March14,2012

Are We All Sex Addicts Now?

When I was growing up there were two women I thought were more beautiful than any others: Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch. (Well, three if you count my brief affair with Linda Evangelista). I loved old photos of Welch so much I told my mom I wanted to be white. To that she responded, “well, baby, why don’t you pray about it and it will happen.” After praying for whiteness for a few days, I finally gave up on that and satisfied myself by putting a towel over my head to pretend I at least had white girl hair.

I’m fully in love with being black now, but my admiration of Welch’s beauty remains. Although I admit that, up until a few years ago I didn’t know much about the woman who is known for the one photo in the leopard print body suit that sent me over the moon as a kid. A couple days ago I ran across an interview she gave Men’s Health and I thought she said some really interesting things about how explicit our culture has become when it comes to sex:

Raquel Welch: (Laughs.) You’re silly. The guy who did that, Maurice Binder, he also did the title sequence for Barbarella, where Jane Fonda’s floating and taking off her spacesuit. And he did a few of the James Bond title sequences.

MH: With the gun barrel?

Raquel Welch: Yeah, and the women in silhouettes. I think he understood what was sexy and what wasn’t. He knew how to be sexy without being profane about it, and without being too graphic. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really understand it at the time. When we were shooting that opening moment in Fathom, it seemed silly to me. They had to explain it to me, and even then I was like, “Okay, fine, whatever you think.”

MH: Why aren’t more films like that anymore? Are modern audiences just not smart enough to pick up on some well-placed penis symbolism?

Raquel Welch: (Laughs.) Well, I don’t know about that. But I remember Jimmy Coburn once said to me, “You know what’s the sexiest thing of all? A little mystery.” And he was so right about that. When you put it all out there, there’s nothing left to the imagination. So where am I going to participate? I’ve said this before and I still agree with it, the most erogenous zone is the brain. It’s all happening there. Otherwise, it’s just body parts.

MH: You once said that you think sex is overrated. Could you elaborate?

Continue Reading…

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January18,2012

An UnRomantic Take On Why I Oppose SOPA and PIPA

Today is protest day to hopefully stop Congress from passing (and the President subsequently signing) SOPA and PIPA into law. These two bills, at their core, deal with protecting piracy and intellectual property. Those two things are very important to content creators like bloggers, musicians, movie studios and the like. That’s why Hollywood and MPAA and high end luxury brands support the legislation.

You can read a great breakdown of the legislation here and here. You can also get a good synopsis, using sports as an example, of the potential impact here.

But I think that what’s really helpful for people to understand is the way such legislation can play out in real life.

The first thing the legislation, as written would do, is put sites like you tube and wikipedia in a position to be the government’s assistant in enforcing the law. As we saw wire tapping and phone records searches a few years ago, the government can get very heavy handed with companies when it wants to. This usually results in corporations engaging in outright battles with the government or, more likely, giving the government more information than it probably should and using heavy handed tactics to avoid the government’s gaze. It also can result in a great bit of secrecy in terms of how user content is maintained and shared with the Agencies who regulate the collector.[Remember, SOPA/PIPA are geared toward foreign sites just as the wire tapping laws were geared toward international conversations yet the effect was much more broad]

In the case of SOPA and PIPA, depending on the complete text of the bills and any subsequent regulation, the onus on a company like google to prevent piracy could be consequential enough so as to not only prevent a wide range of certain uploads be banned from the site but also providing IP addresses and other user information to the government under even the slightest suspicion that something uploaded is not owned by the user.  This includes linking to such content. In one fell swoop, the ability of independent musicians, writers, filmmakers and the like to engage even in “fair use” of copyrighted materials would take a severe hit.

More than a hit, as happens when many big bills are passed, the first sites and people to get caught end up being punished with a heavy hand. A great example of this: the initial lawsuits the recording industry filed against downloaders. In the beginning, young people with little to no income were hit with HUGE legal fees and fines changing the trajectory of their lives in many cases. Now? Hardly anyone is punished for illegally downloading at all. The threat is still there, but years later the strategy of prosecuting folks in this way is accepted as impractical and pointless across the board. The industry has essentially dropped the effort.

At the time, many analysts stated that it was impractical and that the industry should spend more time improving its business model and less time attacking the consumers it desires. But the recording industry didn’t listen, and they’re not listening now.  You can imagine that the first wave of people affected by SOPA/PIPA could very well have their lives or businesses destroyed only to see the same activity they were prosecuted for grow further into something that the government and affected industry simply cannot control.

Speaking of control, in a time when the government is downsizing across the board, I question the Federal resources needed to execute SOPA/PIPA in the way that it is intended. The United States Congress may pass laws, but they do not enforce them, nor do they write the regulations that provide specific interpretations of the law’s implications–nor do they always properly fund them. Not only would a cash strapped Federal government have to write regulations to flesh out SOPA/PIPA, it’d be responsible for its enforcement.

