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FILM: More Thoughts on Stereotype Outrage June 25, 2009

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Why do we care about non-human characters who exhibit racial stereotypes?

Why do we care about non-human characters who exhibit racial stereotypes?

Extended thoughts on Jar Jar 2 (a.k.a. Mudflap and Skids from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) over at Ronebreak.

FILM: On the “Black” Robots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen June 24, 2009

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UPDATE 3: Julie White, a.k.a. Shia LaBoeuf’s mom in the movie, adds in her two cents over at New York Mag, saying she doesn’t think it was intentional and that it tested well with “the kids.” Also, she noticed what I did about the last one!: “But at least he didn’t kill them off. In the last movie, the one black transformer seemed to be killed really early on…”

UPDATE 2: Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have responded. Sounds like they were not too happy about how the characters turned out.

UPDATE: So the movie is fine as entertainment. It’s fun. It always will be because the formula is good. Now let’s rip it to shreds! Why? Because we can!

A) The “black” robots are indeed black, and minstrelsy, and Stepin Fetchit/ Jar Jar Binks-y. I was all prepared to not care, but they get a lot of screen time — but (!) don’t die! Still, the gold teeth, illiteracy, and general stupidity is way over the top, annoying and points to a huge elision by the scriptwriters. Even some people in the mostly black theatre I went to were shaking their heads in disapproval.

The stereotypical robots in question.

The stereotypical robots in question.

B) Like 24, it has an anti-Democrat, anti-Obama bias, at least in one scene. The big bad Decepticons are going to attack earth, and President Obama has the army send away the friendly Autobots! He wants to use “diplomacy” and “negotiate” with the evildoers and give them Shia LaBeouf! Wimpy liberals always cave in the face of war! Really Kruger, Orci and Kurtzman (the writers)?

C) That wouldn’t be so bad except Transformers doubles down on what it keeps muted in the first: every woman in the movie except a dean and Sam’s mom is hot. And they exist only to be hot or castrating. Transformers is filmed on Penn’s (University of Pennsylvania, UPenn to those of you who aren’t from Philly) campus, and I can tell you, from someone who goes here, not all the girls here are hot. What’s more, the women are uniformly stupid. Why are the girls in the front row of Rainn Wilson’s astronomy class giggling sycophant’s? Yes, not all Ivy Leaguers are smart, but geez.

D) Poor Megan Fox. Reduced to a pinup. Oh wait, she’s not a real actress, so I guess that’s okay.

E) Why are there two “black” characters with overbites? The robot, and the butcher in John Tuturro’s store. I mean, really, overbites? That’s where we are with a black man in the White House?

F) The latino (uber hot Ramon Rodriguez, a.k.a. Omar’s third boyfriend on The Wire) was also stereotypical: as in, hyper-sexualized, or at least horny. However! He also was a web nerd, so I don’t mind as much.

G) The women robots are smaller than the men, only have wheel, barely any screen time, and are in general lame.

All in all, I don’t really care, because it’s a stupid movie that will do anything for a cheap thrill, laugh or sexual rise. Yes, I will see the next one. And yes, since it will make loads of money, there will be another.

The apparently "black" Transformer robots

The apparently "black" Transformer robots


ORIGINAL POST: Critics are claiming that two of the robots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are black stereotypes. One writer lays it out: “[they] are voiced in a way that clearly designates them to be the ‘black’ robots. Also, Skids has a gold front tooth (no, I’m serious) and both cannot read.” Manohla Dargis says they are “conspicuously cartoonish, so-called black voices that indicate that minstrelsy remains as much in fashion in Hollywood as when, well, Jar Jar Binks was set loose by George Lucas.” (Thanks for the quotes NYmag!)

Transformers is not a very progressive movie. I noted this after watching the first one, which, yes, had a robot that is obviously black — his radio was tuned to hip-hop. That would be fine, except, of course, which robot was the first to die? It’s not even racially offensive, just horribly cliche at this point.

