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Monday, April 05, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"This week's Hello Magazine has a cover so Hello-ishly Hello-esque that one ought to wear sunglasses before picking it up. Royalty, in the shape of Queen Rania of Jordan, rubs shoulders with celebrity (Nicole Kidman), in a composition of flowing white robes and surrounded by decoratively angelic children. But wait, who is the outsize leprechaun in the corner? Surely not Rupert Murdoch, looking like he has wandered into a Broadway revival of Hair! The photographs were taken at the baptism ceremony of Murdoch's youngest children, hosted by Queen Rania at a baptism site in the River Jordan. It looked like a grand day out, but the question with anything Murdoch-related, is why did he do it? Swiftly followed by that other question when anything unusual happens in the Middle East: is it good for Israel? Murdoch recently bought part of an Arab media company, Rotana, and is partnering an Abu Dhabi film studio. These deals might explain why he is popping up in the Middle East. But Murdoch does not do things to send messages to the wider world. Rather, he sends calculated messages to the market and, more importantly, to the corridors of power in his Byzantine empire, News Corp." (TheGuardian)



"Would you pay a dollar to evidence you were at Lady GaGa's gig at the Cutting Room? Hell, I didn't even know she performed at the Cutting Room. I had to read the 'New York' profile to find that out. Music has forever been about hipsterism. Knowing who's good and bad and being there first. Everyone says they were at Woodstock, but how many have the original three disc vinyl set on Cotillion? How many bought that set just to belong? Belonging. Where you are on the social ladder. These have been key elements in society forever. Why not codify them, why not charge people to evidence how hip they are? For the last ten years, the music industry has been repeating the mantra that people must pay for music. What if this is the problem. What if music SHOULD be free?" (LefsetzLetter)



"Last week, fans of BeyoncĂ© Knowles who went to the megastar’s official channel on YouTube got an unwelcome surprise. If you clicked on 'All the Single Ladies' or 'Video Phone' (her duet with Lady Gaga), you got an awkward text message stating: “This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.' Huh? Sony is, after all, BeyoncĂ©’s label, and she is one of that company’s biggest acts (not to mention that Sony Music is part of a conglomerate that wants to sell you devices to watch her videos on). No further explanation for the blackout was given—and the videos could still be found a few desperate clicks away on other sites. A couple of weeks earlier, Viacom pulled full episodes of its popular Daily Show from Hulu, the much-touted free video Web site backed by big media companies. The move by Comedy Central made Jon Stewart’s show the latest to either withdraw from the site or have the number of episodes available online curbed. (You can still view them on the show’s own site.) Information may want to be free, but the people who create and own it don’t." (Richard Siklos/Observer)



"When Sarah Palin made her debut as the host of 'Real American Stories' on Fox News on Thursday night, she described several triumphs of regular people over insurmountable odds, but she missed an obvious one: her own. After her failed bid for the vice presidency, she was more or less told to head back to Alaska to serve out her term as governor — a kind of metaphorical kitchen. Instead, she quit her day job and proceeded to become a one-woman national media empire, with the ratings and lucre to show for it. With its tales of uplift and pluck, 'Real American Stories' trades in the kind of easy sentimentality that provokes eye rolls among those of us who work in media while quickening the pulse and patriotic ardor of almost everyone else. At the beginning of the show, Ms. Palin promised that it would 'reaffirm our pioneering spirit and unmatched generosity, here and around the world.' And so it did, with two million people tuning in." (David Carr/NYTimes)



" ... It has been a marriage vibrant in its steadiness, yet never far from the threatening rumors. For years there were rumors about her. An international figure of great beauty, a woman who enjoys the international social scene, unlike so many American wives of the rich who are local and, to some people’s way of thinking, provincial. With exceptions of course. There was one particular rumor that would not go away about the lady and a well known European aristocrat, also married. Who allegedly rendezvoused in Gstaad or St. Moritz. Why of course. This rumor was always denied, even publicly (in their style of publicly). And both couples socialized, if only to prove it. It was a story blamed on vicious neighbors. And there are more than afew of those in this land of Plenty, as you know. Jealous; that too. The husband, on the other hand, agreeable, proud of his beautiful, elegant (and younger) wife, was also rumored to have interests outside the private palace in which he dwelt like the magnate that he is. There was said to be a woman who enchanted him, who, whenever The Wife was traveling (as she was wont to do, whatwith all those farflung friends and the European property and the ticket to ride), was available for some enchanting. This copasetic relationship was said to go on for quite sometime without the wife 'knowing.' She thought, said a friend of hers, that whenever she was away from the nest, he was hibernating in his silk bathrobe and embroidered scarlet velvet slippers. With his feet up. Smoking a cigar. Watching Bill O’Reilly. It never occurred to her that the Old Boy might actually be getting himself spiffed up and out the door for a slap and a tickle? Uh-uh. It never occurred to her -- that boys will be boys and Old Boys Will Be Old Boys, no matter what." (NYSocialDiary)



"Forget the speculation about how the iPad performed out of the gate. Apple just released its own numbers: 300,000-plus sold as of midnight Saturday, including pre-order deliveries and Apple retail sales. That represents a minimum of $150 million in first-day sales, using the lowest-end model, and considerably more given the mix of sales. Apple also said iPad users downloaded more than 1 million apps and more than 250,000 e-books through its stores. There no real way to come up with a legit minimum value for that since Apple doesn’t break that down between paid and unpaid. The iBooks app comes with one free book, A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, which could account for the bulk of those downloads as people try it out." (PaidContent)



"I think that Marc (Jacobs) can do whatever he wants. I think that the celebrities now are the bloggers and I think for too long we [had] front-row celebrities, A-list to Z-list, who took over and it was just too much. And he probably felt that after Lady Gaga was at his last show, the emphasis was on Lady Gaga and not his collection. I think it was a smart move on Marc’s part. He’s a very smart person. And I think he wanted to have people pay attention to his work and not to the event." (Andre Leon Talley/Globe and Mail)

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