Without giving a specific example, there are many cases in which Agencies use a method called “targeting resources” to enforce policies that are on the books for programs/laws that are under funded. Using this model, Agencies examine the activities of those who are a HIGH RISK and pay very little attention to other possible offenders. It’s a tacit admission that the Agency doesn’t have enough resources to enforce the law in a balanced manner. There’s no reason to believe that with the infinite size of the world wide web that SOPA/PIPA wouldn’t become yet another example of resource-based enforcement tactics. Not to mention the political incentive to “make examples” our of certain cases.

A few months ago, a couple hip hop sites were shut down for a period of time due to suspected copyright infringement by the Department of Homeland Security. As any blogger knows, record labels often send  songs to sites as a promotional tactic. The music sites then entice readers by labeling the music as “exclusive” or “leaked” –something that benefits both the label and the blog site. Label gets to test the feedback for the song and the blog gets to look like it got its hands on something no one else could.  In this instance, Universal records seemed to want to have it both ways: don’t post the music I don’t send you. Even though, over time, what was sent can be difficult to track due to simple issues like employee turnover and recordkeeping.

Both sites were later restored. Not many people are talking, but you can presume the sites were found either not prosecutable or not worth prosecuting. If you apply the same sort of thing to SOPA/PIPA, you can be going about your business one day and have your site snatched down only to later find you did nothing at all or what you did do wasn’t adequate to warrant the resources it would take to punish you further. in other words, you chance having a business ruined for nothing. In the case of the two music sites, they were restored rather quickly. However, there’s no reason to believe sites or businesses, and by proxy lives, couldn’t be held in limbo for years at a time.

As many have stated, additional action needs to be taken to protect creators from piracy. However, that legislation should be practical, balanced, and reflect an understanding of today’s web and the future of the web. SOPA/PIPA seem to be examples of what happens when Congress is largely disconnected from the internet and obtains the bulk of its information and advice from a very closed set of powerful groups on a subject they know little about individually or collectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January17,2012

When Facebook Suggests You Friend The Guy Who Raped You

I feel like I’ve blogged way too much about Facebook as of late, but there always seems to be a new angle to explore. I’ve complained before about Facebook suggesting you friend people…sometimes the annoyance of friend suggestions are as simple as being suggested to friend someone who was mean to you in high school. But sometimes facebook asks you to friend people who have abused you in some way. It makes using facebook a little less desirable because friendship suggestions are based on mutual friendships–not on interests or something else that would be way more helpful in my opinion.

Recently, a woman wrote in the NY Times that facebook had suggested she friend a guy that raped her as a pre-teen.

Thirty-eight years later, I browsed through the Facebook friends of the boy who was the first to rape me, noticing names I remembered from high school. In his recent photos were snapshots of a boy with his nose and a pretty teenage girl with long silky hair parted in the middle. He gripped a beer while his belly drooped over his jeans. I found some older photos of his wedding, him with a pretty young bride.

So I went back to his profile page and typed a private message: “I hope that night has haunted you. I was naïve and a virgin. I see you have a teenage daughter now. Better keep her safe from guys like you.”

I wanted to hate him and hurt him but realized that the only way to be free was to let it all go. When I defriended him I felt strong. The past was the past, and my mouth wasn’t covered anymore.

It’s a pretty powerful story, I’d suggest everyone read the whole thing.

When social media first took off, all folks talked about is how disconnected we were becoming. And the end result seems to be the opposite–we can’t leave things and people behind anymore no matter how hard we try!! Unless, of course, we choose not to participate in a part of society that may happen online but has very real life incentives in addition to the consequences.

Sidebar: Some of the commenters blamed the writer for not telling the man’s wife he was a rapist. I’m not so sure about that…mainly because I believe that women who are involved with those kinds of men often are already aware, assuming he hasn’t changed in all those years. I’m not sure. It was on my mind, though.

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January17,2012

Linking Back To Your Favorite Blogger — You

Recently, I realized how imperative it is to link back to yourself. I knew it was important but I didn’t realize how much so. In looking back over my analytics on my sports blog, I realized that unlike on this blog, the bulk of my readers are new people. That’s not necessarily a good thing. It’s not bad…cause I have quite a few regular readers. But, it does mean that there is work to be done in terms of reader retention. And while you have people on your site, one of the best things you can do is introduce them to other stuff you’ve written via linking.

In order to do a better job linking back to yourself, you have to either remember what you wrote (which is impossible for me!) or find a way to ensure old posts are at the ready. I’m interested in hearing other people’s techniques for doing this.

Mine?

One, I am cleaning up my tags and categories so that everything becomes easier to find for me and for the reader. Secondly, I am manually listing out every post I’ve ever written and putting them in an Evernote notebook (more on the many wonderful uses of Evernote later) so that I can easily retrieve for linking back (and also for posting on twitter, sending to other web sites etc etc).