But it doesn’t stop at race. The first Transformers is, essentially, made for the Shia LaBeoufs, nerdy white guys who can’t get girls. Pretty girls in the movie who reject our hero are killed immediately. Any girl with intelligence is also, and foremost, smoking hot.

Is any of this offensive? Eh. Stereotypes are the means through which people understand that which they cannot understand. We often write stereotypical races into technology (and, by the way, animals, as we will see in G-Force and just about every other cartoon the planet), especially when we can’t see human faces (think of ways of writing: if you’ve ever been on a black social networking site, it isn’t rare to see “dat” instead of “that,” etc.) In order to anthropomorphize robots, it makes sense the director, Michael Bay, would give them stereotypical voices. What gets him and studios into trouble is the other stuff they attach to it. In the first Transformers, they just killed him off. In this one, they’ve given them gold teeth and illiteracy. That starts to push it!

Transformers is hardly the most offensive movie in Hollywood. I have yet to see if Transformers 2 is. What puzzles me is why critics are up in arms now, having blessed the first ones with good reviews and missing the clear racial and gender stereotypes there.

TV: Cable Is Hot Right Now June 22, 2009

Posted by Aymar Jean Christian in Uncategorized.
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Head over to Ronebreak.com, a hot new site about culture, for my post about cable TV this summer! (Click the photo or this link)

"Royal Pains" and "HawthoRNe" appear to be breakout hits for cable. "True Blood" is back and better than ever. Cable is hot this summer!

"Royal Pains" and "HawthoRNe" appear to be breakout hits for cable. "True Blood" is back and better than ever. Cable is hot this summer!

TV: Paging Cooper and Seacrest: Coming Out = $$$ June 22, 2009

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1) Come out 2) Perform for the President 3) Get own show.

1) Come out 2) Perform for the President 3) Get own show.

I’m late with this I’m sorry!

First Neil Patrick Harris — it took all my might not to type “Doogie Howser”…drat stupid childhood memories! — then Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, now Wanda Sykes is officially on the list of people whose careers were better post-closet.

Not like Wanda hasn’t always been the shizz. Because she was and will always be. But getting your own show is two steps from Nirvana for a comedian (Nirvana is a film career. Sorry Will Ferrell, you’ve checked out of Nirvana for now).

Sykes’ show will be an “…innovative and irreverent new Saturday late-night series…The high-energy one-hour show will feature biting commentary on topical issues and heated panel discussions with recurring personalities. The series’ unique format will highlight Sykes’ outspoken comedic perspective on current events and will also allow her to leave the studio to shoot segments in the field.”

Sounds can’t miss, right?! Most shows do, until of course they miss. Then you never hear from them again.

With any hope, and some guts from Fox, this show will be as much like The Chappelle Show as any network can handle on late-night primetime. The formula is easy. Sykes is funny. Saturday is a low-bar for Fox. Fox needs to compete with a newly-invigorated SNL, the death of MAD and their golden boy not so long ago Spike Feresten — not so golden anymore.

YOUTUBE: Music Video Remakes: The Video! June 20, 2009

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I’ve created a short YouTube in conjunction with my paper on music video remakes and their fair use. Check it out! For my written take on this, see my previous post.

DIGITAL CULTURE: If a Social Network Dies… June 17, 2009

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…does anybody care?

Quarterlife didn't get very big and didn't last very long.

Quarterlife didn't get very big and didn't last very long.

I fell hard for the social networking craze. I joined so many sites I lost track of most of them. Two or three years ago, each site promised to serve a new community, or niche market, and was trumpeted by the media as a novel, near miraculous invention. Every site was based on “you,” and so it felt like it could never die. If a site died, a little part of you would too. That was never going to happen!

Cut to last week when I received an email from Quarterlife, a social networking site for creative young people. HYW wanted to be my friend! I was somewhat excited, because I rarely receive emails from Quarterlife, and everyone wants a new friend! Then I thought, Wait, I never go on Quarterlife anymore; I wonder if anyone else does.

