Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WHY? Because We Are Dumb

(double click to see the comics in full size)

Bart Simpson: "I can't believe it, but it looks as though television has betrayed me."

Once in a while, somebody will publish something that is very close to what I have been saying for sometime. I saw this article in our local newspaper. I used to read this Nestor Torre before but when his reviews always revealed the climax of a movie, I figured my reading time is best spent elsewhere. I agree with his starting point. He concludes that regulators and TV stations should get together to "undumb" the audience. At best I think it's a two way street. Like a chicken and egg question. At worst, this culture wants dumb, this culture will not appreciate anything that is not dumb so give them dumb. A lot of what I want to say on the topic is here. http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com/journal/item/1017/Hypocrisy_of_the_Recognition_and_Admiration_of_Efren_Penaflorida

This culture does not value intellect, learning or dignity .
TV stations are only answerable to one group . Sponsors. Sponsors want a large audience . They don't want a discriminating audience but a large audience .I don't care about the mandate of the KBP. Because who really is serving the public good? By providing shows that will enlighten? None as far as main stream consumption . Media does not shape the audience. The audience is attracted based on what the programmers perceive will attract that audience.The dumb shows, dumb audience and the high ratings are both a vicious circle and a self fulfilling prophecy. Make a long story short. If programming is based on perception of audience and programing is dumb then the audience is perceived as dumb. And the proof of that is the size of the audience attracted. Dumb sells. Something that requires brain cells does not sell to the extent that dumb does. If you think my critique is solely on TV guess again. Filipino newspapers have not escaped my gaze. http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com/journal/item/688/Why_Are_Our_Filipino_Newspapers_So_Dumb

You want proof, we are dumb? These shows appeal abroad only to Pinoys who are abroad. Other cultures do not find any hidden worth in them. You know why? There is nothing of value there for them to find.
Calvin and Hobbes (The comic strip above) has resonated for so long because it is such a mirror to our reality. Another excellent parallel to the state of dumb TV is the film The Running Man. If you never saw the film you might describe it as some dumb muscle film with Arnold Schwarzenegger sprouting corny one liners. I actually saw this movie the day it came out 23 years ago. I had no idea that 23 years later I would be calling it genius for what it predicted.

Read one imdb user's breakdown of the film.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093894/usercomments Prophetic, 3 November 2004 8/10 Author: obiwan-27 (lckrause@gmail.com) from New England *** This review may contain spoilers *** I entered my first comment on this film almost five years ago. Then, the ideas presented in the movie still seemed mostly fictional, if indeed they could ever transpire at all. Not any longer. Now, the politics, society, and media in The Running Man seem very close to home indeed. Consider the following factors, which were mostly absent in 1987 (the year The Running Man came out) that are present today: Concern with, as Richard Dawson's character Damon Killian puts it, "traditional morality." CHECK Entertainment in the form of extreme reality, including pain, fear, and discomfort on the part of contestants. CHECK Cameras everywhere. CHECK Restricted travel for citizens at the whim of the government, controlled by a centralized computer system complete with barcoded passports ("travel passes" in the movie) and sanctioned under the guise of national security. CHECK An increased intermingling, bordering on incestuous, of government and media. CHECK Computer-generated graphics that are advanced enough to manipulate real film footage (such as the "digital matting" of Ben Richards' image onto the stunt double). CHECK Jailing of conscientious objectors or detractors of the current administration. CHECK Flagging economy further widening the gulf between the wealthy and not-so-wealthy; increasing numbers of fringe groups reacting to the tightening noose of big government; civil unrest brewing just under or at the surface of nearly every sizable public event regardless of its origin or intent. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK Then again, maybe it's just a movie based on a Stephen King novella. But just to be safe, I'm moving to Switzerland. If I can leave you with one thing, just remember, if TV is dumb or if media is dumb it's because we are dumb. TV is so much part of our lives that who really analyzes it's effect on a society? Well I will leave you with yet another quote from Running Man which says it all. Video provided in Multiply version of this post.

Damon Killian: This is television, that's all it is. It has nothing to do with people, it's to do with ratings! For fifty years, we've told them what to eat, what to drink, what to wear... for Christ's sake, Ben, don't you understand? Americans love television. They wean their kids on it. Listen. They love game shows, they love wrestling, they love sports and violence. So what do we do? We give 'em *what they want*! We're number one, Ben, that's all that counts, believe me. I've been in the business for thirty years.
Ben Richards: Well, I may not have been in show business for as long as you have. But I'm a quick learner. And right now, I'm going to give the audience what *I* think they want.









