Archive for the 'New Media' Category

Miscellany

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

VDH comments on our appalling culture, and Thomas Sowell says pretty much the same thing we said the other day. The VDH and Sowell pieces are kind of like bookends. The prattling classes and their media stenographers have no idea how shallow and ignorant they are.

Needed: a new Hays Code and more

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

A culture is sick when it bends over backwards to accommodate any tiny group with a perceived problem, but refuses to deal with truly enormous issues. Fatherless families are the source of much of the senseless violence the nation experiences. In Detroit, 79% of births are to unwed mothers; how can any good come of this?

Another enormous issue is the widespread acceptance of vulgarity, which is shorthand for the abandonment of cultural standards. The Hays Code was eliminated in 1968, and we’ve seen what that has produced. Not all of it is bad of course, but cable TV and the internet have made inappropriate language and other material available to any toddler who can work his iPad. And look at Twitter, where celebrities feel free to say disgusting things in strings of four letter words. Role models!

Moreover, popular music has developed a vile two-track system of debasement. The over-the-air radio version of a tune is edited to delete the real lyrics of the music, though the kids have the real version in the club and in the Cloud. Did we mention that luxury goods and liquor companies conspire with the disgusting producers of this music to get product placement in the lyrics?

So if you create incentives for lost youth — fatherless families, no cultural standards, and encouragement of exploitative, often violent, hedonistic behavior — is it any surprise that you get what you incentivize for?

It’s worth mentioning that the Hays Code was a private, commercial agreement, not government censorship. In the present day, the Twitters and Facebooks of the world could decide to not publish four letter word postings. The broadcasters could decide not to air music that had a non-bowdlerized version available elsewhere. The consumer products companies could decide not to subsidize this rot. There’s probably a way for technology companies to better ensure that the toddlers get Barney instead of porno Barney. As for the unwed mothers and fatherless families, most of those in media and politics have been gutless wonders on this major issue, but we’ve been encouraged to see liberals like Juan Williams and libertarians like Larry Elder speaking clearly about the devastation this has caused. Hard to counter the non-stop propaganda, however.

A new world gets recreated with every new generation. We’ll just have to see whether our current troubles are an irreversible secular decline or more of a cyclical, self-correcting phenomenon.

What explains these curious coincidences?

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

A CNN story from 2005:

Hermes on Wednesday apologized to Oprah Winfrey for turning her away last week, saying that its Paris store was closed to set up for a public relations event when the talk show host stopped by. “Hermes regrets not having been able to accommodate Ms. Winfrey and her team and to provide her with the service and care that Hermes strives to provide to each and every one of its customers worldwide,” the store said in a statement. “Hermes apologizes for any offense taken due to such circumstances.” The store said the incident occurred on June 14 around 6:45 p.m., about 15 minutes after the store closed. It said Winfrey and her team arrived at a time when “a private PR event was being set up inside.”

Harpo Productions spokeswoman Michelle McIntyre said Winfrey “will discuss her ‘crash moment’ when her show returns from hiatus in September.” “Crash” is a film dealing with race relations. The phrase “crash moment” refers to situations where a party feels discriminated against on the basis of skin color.

The New York Daily News cited sources close to Winfrey as saying the talk show host was first rebuffed by a clerk and then a store manager. The Daily News reported Winfrey had gone to the store to buy a watch for singer Tina Turner, her dining partner that night. McIntyre confirmed that account for CNN. The New York Post, in its Monday Page Six gossip column, reported she was turned away because the store had been “having a problem with North Africans lately.” In comments to CNN, an Hermes spokeswoman categorically denied that allegation. “There was never any discussion of North Africans,” she said. “The story is not true.”

Hmmmm. The talk show host appears to have hosted the Crash cast at the time of the DVD release, just after her well-publicized encounter with discrimination in a European luxury store. Where have we seen that before? Oh yes, just the other day, when, in an incredible coincidence, the same woman encountered similar discrimination in a European luxury store just prior to the theatrical release of movie she’s in. How is such a bizarre coincidence possible? Deadline notes that “72% of Fandango’s The Butler ticket-buyers who were surveyed claimed that co-star Oprah Winfrey’s involvement increased their interest in seeing the film.”

