Posts tagged "Media"

thisisareallybadidea:

Republicans and Democrats watch different stuff
1, Amazing headline, cause, you know, funny.
2, I can’t believe the Kardashians are that much higher for Dems. Like, I just can’t. (Insert Wendy Williams gif here.) I personally hit 5 on the Repub and 5 on the Dem. I’m bipartisan in my crap tv viewing.

I have no idea how this data was collected or what it’s meant to tell us. I checked on the Experian website hoping for more information, and found no mention of it.
Like, what does the “score” represent. It can’t be anything to do with viewing size; Glenn Beck rates about 2.8 million views, while Olbermann’s on about 1.5 million. By comparison, “Dancing With the Stars,” the most watched program in America last week, had just shy of 20 million viewers. How on earth is “Stars” only at #9 on the Republican list and not even in the top 15 of “Democrat” [sic] shows? This isn’t a slight shuffling; the supposed #9 Republican show gets seven times as many general viewers as the #1 show. And that doesn’t even consider the fact that Bill O’Reilly (about 4 million) outrates Glenn Beck, and he’s not on either list.
I suppose it might be measuring the programs with the biggest gap between the number of Republican viewers and Democratic viewers in the audience, but that’s a bit different to simply describing these shows as “popular” with that party, and the media reports are basically giving the impression that the entire “Amazing Race” audience likes dressing up in tricorner hats and shouting about the deficit. And if that is what it’s measuring, is that data useful at all? If millions of people are watching “The Mentalist” how important is it if those millions are slightly more likely to be Republican?

thisisareallybadidea:

Republicans and Democrats watch different stuff

1, Amazing headline, cause, you know, funny.

2, I can’t believe the Kardashians are that much higher for Dems. Like, I just can’t. (Insert Wendy Williams gif here.) I personally hit 5 on the Repub and 5 on the Dem. I’m bipartisan in my crap tv viewing.

I have no idea how this data was collected or what it’s meant to tell us. I checked on the Experian website hoping for more information, and found no mention of it.

Like, what does the “score” represent. It can’t be anything to do with viewing size; Glenn Beck rates about 2.8 million views, while Olbermann’s on about 1.5 million. By comparison, “Dancing With the Stars,” the most watched program in America last week, had just shy of 20 million viewers. How on earth is “Stars” only at #9 on the Republican list and not even in the top 15 of “Democrat” [sic] shows? This isn’t a slight shuffling; the supposed #9 Republican show gets seven times as many general viewers as the #1 show. And that doesn’t even consider the fact that Bill O’Reilly (about 4 million) outrates Glenn Beck, and he’s not on either list.

I suppose it might be measuring the programs with the biggest gap between the number of Republican viewers and Democratic viewers in the audience, but that’s a bit different to simply describing these shows as “popular” with that party, and the media reports are basically giving the impression that the entire “Amazing Race” audience likes dressing up in tricorner hats and shouting about the deficit. And if that is what it’s measuring, is that data useful at all? If millions of people are watching “The Mentalist” how important is it if those millions are slightly more likely to be Republican?


So powerful is our desire to believe in the benevolent divinity of technology that it cancels out our caution, forces us to dismiss doubt as so much simple-minded Luddism. We have trouble grasping that the Internet might not bring only good; that an unparalleled tool for enlightenment and research and transparency might also bring unprecedented down-dumbing; that something that empowers the individual might also wreck the structures that have protected the individual for decades.

Bright frenetic mills—By Thomas Frank (Harper’s Magazine)

desnoise:

In December’s Harper’s, Frank takes on the de-professionalization of journalism, a subject in which I of course have more than a passing interest. Here he’s channeling something Neil Postman said (and I think Marshall McLuhan might’ve suggested, too): Every new technology is a “Faustian bargain,” where you get something good, but you also have to give something up. Consider the automobile: It gave us previously unimagined abilities to travel, but at the same time the freeways we built for it tore apart cities in a profoundly destructive way, and mass ownership of cars ultimately led to what we now consider the problem of “urban sprawl” (we could talk about carbon emissions here, too, right?). As a kid who grew up with computers, I’m fully on board that the internet has given us amazing new freedoms. But I don’t think enough people beyond knee-jerk Luddites (whose views we understandably ignore) tend to pay attention to the internet’s downsides. And not only those affecting my chances of striking it rich. An informed citizenry, anyone?

This strikes me as too technologically determinist. We can use technology well, or we can use technology poorly. The automobile example, for instance, elides the fact that urban sprawl happened as a result of very specific planning policies that weren’t inevitable, and in many cases actively sought to premium the use of cars, stoking demand for the technology beyond what was already there — think cities that dismantled streetcar systems, for instance. It also ignored that many cities did not wholeheartedly reinvent themselves for mass private vehicle ownership, and retain a density and pedestrian-friendliness in spite of this new technology. Dallas and Amsterdam are cities that look quite different, but both have people who use cars living within them.