So yeah, if I have any readers left here (and analytics SAY I DO!! That there are 1K unique readers who visit this blog every month!) I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and how you’re making sure you’re linking back to your favorite blogger!

 

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January6,2012

Do You Have a Facebook “Dummy” Account Yet?

One thing I’ve noticed about folks on facebook is that many seem to understand the dangers of having certain information searchable for employers. And, for the most part it seems, people with white collar jobs where that sort of thing tends to matter more are a little less public with sharing things that might get them fired. Although, it must be stated, that most people still aren’t making full use of their privacy settings.

But the other side to facebook “danger” is the use of information: traced clicks, having your information sold, or, my personal favorite, facebook smacking one of your profile pics beside some ad for a company that you know nothing about. Those are the things that only savvy heavy internet users tend to pay attention to and care about. The proof of that is in the fact that no matter how much tech and personal privacy sites put out about facebook-or how much advocacy groups sue the site–people are still using it and sites are still asking you to use facebook to connect. Not too long ago, facebook was tracking users’ activity AFTER they’d logged off. That story barely was a blip on the radar.

For a long time I refused to ever connect facebook to anything. It was the principle of the thing. But now I’ve succumbed. Why? cause it’s soooo much easier than plugging in a user names and password. And for someone who has a blog where they need to comment on other sites more often, facebook makes the whole thing easier. I’ve actually decided that when my sports blog is redesigned, I’m going to move all comments on the facebook page a la Grantland.

A few readers have already complained about this. My response: I’m sorry..perhaps you should get a dummy account.

I know they think I’m being a little arrogant suggesting that they create a faux facebook account just to comment on my blog, but my advice is really less about my blog and more about using the internet to your advantage. Something I think we all should be looking to do.

Facebook is largely in control and now the only thing we can do in rebellion is to get more out of the site than it gets out of us. There’s no rule saying you can’t have a facebook page with a dumb photo, a fake location, and no status updates. Hell, a lot of people do that for their regular accounts. A dummy account is a convenient way to leverage the partnership that facebook has with some of your favorite sites while still retaining control over the information you post–or in this case the information you don’t.

For many folks facebook is a way to connect with former classmates and colleagues and others that you are interested in enough to know what’s going on in their lives but not entertained by enough to follow on twitter–assuming they even tweet. Secondarily, facebook is a photo storage and sharing site. And it’s really hard to beat. But I see facebook’s primary role being altered to a middle man between you and the rest of the web. And opening your private data to a middle man rarely works out well, ask anyone who’s been taken down in a ponzi scheme.

I’m happy with my decision to use a facebook dummy account. And honestly it’s not all that dummy—my real location and alma mater is on there. I also have ONE profile photo. If anyone tags me in a photo, I disconnect the tag. I’m not opposed to unfriending the person either. I don’t have a “regular” account because facebook just isn’t “for me” anymore. I’m connected in so many other ways.

So…I’m wondering, am I the only one thinking dummy accounts should rise in popularity?

 

 

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December12,2011

Congrats Forbes: You Printed One of the Most Offensive Things I’ve Ever Read

I’m not going to spend much time on this post because it makes me irate. But Forbes published an article by Gene Marks titled “If I Were A Poor Black Kid.”  I’m always wary of anything written that purports to have the author put himself in another person’s shoes. Because, quite frankly, it isn’t possible. The best thing you can ever do is assess a situation and provide advice based on the challenges. Mr. Marks did NEITHER before he wrote his piece. How do I know? Cause everything he said has been debunked by others. It’s no surprise that Mr. Marks is a business and technology writer and perhaps he should stick to those subjects.

Let’s quickly eviscerate his nonsense.

The biggest problem here is that Mr. Marks puts actions in the hands of a child that are, for all intents and purposes, out of the child’s control.

If I was a poor black kid I would first and most importantly work to make sure I got the best grades possible. I would make it my #1 priority to be able to read sufficiently. And the very best students, even at the worst schools, have more opportunities.  Getting good grades is the key to having more options.  With good grades you can choose different, better paths.  If you do poorly in school, particularly in a lousy school, you’re severely limiting the limited opportunities you have.

In one fell swoop Mr. Marks ignores ever single thing in a child’s life that impacts their reading ability and grades: the child’s health, the health of the parents, the school, the teachers, the responsibilities the child has at home, among others.

This is odd because Mr. Marks WANTS poor kids to rely on others to get ahead:

If I was a poor black kid I would get technical.  I would learn software.  I would learn how to write code.  I would seek out courses in my high school that teaches these skills or figure out where to learn more online.  I would study on my own.  I would make sure my writing and communication skills stay polished.