‘Least common denominator’ TV programming

By Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:46:00 03/25/2010

Filed Under:

Television, Entertainment (general)

MANILA, Philippines—The unprecedented popularity of television is both a boon and a bane. That the biggest TV networks now command an audience of millions is a testament to the medium’s utter viewability and vitality.

On the other hand, that very viewability and 24/7 accessibility have often resulted in a stultifyingly "least common denominator" kind of programming, with many popular shows providing the video equivalent of popcorn—momentarily yummy, but offering little in terms of substance and sustenance.

The industry mantra seems to be: "Keep it simple, stupid; that’s all the simpletons out there want, need—or deserve."

For this reason, some TV shows attract similarly "stupid" or "stupid-making" workers, and lack of depth and sensitivity is in fact preferred, because the simpletons "know" what viewers go for. The dumb leading the dumber? You bet—and, as the "stupid" shows’ robust ratings reveal, they’re pretty smart and savvy, after all.

Of course, some viewers find them really shallow and, in fact, downright demeaning to watch. Unfortunately, they’re in the distinct and churlish minority, so the channels can do spectacularly well without them and their stuffy, snitty ilk. And the situation remains as "hopeless" as ever.

Is there any way out of this desultory conundrum and downward spiral of ever diminishing returns? Well-meaning do-gooders and reformists mistakenly believe that errant or irresponsible TV workers can be "shamed" into more responsible behavior. They forget that TV is a game of numbers, and thus far, the least-common-denominator guys are winning the battle by a mile. They have the numbers, because their "stupid" shows appeal to the many simpletons out there. So, dumb yourself down and join the fun!

But that can’t be the way to go, because therein lies perdition and retardation. That’s why TV is supposed to be a public trust that’s protected by all sorts of pledges of responsible and balanced programming—except that, the rules aren’t followed or enforced, and the pledges remain unfulfilled.

One way out of this quagmire of pap is for government regulators and industry self-regulators to do their job. But, if they fall short, who can compel them? The country’s more concerned, demanding and enlightened viewers—only, there aren’t enough of them to make a big difference.

Which is why media education is so important, but who will teach it? Our teachers? Not likely, because they too are watching those least-common-denominator shows and enjoying them.

The real solution can be arrived at only if both concerned TV workers and viewers join forces to produce and support more substantial TV programs. And work together they must, because young Filipinos’ mental and moral prospects hang in the balance.

That’s the common denominator that should motivate and inform their concerted efforts to reform and redeem what is now the viewing nation’s most popular, persuasive and powerful medium of expression, communication and entertainment.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why there are a few Davids among the Goliaths?

Lester Burnham: It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.

Why are teams like Northern Iowa, St.Mary's and Cornell still playing in the big 65 team tournament while Kansas and are home stewing? Cornell's players not only go to class, they pay tuition. Why? Because this is sports. Sports is more reality TV than reality TV is Reality TV. Every March the tournament selection comes up their seeds. The # 1 plays #16 and #2 plays # 15 in four different locations around the country. But it happens that a team with a sprinkling of future NBA draft picks gets beat by a bunch of guys who will be looking for their jobs through the want ads. Assuming there is no fix ever wonder why? Why so called "basketball schools " get beat by team whose own students do not care they play? A coach who has guided several of his players to the NBA gets beat by a coach who might have seen an NBA game?

It's about time I put in writing what I think causes this. I am most likely wrong but then I would at least be consistent.

1. Basketball is a team game- ideally basketball players are like a fist. Five separate elements combined into one force. Because the David schools are not going to get the hot recruits that the Goliaths get, they can be more likely to buy into the team concept instead of having 2 or 3 guys focus on showing off to the scouts. You have all heard the cliche that TEAM stands for Together Each Achieves More. Well sometimes we see it in reality when people really buy into that.

2. Sense of entitlement- the big basketball powers feel it is their birthright to be there. The smaller ones probably amazed by lots of the two "C"s they normally do not get when they play the rest of the year. Crowd and Cameras. Now this cuts both ways. They can freeze under spotlight or they can cherish it and not take it for granted. 