So there are two movies (Crash and The Butler) that critics claim overstate facts to fit a dreary, shopworn narrative, and it just happens that prior to their theatrical or DVD release, there are remarkably similar Jim Crow acts of discrimination in non-US luxury boutiques that turn into publicity opportunities that echo the plots of the films. Very interesting.

What’s most depressing about all this is the genuine deep divide in our country. Listening to some of the callers to people like Larry Elder or Dennis Prager, it’s as though the last fifty years in America never happened. Roger Simon is right in his analysis. BTW, if Mark Steyn should run for the Senate, so should Larry Elder, who is really at the top of his game.

Unreality TV

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Five years ago America stopped being a country and became instead a TV show. Rubbish that would make a carnival barker blush was broadcast regularly. The media did not guffaw; they swooned. Critical judgment ceased in the era of the app. Scandals became as serious as a tweet, or even less serious than that. We’ve now gone through two generations of Julias who know neither Shakespeare nor the Bible, yet think they are the font of all wisdom. They believe in things like catastrophic AGW, and feel free to mock those who are skeptical. Things that are not only insane but totally unworkable are now law. Hard to see this ending well.

Golly gee, what a surprise

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Daily Kos:

I’m about to pay $8665 a year for crappy high deductible insurance in NYS…the older and sicker will in effect be subsidized by the young and healthy…The task facing the administration is Herculean, quite literally changing the psyche of the American people…The biggest and most critical hurdle is to sell the young 18-34 year old cohort on the need for them to enroll. Without this group of Americans, which the Administration estimates is around 2.7 million strong, the exchanges will implode

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Oh, BTW, check out the last two sentences of the piece. They’re priceless.

The Newsroom and the International Society of Julias

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The most interesting thing about The Newsroom isn’t its alleged distortions of events. Rather it’s the elevated self-regard the young media nitwits exhibit. They know nothing, they’ve never held a real job in their lives, and yet they act as if the earth’s wisdom began with them. The Julia’s are running the asylum. Speaking of the Julia’s, it’s not just a domestic problem. The young and ignorant around the world think it’s perfectly reasonable for them to lecture the oldsters in another country about things they know nothing about.

Charming

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Class act all around. HT: BOTW

Two views, and more

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

A law professor at the University of Colorado via Salon:

the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin was all about race. And because it happened in America, the people who benefit politically from the same invidious forces that led both to Trayvon Martin’s killing, and the acquittal of his killer, will deny that race had anything to do with either the killing or the verdict.

Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket. Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid, who was doing nothing more threatening than walking back from a convenience store to his father’s condo.

Suppose Martin had stalked Zimmerman in his car, until Zimmerman became afraid and tried to elude him. Suppose Martin had gotten out of his car and pursued Zimmerman. Suppose this led to some sort of altercation in which the big scary black man ended up with a bloody nose and some scratches on the back of his head, and the scared skinny (and unarmed) white kid had ended up with a bullet in his heart.

How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of “self-defense” would have gone over with a jury made up almost entirely of white women? But of course this is America, which means that the scary figure in this story is the skinny unarmed teenager, because in America pretty much any black male over the age of 12 in this sort of situation is going to be presumed to be the ”aggressor,” the “thug” – in short,” the real criminal,” until he’s proved innocent, which he won’t be, even if he’s now a dead, still unarmed teenager. And his killer is a grown man who provokes a fight with an otherwise harmless kid, starts losing it, and then shoots the kid dead.

Because this is America, pointing out that a black boy can be shot with impunity by a more or less white man because many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men is called “playing the race card.” The race card is what the people who benefit politically from the fact that many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men call any reference to the fact that race continues to play an overwhelmingly important, and overwhelmingly invidious, role in American culture in general. And in the criminal justice system in particular.

Trayvon Martin was stalked by George Zimmerman because he was black. Trayvon Martin is dead because he was black. George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin because the boy Zimmerman killed was black. If you deny these things, you are either a liar or an idiot, or possibly both.

