Archive for the 'New Media' Category

Perfection!

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Just the other day we noted Wretchard’s comment that American politics has become radically divided in two, in part due to an almost psychotic media-reality split, and voilà, we’ve found a glittering gemstone. Consider this magnificent tune. We’d wager that most of its apparent target audience would find it either irrelevant or offensive, while we can easily imagine a conference room of media consultants recommending it with straight faces. Media-reality split. But wait, there’s more!

It’s hard to know whether this Rolling Stone piece on the song is meant as a positive description or subversion. Subversion would be our guess. It’s easy to imagine the high-paid media consultants chortling as they thought: wait til Elizabeth Warren’s people get a load of this. But then again, it’s just as easy to see the consultants thinking that the rubes will really go for this — or maybe both thoughts at the same time. Whatever. We just hope everyone got a good payday out of this masterwork, particularly the graphics guy who helpfully inserted the word ‘cuz at three minutes into the song.

For future reference

Friday, December 5th, 2014

The New New Republic announces a restructuring and, without apparent irony, calls the departing editor “the beating heart of this brand”:

we are re-imagining The New Republic as a vertically integrated digital media company. Gabriel is ideally suited to bridge traditional journalism and digital media. He is committed – as am I – to The New Republic’s mission of impact, influence and persuasion, but understands that fulfilling that mission in today’s media landscape requires new forms.

He truly reflects the “straddle generation” of journalists and editors who remain deeply rooted in the qualities of traditional journalism – having worked with brands such as the New York Observer and The Atlantic – but also understands what it takes to create content that will travel across all platforms. We believe he is the right person to help us to maintain the core DNA of The New Republic, while propelling us forward…

we will be making significant investments in creating a more effective and efficient newsroom as well as improved products across all platforms. This will require a recalibration of our resources in order to deliver the best product possible. In order to do so, we’ve made the decision to reduce the frequency of our print publication from 20 to 10 issues a year and will be making improvements to the magazine itself. Given the frequency reduction, we will also be making some changes to staff structure.

Maybe things will work out for the 30 year old who bought the magazine 2 years ago. Stranger things have happened we suppose. Certainly the writing style and word selection of the “straddle generation” make a strong impact.

All of this reminds us of the so-called Twitter Revolution, which worked out so well as you recall. We’ll watch and see what happens in this case. Tick. Tick. Tick.

UPDATE: Tock. Well, that didn’t take long!

Thank you very much

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

We’re referring of course to the song (first to use U for you?) by The Scaffold from the late sixties or so. As we mentioned a few years ago, we have a rather eclectic soundtrack playing much of the time in the background — elevator music for the mind as we go about our daily business. Often we misremember the lyrics (inky stinky parlez vous) but that’s okay. It’s all good fun.

There are many annoyances in modern life. No doubt the greatest of these is that when you’re trying to read a piece by Roger Simon, you now have to click as many as four times so that the advertising VP at PJ Media can report maximum page views to the sponsors. But right up there on our list is the pathetic offerings of classic rock radio.

We jog (decades ago it was run) for an hour every day and the radio helps pass the time. Sometimes it’s 90.7, 91.5 or 88.1. Sometimes it’s 640, 870 or 1150. Occasionally it’s 89.9 or 1070. (On Wednesday it was 77 WABC and News Radio 88.) However, when it’s 101.1 or 100.3, we’re not happy about what we’re hearing. Whatever algorithm is choosing the songs is an ignoramus (or perhaps we’re no longer the target demographic).

Where are the album cuts and one-hit wonders? Where’s Donovan, Duke of Earl, or Doors B sides? Answer: start jogging in a wifi area and ditch the radio. 60′s music radio is an iPhone app that links to a variety of good web resources, that is if you think good is Allan Sherman, Dusty Springfield or Bruce Channel. Bruce Channel?

Super fun bonus: Hinderaker vivisects Gail Collins.

From “spare the rod and spoil the child” to ???

Friday, September 12th, 2014

At Portsmouth Priory, the punishment for serious infractions, at least among the Day Grubs, was to be paddled vigorously on the derrière with a wet sneaker in Mr. Acheson’s office. Times change. We have no idea of the seriousness of the Peterson matter, but there was a grand jury involved, not that that is conclusive in any way these days. We also don’t make light of Ray Rice, though we understand that in a scheduled remake of The Shining, Red Rum is set to be replaced by Ray Rice. We understand that social media make the Visible! into the Imperative!, given that humans are overwhelmingly responsive to visual stimuli. But there also seems to be some cognitive dissonance or denial or some such at work when the relatively unimportant is routinely elevated over the truly serious. Maybe it’s time to make mandatory the availability of video records of executions, so that people can better evaluate the moral compasses of those who believe that, for example, changing religious affiliation merits losing your head. Is that appropriate, or should the punishment itself be elevated to the status of a crime?