The same goes for the Internet. If (yes, if) people are using it in a bad way, that’s the fault of the people, not the technology. It’s far better to fault the party with sentience on their side.


When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears. It reminds me that those of us who turn in disgust from what we consider an overinflated liberal-bourgeois sense of self should be careful what we wish for: our denuded networked selves don’t look more free, they just look more owned.

Zadie Smith, “Generation Why?,” New York Review of Books, November 25, 2010

Smith’s musings on The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook are worth reading, but the moments where she does that old person thing — you know, where they purse their lips and claim they’re just identifying, not decrying, change — are baffling.

These parts about her feeling that she’s different from the kids coming up are instructive, but perhaps not in the way she thinks. She says it’s because the Internet has changed us, but I rather think it’s the opposite. She’s different from us because we know how to deal with Web 2.0, and she thinks it’s something unable to dealt with.

There is a certain type of argument that, the moment we begin to make it, warning bells should ring in our minds. That is, if we believe something — new technology, art, the media — is making people do something, we should ask ourselves how it is that we few Cassandras are unaffected. Are we better than the masses? (If your automatic answer to that question is “yes,” then fall back homie.)

Quotes like this one of Smith’s fail for me because they don’t match my experience of reality:

But here I fear I am becoming nostalgic. I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a kind of person who no longer exists. A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself. Person as mystery: this idea of personhood is certainly changing, perhaps has already changed.

Something that is not a mystery: My Facebook profile contains some lies. They’re not big lies, and they’re there as jokes, not deception. One says that I’m married; if you look further, however, you’ll find me admitting I’m married to the sea. Another (unless a redesign has omitted it, which it may have) says of my music listening preferences, “I don’t really listen to music.”

The first lie has fooled people. At times I’ve been friended by people who have met me but not yet got to know me. Every now and then, as I get to know someone better, they’ll ask me whether I actually am married. 

I’m not trying to disrupt Facebook with these mistruths, but the fact that I have created some kind of disruption pokes holes in Smith’s theory. I am still a mystery. I am not my Facebook profile. Facebook didn’t shrink me. But it didn’t shrink the people who don’t tell lies on their profiles, either, the ones who diligently fill in all the information the site requests. That’s because we live lives that aren’t Facebook. (I, for instance, have a Twitter and a Tumblr!*) So that’s why it just seems baffling that Smith thinks something like this is insightful:

Is it possible that we have begun to think of ourselves that way? It seemed significant to me that on the way to the movie theater, while doing a small mental calculation (how old I was when at Harvard; how old I am now), I had a Person 1.0 panic attack. Soon I will be forty, then fifty, then soon after dead; I broke out in a Zuckerberg sweat, my heart went crazy, I had to stop and lean against a trashcan. Can you have that feeling, on Facebook.

No, you probably can’t, but can you feel the pleasure of unexpectedly reconnecting with an old friend on a typewriter? Can you encounter satisfying anger using a microwave? On a telephone, can you have that feeling of quiet wonder experienced while browsing an art gallery and coming across something marvelous by an artist of whom you have never heard? No, because the typewriter, the microwave, and the telephone are pieces of technology designed for a specific purpose. Just like Facebook. Owning telephones didn’t stop us browsing art galleries, and nor is Facebook denuding anyone.

——

*Old People: That was a little joke, voila.


And so, to Mr. Douthat’s chicken-and-egg dilemma — which came first: Ms. Palin or the media’s sometimes obsessive coverage of her? — we might want to add a third actor: the audience.

Nate Silver, “Sarah Palin and the Media Symbiosis,” FiveThirtyEight, January 18, 2011

As much as I approved of the referenced Ross Douthat column, I like what Silver is saying here as a general principle. When it comes to media analysis (or similar; this often applies to politics as well), it usually pays to consider that audience might actually be having a strong effect on proceedings. Folks tend to disregard the audience, because narratives about powerful interests ignoring the people’s wishes are compelling. Often, however, these narratives are simply not true.

(I think people don’t tend to recognize that an audience is a powerful interest because people fail to distinguish between their own powerless selves, and the empowered mass of which they are a part but cannot effectively control. “They don’t listen to us” really means “they don’t listen to me.”)


A rooster is crowing, and an alarm clock chimes. “Wake up, wake up, wake up, it’s the first of the month,” the rap song by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony goes. “To get up, get up, get up, so cash your checks and get up.”

Immortalized in rap songs, examined in books on inner city life and discussed on Facebook, the federal benefits check has developed into a social and cultural icon. The checks have generated a “first of the month” economy in some places, as lottery revenue increases and lines at liquor stores and discount retailers swell. And in some communities, the checks serve as security to borrow cars, get a loan or sleep for a few days in someone’s house in hard times, said Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia University.

But now, the days for such rituals are numbered.

