Category Archives: Entertainment

The internet divides us

In concert with mobile devices, the internet has ushered in a social malady we may not cure but for the arrival of calamity.

The “living” room used to be a place of congregation. Handicrafts, garment repair, reading, conversation, music, then radio and then the single family television, all of our favorite social pastimes took place in the living room. No more.

Now-a-days this room might host a single denizen, someone who has commandeered the large screen. The rest of his/her family is cast to their private chambers and their private devices where they exchange private messages with private eyes.

I recall Sunday nights, the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and then the Wonderful World of Disney. All of us, despite homework demands, or illness, or whether we finished our dinner or not, gathered in the living room to become collectively entranced as Marlin Perkins fumbled his grandfatherly way with the creatures they portrayed. And then ol’ Walt would come on…

Today, despite a house full of people, I’m sitting here, alone, in the living room, wishing the internet had never been invented. Or, if nothing more, that a CME might descend, wipe the grid and save myself from another lonely night passing the time, by myself. Maybe I’ll check my phone for notifications….

 

 

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A day in the life of

Your content stays fresh for about 24 hours. And then it goes stale.

Stale content reeks, like a goldfish in a bag, shoved into the heat register, for a month.

goldfish

“My god! What IS that smell?” Oh, it’s last week’s blog post.

Are we so enamored with the hot, the new, the topical that we absolutely refuse to look back into the past for content?

OK, here’s a test. Most of us here on WordPress have been doing this for more than six months. Some, for a few years. Hell, some for nearly a decade. Have you EVER gone back to some blogger’s earlier content and done more than a cursory examination? Click, click, click — I’m done reviewing history. What’s new? What have you written lately?

A blog post might last for twenty-four hours. Might. If you’re working instagram these days then a new image might only net you three, maybe five hours, before you had better-damn-well-submit-something-new!

Good god! Are we so accustomed to the availability of fresh that we can’t even deal with a half-day old post?

Yes. This is the way of the content driven web today. “That meme is so thirty minutes ago, egads, why are you even showing it to me?”

A day in the life of a writer, a videographer, a creator of any kind, it no longer a day. It’s an hour, a minute. We have grown so inured to the availability of “new” that we have no appreciation for true effort, for true art. Your trope is worth maybe five seconds of my time. Ten times that if it’s really good.

Welcome to ONE BILLION PEOPLE CREATING NEW CONTENT EVERY-SINGLE-DAY.

 


A little advice

Let me give you a little advice: Don’t take my advice.

The prophet who fishes profits from fishing, fish or no fish.

It’s not that the glass is half full or half empty nor half again too large, it’s that you’re slow — because mine needs a refill already. Bottoms up.

What do they call an inchworm in Europe?

What would a black hole see in a mirror?

The sky is blue because it’s holding all our breaths.

Winnie the Pooh and a pirate are walking through the 100 Acre Wood. Winnie looks up and with a soft pout says, “It’s a rather blustery day.”
“Aye, a right tempest,” replies the pirate.
“Tut, tut, it looks like rain,” says Pooh then.
“Aye, a squall be brewin’.”
“Would you care for some honey?”
“A glorious pot o’ gold would do me wonders.”
“Will you be staying with us long?” asks the stuffed bear.
“I’ll shove off as soon as I find me oar.”
“Eeyore?”
“Me oar.”
“He’s not much of a sailor, I would think. He’s missing the holdy parts,” says Pooh.
“The holy parts on me oar?”
“Yes, missing,” confirms Pooh.
The pirate looks down at the cuddly bear, Pooh’s red shirt failing to cover even half of his belly. The grizzled pirate reaches down and picks him up and stares at the bear with his one good eye. “I have to patch me sail too. There an awl about?”

[Sorry, this went no where fast. I may dream of Black Beard and Piglet tonight however, or Johnny Depp and Rabbit. I did warn you…]

 


Celebrity Responsibility

Do celebrities have a moral responsibility to hold themselves to a higher standard?

If you became a celebrity (maybe you already are?) do you believe you would feel compelled to treat your new found social station in a more responsible fashion? Knowing people may be both viewing you in a new light, yes, a somewhat judgemental light, but a light that shines much further than others around you, will you try harder? Try harder to be good? To present a benevolent role model? Acknowledge your power of influence and realize you could squander it or use it to make the world a little bit better?

