21 February 2011

A Holiday for Dead Presidents

Just a few related link sausages today, then more of The Definitive Work on Pain later on.

  • There's a distinction between "advancing the Sciences and useful Arts" and mere "innovation" — and some figures in the MSM (who, collectively over the last thirty years, has been the paradigm for that distinction) are finally figuring that out. Mr Cohen doesn't go nearly far enough, though, because he fails to note the critical artistic and commercial problem at the root of multimedia productions: Who is the author?
  • The flip side of that consideration is what to do with "overbranding" problems like NBC's. The ultimate problem is that the NBC brand is severely self-tarnished; it's going to take at least two generations of material (translation: four television seasons) to remove that taint, let alone build a new identity. And Comcast's corporate culture is not renowned for giving people that much time...
  • ... or for taking its eyes off last quarter's advertising revenue, which is precisely the problem with this piece of ill-founded speculation. The real cause of "the loss of 10pm to cable" has nothing whatsoever to do with "lack of competition" from two networks that didn't even exist when the slide began. It is, instead, a problem with outright censorship by the FCC that has not kept pace with the expectations of "real America"; instead, we're stuck with TV programs on broadcast that contain less profanity, acknowledgement of problems other than violence, and diversity than the average kindergarten recess. The current 18–49 cohort does not, in bulk, accept the values espoused by Jerry Falwell et al., and expects their entertainment to at least acknowledge (if seldom truly embrace, but the possibility is enough) their own values. As long as the FCC allows gunfights and mondo explosions on broadcast TV, but no opportunity for airmen to write "fuck" on the sides of their airplanes, that shift will continue. To which I would say Bravo if that particular cable network weren't so overrun with bad "reality" shows.
  • GBS Update: Judge Chin has extended the deadline for filing claims for any cash from any result of the litigation (Doc. 970, 18 Feb 2011) (PACER PDF, behind paywall) to one year after final approval date (and that would also, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, hold for post-trial if the settlement falls apart, unless it is specifically modified further). This ruling pretty much nails down that Judge Chin intends to issue the ruling on the settlement himself... at which point it will be appealed. Interestingly to procedure geeks like me, Judge Chin's signature is formally noted as "sitting by designation," but I cannot find the designation order in the docket; it's probably just a filing error.