg. Stewie (Family Guy), Roger (American Dad), partly Quagmire (Family Guy). The more realistic characters often have strong moral centers--eg. Lois and usually Bryan (Family Guy)--and I think these are the ones you're expected to identify with. For instance, I'm reminded of Lois in You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives [wikipedia.org]:

        Lois Griffin: Wait a minute. Are you saying that two straight people who absolutely hate each other have more of a right to be married than gay people who love each other?!
        Mrs. Pewterschmidt: Well, that's what we raised you to believe.

        I'd say the audience is expected to identify with Lois and take her view on the matter, considering how poor the rebuttal is. The Carl Sagan bit is the same way, and there are numerous other examples where the audience is expected to take a particular (IMO good) stance.

        Family Guy and American Dad morality is a mixed bag, though it's frequently (usually?) good if you throw out the unrealistic characters' lack of consequences. Intellectual pursuits really aren't promoted much though.

        • by funfail (970288)

          The more realistic characters often have strong moral centers--eg. Lois and usually Bryan (Family Guy)

          The mere fact that you count a talking dog among the more realistic characters says it all...

          • Well, he's so thoroughly anthropomorphized it's memorable whenever his dog-specific nature comes up--usually his age or expected death. He could become a human without any real changes. In fact a human version of him is shown briefly, I think in the multiverse episode (which is unrealistic because of Stewie's magic, not Brian), and they're basically identical except for looks and longevity. What about his personality itself is unrealistic?

            • ...and they're basically identical except for looks and longevity.

              The ironic part is that the human version (presumably) dies at the end of the episode after being hit by a car.

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        You don't seem to realise what satire is, or how it works.

        Here's a small hint: you're not supposed to think of Peter Griffin as a fucking role model.
    • by Kenja (541830)
      Still not going to see Ted. But thats more about Marky Mark then Seth.
      • Now I have "feel it, feel it!" on repeat in my brain. Thanks for that.
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Whenever I hear of see anything about Ted, I can't help but think it's "Wilfred" with a teddy bear.

  • Twinkle Twinkle ----whoops- Twankler Twunkler - oochs When he has told to write out mozert 500 times as a child
  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:57PM (#40469879) Homepage

    Is anyone else kinda ticked-off that this was even necessary?

    Why weren't they just donated by the estate to the LOC? Is there something else at play here, or just a greedy estate?

    • by janek78 (861508) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @02:18PM (#40470115) Homepage

      I am not so sure there is that much to be ticked-off by. Sagan's widow is quoted as saying that "...Sagan would have been thrilled to see his life’s work made available to the public." That does not sound like a greedy estate trying to get rich from selling stuff she inherited (not that there would be anything wrong with that). TFA is unclear on what the money went towards, I can imagine that transporting, sorting, filing and displaying the (large) collection is no easy feat and that the money is perhaps to be spent on that? Mrs. Druyan was not only Sagan's wife but also co-author, I don't see her as waiting for the highest bidder to auction off her inheritance.

    • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @04:22PM (#40471639)
      According to TFA:

      The papers — contained in more than 800 filing-cabinet drawers — include correspondence with other scientists, drafts of Sagan's academic articles and screenplay drafts for the movie "Contact," ... (emphasis mine)

      The cost of donating them might include sorting, collating and preparing the documents to actually be viewable and or some preservation. Often charitable recipients can't or don't want to handle this for private donations. Yes the LOC could probably pay for this, if they're allowed to, which I don't know if they are. (Imagine some idiot right-wing Congress critter, who doesn't believe the Universe exists, complaining about the LOC wasting the taxpayer's money, blah, blah, blah...)

    • by ffflala (793437)
      At one of my old gigs, we received a donation of archival material from one person that we simply could not refuse. IIRC, it spanned about 90 shelf feet (small, in comparison to Sagan's archives), and it still took a full-time subject-expert archivist with two part-time assistants almost 3 years to process the material.

      Making an archive accessible is not simply a matter of moving boxes of papers around. Someone has to go through every last damn page, categorize it, catalog it, and (hopefully) digitize it.
  • by spinkham (56603) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:59PM (#40469899)

    Yes, the "Cosmos for rednecks" gag was good, but isn't it also worth mentioning he's currently producing the next Cosmos [wikipedia.org] with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan?