When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Today’s important reads are VDH and James Lewis. In many ways, this ISIS jihad is transitioning from being simply a left-right issue. Left wing broadcaster on Pacifica Radio of all things, Ian Masters, had Robert Baer and Robert Pelton on his program yesterday, and their analyses were not all that different from Hanson and Lewis. The West has gone flaky and soft (since 1973′s OPEC oil boycott), many DC insiders have gotten wealth and continued access by choosing to look the other way, and young men who take seriously what they’ve been taught in school are the Jets and Sharks of today, on steroids partly due to social media. Oh yes, Jets and Sharks who aren’t content merely to kill each other, but the entire rest of the world, which they ardently believe has victimized them and failed to recognize their inherent superiority. Hard to be optimistic in any way about this, except that the right and the hard left are coming closer to common cause, which would be fantastic. Added bonus: these hard left leaning folks are not saying the problems are because of poverty and the like, which BOTW noted many years ago. They now acknowledge that the problem is religious beliefs — that indeed is progress.

Cui bono?

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

What’s Russia got going for it? Bad demographics but it is currently the largest oil producer in the world. Russia certainly knows how to act in its own interests, or those of Mr. Putin. Was it a surprise that Putin decided to strongly control the area around its only warm water naval base in moves that seemed to come out of nowhere? Similarly would it be a surprise to find some Russian money in ISIS, another thing that seemed to come out of nowhere? Iran and Qatar versus Saudi Arabia et al should be a good thing for the world’s largest oil producer. (Of course we understand that things cut all kinds of ways in the region; Russia relies on Syria for a large naval maintenance facility, for example.) In any event lowering the power of OPEC and being more of a global lynchpin in oil prices would seem to be an obvious Russian goal.

Hugh Hewitt regularly asks journalists a series of questions to see if they know anything at all. One of the questions is about Alger Hiss, and many times the reporters don’t know much about hisstory. We started wondering the other day: who are the current Russian spies in the US government? You’d be a fool to think that there aren’t quite a few. Along the same line, does Russia even have to funnel money to the nutty environmental groups that oppose vastly increasing US oil production? Many of these come by their anti-Americanism naturally, and think they are intellectually and morally superior to boot. How Putin must laugh at us!

Cause and effect plus one

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Back in ancient times, eight years ago, some generalizations were observed among a number of the young men who yearned to become warriors, and sometimes, mass killers. (Testosterone plus either primogeniture or polygamy figured into the mix fueling jihadis and conquistadors.) Cause and effect to some extent, or at least correlation. In the current iteration of this phenomenon, which has become worse by an order of magnitude, we see an extra element: barbarity as aggressive, celebratory advertising via the internet. Far more effective than placing a dozen heads on pikes for the occasional passers-by to encounter. We have mixed views about this. On the one hand, there’s a good case for censorship of these snuff films; oddly, we don’t hear very much about that. On the other hand, it would be great if these guys are able via their snuff ads to bring vast numbers of these 7th century barbarians together for an IS Woodstock. Perhaps we could introduce them to Fat Man and Little Boy. Are you saying that the world would not be a better place?

Inversions

Monday, July 28th, 2014

How strange. We now live in a world where the editorial line of the Washington Post is more or less unfit to appear in the HuffPo when it comes to Gaza. More at the WaPo and at PL on our inverted world. BTW, we thought Wretchard was getting a little too dramatic when he transitioned from the various wars to Ebola — then we saw that the CDC is stonewalling USA Today regarding the failures of its medical “do not board” rule for airlines. That’s reassuring! Have a nice day.

Lightning speed, from nowhere

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

WRM: “The rise of ISIS/ISIL is a disaster that must be examined and understood. How could the U.S. government have been caught napping by the rise of a new and hostile power in a region of vital concern? What warning signs were missed, what opportunities were lost — and why?” No one had heard of these people a month ago, and all of a sudden they’ve taken over half a country and have a major social media powered PR machine. They’ve even got branded clothing lines as well as snuff films. It’s hard to believe that no one saw this coming. (BTW, what’s up at the State Dept?)

The 100%ers

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

You’ve heard of the 1%, the 99% and the 47% of course. Now there are the 100%ers too. A fellow wrote an amusing and sad piece about intolerance and the death of free speech. It claimed that unless you toed the party line on 100% of all issues of the day, you were excommunicated as a heretic, banned for life, and told to shut up. An atheist PETA supporter said he liked the piece. Guess what happened to him.

