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Current Topic: Media

Interview with Tim Pool of 'The Other 99'
Topic: Media 11:54 am EST, Nov 24, 2011

Tim Pool:

After a while I realized, maybe the best thing to do is document this as truthfully as possible so we could have just transparency.

I am an activist for transparency. I think information wants to be free, it deserves to be free, and the only way we are going to have a functioning government for the people is if people can see and understand why decisions are made. I hope I am contributing to that.

Jose Saramago:

You're right, our problem is that we're blind.

Tim Pool:

I turn my camera on and I just talk and everyone tells me it's an amazing narration, and I kind of don't think so. I am kind of just confused by it.

Lee Siegel:

1. Not everyone has something valuable to say.
2. Few people have anything original to say.

Jonathan Franzen:

The technological development that has done lasting harm of real social significance -- the development that, despite the continuing harm it does, you risk ridicule if you publicly complain about today -- is the cell phone.

Bruce Schneier:

Will not wearing a life recorder be used as evidence that someone is up to no good?

Philip Hensher:

I wish there was some less feeble response to this constant, exhausting, draining surveillance we live under.

Douglas Haddow:

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us.

Interview with Tim Pool of 'The Other 99'

You know the way everybody's into weirdness right now?
Topic: Media 11:16 pm EDT, May 18, 2010

Joanna Newsom, on Lady Gaga:

You listen to the music, and you just hear glow sticks.

Janelle Brown:

Thanks to Joe Biden's surreptitious efforts, a few glow sticks and a customer or two on Ecstasy could be all it takes to throw a party promoter in jail for 20 years.

Ira Glass:

Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap.

Campbell Brown:

The simple fact is that not enough people want to watch my program, and I owe it to myself and to CNN to get out of the way so that CNN can try something else.

Video Professor:

Try my product!

Straw Man:

Buy my shit!

Clay Shirky:

Nothing will work, but everything might.

The job of the next decade is mostly going to be taking the raw revolutionary capability that's now apparent and really seeing what we can do with it.

Mark Bowden:

Journalism, done right, is enormously powerful precisely because it does not seek power. It seeks truth.

Paul Graham:

I think we should at least examine which lies we tell and why.

"Leonard Nimoy":

It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies. And in the end, isn't that the real truth?

The answer ... is No.

The Story Behind the Story
Topic: Media 10:22 am EDT, Sep 19, 2009

Recently, Decius wrote:

It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.

We need good, publicly funded, refereed voter guides that provide balanced information about the issues, and we need to promote a culture that advocates that people evaluate the information in these guides objectively and without regard to partisan bias.

Previously, he wrote:

News media election guides often present editorial endorsements alongside or interspersed with raw election information. Editorial endorsements are an important exercise of our First Amendment rights. However, when voters are getting all of their information from an opinionated source it is harder for them to view the information objectively and make their own choices.

And long before that, he wrote:

Everyone participates in the process of producing the truth every day. Your recommendations matter. You will need to be able to think critically about the range of ideas that you are exposed to and decide which ones make sense.

It is that last part that will really move us forward.

In the October issue of Atlantic Monthly, Mark Bowden writes:

With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the "reporting" that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition.

I would describe their approach as post-journalistic. It sees democracy, by definition, as perpetual political battle. The blogger's role is to help his side.

Without journalism, the public good is viewed only through a partisan lens, and politics becomes blood sport.

Journalism, done right, is enormously powerful precisely because it does not seek power. It seeks truth. Those who forsake it to shill for a product or a candidate or a party or an ideology diminish their own power. They are missing the most joyful part of the job.

Louis Menand:

Facts never speak for themselves. We speak for them.

On Jon Stewart against Tucker Carlson:

Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were "hurting America."


STEWART: Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.




STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.



STEWART: And come work for us, because we, as the people...... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

The Story Behind the Story

Why I write for free
Topic: Media 7:59 am EDT, Jun 25, 2009

Emily Gould:

The Internet is a chimera that magically manifests in whatever guise its viewer expects it to. If you are looking at the Internet and expecting it to be a source of fleeting funniness, unchallenging writing, attention-span-killing video snippets, and porn, then that is exactly all it will ever be for you.