No, nobody visits Quarterlife anymore. I quickly checked the site’s Quantcast numbers and was proven right (a lot of people have problems with Quantcast’s methodology, but people have problems with every agency’s methodology, so I’m going to use Quantcast and Compete because they’re free). Quarterlife’s numbers are way down. Go to their homepage and you see this message: “Starting today we are asking for a SMALL VOLUNTARY SUBSCRIPTION FEE or a DONATION of any amount you choose. This is the only way to keep quarterlife from going dark, and losing all the thousands of photos, artwork, music, and writing you’ve uploaded.”

Begging for money is a site’s last resort. SimpleWeather.com did the same thing, falling from its meteoric high when Time magazine trumpeted it in 2007. Since Quarterlife’s user base is young, artistic people, I doubt they have the money to support it (I don’t). The site will die as fast as its television show did.

Friendster, my first social network, has been fading for years but is still strong internationally.

Friendster, my first social network, has been fading for years in the U.S. but is still strong internationally.

This is what happens when Facebook and YouTube amass large user bases and manage to hold their attention. Facebook allows you to upload photos and video; YouTube allows video and promises a large potential audience. Who needs Quarterlife? As ad agencies shrink their budgets in the recession, these niche sites cannot compete anyway, and subscription-based social networking will not work.

I started checking other sites I once joined. The owner of DList—the gay MySpace—had written off the site months ago, even as I still continued to use it (and even as ads remained on it). Saatchi’s social networking site for artists lost nearly all of its popularity from its much-publicized high, down over 90 percent in just about a year. Some sites have managed to maintain their popularity; LinkedIn stunningly is still holding strong, though I’d be wary of Facebook. Same goes for Vimeo, which has emerged as a propercompanion to YouTube. But others, like Orkut, have fallen flat on their faces.

It’s a curious thing when a social network dies. Users invest a lot of time and, sometimes, emotion into a site, literally creating it. Its demise can be sad and bemusing. A newspaper dying is one thing, but a social networking holds your information, a network of friends and often your work, your labor.

But the bottom line is the web may not be Chris Anderson’s long tail, capable of supporting thousands of small but thriving markets. If there is a long tail, it’s a sharp and vicious one. Facebook and YouTube—MySpace is dying a slow death—monopolize social networking and user generated content, and the niches cannot compete. I’m not complaining; I’m on Facebook several times a day. It’s wonderful, but it’s the Microsoft of social networking. The nice Microsoft, swallowing the competition simply by doing what they do better.

In the end, everyone wants to be where everyone else is hanging out. It’s why all the major artists, filmmakers, and hip people move to the coasts and Middle America is left with the scraps. Sure, people leave the huddle, but only when they’re so famous they don’t need it—like when Chris Crocker decided to leave YouTube.

Of course, soon after Chris Crocker thought he could leave the huddle, YouTube and its big audience, and start his own website, he was back again. No one can afford to leave a thriving social network. Just ask the ones that have recently died. They know this all too well.

YOUTUBE: Music Video Remakes: Fair Use (!) and History June 11, 2009

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So the following post is a truncated version of a paper I’ve written and plan to submit to conferences and publications soon. For an unrevised draft of the paper, click here. For a playful YouTube video I made on this topic, click here.

Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl"

Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl"

Venetian Princess' rendition of "I Kissed a Girl"

Venetian Princess' parody of "I Kissed a Girl"

For non-academics and makers of YouTube and other online video the headline for this post should read: Music Video Remakes = Fair Use! Though this isn’t the main point of my essay, it’s obviously the most relevant and practical. My basic fair use argument is this: using the most important part of Pierre Leval’s “four factors” and jettisoning the rest, music video remakes are almost always fair use because they necessarily “transform” the original work they mimic. Why? Because corporate music videos (the originals) are promotional tools for celebrities and music. Nearly all remakes either change, replace or remix the celebrity or the music in a video, thereby transforming fundamentally the original purpose of the music video and creating something new and interesting!