Do such thoughts enter into the minds of celebrities? And when I say celebrity I mean anyone in the spotlight — for an extended period — media personalities, sports stars, politicians, the wealthy.

Should such people, whether they admit it or not, accept they the have a responsibility to the public? They do have this power — we all realize this. But do the balance of them accept this power and wield it ethically?

Would you?


Socializing: net vs f2f

RESULTS:

  • Almost None : None!
  • Somewhat: Some of the answers (2)
  • Quite a bit: Quite a bit of the answers (4)
  • Nearly All: Not nearly all (1)

A paltry turn out, but then again, expectations were low to start with. Perhaps other polls would do better, like change from 10 years ago? Or are you saddened, or elated by this shift to online socialization?


Here’s a question for everyone:

How much has internet socializing replaced your socializing face to face?

Answer the poll here:

I’ll tabulate the results and collect other sources when we’re done in a few days.


The role of a critic

Are you critical?

I hope so. Being a critic means you have an opinion. And having an opinion means you know what you like and don’t like. Which is pretty important in this day and age of myriad choice.

If you have strong — accurate — opinions, like Siskel & Ebert, you can actually build a reputation on your likes and dislikes. Siskel & Ebert never made a movie, they weren’t formally trained in film or screenwriting, they really had no more credentials in judging film than you or I. But, they had a venue and a voice and they were, well, critical. Not negative, mind you, by this I mean they could critique a film and summarize the good and bad of them in a way that made sense to you and I.

I take this to infer that one doesn’t need a graduate degree in some entertainment medium to provide a critique. It helps if you can explain why you do or don’t like something in a film, show, or novel. But, you don’t need formal training to have an opinion, an accurate valid opinion. Siskel & Ebert proved this.

I point this out so that the next time someone asks you what you think about X, Y or Z movie, TV show or NYTimes bestseller, you can feel confident in giving your honest forthright opinion on said media.

Additionally, and more to the point, the next time a friend or family member asks you to critique some work of theirs don’t placate them. Encourage them, of course; if they create something — whatever it might be — support their creativity. But don’t negate your opinion by burying your true thoughts on their effort. That would be worse that lying. They’re looking to you for your Siskel & Ebert opinion. So, give it to them.

Too often, friends and family members, who beta read or beta watch a creative piece produced by an author or videographer, lie, thinking they are being “nice” by protecting the creator’s emotional state: “She tried SO hard, I couldn’t tell her what I really thought.” Don’t do them this disservice. They really, really want your honest opinion. Only an honest opinion will help them progress.

Let ’em have it. Thumbs up or thumbs down.

(Substantiated of course, but be brutal, really.)

 

 


Informed, piqued, challenged

But not entertained.

Not fully. Not in the robust sense of being entertained, of enjoying entertainment.

To what am I referring? To everything you will read on the web during the day; during your arduous slog through your social, business and informational treading of life’s daily data toil.

Like this post for instance. I don’t overtly wish to entertain you. I do intend to swipe at your subconscious; bat around your interests; toy with your beliefs, assumptions and predilections. But I’m not setting out here to entertain you. I’d rather stick a wet finger in your ear.

And that’s what all the web, during the day, during my reading of news and articles and tidbits, should do. Inform me. Fill me with awe and admiration of the data you’ve compiled and arranged and elucidated — upon the behalf of your argument.

But don’t spend hundreds of words poetically couching your argument in narrative. I don’t want to be intentionally entertained by you while you write to me about the genome, or Mars, or why bluefin tuna are dying out, or how hard it is to build a Javascript library that lasts the tests of time.

No. Just give me the facts, ma’am! Don’t try to be a story teller. Just get to the bloody point.

I will get my expanded narrative entertainment reading what are presented and acknowledged to be actual entertainment focused articles, stories and novels. When I want to be entertained through the written word I’ll pick up a novel.

Therefore, if information transmission is the primary intent of your writing (and most daily web writing is these days) — don’t fluff it up. Don’t beautify it.

Like I tell the doctor with bad news, “Just give it to me straight.”