Writing for free feels, to me, sometimes like a vice and sometimes like a privilege. Sometimes I wonder whether, if I organized my thoughts in a more palatable way, I mightn’t be able to knead and pat many of my blog posts into little women’s-magazine-personal-essay-shaped molds. And per the logic that giving away the blog-milk for free devalues not just one’s own personal cow but also the cow of anyone who might ever have a cow to sell, I suppose that is what I ought to have done.

These manifestations of culture are sometimes genuinely shallow, but sometimes they’re only deceptively shallow-seeming, like those places at the ocean’s edge where you’ll wade in a few feet and then lose your footing in suddenly cool, deep water.

Clifford Geertz:

Having been told that the world rested on a platform which rested on the back of an elephant which rested in turn on the back of a turtle, he asked, what did the turtle rest on?

Another turtle.

And that turtle?

"Ah, Sahib, after that it is turtles all the way down."

John Lanchester:

If I had to name one high-cultural notion that had died in my adult lifetime, it would be the idea that difficulty is artistically desirable.

Benjamin Kunkel:

The truth is that we are often bored to death by what we find online—but this is boredom on the installment plan, one click a time, and therefore imperceptible.

Virginia Heffernan:

Swampy, boggy, inescapable connectivity: it seems my middle-class existence has stuck me here.

Why I write for free

Fraught With Perverse and Often Baffling Problems
Topic: Media 9:57 pm EST, Jan 12, 2009

Paul Kedrosky:

Quote of the day comes from an article about the revelation that former fugitive financier Marc Rich lost money on the Bernie Madoff scheme:

The idea that Mr. Rich, the onetime fugitive, may now turn to an American court to seek redress struck some lawyers as fraught with problems and unlikely at best.

“Fraught with problems and unlikely at best” should be the name of a new blog.

Upon reading this, I was reminded of this Gladwell story on This American Life:

Act Four. Tough News Room.

Malcolm Gladwell is a best-selling author and famous journalist at the New Yorker magazine. But not always. Witness his story—which was recorded live, on stage at the Moth theater in New York—about his first job in journalism, and how terrifying it was.

As Gladwell explains (starting at around 50:00 minutes into the broadcast):

There's a secret to this business ... it's not what you think.

We started something called Disease of the Week ... and every week we got a little bolder, ... We felt, like, drunk with power ... But it wasn't enough. We'd like to change the very language of American journalism. And that's when The Contest was born.

What we decided was to introduce the phrase "raises new and troubling questions" to American journalism.

As Slate explains:

The object is to determine who can insert the phrase "raises new and troubling questions" in his stories the most often over a month. Gladwell strikes first in the "contest," but it's then "back and forth" like "a horse race" until he leads 10-9. On the last day, his colleague William Booth wins the game with a "twofer," as the phrase appears in both his piece and its headline.

"I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach; it's devastating," Gladwell says.

But the real kicker comes in the next part:

Now, I don't need to tell you how hard it is to get the phrase "perverse and often baffling" into a newspaper.

Perhaps NYT's Alison Leigh Cowan is involved in a Contest? :)

Fraught With Perverse and Often Baffling Problems

The shape of things to come
Topic: Media 10:30 pm EST, Jan  7, 2009

Clay Shirky:

2009 is going to be a bloodbath.

The great misfortune of newspapers in this era is that they were such a good idea for such a long time that people felt the newspaper business model was part of a deep truth about the world, rather than just the way things happened to be.

The 500-year-old accident of economics occasioned by the printing press is over.

The job of the next decade is mostly going to be taking the raw revolutionary capability that's now apparent and really seeing what we can do with it.

See also:

The trick is to make people think that a certain paradigm is inevitable, and they had better give in.

And this:

Any technology that is going to have significant impact over the next 10 years is already at least 10 years old.

