A Little of the Old In and Out
(image via medienforum)
In: Brandon Burgess. Although we will miss such high-quality television fare as "The Scarecrow and Mrs. King" (Averted Gaze), and "Diagnosis Murder," where Dick Van Dyke does his thing, the NBC-PaxTV deal was a no brainer and, quite possibly, the beginning of an age of search engine and television collaborating. Now, if NBC Universal can just keep the Evangelicals -- who watch this channel in droves -- from petitioning like the Devil to keep their ratings-challenged programming immaculate, the embattled network, which just announced a DirectTV on-demand service, might just have a real moneymaker on their hands.
Brandon Burgess, a man with great experience in digital media, is the heir-apparent in this unfolding media drama. As Bill Carter ably writes for the NYTimes:
"After years of dispute between NBC Universal and Paxson Communications, the two sides ended a protracted and complicated negotiation yesterday that will result in the departure of Lowell W. Paxson as the chairman of Paxson Communications and an opportunity for NBC Universal to develop a partnership to control the company.
"Executives involved in the deal said it could unlock the value of a promising media asset: Paxson's 60 broadcast television stations, located in most of the nation's biggest cities. Brandon Burgess, the NBC executive who had been in charge of the negotiations and will become the chief executive of Paxson, called the deal 'the last big opportunity in broadcasting in the U.S.'
"He said NBC Universal had calculated that Paxson's stations present a wide range of opportunities; they have deals in place that guarantee coverage on cable systems throughout the country, and with digital expansion the stations have the capacity to multiply their channel offerings five- or sixfold.
"'The timing was exactly right' for such a deal, Mr. Burgess said, because it comes 'at the time when analog and digital service are coming together.'
"In one of the biggest complications, NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric, cannot control the Paxson assets because Federal Communications Commission rules limit the number of stations one company can own, and with the Paxson stations NBC would far exceed that limit.
"So the deal calls for NBC to find a controlling partner for the company within 18 months.
"Randel A. Falco, the president of the NBC Universal Television Group, said finding a partner was crucial. He said he expected many companies to be interested in what he called 'the incredible footprint of Paxson,' referring to its national reach.
"'Getting a partner could mean a financial partner, or a creative and financial partner,' Mr. Falco said. 'It could be a traditional partner - someone with a big content library - or somebody like a search engine like Yahoo or Google.'"
Most intriguing. The full story here.
(image via telegraph)
Out: Paris is Burning. And no, we don't mean Ms. Hilton has contracted a "social disease." No doubt Monsieur Le Pen's ultraright FrontNational Party will take full advantage of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Gaul. In fact, with Russia, Norway and Germany all seeing steady rises in the membership and rhetoric of ultranationalist parties (And, cannot fail to note, the crushing defeat of European pro-Union elites), there could be a dark, "racial" time ahead for Europe. (The Corsair sighs mightily at the future of the planet) Rlites have been pushing an intellectual ideal of globalism, while the undereducated and impoverished recognize only the "reality" of the kinship of blood over and against the luxuries of the constructs of Mind.
David Hershkovits of Paper Magazine, the godfather of Downtown chic, writes of the French riots in the Paperblog:
"In Israel, the media is beginning to refer to the riots as France's "Intifada."Direland's left-leaning historical analysis sets the story in perspective and updates it with comments from leading French intellectuals.
"The French language is rich and Doug Ireland goes to great lengths to parse the meaning of the incendiary words used by interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy to chracterize the rioters. The Economist points out that while Sarkozy's offensive remarks helped spark the flames, his approval ratings remain high. Sarkozy is expected to run for President and is currently deemed the front runner. By the looks of it, the French government plans to buy its way out the jam with huge subsidies and development grants -- otherwise known as payoffs -- to help quiet the suburbs where the majrity of the rioters live. This will prove to be France's Hurricane Katrina, where politicians bicker while the situation gets so out-of-hand it takes Herculean efforts to set it right again. Which they won't be able to do. France will never be the same again. With one person reported to have been killed in a beating, the stakes have escalated beyond property damage that had spread as far the Marais in Paris, home to a large gay population. Some are calling it the biggest challenge to the government's authority since the student riots of the 1960s. Some are saying it's worse than that, a full-out race war."