3. We are just passing through- the bigger schools are most likely to attract the surefire NBA draft picks. Ironically, the longer a kid stays in school the less likely he will be a lottery pick. The David schools rarely have this problem. So as a result their kids , stay longer, play together longer. Once in a while a unified team that knows each other well can beat a much more talented team that has been playing together for less than a year. 


4. The Kenny Loggins theory. One of the big Kenny hits was called "This Is It" For a David school making it to the tournament and doing well might just be the biggest thing they will ever do basketball wise. There is no lottery or NBA in their futures. It is unlikely they will underestimate their Goliath opponent. The Goliath school though just might be full of themselves and looking at the next opponent or the opponent after that. They won't say it but it will show in their preparation and their play. The cliche is the David schools are "playing with house money". As in you are there in the casino and the dealer or management just gives you a pile of chips. You are playing and even if you lose it all, you lost nothing. You are not expected to win. That lack of pressure can be liberating.

In this tournament we saw it with Ali Farokhmanesh of Northern Iowa who between the choice of playing it safe with a one point lead took a riskier option. An unlikely three point shot that he sank and buried the top seeded Kansas Jayhawks. He got the look at the basket he wanted and took it. They were the David team. No pressure. Went for the jugular and came out on top.

Sports is way better than watching these contrived reality shows. Sports is full of vain glorious dolts who rather play for the camera than play for their teammates and their community. Once in a while these dolts get exposed in the biggest stage. For me that's better than hearing that the tribe has spoken.






Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lunch Out With The Office-mates and a Surprise

This is us hungry waiting for them to clear a table for 8.We were at a Japanese noodle house near the office.

This is us eating the Japanese noodle soup.

Dining in the same establishment was Mr. Korina Sanchez.

This is us very satisfied with our meal milling outside waiting for our benefactors to emerge.

The guy who may be the future vice president came out. Mar Roxas shook all of our hands. One of us said "we are voting for you." I did not tell a lie. I really forgot what I said as I shook his hand but it was something very generic like hello or good afternoon. I should have given him a link to my blog. Nobody asked for a posed picture and then they asked me why i did not use my gimpy camera phone to snap a picture. I said that I was "starstruck". If my memory serves he was priming for the president slot and then was swept aside by a wave of yellow sympathy. I don't dislike him which is already a moral victory for any Filipino politician. I detest his choice in spouses though.

This is his entourage leaving. Should he get in I hope this country is as nourished as we were with the Japanese noodles. Ed

http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com/tag/noynoy aquino




Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Greed Is Good"

Whenever there is something that people overreact to like a slowdown in the economy or a crash in the stock market.

Always remember that things have happened before and they will happen again. You can not fight the law of gravity

and you also can not fight supply and demand. The market will always reach an equilibrium at some point. In any

market , don't forget that something does not get sold unless the buyer and seller agree to a price. Bulls and bears

will always be there but don't forget the long term trend has always been up. Why is greed in this context good

because it will always be tempered by market forces. Just always be in favor of those who are willing to play in and help provide a level playing field.

George F. Will explains this better than I ever can.



Greed's Saving Graces

By George F. Will
Sunday, May 17, 2009

Greed, we are agreed, is bad. It also is strange. It has long been included among the Seven Deadly Sins, which suggests that it is a universal and perennial facet of the human fabric. But the quantity of it, at least in America, responds to political cycles. Greed grows when Republicans hold the presidency. They did so throughout the 1980s, and no less an authority on probity than American journalism named it the Decade of Greed. Furthermore, everyone knows we are in our current economic pickle because greed, which slept through the Clinton administration, was awakened by the Bush administration's tax cuts and deregulation. The day after the 2008 elections, the New York Times (see above: probity, authority thereon) ascribed America's economic unpleasantness to "greed and an orgy of deregulation." The political pendulum swings, so Republicans will capture the presidency now and then, igniting greed revivals.

Greed is difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. That person is greedy who earns, or wants to earn, more than is seemly. Unseemliness is difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. A seller of something we want to buy is greedy if the price he is asking is not reasonable. Unreasonableness is difficult to define, but we know it when we see it.

In the secondary market for tickets to entertainment events, an arena of people sometimes called scalpers, greed exists. So everyone knows that government regulation is required. Everyone except David Harrington, a Kenyon College economist. Writing in Regulation quarterly, he argues that deregulated markets punish greed. Markets know it when they see it.