Roger Simon:

Forget the over-zealous prosecutors and the repellent state attorney Angela Corey (who should be immediately disbarred or, my wife said sarcastically, elevated to director of Homeland Security) and even the unfortunate Trayvon Martin family (although it is certainly hard to forget them — they have our profound sympathies), the true loser at the Zimmerman trial was Barack Obama.

By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.

It is also the work of a narcissist who thinks of himself first, of his image, not of black, white or any other kind of people. It’s no accident that race relations in our country have gone backwards during his stewardship.

Congratulations to the jury for not acceding to this tremendous pressure and delivering the only conceivable honest verdict. This case should never have been brought to trial. It was, quite literally, the first American Stalinist “show trial.” There was, virtually, no evidence to convict George Zimmerman.

There has been a fair amount of reaction to this case in the political and celebrity worlds. Having listened to commentary from left and right, we observe that the narratives believed by each correlate pretty well with how they vote, which isn’t that surprising. It’s also, sadly, not surprising that the partisan media failed to do its job or that in the increasingly post-religious vulgarian America, many people don’t think twice about calling for the jury to be murdered.

Pathetic non-denial denials

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

All the tech companies are denying that they ever heard of “PRISM“, and that the government does not have “direct access” to their servers. Amazingly, they all use almost precisely identical language to frame their non-denial denials. It’s another pathetic chapter in a long running series. So they didn’t apparently know the name “PRISM”, and they apparently forwarded the information the government requested to separate servers. Next!

Technology trends

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Mary Meeker’s 117 slide presentation at the digital conference.

Rules for flippers

Friday, May 17th, 2013

In case you’re unfamiliar with Law & Order, whether the original, SVU or CI, there are a couple of rules when approached for a friendly conversation with investigators: lawyer up and shut up being notable among them. Even a smart lawyer like Scooter Libby ignored this advice. Both Michael Ledeen and Hugh Hewitt give advice to those who may be implicated in our current or coming scandals (don’t you think there will be others?), namely to move quickly in lawyering up or they’ll get worse counsel at a worse price.

Also, Thomas Lifson has an interesting piece on how the scandal avalanche may be affecting the MSM. It will be interesting if it turns out to be true.

The AP etc.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

So the AP was investigated for a national security breach? Maybe it’s true though we doubt it. Such fealty to national security matters would be an aberration from business as usual for this crew, though it is excellent cover story for snooping on hundreds of journalists and their sources. Remember Blair Hull? Jack Ryan? Sharon Bialek? It’s the Chicago Way to have dossiers on everyone. Who knows when you’re going to need them?

A couple of other points. The AP story is fishy from a variety of perspectives, including that it focuses on phone calls but makes no mention of other electronic communications. What about all the text messages and emails, which is the way that much if not most of journalistic communication is done today? Surely if the government wanted blanket information it would have gotten all that traffic as well. Details dribble out, in scandal after scandal, from Fast and Furious to Benghazi and this. And the final point: what are the scandals that we still don’t know about?

Someone is watching

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Sometimes it’s the Tonight Show that’s watching you, sometimes it’s Bloomberg. NYT:

There are now more than 315,000 Bloomberg terminal subscribers worldwide who rely on the desktop computer for research, trading, communication and a constant stream of financial information and news. But as it turned out, what the subscribers were doing was not always confidential. Bloomberg reporters used the “Z function” — a command using the letter Z and a company’s name — to view a list of subscribers at a firm. Then, a Bloomberg user could click on a subscriber’s name, which would take the user to a function called UUID. The UUID function then provided background on an individual subscriber, including contact information, when the subscriber had last logged on, chat information between subscribers and customer service representatives, and weekly statistics on how often they used a particular function…

A preliminary analysis at Bloomberg revealed that “several hundred” reporters had used the technique…problems, which became public on Friday, started at JPMorgan Chase last summer, when the bank suffered a multibillion-dollar trading loss. Some Bloomberg reporters called the bank, people briefed on the call said, to question whether the traders responsible for the loss had been fired. They cited the fact that the traders had gone silent on the terminal. The bank, the people said, objected to the reporting technique, but did not formally reach out to Bloomberg executives to complain. Yet bank officials soon discovered that other Bloomberg reporters were using the approach on other stories unrelated to the trading loss.