There are other ways to justify the fair use of the many other videos that appear on YouTube. The best of these remedies is Peter Jaszi and Pat Aufderheide’s “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video,” a clear and brilliant set of guidelines to assure users they are not criminals — it also provides a useful defense for users when they receive a takedown notice from YouTube or another portal. There are only six categories, so it’s worth a look-over. I was surprised how many YouTube users obey the takedown notice without protest; there is a knowledge gap between copyright holders (mostly corporations, but some small producers) and YouTube users. Many users are simply unaware of the fair use defense, and if they are, they are not skilled enough to make a convincing one.

The bulk of the paper examines the history of the music video and shows how, from it’s inception, the video was all about challenging coherent narratives, dominant representations and authorship itself, or at least that’s how scholars interpreted it. Music videos were inherently participatory, sites of fandom; people sang and acted out the videos in their homes. I use this framework to suggest the video remake follows in the music video tradition of challenging dominant narratives, encouraging fandom and viewer participation.

A remake should not have to be a parody to be fair use; it shouldn’t even have to critique the original, which courts have seen as the clearest fair use defense. Many of the remakes are simply homages, and my framework allows for derivative works that don’t critique but instead extend or reinvent the original. Transformativeness should be interpreted as broadly as possible. Just because Weird Al Yankovic asks (and pays) for consent because he needs the industry’s approval to survive, doesn’t mean that model is appropriate for the user who simply wants to remix to demonstrate skill, or his/her love or disdain of the original!

This is a very clear extension of James Boyle (The Public Domain) and Lawrence Lessig’s (Free Culture) argument that culture belongs to everyone, that it is public, and that no one can make anything that is wholly original. As Henry Jenkins argued quite a long time ago, we all make culture from existing (often mainstream and corporate) culture.

So make remakes and prosper! If YouTube sends you a takedown notice, call me.

Britney Houston's "Lipgloss." Houston told me: “If I didn’t like a video I wouldn’t do it…I do it because I like the artist…I’m a big fan of all those people, and people know who they are.”

Britney Houston's "Lipgloss." Houston told me: “If I didn’t like a video I wouldn’t do it…I do it because I like the artist…I’m a big fan of all those people, and people know who they are.”

Lil' Mama's original "Lipgloss"

Lil' Mama's original "Lipgloss"

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THESIS (for those who care):

For a genre most recognizable by the antics of Weird Al Yankovic, who inaugurated the form over twenty-five years ago soon after MTV inaugurated the music video, the moderate popularity of music video remakes on YouTube marks a hallmark in the evolution of several historical trajectories, including that of music video itself, the increasingly public nature of fandom, the desire for fame among young people raised on the Internet (“millennials”), the power of digital technology to democratize cultural production, the growing cultural power of remixing, sampling and mash-ups, and the persistence, perhaps the evolution, of postmodern aesthetics. In all, these cultural artifacts on YouTube fundamentally question cultural ownership at a time when digital technology is forcing corporations and legal institutions to continually rethink copyright, fair use and how to ensure the progress of the sciences and the arts, a Constitutional imperative, while honoring rich cultural histories and modes of production of users. All of these currents run through the genre of music video remakes, marking them as a historically significant development in media history.

This paper proposes answers to the dilemma of cultural ownership in the digital age – copyright – through a theoretical and historical lens. First I will place the remakes in the context of music video history and then differentiate them from forms of production that have arisen since, including remixing, sampling and mash-ups. I will then discuss the cultural significance of music video remakes, i.e. what they say about this contemporary moment. Next I will discuss why individuals engage in such activities and offer a way to categorize their videos. In compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, YouTube takes down videos accused of violating copyright, so I will proceed by discussing some of the consequences of this policy on the remakes. Finally I will attempt a fair use argument using the examples of Britney Houston’s “Lipgloss” and a few others as a way incorporate the history and meanings of this form into actionable policy and practice; I argue that nearly all music video remakes inherently transform their source material by remaking and reimagining the corporate image, providing a legal justification for this form of media production predicated on pastiche, sharing and multiple interpretations.

