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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Just a Friendly Reminder that We Live in a Police State . . .
Two accounts of the same thing. The ">first from what some might call a "alternative news source" e.g. a first-person account. The second comes from what some would call a "legitimate" news source. I haven't found any reports of the police busting up Kerry hecklers. If anybody knows of any, please send them my way.

As America's Own Oligarchs lie, cheat and steal their way towards Nov. 2 (while a few more soliders and civilians keep getting themselves killed in Iraq), things are only getting weirder here at home. Both sides continue to scare the bejesus out of everybody. And that is not good. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, "it's hurting America."

Oh and Powell's definitely one of America's Own Oligarchs . He hasn't resigned, so as they said in the '60s, he's part of the problem.

I just wish Kerry was as loose as the Red Sox. I would suggest that Manny Ramriez and David Ortiz give Kerry a hug. Or give him hugging lessons. Or something.

Then again, he's smart, he has experience and I think his heart's in the right place.

Career Choices: Either an Entertainer or a Journalist Be . . .Just Don't Try to Be Both (aka another reason why TV shows labeled as news/infotainment should be banned...)

As a former print journo/hack who was conditioned by years of (print) journo school to be dismissive of TV "news shows" promising "infotainment" (I really hate that non-word word), it was heartening to watch Stewart's paroxysm of truth and well-timed scorn. It was marred only slightly by his calling Carson a "dick" (yeah, it's true, and I'm not a prude, but it undercut what was a very well-reasoned dismantling of the show), is apparently catching. Even the NYT got in on the act...
To be sure, shows like "Meet the Press" are actually useful. The guests at least have to answer real questions about newsworthy topics. And the questioners are actually informed -- or at least well prepped.
What astonished me, and apparently everybody else in the world, was just how inept and juvenile the "Crossfire" boobs were in their reactions. These guys were actually journalists? Or have I not read their respective bios closely enough?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Back from LA. Conferences -- especially the ones where I have to actually work, if one can call moderating panels work -- oy. Did get written up,however, by the Hollywood Reporter. Here's an excerpt: (yeah, yeah, I'd link you to it, but the Reporter's one of those "paid content" sites..)
"Oct. 14, 2004
Panel: P2P can be good for biz
By Paul Bond
The power of peer-to-peer technology can be
harnessed for the good of the entertainment
industry, a panel of experts concluded Wednesday.
"We're not in trouble," said Sony Pictures
Entertainment executive vp Mitch Singer, who
compared P2P to other disruptive technologies the
film industry has faced in the past.
Singer recalled meetings with Sony Music shortly
after the proliferation of Napster, the file-sharing
service that brought digital piracy to the masses.
"What do you do with a Napster? License content to
them or sue them," he said."

So, there you go. Mitch Singer. Mark Ishikawa. Fascinating panel.
The upshot of my panel -- one of the day's highlights, if you ask me -- was that P2P can be an efficient distribution channel. It was particularly interesting to hear Singer's take a much more positive approach towards technologies such as p2p. In fact, I think he started using our "it's-an-opportunity-not-a-threat" line of reasoning.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I finally get it
It used to be you watched the news or "news magazines" to learn, to be informed.
Now we live in an age of "infotainment" -- a bullshit word if ever there was one.
One of the kings of "infotainment" is Bill O'Reilly. (I say this because his ratins are apparently fairly high.) How this fellow somehow gets away with calling himself a "journalist" is amazing. (Even more amazing is that he claimed to be inspired by Mike Wallace when Wallace interviewed him on "60 Minutes" last week. He's either amazingly cynical or just likes to suck up to real pros.)
I digress. So I'm reading about last week's weirdness when O'Reilly went after Jon Stewart when Stewart appears on the "No Spin Zone." You know, the whole "stoned slackers" rant. That's when the epiphany -- OK, the minor insight -- flashed across a few of my operating synapses:
Stewart's show depends on an informed audience to work. Satire is hard work and it requires an audience willing to pull their weight.
O'Reilly's show is dependent on an audience that's blinkered, scared and angry. His show is about consecrating anger.
Me, I vote with the "stoned slackers" for laughter.

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