Mary McNamara writes a good piece on the Calendar Cover today in the LA TImes. Hasta la vista, He-Men tells of how macho is out and smart is the new sexy, at least when it comes to media. That’s a good thing, because we’ve had more than our share of role models who, while filling our cup with entertaining adventure, use anger and physical violence to make their point. What with all those things in the real world, do we really need to escape reality by watching the very same thing only with a script? Hopefully, not.
Now, if they could only put those MMA commercials only on late night TV…
A nice family came to my home yesterday with a message and flyer. Well actually, it was the soon to be teenagers of a family that knocked on the door, the parents were busy knocking elsewhere. We took the flyer and thanked them for their time. The piece they left behind was an invitation to a special talk a local religious group is having next month.
What caught my eye was the way that Jesus was portrayed visually. All of my life, I’d only seen one version: the rock star look with long hair. Unlike Santa Claus, for which I had seen several renditions (jolly gentile, mall latino and the rare African version), this was different. Christ had gotten a haircut and was looking manscaped like never before. Why, I wondered?
This is all part of marketing, and let it never be said that religious organizations don’t know how to market. They have to – to the uninitiated, the main product is elusive, sometimes never showing up. Talk about intangible; aside from a good book and people who are third-party references, the main product (God and his son) are elusive, shall we say.
Christ lived about 2,000 years ago (although a modern calendar is not tied to his birth/death, estimates of his period on earth range from 7–2 BC to 30–36 AD), and photography wasn’t around so it’s anyone’s guess what he actually looked like. But most illustrations of him show a man with longer hair and a beard that is less tended than the version I received. I’m guessing that they feel that if Christ was more handsome, it might help to bring more followers to the flock.
Earlier versions of Christ make him look like he lived in a time where running water and showers were hard to come by. The man in the new likeness looks to be well coiffed and manicured. Even his nails look perfect.
‘Who is this man” indeed?
GoDaddy, among the largest website and email hosting companies in the United States, apparently was hacked today. I learned of it because some of our websites/email servers are through GoDaddy. Even after a couple of hours, news of this was thin on the web. Apparently, the hacking group Anonymous has affected GoDaddy operations, stating that they were unhappy with GoDaddy’s support of possible legislation which affects freedom of information. As of 1:45 pm PST, it appears that most services are again working.
GoDaddy has worked hard at creating a cool image for themselves with a certain group of consumers -men. They are the company that runs risqué television ads during the Super Bowl and other sporting events. Since most computer website programmers/developers are men, GoDaddy has done its best to make their company, and it’s branding memorable to this target group. Regarding the Superbowl ads, it appears that GoDaddy produces a number of versions of a particular spot, submits the raunchiest, which they know will be rejected. Followed by version two, they then settle when the FCC allows version 3 to be aired (which GoDaddy had wanted approval on in the first place). Versions 1 & 2 are posted on the GoDaddy website for those interesteted enough to see.
It’s been a tough year for GoDaddy: Founder Bob Parsons stepped down in December as CEO, and his replacement Warren Adelman then resigned in July of this year. Still, the company has over $1 billion in sales and is looking to expand worldwide.
Until now, the internet has been remarkably free of major crashes, hacked or otherwise. My concern is that one day, someone or group of people will find a way to bring down the web en mass, which will create havoc regionally or nationally as business has come to depend on the web for doing commerce. I am not looking forward to that day….
I’ve been a subscriber of Direct TV for more than a decade. Just had an aversion to being connected to cable, as if it were any more like having a ball and chain than any other subscription service. By and large, satellite TV is fine, giving you access to hundreds of channels of crap you just don’t care about while delivering the dozen of so channels you do watch.
Last week, something funny began happening on Comedy Central (and other Viacom owned entities). One Thursday night, we saw two different streaming messages at the bottom of the screen: One from Direct TV alerting us that they were being held ransom by Viacom for $1 billion (additional) dollars for Viacom programming. The other, from Viacom, lamenting Direct TV’s demand to not have to pay the 3 cents more per viewer for their programming.
