Friday, November 30, 2012

new jobs for negative political ad writers....

We spent months listening to negative ads about politicians.  Then we had weeks
of happy talk about Christmas sales.  Christmas sale ads could be fun though.  Why
not take the negative ad writers and use them on holiday sales commercials?  

For example,  cue evil sounding music and announcer with low, threatening voice who
has been out of work since the elections ended:

From J.C. Penney: "some Wal-Mart workers are on strike due to low pay and bad
working conditions.  Do you really want to support a company that would do that
to the people that try to help you?  There are alternatives to Wal-Mart.  No, really…."

From Wal Mart:  "J.C. Penney stocks are down.  Their never having a sale strategy
tanked.  They're desperate.  And desperate people will do anything to sell you stuff.
Can you really trust J.C. Penney?"

This would be much more fun to watch than the infinite parade of perfect looking, smiling
people expressing joy over the low priced spatula they found.  Let's bring negative advertising
to Christmas.  

Sears is responsible for the content of this message.  

Not really. 

time for "real world" to evolve...some suggestions...

Alternate Real World:

Since Real World on MTV has been around for two decades, maybe it's time for new ideas for the show.  I thought I would suggest a few:

1.  Instead of the cast consisting of some white people and a token black, a token Hispanic and token gay, do one season of Real World with  2 gay housemates,  2 black housemates, 2 Hispanic housemates  and include a token white heterosexual.  
2.  Put the whole bunch of them in Keokuk, Iowa and watch the hilarity ensue.
3.  Make all the housemates Harvard and Yale graduates.  Give them the same unlimited alcohol they give all Real World casts.  We will learn that smart people can be as dumb as the dopey people that  make up the usual cast.
4.  Have the whole cast  be average looking.  
5.  Make the housemates consist of 4 Republican and 4 Democratic U.S. House Representatives and watch them try to come to bipartisan agreement on where to go for lunch.  The cameras then follow them as they go to the local "Hooters" restaurant.
6.  MTV gives a dollar to charity each time a housemate says "like" or has to be bleeped.
7.  Put the housemates in a dry county.  Then force the cast to have a discussion about a topic.  Any topic.
8.  Maybe it's time for a location that doesn't have the glitz of San Francisco, New York or Las Vegas.  
     Think three words:  "Real World, Damascus"

Monday, November 26, 2012

"We don't need no stinking copyright laws" says some Republicans

Republicans are right:     copyright law was not designed for the purpose of guaranteeing profit to the copyright holders.
Republicans are wrong:  in that, the purpose of copyright law was to make sure copyright holders were encouraged to produce more by guaranteeing them any compensation due.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Racist Kids Will Be Racist Kids..

Racist  Kids will be Racist Kids…

(please note that linked articles include strong racist terms and profanity)

I hate when someone starts a column or a speech with rhetorical questions.  But I am going to.
If a teen publishes something stupid on the internet, should the teen suffer consequences?  And does the school have a responsibility in bringing that student to justice?  Does the term "bringing that student to justice" suggest that broadcasting something stupid is a crime?  

When I look back on my teen years, there are stupid things I said that I wish I hadn't.  In my case, most don't remember the dopey things I said.  When teens  vent their worst thoughts they're on the internet.  On twitter and Facebook.  Available to the world in perpetuity.  Tracie Egan Morrissey found some of these tweets and reprinted them.  

Tracie's November 9  article on, ran a column of tweets of teens venting their anger at Obama being reelected.  The tweets include the racial terms that I can not repost here.  And profanity I wouldn't repost here.  Then she called those student's high schools to find out what, if any, action the school might take toward those students.  

Is the role of a blogger to rat on a tweeter exercising First Amendment rights?  Maybe what 
Tracie has highlighted is the checks and balances of the internet.  If we search we can find the range of viewpoints that exist in our world.  We need to know that such racism exists.  

A follow up article from  featured the racist and profane responses of adults who were mad at the website for calling the kids out.  Teens hate being called "kids."  But teens are, by definition,  young and going to make mistakes that adults will catch.  But now those mistakes might be captured and retweeted.  The follow up article featuring the bigotry of adults only shows us that the kids learn from the adults.  

The racist teens and inquiring Jezebel bloggers are part of the checks and balances. Should a blogger have called the schools?  I'm a parent.  I want my daughter's school to be challenged.  Is printing racist terms a crime that should be called to justice?  What do you think about hate speech?

Yes, I left you with a rhetorical question.  

A delayed appreciation

I should have mentioned this earlier.  I hope it's never too late for a kind word.

A Facebook friend, a long-time successful television news producer, wants to write a book on what is wrong with journalism today.  He wondered two things:  1.  would anybody read it? and 2.  how many volumes would it take?

With cynicism high and hope for quality journalism low, comes word from the New York Times.  At a newspaper that values their journalistic heritage, the paper published an article though they were quite sure it would cost advertising revenue.

The New York Times' David Barboza  broke a story awhile ago about the "vast wealth of the Chinese prime minister's family." The Times published the article for two reasons--it was true and it was newsworthy.  As a result, the Times website was blocked in China causing its advertisers to have no access to the audience it was promised.   

Recently, the New York Times company reported its net income for the third quarter had declined more than 85 percent compared to the same period last year.   Its stock dropped more than 22 percent.  Losing ad revenue in China, or anyplace else, right now is maybe not a good business decision.  The Times concluded that a Chinese politician helping his family financially at the government's expense is a good story.  So they ran it.

There is a lot wrong with journalism today.  The problems are technological, sociological, economic and perhaps due to an ever shortening attention span on the part of its audience.  What the New York Times reminded us is that the problems are not part of a natural evolution.  They are a choice.  The New York Times chose to do quality, responsible journalism, no matter what the costs.  Because the story was true and newsworthy.  They made a choice.