Studying the Internet site Stubhub, which is owned by eBay, Harrington monitored the secondary market in Ohio State University football tickets for the Oct. 25, 2008, game against Penn State that was attended by a stadium record crowd of 105,711. Stubhub acts as a broker, charging 15 percent from buyers and 10 percent from sellers, who can charge whatever they choose. Generally, a ticket's value depends on the seat's location -- the lower in the stadium and the closer to the 50-yard line the better.

Harrington collected two sets of information, one on Oct. 13, 12 days before the game, the other on Oct. 21, four days before. On Oct. 13 there were 346 sellers offering 682 tickets. Eight days later, 411 sellers were offering 845 tickets. In the interval, Ohio State beat Michigan State and undefeated Penn State beat Michigan, intensifying fans' interest in the game.

Yet the average price of the tickets offered declined from $359 to $304. This was partly because the quality (seat location) of the remaining tickets declined. Also the number of selling days was becoming smaller. Seats at entertainment events are, like airline seats, a perishable inventory: When the plane takes off, or the game begins, the value of an unsold ticket becomes zero.

A greedy seller -- one who priced his tickets too high -- was less likely than other sellers were to sell them two weeks before the game. Hence he had to resort to much deeper discounts than others did as game day, and the potential worthlessness of his assets, drew near. The larger the number of seats available in the secondary market, and the more transparent that market is, thanks to the Internet, the more likely it is that greed will be punished.

To give the greedy their due, they perform a service: By overpricing, they preserve an eve-of-game supply of tickets for persons willing to pay a premium for last-minute impulse purchases. Unfortunately, such persons are apt to be richer than thee, hence presumptively greedy.

Perhaps it would be restful to give moral reasoning a rest and give economic reasoning a chance. Until recently, many states regulated "scalping" by limiting allowable markups of ticket prices or by outlawing secondary markets for some events. Most of these states have repealed or relaxed those laws, even though a 1997 New York Times editorial demanded more aggressive enforcement of anti-scalping laws lest the public be victimized by "price-gouging ticket agents."

Actually, would-be price gougers are at the mercy of a public armed with information, which is what markets generate and communicate. Greed is worse than a moral defect; it is a cause of foolish pricing. That is why markets know it when they see it. And when markets are allowed to operate, greed generates its own punishment.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Just Find This Ad HIlarious

I doubt many of my local friends have seen this ad. Sadly, I am not this man.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's that 1% where I get burned

It's that 1% where I get burned

99% of the time, I am a stickler for rules. Because in the back of my mind the 1% of the time I defy the rules I get burned. Tonight is the 1%. First of all why was I there? I am almost out of Starbucks ground coffee in the office and why not go to the same Starbucks at 10:30 PM when there is no sun instead of lunch time. Despite what I told the officer I saw the no right turn on red light sign but hell, its 10:35 PM. Binay's finest probably spending their bribe money somewhere. Nice word in English that 'probably'. Don't use it too often if you don't like getting your drivers license confiscated. Well you know the rest. Motorcycle cop comes out of nowhere. Where are they when Jeepneys and idiots with pseudo sirens go the wrong way for a block or two? I tried doing the Obi-Wan Jedi Mind trick on them but well the Force wasn't with me at the light so what makes the pullover any different?

Ultimately I blame myself. And my addiction to lunch time coffee. All of you just be careful out there.


Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along... move along.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

25th Anniversary of Air Jordan

It's the 25th Anniversary of Nike's Air Jordan. Today on the Dan Patrick show they were reminiscing of MJ going on Letterman to promote the shoes. There was a particularly funny line in the exchange. They had to recreate in verbally on the show today. They wanted to find the clip, well they need not look any further. Lucky for them I have no life.




http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com/journal/item/1087/25th_Anniversary_of_Air_Jordan (Original Post)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How Safe is your Child?

I am going to be very busy till Saturday my time. Dreaded paper that needs a lot of work to hand in. But this is too important to delay. If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you that I am big on providing you people not only articles but their voices and their movements . Whether it's Andre Agassi talking about his meth addiction or accused murderer Drew Petersen I try to exploit the media that is given to me. This 10 minutes of video can be so worth it if only to protect your kids. You will learn about the child predators around you and the sickness that they have. A sickness that may threaten kids around you. You will learn about law enforcement's daunting task. You will learn about the parole system. Whether you have kids or you don't , if you value them watch this ABC News feature. Have a good look at the enemy. They are out there.


If you don't see video click here.