Ad fontes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Terry Teachout on TCM’s 20th anniversary in the WSJ:

On Monday it will be showing, among other things, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,” “Gaslight,” “Gone With the Wind,” “It Happened One Night,” “The Maltese Falcon” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” You couldn’t ask for a more representative sampling of the best of studio-era Hollywood…Ever since its launch, the audience for TCM has consisted primarily of people who want to watch studio-era movies. While the channel has diversified its offerings over the years, it remains committed to accommodating the conservative tastes of its regular viewers, which is why it steers clear of the franker films that Hollywood started to release around 1970. Look at the schedule for the month of April and you’ll find just 20 films made after 1970, most of them forgettable mediocrities.

If you believe, as I do, that American film entered a new period of artistic maturity in the 1970s, you’ll find little to confirm that belief. Where are “Apocalypse Now,” “Cabaret,” “Chinatown,” “The Deer Hunter,” “The Godfather,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Network,” “Patton” and “Taxi Driver”? Not on TCM. Nor do its potential problems stop there. With under-30 moviegoers reflexively tuning out black-and-white films because they look old fashioned, how can a channel that specializes in the oeuvre of Gary Cooper, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart hope to eventually replace its aging viewers

The Renaissance was marked by a return ad fontes, to the texts of Greek and Roman classics, and indeed the Reformation featured a return to an ancient text. Things can get lost for hundreds of years, like perspective in art, and then get rediscovered, to the great benefit of civilization.

TCM is not just entertainment; it is a course in American history. Unique in that it is the first time in history we have the voices and pictures of human beings of yesteryear speaking to us directly. In important cultural ways, the America shown on TCM is superior to that of the 70′s and thereafter — the 40-80% illegitimacy trend of the last four decades is a cultural disaster of the first order.

TCM should stick to its knitting, and not worry that kids might currently prefer 3D to B&W. Niche marketing is fine. More importantly, kids can grow up and perhaps discover that BS and malarkey aren’t a viable path to rewarding lives. In that sense, TCM isn’t just a view of the past frozen in amber, but a reminder that a better future culture is possible.

(Incidentally, both Scott Johnson and Mark Steyn would be excellent fill-ins for Robert Osborne, but TCM’s chairman emeritus might object.)

Worth reading today

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Kevin Williamson has a very amusing piece on the life in the Beltway. Many of Mark Steyn’s readers are also pretty good writers. Some anniversaries arriving: it’s ten years since Kill Bill (Sheriff Earl Parks and Esteban Vihaio are the same guy), and coming up on ten years in August since the forging of the Rathergate memos. Finally, we can report that from seeing college age kids talk that George Will’s statement on TV today is true, as political correctness morphs into absurdity (not that it was such a long trip).

Strange yet again

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Were the Italian and Austrian stolen passports of MH370 used by Asians? There’s more to learn here: Wretchard has some good links to twitter feeds and pilots that are interesting.

AA587, TWA800, ValuJet 592, Alaska 261, Swissair 111, Egyptair 990, that Air France flight from a couple of years ago: the list is so short that we know the flight numbers of many incidents. And a forgotten incident from nine years ago, when an Egyptian was arrested in Memphis with a uniform and a DVD telling airline pilots how they should act in public.

Fatal air incidents have become so rare in recent years due to technological improvements that suspicions are warranted when aircraft just disappear. We’d be very surprised if the B777-200 in the Malaysia case turns out to be anything other than foul play.

Don’t know whether to laugh or cry…..

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Wretchard can really bring you down. On the other hand, there’s always Crimea River and other such tunes. A long, long way from the songs of yore. Ah, well. HT: PL

Drip, Drip, Drip, Drop

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

NYT:

The administration’s proposal would remove the protected status from three classes of drugs that has been in place since the program’s inception in 2006: immunosuppressant drugs used in transplant patients, antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines. They include many well-known drugs, such as Wellbutrin, Paxil and Prozac to treat depression, and Abilify and Seroquel to treat schizophrenia.

Here’s what’s behind these antics. And here’s an ideologically diverse list of 200 organizations, charities, companies and others opposed to this squirrelly program. Normally compliant media sources are even noticing. Hmmmmm.

Moral of the story?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Gadgeteer:

I have been using Google Glass for about 2 months now, and about 2 weeks ago I got prescription lenses for the glasses. So in the past two weeks I was wearing Google Glass all the time. There were no stories to write about, until yesterday (1/18/2014). I went to AMC (Easton Mall, Columbus, OH) to watch a movie with my wife (non- Google Glass user). It is the theater we go to every week, so it has probably been the third time I’ve been there wearing Google Glass, and the AMC employees (guy tearing tickets at the entrance, girl at the concession stand) have asked me about Glass in the past and I have told them how awesome Glass is with every occasion.

Because I don’t want Glass to distract me during the movie, I turn them off (but since my prescription lenses are on the frame, I still wear them). About an hour into the movie (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops. Since I didn’t catch his name in the dark of the theater, I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.