Christine Hauser, “Social Security and Welfare Benefits Going Paperless,” The New York Times, January 28, 2011

Strangely, this article goes on to discuss old people who don’t like bank accounts, and doesn’t once mention how drug dealers will cope with the change to welfare payments.


I find [Joanna] Newsom’s approach — her dense lyrics and arrangements, metaphorical album covers and cascading harp — laborious rather than entrancing. But she represents a notable movement among women of her generation, which is also my generation, towards an embrace of domestic arts and crafts more common among our grandmothers and even great-grandmothers. The same young women who are listening to Newsom’s records are taking up knitting and crocheting, piemaking and bread-baking.

Renewed interest in traditional skills among educated, urban and predominantly wealthy populations is no surprise, given today’s twinned anxieties over the rapid digitisation of daily life and an equally speedy environmental decline. But it is rare that the present is totally renounced: handicrafts and iPhones exist side-by-side, and entrepreneurial young artists are more likely to set up online Etsy shops to sell their wares than retreat into rustic anonymity. In fact, the “customisation” at the heart of Web 2.0 — the constant maintenance of a Facebook account, the apps carefully chosen to reflect personal interests — speaks precisely to this inexhaustible human need for making things, on however small a scale.

[…]

Women of my generation live with the legacy of 20th century feminism, but I wonder if its battles, like the folk ballads of previous centuries, can seem antiquated. Moves to rehabilitate time-intensive manual labour can seem, on the one hand, an admirable and even moral gesture, bound up with issues of long-term sustainability that affect us all. On the other hand, the identification of craft with virtue, particularly female virtue, is a pairing that earlier feminists fought hard to disavow. Even the current Mad Men-inspired craze for 1950s glamour, all cocktail dresses and perfect cupcakes, is telling: a nostalgia for a decade just before modern feminism changed the social terrain forever.

Anwyn Crawford, “What’s so authentic about folk?,” The Sydney Morning Herald, January 8, 2011

This was unexpected: a piece of criticism — yes criticism, not a record blurb or concert recount — in a mainstream Australian publication. Even more unusual is that it doesn’t disregard pop, is suspicious of authenticity narratives, and uses music as a springboard for undertaking more extensive social analysis. Well done, Anwyn Crawford, and well done Sydney Morning Herald.

As for Crawford’s actual discussion: I don’t know. She’s talking about a phenomenon I know to exist, and her connecting Etsy and baking to demure folk tunes is novel. But as a non-crocheting, non-cocktail-dress-wearing, non-woman, I don’t know if I can usefully opine on her argument. But maybe one of you can?


squishie:

dead-irish-writers:

Hayley Williams impresses me so much, with her vast knowledge of all areas of government policy, both foreign and domestic.

c l a s s i c

squishie:

dead-irish-writers:

Hayley Williams impresses me so much, with her vast knowledge of all areas of government policy, both foreign and domestic.

c l a s s i c

(Source: dead-irish-writers111232454)


Kristina Keneally becomes more fascinating as her end draws near. Never has she seemed so North American. It’s not the voice but the face: so perky even as disaster rolls towards her. She smiles, she’s mischievous and she keeps winning hand after hand in this losing game.

David Marr, “Perky prima donna more on song than tenor,” Sydney Morning Herald, February 25, 2011

At the USSC, I wonder what precisely Marr means by “seem[ing] so North American.”


"Oh come on! How boring! How extraordinarily boring! Oh, for the love of God.” The charm has suddenly evaporated and Kristina Keneally is in diva mode, rolling her eyes and sighing dramatically, though whether through genuine exasperation or for calculated effect is hard to tell.

We are sitting in her office on the 40th floor of Governor Macquarie Tower, the sweeping corner suite occupied by three different Labor premiers in the past three years.

The petulance has been triggered by a series of questions about Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid, the men accused of being her puppeteers when she first took the labor leadership 15 months ago.

Deborah Snow, “Staring down defeat,” The Sydney Morning Herald, March 19, 2011

"Diva"? "Petulance"? Where’s that Nicki gif?

Though I think this gif is misquoting:

When I am assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss. He bossed up. No negative connotation behind ‘bossed up,’ but lots of negative connotation behind being a bitch… When you’re a girl, you have to be dope at what you do but you have to be sweet and you have to be sexy and you have to be this and that. And you have to be nice. I can’t be all those things at once. I’m a human being.


I do have strong political views, but opinions are cheap. Anyone could be a critic of the Bush administration. The challenge as a writer was to try to figure out why it governed the way it did — and how it got away with it for so long — and, dare I say it, to have fun chronicling each new outrage.

Frank Rich, “Confessions of a Recovering Op-Ed Columnist,” The New York Times, March 12, 2011

I guess it’s fitting that a former critic should say the above, because this applies to talking about art as much as it does politics. As someone who tries to do both, this is worth keeping in mind. (Or on blog.)



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