Friday, March 4, 2011

They should just call it "The Show Where People Dance."

OK, here's the new rule we're going to institute, going forward (as they say) with regard to celebrities and who we actually call celebrities. It's simple:
If you have to put your credits in front of your name, you are not a celebrity.
You don't have to say Actor Robert DeNiro or Singer Elton John, because we know who those people are and what they do for a living. That's why they're celebrities.
The 12th season of Dancing With the Stars (egad, 12 years!) is starting in a couple of weeks, and the couples have been announced. Quickly - look at that photo on the left and tell me which one is the "star" and which one is the professional dancer.
You can't do it, can you? That's because the star is somebody named Chelsea Kane. If you don't know who Chelsea Kane is, that's because nobody knows who Chelsea Kane is. The shows billing tells her that she is "Disney star Chelsea Kane," presumably so we'll know how to Google search her. And what a coincidence that she is a Disney star and the TV show is on Disney-owned ABC. Go figure.
They could have porn actors on the show and more people would know who they are. The trouble is that they couldn't get anyone to admit that they knew who they were. Middle-America doesn't like to admit things like that. And of course, they can't possibly be stars. That's why pornography is a $200 billion business in America -- because nobody watches it. Tell me that they wouldn't get bigger ratings for Dancing With the Stars featuring Tera Patrick or Nikki Benz than that loser from the Disney Channel. You know they would.
They ran out of stars a long time ago, to the point that the dancers are bigger celebrities than their partners, and being on Dancing With the Stars is a bigger credit than most of them have on their resume.
But you'll watch. Just the fact that it's been on for 12 years tells me that you're watching. The funny thing is that I'd rather admit that I watch pornography than watch this dancing show. Partly because of the way it's marketed and partly because of the hypocrisy involved in the sex business.
The people who claim that pornography is exploitative have never examined the marketing involved in big-time network television. I'm just saying - do you think it's a coincidence that some unknown Disney channel actress is on this show or that Sarah Palin's kid was on the last one? It's just a different kind of whoring, and America eats it up.
One is just as trashy as the other, but you're a horrible person if you enjoy pornography.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Planned Obsolescence

My God, it's huge!
That's the new iPad 2, or whatever the gang at Apple is calling its latest tablet thingy.
For all of you who stood in line, waited or otherwise spent a lot of money on the iPad, you're about to have your bell rung by Apple. The new iPad is thinner, lighter, faster and features (egad) a camera on the front as well as one in back. Imagine that.
And it all happened less than a year after the last iPad was released, which makes me think that there isn't anything here that shouldn't have been available before - except that they wanted to plan another product unveil in a year so that the buzz would continue. It's more about marketing than technology.
Just like the iPhone, the other big techno gadget that gets just a little better every year, your money isn't well spent as much as it is merely spent. One thing it does not have is an expansion slot for SD or other types of memory cards. That's interesting, since it is probably meant to encourage consumers to buy the $800 64 gigabyte iPad rather than the $500 16 gigabyte model. After all, you can get a 16 gigabyte SD card for about 50 bucks, and Apple could probably install a slot in the iPad for about three cents.
It all sounds like a lot of fun, and creates a huge marketing opportunity for Apple, since the story makes all the big-time web pages (translation: Free Advertising) and makes the stock jump a little. Personally, I think you'd be better off spending $800 on a few shares of AAPL or some groceries than the latest iPad. You'll figure that out when Steve Jobs is standing on a stage next February telling you how the iPad 3 is thinner, lighter and faster than the iPad 2, which was really cool 11 months ago.
Ironically, it comes in black and white, but the decision to buy one isn't as simple.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You and your Oscars.

Sometimes, contests aren't really contests. Sometimes, people who are winners are already winners. Sometimes, losers aren't losers.
Such is the case with the Academy Awards - and other awards shows.
That's why they say "and the Oscar goes to" instead of "and the winner is." Somebody realized that they were already winners, and God forbid we hurt the feelings of a multi-millionaire who has the world on a string by inferring that he is a loser by declaring someone else a winner.
We're big on awards. We give out Grammy's, Emmy's and other awards to people in the entertainment industry who earn more money than ten people together. We get wrapped up in who wins and loses - er...wins and doesn't win ... to the extent that we have 4-hour television shows that encourage people on the east coast to stay up until after midnight to find out which rich bastard won a Best Director Oscar or which film that already took in $400 million of your money is given the exclamation point of an award. It's an odd behavior pattern.
Is it necessary to give awards to people and things who are already society's winners? What's the point?
On Monday morning the winners will be headline news on the local newspaper, and your TV news will run a feature on the winners. Somewhere, a critic will bemoan the non-winners and say that they were all deserving.
Yeah, right.