I was surprised by this and as I was obviously just having a nice Saturday evening night out with my wife and not taping anything whether legally or illegally, I tried to explain that this is a misunderstanding. I tried to explain that he’s holding rather expensive hardware that costed me $1500 for Google Glass and over $600 for the prescription glasses. The response was that I was searched and more stuff was taken away from me (specifically my personal phone, my work phone – both of which were turned off, and my wallet). After an embarrassing 20-30 minutes outside the movie theater, me and my wife were conducted into two separate rooms in the “management” office of Easton Mall, where the guy with the badge introduced himself again and showed me a different ID. His partner introduced herself too and showed me a similar looking badge. I was by that time, too flustered to remember their names (as a matter of fact, now, over 30 hours later I am still shaking when recounting the facts).

What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?). I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it. I also insisted they look at my phone too and clear things out, but they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.

I kept telling them that I wasn’t recording anything – my Glass was off, they insisted they saw it on. I told them there would be a light coming out the little screen if Glass was on, and I could show them that, but they insisted that I cannot touch my Glass for the fear “I will erase the evidence against me that was on Glass”. I didn’t have the intuition to tell them that Glass gets really warm if it records for more than a few minutes and my glasses were not warm. They wanted to know where I got Glass and how did I came by having it. I told them I applied about 1000 times to get in the explorer program, and eventually I was selected, and I got the Glass from Google. I offered to show them receipt and Google Glass website if they would allow me to access any computer with internet. Of course, that was not an option. Then they wanted to know what does Google ask of me in exchange for Glass, how much is Google paying me, who is my boss and why am I recording the movie. Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean…

So what’s the moral of this creepy story? Don’t wear the glasses? Don’t go to AMC? How about this one — and make sure you get the ID’s of these thugs…

600 million times a day

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Compare this piece in the Onion (“600 million times a day”) with this one in the NYT. Newspaper of record indeed! Take a break, relax. Heck, we have a government that engages in the worst sort of leftism while terrible tragedies go unattended. The proles are useful when needed apparently. The less education the better, the politicians say, and the media don’t call them on anything, because they are accomplices. So take a break and live in the past for a moment. They used to have an excellent veal chop at Elaine’s…..

Memorable

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

It was almost 44 years ago that Carolyn Widgery and your host hitchhiked from New Haven to New York in nasty January weather. The driver of the semi let us off at around Jerome Avenue. We wandered around a bit, looking for the subway. A nice young man came up to us, offered directions, and said that we had better get off the streets pretty fast or we would be killed. We got to the east village in plenty of time for the show at the Fillmore East. It was Santana (the Doors were at the Felt Forum that evening). We had never heard of the warm-up act, but It’s a Beautiful Day was excellent (we just learned that they lost out to Santana at performing at Woodstock as a result of a coin flip). We sat in the 4th row, and can report that it’s as though we were living in contemporary Colorado or Washington. After the show, we had the good sense to repair to the benches of Grand Central Station and wait quietly for a pleasant early morning train ride back to school.

The incredible pace of decline

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Rich Lowry says it well.

Can’t say it better than that

Monday, November 25th, 2013

VDH discusses a culture in ruins:

once you have rebelled against hexameters, quarter notes, or realistic representation, and after you have rebelled against that rebellion with crucifixes in urine, obscenity-laced rap, and peek-a-boo nudity on stage, what are you left with? The 20th-century rebels who knew what they did not like have been replaced by the anti-rebels who don’t know that there was ever something against which to rebel. Again, we are left with the 21st-century of Lady Gaga giving birth to a blue sphere, Miley Cyrus probing body orifices with a foam oversized finger, and Kanye West humping on a motorcycle while reciting obscene nursery-rhyme ditties. In a society where endorsing fairness and equality equates with success, no supposedly arbitrary canons can exclude much of anything. Who are you to say that song A is bad, or movie B is good, given your own class, race, and gender privileges that result in excluding someone or something? The less dialogue and the more explosions and nudity earn supposedly more ticket-buyers, at least until a new generation wishes to build something from the ashes. There can be no truth in our culture, given that it discriminates and proves hurtful to too many. The greatest sin in America is not to lie, but to embrace a hierarchy of any sort at all…The radically egalitarian ethos demands always the descent to the lowest common denominators of taste. A world without requisites is the fairest. To capture the most attention of the masses requires a Cyrus, Gaga, or West. Once classical canons of artistic, literary, or musical expression were torn down, and once those classically trained rebels who ripped them apart have passed on, we are left with the ruins of trying to shock what is perhaps beyond being shocked.

Trans-fats, 32 ounce sodas, health insurance. The things that the market can better regulate are ridiculously over-regulated, and the things that society needs to control are uncontrolled. Hard to see this ending well. Things will reverse of course in time, but it sure was a nasty few centuries after the fall of Rome.