From a year ago:

Every now and then I meet someone in Manhattan who has never driven a car. Some confess it sheepishly, and some announce it proudly. For some it is just a practical matter of fact, the equivalent of not keeping a horse on West 87th Street or Avenue A. Still, I used to wonder at such people, but more and more I wonder at myself.

From the archive:

Gibson shows us a country that has drifted dangerously from its governing principles, evoking a kind of ironic nostalgia for a time when, as one character puts it, "grown-ups still ran things."

From nearly two (or three) years ago:

Time Trumpet was a six-episode television comedy series which aired on BBC Two during Summer 2006. The satirical series "looked back" on events of the first 30 years of the 21st century from the perspective of a nostalgia show in the year 2031 ...

The shape of things to come

How the newspaper industry tried to invent the Web but failed.
Topic: Media 10:30 pm EST, Jan  7, 2009

Jack Shafer, at Slate:

So intense was the industry's devotion to videotex and so rampant its paranoia that some other medium would usurp its place in the media constellation that the American Newspaper Publishers Association lobbied Congress in 1980 to prevent AT&T from launching its own "electronic yellow pages." Washington Post CEO Katharine Graham, then chair of the ANPA, and other publishers met with Senator Robert Packwood to discuss the legislation that would free AT&T to start its service.

As the Wall Street Journal would later report, Packwood said to the publishers, "What you're really worried about is an electronic Yellow Pages that will destroy your advertising base, isn't it?"

Graham's response: "You're damn right it is."

... By the early to mid-1990s, the publishers were pretty sure that proprietary online services were the next wave, but if you remember having used one, you know how badly they sucked.

Brush up on your history:

AT&T just bought Cingular? Cingular was already owned by AT&T? Bellsouth owns who?!

Viacom issued a takedown on that YouTube video, so now you can watch it here, starting at 2:20.

How the newspaper industry tried to invent the Web but failed.

End Times
Topic: Media 10:30 pm EST, Jan  7, 2009

What if The New York Times goes out of business -- like, this May?

Abe Rosenthal often said he couldn’t imagine a world without The Times. Perhaps we should start. At some point soon -- sooner than most of us think -- the print edition, and with it The Times as we know it, will no longer exist.

For a time, the fluff helped underwrite the foreign bureaus, enterprise reporting, and endless five-part Pulitzer Prize aspirants. But it has gradually hollowed out journalism’s brand, by making the newspaper feel disposable.

From last year:

Get real or go home.

From a year ago, remixed:

"News" is the cultural anomaly of our moment. Someone from the past, I think, would marvel at how much time we spend consuming news and how our social consciousness is defined by how much we think we know about people we'll never meet and places we'll never go, and how it makes us feel as if we’re part of something big. Someone from the future, I’m sure, will marvel at our blindness.

Have you seen Season Five of The Wire?

In the "smoking lounge" on the loading dock outside the Baltimore Sun, City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes talks about layoff rumors with veteran police reporter Roger Twigg and City general assignment reporter Bill Zorzi.

Haynes, Phelps, Metro Editor Steven Luxenberg and a dozen other editors gather in Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow's office as he runs the metro budget meeting. Phelps and Luxenberg admit that they're chasing the Daily Record on the story on MTA cutbacks but blame their lack of a transportation reporter. Klebanow scolds their inability to do more with less.

At the newspaper bar, Haynes and the team celebrate a job well done. Gutierrez is happy with her contributing line and to be working for the Sun. But Templeton, obviously dissatisfied, has his sights set on the Times or the Post.

Best. Show. Ever.

End Times

YouTube for President
Topic: Media 8:02 am EDT, Jul 27, 2007

It used to be really cool to cite Marshall McLuhan.

YouTube for President

On keeping polite society separate from Paulie Walnuts society
Topic: Media 5:22 am EDT, Jun 14, 2007

WSJ ponders the recent FCC case.

It's the most amusing legal read in a long time ... but, for no reason immediately obvious, unprintable in a daily newspaper.

On keeping polite society separate from Paulie Walnuts society

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