Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Add Water. If Any Substance Remains. Dilute Again.

Trungpa Rinpoche
Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
Chogyam Trungpa writes in his book, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation
We had a film workshop in Colorado in which we discussed whether it was important to entertain people or make a good film. And what I said was that perhaps the audience might be bored with what we have to present, but we must raise the intelligence, the standards of the audience, up to the level of what we are presenting, rather than trying to constantly match their expectations, their desire for entertainment. Once you begin to try to satisfy the audience's desire for entertainment, you constantly bend down and bend down and bend down, until the whole thing becomes absurd. If a film-maker presents his own ideas with dignity, his work might be ill-received in the beginning but possibly well-received once people begin to catch up to it. The film might raise the audience's level of sophistication.
A number of articles about Current TV have recently been published, and it seems likely to me that Al Gore's endeavor has fallen prey to the very situation Trungpa Rinpoche describes above.

According to an article from Reuters, Gore "think[s] the reality of the network will speak for itself. It's not intended to be partisan in any way, not ideological in any way."

What exactly does this mean?

Not partisan in any way
Does this mean that any issues that are partisan in nature will be ignored?

Not ideological in any way
Does this mean that any videos "concerned with or suggestive of ideas" will not belong on Current?

Obviously, I'm over-reacting here -- but does that not seem like a very weak explanation for the channel? Read directly Gore essentially states that the channel is not about issues that are under debate nor anything having to do with suggesting any ideas. WTF?!?!

Just what kind of programming will be on Current TV? Well, I can't say for sure but Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times writes in an article that demonstrates Elfman's mastery of the fine-art of functional illiteracy:
Critics were given DVDs featuring stuff that will be shown on Current. Those segments look pretty good. There's a playful documentary-type thing that shows "jumpers" strapping on parachutes and diving off of cliffs and bridges. It's well-shot. It was created by an ordinary citizen who submitted it to Current.

There's also a snippet titled "HOOKING UP." In it, a young woman says, "I kind of regret now sleeping with Doug, especially now that he wants to end it. But I feel like since he's the one that wants to end this, it shouldn't stop me from hooking up with his friend now."

It seems a sure bet that conservative propagandists in the media will rip into Gore for helping to turn young, everyday citizens into titillating gatekeepers of the all-important news. I hope somebody asks these commentators which journalism schools they went to. Gore, by the way, started out as a newspaperman.

Current isn't all hotties and extreme athletes. Staffers and amateurs are putting together long segments on war victims who walk around on one leg, and suicidal people in Japan. When was the last time you turned on Fox News and saw a mini-documentary about Iranian kids who listen to loud music and get wasted at underground house parties?
Unfortunately, the organizers of the Current meetup groups were not provided a copy of the sneak-peak DVD so I must rely on Elfman's description.

Additionally, Current's advertising model was unveiled in a MediaWeek article on July 19th.
Another difference that this new network will bring to television is how advertising is sold. Advertisers are being signed up for 15-month periods during which they will sponsor a particular pod within each hour's telecast. They will get to air a message following the pod that they are sponsoring. The messages can vary in length. And once per hour, an advertiser will get to run a three-minute ad message. About 12 pod sponsorships will run an hour, according to Anne Kallin Zehren, Current's president of sales and marketing.
So each pod will be sponsored by a particular advertiser.

  • Who decides what pod goes with which ad? The advertisers?

  • Will the pods be auctioned off to the highest bidder?

  • What about pods that no advertiser would want to be associated with?

  • What about the advertisers no pods want to be associated with?

  • That video you've spent the last six months refining might just end up appearing on Current and sponsored by Valtrex. Just think, that's six months of your energy. Six months of your heart and soul exposed on national television to help hawk herpes medication.

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    At 3:29 AM, Blogger pAralOx said...


    I dunno how i got here but it's quite a good blog actually!

    It might sound silly but i learn so much grace to you!

    Keep writing boy, there's a young frenchy reading!




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