Archive for May, 2012

I Was Getting Worried, Sydney

Posted on May 31, 2012. Filed under: General Interest |

Your man fan, Dylan, summed it up nicely, as I, too, was becoming concerned by your absence.   In those days since you ruined my smart-phone (didn’t do me a lot of good, either), I’ve been checking in to see what delight you had crafted just for me.   Okay!   …for me and all those others who found you before I did.   You weren’t posting every day, but that was just great, ’cause that made every new visit tingle with anticipation of diligence rewarded.   I just marvel at how you manipulate the King’s English.   ?Maybe that should be the Queen’s English?

Needles!  Really?  Voluntarily?  For 25 days?  Your words are hurtful, but, your offering of that blue bikini pic (J-Wowww) I accept as your sincere apology. 

Your contribution to the enjoyment of life is a real treasure.  Thank you for being you (whoever the heck that is), and, the best of success in keeping all the other aspects of your life on track.  A happy Nezza is a writing Nezza.  And, a writing Nezza is a happy me.  (She’s still at nezza@hella Sydney.)

Next up:  Prelude to The Great Cluster Fu…

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Panache, Smoke, Mirrors

Posted on May 21, 2012. Filed under: Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Aside from adding federally approved yellowing agents, there are other tactics used by the media to stand out when competing for the same audience with the same offerings (say, like your various news/weather broadcasts):

  1. Panache (old-fashioned showmanship).  Boast that “Our pretty-boy/ -girl has a prettier smile than your pretty-girl/ -boy and can read the teleprompter better than yours.”  Tap dance like Billy Clinton explaining his latest episode of Sex and the Single Girl while juggling the meaning of the word “is.”  SMILE A LOT.  Dazzle ’em with a glitzy studio and eye-catching technology.  Tease them with pointless, but cute, anecdotes.  SMILE A LOT.  Instead of being a fashion dummy’s torso sitting behind a desk, stand up to read the teleprompter in a really cool fashion-model stance so people can tell you ARE wearing pants.  Oh…    and, SMILE A LOT.
  2. Smoke.  Announce up-coming stories with teasers that take up more time than the actual story:  Did the President really say “$#+!%*”?   Will you need your umbrella?   What toddler completed potty training 20 minutes earlier than its peers?   Stay tuned right here ’cause Gregg has your answers at 10:00 P.M.   You get a lot more promise than substance.
  3. Mirrors.  When you got a story, even though irrelevant, with hot buttons (like GAY BAR, ELECTION, BRIBE), run it a dozen times a day, but, have different teleprompter readers read it while sitting or standing in different postures.   If it’s the same schmuck at every reading, have him try to act like he’s really excited on every retelling.

The breaking news ploy.  Oh!  Yeah, there is that:   (l) Live from some helicopter hovering over some disturbance on an interstate somewhere in Timbuktu, or (2) Live from some well-known rehab center where the gardener who works for the third cousin of a big name celebrity‘s chauffeur’s mother is delivering flowers — to whom and what does it mean?  (3)  “SO STAY WITH US AND GET THE TOTAL NEWS.”   Which means that five minutes of loud, obnoxious (if not ludicrous),  paid advertising is coming to your t.v. screen —  NOW!

To their credit, the tabloid genre doesn’t waste time with such inane creativity. They cut the hype and go straight to lurid, suggestive, prurient content with real (you-can-hardly-tell-they-were-photo-shopped) pictures IN COLOR — just in case the giant, outlandish headline didn’t catch your eye — and, a sort-of-story tailored to the photo.

I cannot shake the feeling that much of what the media offers is just illusion, a sop bloated with hidden messages and agendas that I am expected to blindly fulfill.  It is not a new feeling; rather, the same old one that induced my avoidance of newspapers, news programs, et cetera, for the past decade or so.  Embarking on this blog-cruise unavoidably causes me to allow media outlets access to my thought processes.  In remorse, I am wondering…

“Is it too late to jump ship?”

Next up:  It’s not my fault!

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Does The Yellow Ever Go Away?

