Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Karma, Kids

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

4/1/09: WBCN pretends it’s switching formats to crappy Top 40 as an April Fool’s Day Joke.

7/13/09: WBCN hosts Toucher and Rich complain about having to wake up early to do their morning drive time show, and say they can’t take it for much longer.

7/14/09: CBS announces it is shutting WBCN down and replacing it with crappy Top 40.

MJ Leftovers

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Here’s a response I was working on to this stupid post. I’m not satisfied with it, but it’s been so long since Jackson died that I don’t really care enough to work on it anymore. Plus, I’m not a huge Michael Jackson fan. Sure, he was very gifted, but I don’t even own “Thriller.”

Without further ado:

“the very young Jackson sang age-inappropriate love songs in a shuck-and-jive style that brought to mind vaudeville blackface.”
“The young Jackson was, to most white Americans, like a singing version of Buckwheat from Our Gang.”

Now I may be a young(-ish) white male, but this is the first comparison I’ve ever heard of Jackson and Buckwheat (or Jackson and vaudeville blackface). If most white Americans saw this, I – and everyone I’ve spoken to about Michael Jackson in the past 30 years – somehow missed it.

“Jackson, whose vocal range was limited and who sang often insipid pop songs that rarely ventured outside of a basic pentatonic scale, was no musical genius.”
“As a culture, it appears that we have accepted the lowest common denominator as the highest we ought to aim. We are told Michael Jackson is the King of Pop”
“To compare Michael Jackson’s twitchy, strange pop singing to the accomplishments of people such as Pyotr Tchaikovsky or Charlie Parker is downright insulting; it is rather like saying the guy who designed the Tilt-a-Whirl is on par as an architect with I.M. Pei.”

I think we’re confusing “pop” with “quality.” He was the King of Pop, not the king of vocal range, instrumentation, or musical improvisation. Last week, he was on 9 of the top 10 albums in Billboard’s Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. The same thing will not occur when, for example, Huey Lewis dies. You can argue that Jackson wasn’t a musical genius, but you can’t argue that he wasn’t the most popular singer in the world for years. And if Jackson isn’t the King of Pop, who is? Justin Timberlake?
PS: The “guy who invented the Tilt-a-Whirl” is named Herbert Sellner. Time it took to research this fact: 10 seconds. Time it takes to realize that sitting on a SUPERAMAZING I.M.Pei building with cotton candy in your hand isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: 2 seconds.

“Did white people like Jackson’s music? Sure. But they came to love him not in the respectful way audiences came to love, say, a young Wynton Marsalis, which is to say observing his unmistakable genius in stunned silence.”

Let me get this straight: since white people were silent at intimate Wynton Marsalis shows, therefore cheering for Michael Jackson at a huge arena showed a lack of respect and love?

Also, I have seen people sit in stunned silence when they watched Jackson dance. And they were even *gasp* white! And Iowan!

“lowered expectations lead teachers to praise mediocrity in black students. I believe something similar is going on in the US media regarding Michael Jackson. ”
“If Jackson is a musical genius, one realizes, it is not such a great leap to imagine Sarah Palin as presidential material, Lauren Weisberger as a great author, or Lou Dobbs as a substitute for real reporting and news.”

Those other people aren’t black, which kind of undermines the racial component of her earlier arguments.

“(I hold a bachelor’s degree in performance from Berklee College of Music)”

So do half the waiters and waitresses in Boston.

“True musical variety has died with the radio monopolies of Clear Channel and others, as we are force-fed the same Lady Ga-Ga tune until we Lady Ga-GAG. Our standards, in other words, have sunk to new lows, and not just in music”

…but in lame puns of current singers’ names, as well.

“Jackson worked very hard not to be black. He hated being black. His self-hatred was deep and public. “

“I’m a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity” — Michael Jackson to Oprah Winfrey in a 1993 interview.

“But did he singlehandedly change music? Nope.”

Tell that to the myriad current artists (black and white, good and bad) who were influenced by him or first interested in music by him. Thriller is the best selling solo album of all time. Jackson’s solo albums have sold over 200 million copies. That’s a big enough influence to change music, whether you like it or not.