As with all such squabbles, I assumed that this was a type of posturing from each side as they positioned themselves for a certain resolution status at their negotiating deadline. But my assumption proved wrong. Direct TV cut all such programming at the stroke of 9pm and, as of this writing over a week later, has not broadcast said Viacom programming. Instead, they have posted several notices, messages from Direct TV’s president (lame) and now a screen full of alternatives (none of which I find appealing). To have this happen is good in one way – it forces me to change my viewing habits. Which means that I’m watching less TV (always a good thing) but then makes me wonder why the hell I’m paying over $60 per month for the connection.
I understand that Dish Network is in the clash with Viacom and it appears that the stakes are high. If Viacom gets its way, I’m pretty sure subscribers will be paying more in the future. Dear Steven Colbert – I love your show but I’m not going to be paying more for the privilege of watching you the same day. There’s always Hulu….
Netflix, the company that revolutionized home delivered DVD’s to consumers, effectively snuffing Blockbuster’s business model, announced this week that in June, they delivered 1 billion hours of content to subscribers over the internet. With over 19 million online subscribers, Netflix says the statistic amounts to roughly 38 hours per subscriber for the month. Deep breath….
THIRTY EIGHT HOURS AVERAGE PER SUBSCRIBER FOR THE MONTH…
Let’s do some math: 1 billion hours is 41.6 million days or 114,115 years. Let’s multiply that by 1.4 people because who watches movies alone? Some but not all… That gets us to 159,817 years of Netflix movies watched last month.
Now, what could we do if everyone agreed to watch 10% less in a given month – say almost 16 years worth less?
Could we read more, vote more, love more, teach more, walk more, play with kids more, write more letters, help our neighbors more? Could we? Yes. But will we?
The new Toyota Venza Commercial shows a teenager railing about her parent’s lack of social interaction. She concerned that they have so few friends so she set them up on Facebook, lamenting that they have only nineteen friends to date, while she boasts to have over 687 friends. “This is living” she says, while gazing at a monitor in between shots of her parents trail riding on mountain bikes with friends. The point is not lost on empty nesters like myself. The video is funny, but does little to help me remember the product.
Oh, one more thing – Get up off your butt and go do something. Watching puppy videos is a sure way to watch life pass you by…literally.
Berkeley police chief Michael Meehan knew better than and certainly knows better now that it was revealed that he sent two officers down to a local newspaper reporter’s home last Friday. He must have known that sending officers to Doug Oakley’s home at 1am in the morning to ask for a change to a story Oakley had posted online three hours earlier. Oakley, who was confronted by the officers, later reviewed his notes and agreed to change the story in the morning. Still, after the change didn’t appear, the chief called and emailed the reporter repeatedly throughout the next day. As quoted Sunday in the L.A. Times, Oakley said “he (Meehan) was apologetic but was still pushing, pushing, pushing.” Once the story was made public, Chief Meehan admitted he was ‘clearly in the wrong’ and “I shouldn’t have done it.”
Had this happened to someone other than a person in the media, who knows if it would have become public, or if Meehan’s approach would have been as courteous. When our safety personnel take the oath to protect and serve, they promise to do right by all citizens and to live by the rules they vow to enforce. Still, Meehan’s apologies seem heartfelt; everyone makes mistakes now and again. Judge not the error of a man’s ways, but by how he deals with it afterward.
Several sponsors have pulled their ads on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show after his ‘Slut’ comment directed at Sandra Fluke , the Georgetown law student earlier this week. Fluke, who was testifying at a mock congressional committee hearing about the Obama administration’s birth control provision of their health care plan, was not intimidated. “What has been made clear” she said, ” is that women will not be silenced on this issue, and neither will the men who support them.”
Limbaugh, did apologize about the comment, bowing to pressure from advertisers, democrats and some republicans. Advertisers Sleep Train, Sleep Number and Quicken Loans, took the unusual step of stopping their support of Limbaugh’s program. While we do not condone or agree with Mr. Limbaugh’s statements regarding Sandra Fluke, we respect his right to express his views.” said Quicken Loans spokesman Paul Silver told the Detroit Free Press. After further thought, they reversed course and pulled the ads realizing that the first amendment does allow all sorts fo free speech but not a guarantee that advertisers will pay to back it.