Posted on May 13, 2012. Filed under: Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Alas, Virginia, no!  And, by “no” I mean “absolutely not.”  I am afraid it’s the “pecking order” thing embedded deep in the genes of all multi-cellular life.  Oh, yeah, you got your goody 2-shoes, reformers of human nature, tolerance, Dr. Phil, Dr. Spock, Dr. Fraud…   Freud…   but, all of that is basically just spittin’ into the wind — you just can’t change a leopard’s spots.  At least, not overnight.  A million years or so of natural selection might do the trick, but, really, who has that kind of time?  Best thing to do is just go with the flow, adapt to it, resign yourself to it, etc…   There will always be a little yellow in every headline-grabbing story.  (Uhmmm, on a personal note, Virginia, you don’t still believe in Santa, do you?)

Marketing.  That’s what they call “yellow” these days.  Like, if it’s playoff time, they media-hype old rivalries or even print stuff that CREATES controversy just to make sales; or, if it’s election time, they play on old phobias and Elysian dreams.  The line-up to identify the current opinion hot button contains the usual suspects:  economy, jobs, taxes, global warming, integrity (we’re talking about politicians here, right?“), improper conduct, family values, lifestyles…   They parade before the editors until someone says, “There!  That one.  That’s the incumbent’s (or challenger’s) Achilles’ heel.”  Then, depending on which runner is favored by the media, the order goes out, “Minimize the importance of that” or “Play it up really big.”

And, by “minimize,” they mean, “Bury it.  The stupid masses needn’t bother themselves with such trivia.”

And, by “play it up,” they mean, “Exaggerate the crap out of it.  Shock and awe the stupid masses into our line of thinking…   and voting.”

I do not mean to imply that main stream publishers and broadcasters are subject to being biased like the rest of us.  If you are having to infer anything from my text, then I am not being so clear as I think I am.  So, just to be sure you get my drift:   ALL MEDIA ARE BIASED, PRONE TO EXAGGERATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR OFFERINGS, AND TAILOR THEIR MESSAGES TO A TARGET AUDIENCE.  Does that make it clearer?  Like Diogenes’ search for an honest man, the search for an unbiased reporter/blatherer can go into serious over-time.

Responsibility and veracity are very important in information transmission.  But, it is the individual recipient who bears full responsibility to test the veracity of information content and its sources.  You have the freedom to either be brainwashed without resistance, or, to demand to see the ingredient notice for the washing solution so you at least have some reading material during the rinse cycle.

Next up:  Panache, smoke, and mirrors

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Yellow Journalism

Posted on May 6, 2012. Filed under: Journalism, language, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Yellow journalismSensational news-reporting.  A style of journalism that makes unscrupulous use of scandalous, lurid or sensational stories to attract readers.  Media using this style, collectively, are referred to as Yellow Press

Well, the definition speaks for itself.  Out of today’s enormous field of journalistic enterprises, those dealing in “sensation” stand out like a tart at a nuns’ convention.  They are too easy to spot, but, then, it’s not like they’re really trying to hide, since being noticed is the goal.  Today we call them tabloids… celebrity updates… the evening news…

Not just fringe media.  Even the big boys of broadcast lean to the lurid, pretend “news.”  Most recently, down in a big city on the Gulf Coast, there was this hit-and-run thing;  actually, it was an alleged sideswipe of a parked car (not a collision, not a fender bender, not an injury) at low speed in a parking zone as one driver, allegedly, tried to leave a bar.  How many hundreds of those happen every month without making the local evening news? 

But the owner of the scraped car said he saw who did it, and, it was mmffmnfm lxrrmfs, a well-known conservative talk show host.  Hot dog!  NOW, we got some news.

After the story broke, by  golly, we got some bona fide video that (allegedly) places our subject at an establishment in the area.  Look, there he is,  alone, carrying a bottle (beer?) and making his way toward the exit.  That’s all that’s in the video.  Can’t tell which, or what kind of, establishment.  So, all we got so far is a scraped car and a witness who says he saw who did it, video footage apparently showing the named suspect leaving someplace (his only companion a… beer?… bottle) with the time-stamp just before the alleged time of the alleged damage.  Those are the facts, ma’am.