  • Sagan FTW (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @02:06PM (#40469975) Homepage Journal

    Sagan was awesome. He knew everything about the cosmos except how to pronounce it.

    The Demon Haunted World should be required reading in all schools. If you aren't scared by it, you're the reason why it's scary.

  • From TFA:

    MacFarlane said he watched "Cosmos" as a child and devoured all of Sagan'sbooks.

    Coming from the creator of Peter Griffin, this could very well mean that he literally ingested the physical books, Cookie Monster-style, rendering them unavailable to the rest of the world for decades. "He covered the undisclosed costs of donating them to the library," may simply mean he paid to have the books surgically removed from his stomach, paid for a forensic team to piece them back together and will spend a few weeks in a hospital bed in pain, paying for his transgression.

    • by Megane (129182)
      ...are you sure they weren't just in a fold of fat, next to the Colecovision?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've never been a big fan of MacFarlane, both the man and his work, but I have to say that I'm both impressed and grateful for his generosity in making the work of one of the most important figures in popular science publically available.

    It's truly commendable and shows great character. Not to mention he's producing the sequel to Cosmos... I'll have to reevaluate my stance on MacFarlane.

  • I think that Seth McFarlane is fascinating person. I'm still surprised when I listen to his album of standards that he'd even stop to take the time to do something like that. I think this is really excellent that he did this. I look forward to the new Cosmos project he's working on.

  • "The collection comprises approximately 800 boxes of materials that document Sagan’s life and work and includes his extensive correspondence with scientific colleagues and other important figures of the 20th century. It also includes book drafts, publications files, "idea files" on various subjects, records of various symposia, NASA files and academic files covering the years he taught at Cornell University. Among the personal files are his birth announcement, handwritten notebooks of his earliest tho

  • ...a but of altruism...

    Slashdot editors, brain-dead, epsilon minus, etc.

  • I don't mind toilet humor, my problem is the pure meanness of much of his writing without even bothering with a punch line. I recall a gag about Penelope Cruz's nose (only an idiot would consider her anything less that beautiful) and a crack about Kristen Stewart being the ugly girl vampire and werewolf fought over. Family Guy at least, smacked of a show written by ridiculed drama club kids looking to lash out at their abusers once given a pulpit.

    He taints the Sagan's legacy as far as I'm concerned.

    • you taint Sagan's legacy as far as I'm concerned.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I recall a gag about Penelope Cruz's nose (only an idiot would consider her anything less that beautiful) and a crack about Kristen Stewart being the ugly girl vampire and werewolf fought over.

      Penelope and GodfatherofSoul sitting in a tree.
      K - I - S - S - I - N -G

  • ...that is, that's where those good old family values on which we might rely are, at least one place.

    Lucky there's a rationalist/secularist guy.
  • Power Macintosh 7100 with the code name BHA. (funny story, look it up)
  • by Rotag_FU (2039670) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @04:40PM (#40471853)

    I'm shocked that I haven't seen a Library of Congress as unit of measurement joke yet. It is unfortunate that the cost of donating the materials to the Library of Congress was undisclosed because then we could have a conversion factor for money to LoCs.

  • "but of altruism"
    ^^^ LOL'ed
  • Of papers. If the sheer volume of papers were written in a microscopically tiny font and shrunk into the size of a typical supermarket tacky romance novel, the entire content of war and peace in an equivalent density and font would no bigger than a fortune cookie paper.

  • I am either using something like Netflix, or watching media I have in-house. I keep my in-house media on a NetStora server which is basically a hard drive in a standalone box which can be controlled via web or through a share. I have a wireless google tv sony blue ray player that runs an app that can read windows shares (and other types) and play the media. it can also play the subtitle file I can download (since I'm deaf). Except for this one subtitle feature, I don't necessarily recommend Google TV. Very
    • by nanospook (521118)
      Just ignore my post, wrong article, day all fscked up!
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Just ignore my post, wrong article, day all fscked up!

        I was half expecting it to turn into a MyCleanPC spam, such was the epic irrelevance of your post.

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