Once again, full paper here.

FILM: Lonely Men: An American Encounters Sorrentino June 6, 2009

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In honor of Il Divo opening in Philadelphia at one of the Ritz theatres…

Paolo Sorrentino, Italian auteur, stylishly depicts man’s existential crisis

Cinema loves impenetrable men. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, a film forever collecting critical largess, proves this. So do other protagonists in other evidently great films, including Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2, not to mention less prestigious action heroes like James Bond, among dozens more and not all of them British. The trope persists: Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood and Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men are two recent instantiations. It is so pervasive that similarly opaque female leads become all the more outstanding: from Jean Seberg in Breathless, Tracy Camilla Johns in She’s Gotta Have It to Kate Winslet in The Reader.

From my eyes, Italian and internationally acclaimed film director Paolo Sorrentino is very aware of this history. His films, including Il Divo, now out in limited release, The Family Friend (2006), The Consequences of Love (2004) and L’uomo in più (2001), all focus on lonely often steely men undergoing existential crises. These are among the few of his films available for consumption in the United States (some are not subtitled, not formatted for the US or released on DVD). I’ll join the chorus of critics clamoring for full release of his work, which seems inevitable, given that Il Divo captured the Jury Prize at Cannes, and all three were nominated for the Palme D’Or.

Tony Servillo as Giulio Andreotti in Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo (2008), likely to become Sorrentino masterpiece for its depiction of a man tenaciously trying to contain himself and his power.

Tony Servillo as Giulio Andreotti in Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo (2008), likely to become Sorrentino masterpiece for its depiction of a man tenaciously trying to contain himself and his power.

Why now? Why Sorrentino? He happens to be half the duo of directors causing some critics to declare a revival in Italian cinema – Matteo Garrone is the other – both critically and commercially. The reasons are in the films.

(more…)

Fame (1980), Fame (2009), and Fame! June 3, 2009

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The poster for the new Fame, a blatant rip off of Apple's iPod ads

The poster for the new Fame (2009), a shameless rip off of Apple's iPod ads

UPDATE (2/12): Click here for a post with comments from Barry Miller, who played Ralph Darcy in the original film. He very much dislikes the remake!

UPDATE (9/27): Opening weekend box office numbers are soft at around $10 million (estimated). The LATimes also reports Fame‘s CinemaScore numbers are low  (B-) signaling it won’t get good word of mouth. BoxOfficeMojo has the production budget at $18 million, so it seems possible it’ll break even, but who knows how much its extensive marketing campaign cost. Over at Ronebreak, I speculate the film’s PG-rating had something to do with its poor performance.

UPDATE (9/25): Reviews are in. They’re mediocre, which is to be expected.

UPDATE (9/24): Weird Fame controversy. Apparently the actor playing Montgomery — Fame (1980)’s gay character — thinks his character isn’t gay. AfterElton called up director Tancharoen (who’s 25!) and asked, and Tancharoen said he’s gay, but that there’s nothing in the film to suggest that (no love interest, or sexual quip). He just is. Is Fame (2009) a regression from the original?

UPDATE (9/21): In a rather smart marketing move, Fame is now releasing commercials featuring individual characters (I saw mine on Gossip Girl, the perfect show to broadcast them). As I show below, this further emphasizes the role of “personality” in fame culture today. It also sets up the movie as more character- than plot-driven (same as the original).

UPDATE (9/13): The song “Fame” has indeed been remixed and remade for the Milennials. The new song shines a spotlight on two of the film’s leads, a Naturi Naughton (singer) and Collins Pennie (rapper).

UPDATE (8/10): The MGM publicity machine has started churning and the studio has released exclusive photos to AOL Black Voices.

