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Monday, January 09, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"It would have been almost unimaginable five years ago that the Financial Times would convene a series of articles on 'Capitalism in Crisis'. That it has done so is a reflection both of sour public opinion and distressing results on the ground in much of the industrial world. Americans have traditionally been the most enthusiastic champions of capitalism. Yet, a recent public opinion survey found that among the US population as a whole 50 per cent had a positive opinion of capitalism while 40 per cent did not. The disillusionment was particularly marked among young people aged 18-29, African Americans and Hispanics, those with incomes under $30,000 and self-described Democrats. Three elections in a row in the US have been, by recent standards, bloodbaths for incumbents. In 2006 and 2008 the left did well; in 2010 the right won comprehensively. With the rise of the Tea Party on the right and the Occupy movement on the left, this suggests that far more is up for grabs than usual in this election year. So how justified is disillusionment with market capitalism? This depends on the answer to two critical questions. Do today’s problems inhere in the present form of market capitalism or are there imaginable better alternatives?" (Larry Summers)


"There was a time when each of the Big Three nightly newscasts on American television tended to open with the same story — the latest campaign speech, a new government study or perhaps a big snowstorm. That time is gone. Influenced by cable and the Internet, the nightly newscasts are shaking up conventions that stretch back 50 years, seeking to distinguish themselves by picking different stories and placing them in different orders.  On any given night, one might lead with the Republican campaign, another with extreme weather and the third with an exclusive interview. 'The three evening newscasts have become more different from one another than at any time I can remember,' said Bill Wheatley, who worked at NBC News for 30 years and now teaches at Columbia. The differences provide a stark illustration of the state of the news media — much more fragmented than ever, but also arguably more creative." (Brian Stelter)


"'Sad that Kodak thought it was in the film business, when it was really in the memories, self expression and shared experience business.' (WSJ) Have you been following the war on Netflix and Redbox/Blockbuster? The film companies and HBO believe if they make war on these distributors DVD sales will rise and happy days will be here again. This is like the record labels believing they can make CD sales rise if they make war on Best Buy and Wal-Mart and put a shiv into the independents while they're at it. Huh? The future is inevitable. Reading is moving to electronic devices and physical media is dead in the music business, despite all the hosannas about vinyl. Sure, vinyl is fun and warm, and who doesn't love those giant covers, but saying vinyl is making a comeback is like touting the sales of typewriter ribbons, it's a drop in the bucket, it's irrelevant nostalgia, a footnote by the side of the road on the way to what comes next. And who taught us about the future? THE PUBLIC! The public embraced digital photography as well as MP3s. The public has no investment in infrastructure, it just latches on to what's cool and efficient and goes there. The more the studios fight with Netflix and Redbox, the more they're incentivizing people to steal. Might be copyright infringement, but I see you talking on your handset in the car, and that's illegal too. Unless we put a cop in everybody's house, with a book of tickets, P2P trading is inevitable. So how do you fight the onslaught of consumer sentiment? YOU GET AHEAD OF IT!" (Bob Lefsetz)


"Last Thursday night David and Julia Koch held a musicale at their Park Avenue apartment, with a performance by violinist virtuoso Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk on the piano. The duo have a new CD 'Joshua Bell Jeremy Denk French Impressions' (SONY), and their program included excerpts from composers Camille Saint-Saens, Cesar Franck and Maurice Ravel. This was a very special occasion for a couple of reasons. Firstly I’d heard and seen Bell once before -- a couple of years ago at his loft, where Kipton Cronkite had organized a little concert for about fifty people. I love music, including classical music, and although I love listening to a great violinist, I tend to regard myself as  'piano man.' I can play – like a poor amateur, alas, but great performances thrill me. The first time I heard Joshua Bell play, however, changed that. I am a violin man now too. And secondly, how many times in anyone’s life is one given the great privilege of hearing great performances of great music live in someone’s living room?" (NYSocialDiary)


"Only two specialty films -- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and Norwegian Wood -- entered the marketplace on the first full weekend of 2012, a group of 2011 holdovers helped make it a potent weekend. According to estimates provided by Rentrak, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy The Iron Lady and Pina all soared well above expectations to give the specialty box office a nice kick into the new year. As far as the noted openers went, both performed respectably given neither were particularly high profile. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Turkish import Anatolia debuted on a single screen at NYC's Film Forum for distributor the Cinema Guild. The result was a $11,129 gross, impressive give the film's running time only allowed for three shows a day. The Cinema Guild said the film sold out half of all its showtimes ... The weekend's biggest stories came care of a few holdovers. Focus Features made an aggressive expansion of Tomas Alfredson's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. After four very successful weeks in limited release, Focus pushed the film from 57 to 809 screens and saw it perform well beyond expectations. Grossing $5,767,288, "Tinker" shot into the overall top 10 with a fantastic average of $7,129." (IndieWIRE)

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