And the things the watchers can’t see directly they’ll ask you about in some detail.

Your government at work

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Examiner:

death is a part of life, but so often we have to find a way to make life a part of death.

You can watch this wisdom here. The hearing is a scandal in itself, but will anyone care?

As strong an argument for online education as has ever been made

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

An open letter from the Philosophy Department of SJSU to a Harvard professor:

We believe that long-term financial considerations motivate the call for massively open online courses (MOOCs) at public universities such as ours. Unfortunately, the move to MOOCs comes at great peril to our university. We regard such courses as a serious compromise of quality of education and, ironically for a social justice course, a case of social injustice…

what kind of message are we sending our students if we tell them that they should best learn what justice is by listening to the reflections of the largely white student population from a privileged institution like Harvard? Our very diverse students gain far more when their own experience is central to the course and when they are learning from our own very diverse faculty, who bring their varied perspectives to the content of courses that bear on social justice…

having our students read a variety of texts, perhaps including your own, is far superior to having them listen to your lectures. This is especially important for a digital generation that reads far too little. If we can do something as educators we would like to increase literacy, not decrease it…the thought of the exact same social justice course being taught in various philosophy departments across the country is downright scary — something out of a dystopian novel…

Professors who care about public education should not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities. Sincerely and in solidarity, The Department of Philosophy San Jose State University

Get a load of that second paragraph. Right out of Life of Julia. BTW, here are some of the other things the faculty are up to. HT: PL

No predictions here

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

We see that Chris Matthews has some thoughts on the carnage in Boston. So does David Axelrod. And so did Mayor Bloomberg and Michael Tomasky, though that was a while ago. Paul Krugman had a prediction. Wolf Blitzer had a question. Michael Moore took the time to link half a dozen events together. There are preferred villains and less preferred villains for everyone, and we see that the wish is father to the thought. Let’s wait and see, ok? (Roger Simon has related thoughts.)

Very strange

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Andrew Malcolm

since last spring DHS has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm. That’s sufficient firepower to shoot every American about five times. Including illegal immigrants. To provide some perspective, experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, DHS is armed now for a 24-year Iraq war.

And if that weren’t enough, there’s upworthy to worry about.

Loud and empty

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Day after day provides more evidence of the amazing gap between the oldsters and the youngsters. We found the halftime show at the Super Bowl loud and empty, while others were blown away and dazzled. One way or another, this is not going to end well.

The 26.9% factor

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

26.9% of the viewers of this were offended. A quarter of the country and more have lost their marbles, if indeed they ever had any.

A world apart

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Forbes:

Last year the tech oligarchs emerged as major political players. Microsoft, Google and their employees were the largest private-sector donors to the president. More important still, tech workers also provided the president and his party with a unique set of digital tools that helped identify potential supporters among traditionally uninformed and disinterested voters, particularly among the young.

An even greater beneficiary of the second term will be the administrative class, who by their nature live largely outside the market system. This group, which I call the new clerisy, is based largely in academia and the federal bureaucracy, whose numbers and distinct privileges have grown throughout the past half century.

Even in tough times, high-level academics enjoy tenure and have been largely spared from job cuts. Between late 2007 and mid-2009, the number of U.S. federal workers earning more than $150,000 more than doubled, even as the economy fell into a deep recession. Even as the private sector, and state government employment has fallen, the ranks of federal nomenklatura have swelled so much that Washington, D.C., has replaced New York as the wealthiest region in the country…

96% of all donations from the Ivy League went to the president, something more reminiscent of Soviet Russia than a properly functioning pluralistic academy…Most distinctive about the clerisy is their unanimity of views. On campus today, there is broad agreement on a host of issues from gay marriage, affirmative action and what are perceived as “women’s” issues to an almost religious environmentalism that is contemptuous toward traditional industry and anything that smacks of traditional middle class suburban values. These views have shaped many of the perceptions of the current millennial generation

The know-it-alls are running the show. No wonder small businesses are down in the dumps.