Fuck. There is nothing that Europe's far right and Al Quaeda want more than a full-on world race war, oxygenating each others' legions, with the Second and Third world pitted against the First. Look to this -- Statesmen.
David Drier. Sassy. He alone in Congress knows the value of a good rug. (image via washingtonlife)
In: Congressional MRA's. God bless the sunlight-deprived wonks on The Hill for keeping us abreast of all the policy geek minutiae that goes into running an office our imperial city. According to them, most representatives of our government splurged with their MRA allotment on electronic gear. It takes a stylish and tasteful Congressman indeed to spend his monies on "aesthetic enhancements." According to TheHill:
"Each lawmaker is given an average of $1.2 million a year for his or her member representational account (MRAs), which pays the salaries of 18 full-time aides, travel, mass mailings, leased cars, bottled water, coffee and everything else a modern office needs.
"The Hill searched statement-of-disbursement records from the last quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005 for every member and found that lawmakers spent thousands of dollars upgrading everything from televisions to furniture to websites.
"(Congressman David) Dreier, in addition to buying a $5,763 plasma-screen TV, spent $1,338 on new rugs to mitigate the noise created by traffic on the marble and tile foyers in his Cannon Building and district offices, according to spokeswoman Jo Maney."
What this says about the Congressman: (The Corsair snaps insouciantly) That the Representative is aesthetically evolved.
Also: Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) spent $623 Popcorn machine and Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-Calif.) spent $18.98 A car wash. Full story here.
The dark John Fowles. (image via worm-holes)
Out: John Fowles. Quite literally -- and he would appreciate the fastidious attention to language -- John Fowles is "out," existentially speaking, having died over the past weekend. John Fowles was until the moment he died my favorite living Novelist because of his astonishing ability to get the hearty English countryside flavor and dialect of his characters (For further reference read: The French Lieutenant's Woman) as well as his bold streak "postmodern" experimentalism. Fowles, with respect to "collecting" modern English dialects, was on-par with Dickens and Hardy (His literary cousins); and in experimentalism, only Alain Robbe-Grillet is, maybe, his equal. Fowles made me want to become a Novelist, to reinvent Reality, and, someday, perhaps I shall.
I will never forget the first time that I read The Magus, with it's pull-the-rug-out-from-under-you experimental literary scuds -- goddamn it -- undermining even the goddamn fauna of the island; I fell in love with his writing right then and there. It was the boldest, intense literary style I had ever come across. The effect of undermining "Reality" itself was positively breathtaking (The God Game? The Novelist as God? Is that the definition of literary Postmodernism?); the effect mimics the contingency of life itself. Undermining the literary backstory and throwing the reader off-balance is, now and forever, Fowlesesque.
There was always something unsettling and dangerous about the writing of John Fowles. The dark-gemlike gleam of Godlessness scared the fuck out of my earlier self that was raised Roman Catholic. Whether in the simian eyes Conchis, or the twisted, lowerclass dialect of Ferdinand The Collector, John Fowles ultimately presented to the reader a Godless universe filled with Danger and Hazard and Death and Eros and -- most important -- existential Choice. Physchological drives clash with the coming-to-be and passing-away of life. Unlike that Eternal Adolescent Nietzsche, or the half-baked and soon-to-be-forgotten Sartre, Fowles blended Art into an optimistic -- never tragic -- Philosophy perfectly. John Fowles was the Artist and Philosopher, par excellence.
The world will not look upon the likes of his individual excellence again. John Fowles, RIP.
(image via chron)
In: Sirius Stock. Although, to be honest, we haven't thought about it, Sirius stock is increasingly seeming to be un bon idee. This, according to Jim Cramer (link via Buzzmachine):
"Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up on the "Mad Money Lightning Round" Friday evening:
"Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI:Nasdaq): 'You need to be in Sirius Satrellite. I think [Howard] Stern will get 1 out of 10 satellite radio listeners.'"