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!  The security footage, according to the voice-over, is said to be from a nearby bar.  Not impressed?  Get this:  it is a bar frequented by GAY persons.  Thus, the moniker “gay bar.”  Every time we (remember?… we…   the stupid masses?) were updated on the “ongoing investigation,”  we also got to hear the term GAY BAR vigorously delivered at least 5 times per update in association with the name of this alleged heinous perpetrator.  Never did  find out if the subject was:  gay, married, a father, a Catholic, agnostic, football fan, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, evolutionist, a brother, an Elk, marathon runner, vegetarian, or even if he was hungry a lot.  Any and all of those  are as relevant to the alleged property damage as the fact that there was a gay bar nearby.  Not relevant, but, by golly, loudly proclaiming GAY BAR just had to keep audiences glued to the television.  It must have been the first high for those ALLEGED reporters since they got to say “penis” over and over some years ago on the morning, afternoon , and evening news hours.

Remember cars rigged by a documentary producer to explode when impacted by another vehicle to “prove” car manufacturer negligence?  How about the super market chain selling out-of-date meats, only, it was the “reporter” who switched labels on the packaging?  [Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”   -Sir Walter Scot]

Next:  Does the yellow ever go away?

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“The People Have A Right To Know”

Posted on May 4, 2012. Filed under: Constitution, Journalism, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

In the movies, the justification given by our character of sleaze as to why he/she felt compelled to publish a personally harmful/embarrassing story (usually in the tabloid venue) with no societal relevance, is:  “The people have a right to know.”  I’ll have to take the movies’ lead on this since I have never had the opportunity to confront a gossip monger and demand to know why she/he felt compelled to print such harmful material.

But, rights are spelled out in the Constitution.  Nowhere did I see an open-ended clause saying, “The People have a right to know.”  It does say the People have a right to blab what they know, but, nowhere does it command that The People be informed of anything.  Do I really have to know that Councilman Big Shot had a bed-wetting problem when he was a child…  or NOW, for that matter?  In the pursuit of my alleged “right to know,” is it right for me or anyone else to snoop around in people’s private lives looking for embarrassing anecdotes?

Would The People also have a right NOT to know?  Oh…   yeah!  You just change the channel or don’t buy the offending publication.  But, the purveyors of sleaze (a.k.a., The Press) know what The People will buy, and the popularity and profitability of their product attest to that acuity.  People like to see others as less than themselves.  By golly, we just need someone to pick on.  It is especially satisfying to see persons from a higher moral, social, or economic plane get a little mud on their halos, evening gowns, and tax returns.  And, if we join others in the ridicule of some hapless (preferably defenseless) target, we have a common bond in the cowardly persecution of another…   we belong to something bigger than ourselves.  It isn’t right (read “moral”), but, it is legal.  And, it is an indigent part of the uglier side of human nature.

Pandering to humanity’s darker side does produce larger audiences (read “big bucks”).  Going native (cheap and petty) now and then seems to bring in the customers for even the “classier” media, possibly more so for broadcast than the legitimate press.  How much mileage did media of all kind get out of flaying the psyche of that young entertainer caught in the wallow of sudden fame?  Paparazzi, tabloids, entertainment media, main stream news media, all joining to publicly ridicule a lone soul derailed by the suddenness and scope of celebrity status.  Did you people get a real thrill out of beating up on a kid?

Her every move documented, her every misstep ridiculed.  Why, you even pretended to be concerned with the “Well, she’s in rehab…   again!  (Wink)  (Wink)”  news lead-in.  As a matter of speculation, how  much did negative and malicious press contribute to her troubles?

But, all of you (and , this includes the morning DJs who feel compelled to deliver a good-morning laugh at someone else’s expense, have sure as hell made it to my piss ant list.  Which list, under MY freedom of expression, I have the right to maintain.  And, I have no legal obligation to leave you OFF the list.  To restate your own mantra, “Pandering media has the right to know that they are piss ants.”

Next up:  Yellow journalism is alive and well

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