________________

ORIGINAL POST: I’d rather not divulge the secrets of my stats, but I’m shocked at the random popularity of one of my posts! The post, where I review a few unrelated movies I saw in one week last year, has been viewed about four times as often as the next popular post on this blog, the one about 30 Rock. As much as I’d like to think people want to read my opinion on Jacques Tati’s Play Time and Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg, I know the real reason: Fame.

Not in recent memory has a movie remake seemed so canny and appropriate as the remake of Fame, set for release in theaters Friday September 25th. The original Fame (1980; dir. Alan Parker; written: Christopher Gore) is a vibrant, dark depiction of the post-Boomer generation, living amidst the remnants of de-industrialization and the heights of American media power. It’s about 1970s New York — drugs and pornography — dirty and glamorous. The students try to “make it” but are consistently faced with the realities of life and the industry, and many fall under the weight of their own pressure. It’s a gritty movie, but a successful one. Since then it has become a long-lasting television show and musical. The original actors, sadly, have not been so lucky: none have really become famous.

The older Fame is a much darker movie compared to most teen flicks today.

The older Fame (1980) is a much darker movie compared to most teen flicks today.

FAME 2.0

The new Fame (2009, dir. Kevin Tancharoen) comes out nearly thirty years later and skips Gen X to grapple with the children of the post-Boomer generation: the Milennials! In true Milennial fashion, the remake appears to be glitzy and optimistic, like other young-at-heart remakes released this year and like the Apple ads is blatantly rips off for its poster. Fame (2009) seems it will bypass most of the rough stuff and focus on the achieving success part. Unlike the previous Fame, in which really no one is successful in the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the remake at least one character gets a record deal/movie deal/dance contract. How do I know? Consider the writers of the new Fame are best known for frothy — and delicious — romantic comedies like Devil Wears Prada, Laws of Attraction and 27 Dresses (Aline Brosh McKenna) and Feast of Love (Allison Burnett). Dance movies today moreover — from Save the Last Dance (and 2), Center Stage to Step Up (and 2) and Stomp the Yard — are more about overcoming minor obstacles like self-confidence and hang-ups over class/socioeconomic status than about drugs and sexual abuse. So Fame 2009  I expect will be a fun movie, not a serious one, and already boasts some great comic actors: Kelsey Grammar, Bebe Neuwirth and Megan Mullally chief among them.

INFLUENCE OF REALITY TELEVISION

It’s no surprise the director of the new Fame made his name filming a short-lived reality show about dancers for MTV, of all networks, mother of the reality show and perennial home to fame-seekers. Why does the choice of director make sense? While the stars of reality television are the most desiring of fame, more to the point young people today experience and understand fame through reality television. MTV knew this when it inaugurated its new-ish reality show, Taking the Stage, about a performing arts high school (hello, Fame-much?). Months ago, it made perfect sense when Fame 2009 came out with a reality-TV-like featurette about the cast of the new film. Introducing the film as if it was a TV show, it makes it seem like you aren’t so much going to the movies as spending time on your couch watching a few interesting characters for just a few hours. It’s smart to take this approach to filmmaking and marketing. It’s cheap, as I like to see, and very much of-the-moment. The specter of reality television, from American Idol to The Apprentice, hovers over the new Fame, in which talent, one-upmanship and most of all personality become the key ingredients for fame and notoriety.

“Personality” is a key ingredient. Both traditional celebrities and reality TV stars build their mass appeal on their personal characteristics. Young people today understand that revealing oneself, in a measured and classy way, is key to achieving fame. This is what The Hills and The City is all about: “be you” and you will be famous.

“PERSONALITY” AND FAME: MILENNIALS, NARCISSISM and THE AMERICAN DREAM

How else can you understand YouTube and MySpace? I heard it all the time when I interviewed performers on YouTube: people talk about “expressing their personality” as the truest way to attain and retain viewers. Far from being emblematic of a kind of generational narcissism, as sociologist Jean Twenge has argued consistently and convincingly, I think it’s much more complex than that.