“Now, we pretend we care about his music when the truth is more about the selfish communal realization of mortality among Generation X, who in Jackson lost their first big star.”

1958 is rarely considered part of Gen-X. And I seem to remember a Gen-X fellow who died in 1994 that was a pretty big star. Last name Cobain.

Stupid Things This Week

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

▪ Making a career out of going to “ladies’ day”-type events and then suing for sex discrimination is a pretty soulless way to go about life, even for a lawyer. The Deadspin commenters are great here (they also provide his work address and phone number); I can only hope this Alfred G. Rava character ends up with breast cancer.

▪ While I agree that we should spend more time on education, forcing kids to redo 34 days because the administrators screwed up is ridiculous. Apparently the law states that if a school day is even a couple minutes too short, the entire day has to be made up later, not just the missed minutes. Meanwhile, these kids miss half their summer vacation due to a clerical error.

▪ Commercials for “More to Love” are near-ubiquitous on Fox. But can we stop referring to overweight people as “not size 2″ or even “normal” now? Of course overweight people can be beautiful, and rail-thin people are often ugly. But to keep saying “I’m normal, and not a size 2 model” is seeing the world as made up of only the ultra-skinny and the fat, when there are millions of American women who fall in the middle.
If Fox wanted a show for people who weighed “normal” amounts, it would include someone between the sizes of 2 and 14. Instead, they’ve chosen only fat contestants, and told America it is a show about “normal” people. No. It is a show Fox has created to gawk at fat people, and they are trying to market it as an inspiration. I’m a little surprised they didn’t just go with their original title, “The Fatchelor.”

▪ We have all read how Justin Denny blew a kiss to his mother at his high school graduation and was denied a diploma.
However, there’s another side to this story that doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention: according to this article, the crowd shouted profanities and booed Superintendent Suzanne Lukas. Student Tyler Lamy was asked to move based on his behavior and, in his own words, “…was so upset and so distraught, I had a hard time keeping my composure.” In other words, he went ballistic and had to be escorted out of the ceremony, when a more mature reaction would have allowed him to stay. If you want to be treated like an adult, you must act like one.

▪ The irony of this sign seems to be lost on “English-only” Pat Buchanan.

▪ Finally, Harold Reynolds is the latest baseball analyst to attack the strawman argument that “OPS is the only measure of a player.” Nobody who understands basic math has ever argued that OPS is the be-all, end-all statistic. Furthermore, anyone who complains about sluggers “clogging the bases” with walks proves that they really don’t understand baseball that well at all (would they rather the sluggers got out?). Joe Posnanski’s response to this terribly-written diatribe is epic.

Now That We’ve Told You How to Do This, Don’t!

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Whose bright idea was it to print the locations for horny Californians to pick up underage prostitutes? And, furthermore, to list a website where those hookers can be found (in case you’re not into the whole “face-to-face” method of picking up hookers)?

I can only hope that the police department in Ontario, California is assigning extra officers to the now-publicly-known hotbed of hookers in an attempt to stop this situation from growing worse.

Stupid Commercials, Part II

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I heard a TurboTax ad on the radio tonight in which a former President was touting his considerable intellect as a reason to purchase the aforementioned product. (OK, so it was an actor impersonating a former President. That’s not the point.) This President used his presence on our money as an example of said intellect. Sadly, this isn’t the reason the ad was stupid enough to inspire a blog entry.

Which President do you think they used as an example of intelligence? Abe Lincoln? Thomas Jefferson? George Washington? No, Andrew freaking Jackson. The President who could barely spell his own name (just ask John Quincy Adams). If Intuit‘s ad agency can’t bother to conduct basic research regarding the subject or premise of their ad – to the point of using one of our least educated Presidents as an example of intelligence – they have no business with such a large account.

Stupid Commercials, Part I

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I saw an ad for Purina this weekend that mentions its sponsorship of (and product placement in) the movie “Marley and Me.” While I understand the gamble (with over $120 million in ticket sales in under three weeks, the ROI must be pretty good), does Purina really want their product associated with a movie where the dog 1) is impossible to train and 2) dies?


Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

After weeks of suspense, the AV Club finally went public with their grand redesign.

While cleaner than the old look, it’s possibly too clean; all the grey and white makes it look like my WordPress dashboard. At least ESPN was smart enough to use actual color with their redesign last week. Hell, even Deadspin uses blue every so often.

You’ll Never Go Broke…

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

This is a little old, but I started the blog weeks after’s article about Our Disinformed Electorate was written.

If it didn’t make racially-biased vote discrimination so easy, I’d gladly support a test that served as a prerequisite to voting.

This is Why I Don’t Pay Attention to Postseason Awards

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo had an outstanding year, garnering 49 of 50 votes for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. However, as Michael David Smith tells us, it should have been unanimous.

The lone holdout? Jay Paris, of something called the “North County Times.” However, even Paris admits his vote (for Keith Rivers, who missed more than half the season) was incorrect:

When it came time to turn in the votes Monday, I was working on a Chargers playoff piece on Philip Rivers at the same time. I switched back to my early DROY watch list, which included Mayo and Rivers, and was going back and forth from the two screens.

I had Rivers on my mind, kept Keith Rivers’ name on the voting balloting, and deleted Mayo.

You read that correctly: the inability to keep two documents separate in his mind led to a mistaken vote. As one of only 50 people with the privilege of voting on this award, one would think that Paris would take the requisite time to get it correct. Many players have incentive clauses in their contracts based on postseason or All-Star selections, and those awards are also – for better or for worse – used by reporters in their Hall of Fame voting.

This is why I can no longer get mad about Rafael Palmeiro winning a gold glove in 1999 despite playing only 28 games at first base that year, or Justin Morneau getting the MVP in 2006 when he wasn’t even the most valuable player on his own team. It’s like one of those Friedberg/Seltzer abortions of cinema: you can’t stop it, so sometimes ignoring it is the only way to stay sane.

Common Sense Is Not News

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

The new year is always accompanies by myriad insipid resolution-oriented articles.  Witness this example at

The story claims that Tim Kassouf lost 45 pounds over 3 years – roughly a pound per month – by making simple changes in his diet.  However, two of his changes (eliminating 10 cans of Coke and a bag of Doritos every day) theoretically save him 2,750 calories per day.  As a pound is generally considered the equivalent of 3,500 calories, I have to wonder what happened to the other 79,000 calories per month he was theoretically saving.  At 2,750 fewer calories per day, 45 pounds would take roughly 2 months to lose, not 36.  And yet, the article claims that excising Coke and Doritos from Mr. Kassouf’s life saved him the grand total of 5 pounds – or less than a week if we’re considering that he eliminated 2,750 calories per day.

I’m not here to disparage Mr. Kassouf, however; losing 45 pounds is impressive and he is to be congratulated.  I am merely wondering how the math works out, especially when Kassouf ended up cutting out sweets and exercising, as well.

The second half of the article is the obvious disguised as news.  Here are the five “tips” CNN gives us:

1. Old: whole milk  New: 1 percent milk
Your tip here is to cut your fat intake from milk from 3.6% (the rough amount of fat in whole milk) to 1%.  Not exactly news when the name of 1% milk tells you how much fat it contains.

2. Old: whole bagel  New: half a bagel
Hint: eating half as much saves calories.  Brought to you by the most trusted name in news.

3. Old: chocolate ice cream  New: chocolate yogurt or a Popsicle
This one if halfway decent, except that even Weezer lyrics reference how bad for you chock-a-lut ice cream can be (answer: bad enough to become Weezer lyrics).

4. Old: latte made with whole milk  New: latte made with skim milk
No, that’s 1A.  You just replaced “1%” with “skim.”  And “nothing” with “latte.”

5. Old: be a couch potato  New: take a 20-minute walk
Instead of not exercising, you should exercise.  Did I mention this article was written by a CNN “Health Correspondent”?

So let’s sum up.  According to CNN, some great ways to lose weight are:
A) Eat lower fat versions of your current foods
B) Eat less in terms of quantity
C) Exercise more

I understand CNN probably has a quota for new health articles, but this was pathetic.