Stupid is as stupid does…
Andrew Breitbart died this week. I really didn’t know much about him but after what I saw announcing his death, I needed to look more. He apparently started out as a left-wing pundit, using the internet was his conveyor. At some point, he flopped over the right and it’s from this vantage that he made his mark.
Known for many things, his chief calling card was the ACORN scandal, which apparently outed workers at this non-profit who were recorded consulting applicants to get into unsavory businesses like prostitution, etc… Breitbart’s daily attacks once this story hit the wire reminds me of how pit bulls clamp down on dogs or people and just never let go, no matter what. His website www.biggovernment.com seemed to attract attention.
The fact that Fox News television dedicated a full fifteen minutes with a NEWS ALERT just prior to 7am PST on Thursday indicated how much they thought of Breitbart. Never have I seen that much time given to anyone’s passing, be it president or pope within a news segment. Of course multi-hour tributes are developed and shown during their own time scheduling for people of note but not in this way.
It got me thinking – why? I can only surmise that it is because the leadership of Fox in tandem with the legions of Rush is Right type who watch Fox News found Andrew to be a lion in their ranks. Either that or that they have so few talking heads who are not insane (read Limbaugh, Glen Beck, etc…) that when one falls, it truly is earth shattering information. Now comes the thinking that President Obama might have had something to do with Breitbart’s death. Since we can’t pin him down for not being an alien, or a Muslim, I guess this is the natural go to position for some unstable minds.
Back to Andrew, I didn’t know the man and cannot comment on his contributions to journalism. But judging from others, who claim that he was the ‘father of citizen journalism’ , he was important to those who need to have someone digging into things from the right for them. On that front, they are now the lesser.
I wonder what Fox will do when Rush finally blows his gasket for the last time…
Last Sunday, readers of the L.A. Times were treated to a cover warp with a special message from the Publisher and President of the newspaper. It not coming from the editor, one could bet that it had to do with money more than new features. It was a notice that March 5, there will be a new membership program which allows subscribers access to features on the Times website, and also notifies non-subscribers that they can access the same offerings for a nominal fee. Non-members can continue to browse ’The Times online for limited reading and breaking news.” This sometimes means you get to read the first graph of a story but no more unless you know the secret handshake.
This is latest salvo in the efforts of newspapers to generate revenue from their efforts to produce quality content. Up to now, papers like The Times have offered online readers effectively all the content that paying print customers have enjoyed. But let’s face it, banner ad revenue alone can’t justify the expense of good writing, photogs and artists, which is what it takes to make a great newspaper. So, The Times will endeavor to do what the Wall Street Journal and very few others have done of late – force people to pay. The New York Times abandoned their TimesSelect effort in 2008 and few others have gone there since.
In an effort to give something while trying to get, The Times also announced a new lifestyle section called Saturday, combining “the best of our health, food and home sections on a day perfectly suited to living life to the fullest.” And therein is the problem – most Saturdays, readers are more likely to be doing rather than reading. We’ll just have to see.
Also noteworthy was Sunday’s lead editorial, entitled Truth in advertising. In it, they make the case for why radio and TV stations should reject false or misleading third-party political ads, or at least insist that the ads be changed to reflect more truthful statements. As anyone knows, the supreme court blew the lid off of political ad spending when they approved the ability for third-party political action committees to raise unlimited funds from corps, unions, and individuals and for these super PAC’s to spend all of that $$ in any way they wish – without having to report who the donors are. Subsequently, even more money will be spent trying to BUY the hearts and minds of voters in the future. Is $1 billion really necessary to elect a president? You bet your sweet bippie it is!
I applaud The Times for asking for this concession,a nd giggle at them for thinking it could happen. Radio and TV is controlled for the most part by corporations who have largely turned those mediums into money-making machines, with less concern for editorial integrity than in the past. To think that they would turn down the mega-bucks that third-party PACs will spend in this presidential year is farce. They simply won’t.