The new Fame's website asks users to create profiles, a smart marketing ploy in more ways than one.

The new Fame's website asks users to create profiles, a smart marketing ploy in more ways than one.

Today parents do tell their children too often that they are special and they can be whatever they want to be — this is particularly true of middle class families. This encourages kids to seek their dreams even at the expense of talent and practicality (hence the American Idol auditions). This is narcissism, of course. But it’s simply an exaggerated form of what all Americans believe: they will achieve the American dream, a house on the hill and all that. We believe in ourselves because, for many people, the government gives us little support. Sure there are families and churches, but none of that is financial. This theory of neoliberalism has been well articulated by scholars like Anthony Giddens so I’m not going to try to do better.

So I agree with social networking scholar danah boyd on fame and narcissism as it relates to MySpace. MySpace, the obsession with reality television, self-branding and all the ways in which young people focus on self-production and self-improvement are symptomatic and larger American issues, in which the realities of class and inequality are obscured by the success of a few, special — and especially personable — individuals.

You can see what I mean when I say Fame 2009 is particularly canny. It manages to incorporate the aesthetics of reality television, celebrity and Internet culture into a bright, optimistic and particularly Milennialistic package. Don’t believe me? Consider that the film’s website — yes, it’s called Generation Fame — asked young people to submit social networking profiles for a chance to “join the wall of fame” and also win cool prizes. (Yes, you can bet your house it’s soliciting information for marketing). And it comes out in theaters in September, at the beginning of the school year when hopes are high and everyone truly believes they will make it.

Pat yourself on the back, Hollywood, this one looks very well-played!

Movie TrailersMovies Blog

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FAME (1980)

CAST (via IMDB.com)


Eddie Barth Angelo
Irene Cara Coco
Lee Curreri Bruno
Laura Dean Lisa
Antonia Franceschi Hilary
Boyd Gaines Michael
Albert Hague Shorofsky
Tresa Hughes Mrs. Finsecker
Steve Inwood François Lafete
Paul McCrane Montgomery
Anne Meara Mrs. Sherwood
Joanna Merlin Miss Berg
Barry Miller Ralph
Jim Moody Farrell
Gene Anthony Ray Leroy
Maureen Teefy Doris
Debbie Allen Lydia

__________________________________________________

FAME (2009)

CAST (via IMDB.com):

Naturi Naughton Denise
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle Joy
Kelsey Grammer Joel Cranston
Kay Panabaker Jenny
Megan Mullally Fran Rowan
Bebe Neuwirth Lynn Kraft
Charles S. Dutton Alvin Dowd
Kherington Payne Alice
Debbie Allen Principal Simms
Walter Perez Victor Taveras
Paul McGill Kevin
Paul Iacono Neil Baczynsky
Asher Book Marco
Collins Pennie Malik

ONLINE VIDEO: Apple Ads: Innovating Past the Competition June 1, 2009

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applead2

Why is Apple the only major company doing exciting and sleek video ads for publishing websites? They’ve been great on the New York Times’ website (the PC vs. Mac ads), and today I just saw this ad on New York Magazine‘s site for the Shuffle.

Apple’s ads are intrusive. They take up a lot of room. Usually, for most corporate ads, this is annoying — WashingtonPost.com has these kinds of ads all the time. Yet Apple’s design team is solid. Their ads are simple and fun. They are interactive and informative — the one above introduces readers to songs by Röyksopp, The Virgins and Phoenix (though New York Magazine’s affluential audience is likely aware of these bands).

A lot of companies are using large scale online video ads creatively, most notably at Pandora. But publishing websites for newspapers and magazines are different because people come there for information and really don’t want to see ads. But that doesn’t mean the websites aren’t fertile ground for a positive viewer experience.

Apple has a good formula, and it would behoove other companies to be similarly as disciplined and innovative in their approach.