Because a poor black kid who gets good grades, has a part time job and becomes proficient with a technical skill will go to college.  There is financial aid available.  There are programs available.  And no matter what he or she majors in that person will have opportunities.  They will find jobs in a country of business owners like me who are starved for smart, skilled people. They will succeed.

So…a poor black kid needs BOTH secondary schools AND colleges to provide guidance and financial assistance. Wouldn’t it then follow that he needs them to let him know that this guidance and financial assistance exists?

 

He goes on to write:

And I would use the technology available to me as a student.  I know a few school teachers and they tell me that many inner city parents usually have or can afford cheap computers and internet service nowadays.  That because (and sadly) it’s oftentimes a necessary thing to keep their kids safe at home then on the streets.  And libraries and schools have computers available too.  Computers can be purchased cheaply at outlets like TigerDirect and Dell’s Outlet.  Professional organizations like accountants and architects often offer used computers from their members, sometimes at no cost at all.

If I was a poor black kid I’d use the free technology available to help me study.  I’d become expert at Google Scholar.   I’d visit study sites like SparkNotes andCliffsNotes to help me understand books.  I’d watch relevant teachings onAcademic EarthTED and the Khan Academy.  (I say relevant because some of these lectures may not be related to my work or too advanced for my age. But there are plenty of videos on these sites that are suitable to my studies and would help me stand out.)  I would also, when possible, get my books for free at Project Gutenberg and learn how to do research at the CIA World Factbookand Wikipedia to help me with my studies.

If you read my blog, you know that I have worked in politics and government for a long time. I am almost 30. I earn six figures each year and am constantly on the computer. My question: What are these sites? I have never heard of most of these sites? In terms of Wikipedia, is that now an official source in school? And what does the CIA world factbook help you do in secondary school? Some of the other sites he goes on to list like Evernote are sites I just recently discovered. I love Evernote. How I would have used it as a kid is beyond my imagination. Skype  as well (yes poor black kids should skype their way into college, apparently).

As far as internet is concerned, Marks is hoping that he, as a poor black child, will be one of the ones that CAN afford a computer and internet (however cheap). Also, what’s cheap to an impoverished person? He should have listed an acceptable price that he’d be willing (able?) to pay as a poor black kid. To speak from experience, growing up in a rural area, internet service isn’t cheap nor is it accessible to many–it’s also slow and takes triple the amount of time to do work than a faster connection.

Mr. Marks suggests that poor kids go to the library. Oh you mean the ones that are closing at a fast clip? So that they can wait in line for a computer behind all the adults (like their parents) who are using them to apply for jobs?

My goodness Mr. Marks, a busy man such as yourself should know there are only so many hours in a day.

Now, onto his worst point:

Or even a private school.  Most private schools I know are filled to the brim with the 1%.  That’s because these schools are exclusive and expensive, costing anywhere between $20 and $50k per year.    But there’s a secret about them.  Most have scholarship programs.  Most have boards of trustees that want to give opportunities to kids that can’t afford the tuition.  Many would provide funding for not only tuition but also for transportation or even boarding.  Trust me, they want to show diversity.  They want to show smiling, smart kids of many different colors and races on their fundraising brochures.   If I was a poor black kid I’d be using technology to research these schools on the internet too and making them know that I exist and that I get good grades want to go to their school.

Okay…I don’t even know where to begin. Are there enough scholarships at all private schools for all poor people to go if they applied? If not, why bring up an option that isn’t readily available to all kids? Further, who would even know this? Many kids who take advantage of scholarships and voucher programs don’t find out about them on the internet–they find out from adults like Mr. Marks who happen to work as guidance counselors or social workers etc.

The bottom line here is that Mr. Marks puts the future of a child completely and totally in the child’s hands expecting poor black kids to know things that most children, of any income level, simply would not know. If children are capable of finding out everything they need to know on their own and addressing it all themselves then why do we call them children? Let’s just get rid of those pesky child labor laws and put these 10 year olds to work. Maybe we can start by having them paint the schools just like Newt Gingrich suggests.

The best thing the article does is show that in order to overcome disadvantages poor people really need to be up an additional 8 hours daily at the very least. No wonder my mama used to always say “there just ain’t enough hours in a day.”

Mr. Marks has one thing right: there ARE services and resources that can help poor people make up for SOME of the disadvantages of being poor. However, those services and resources are disappearing quickly, hard to come by, limited in scope, and barely promoted to those who need them. If I were a well-to-do middle age white man who thought like Mr. Marks, I’d go pick black kids up and take them to the library, visit poor schools and help poor black kids’ parents fill out those abundantly available private school scholarships. Maybe I’d use my cushy Forbes column to advocate for better schools, nationwide broadband access, and more computers in libraries that do exist. Perhaps I’d even let a few black kids come over and use my computer.

But I know for sure that if I were Mr. Marks I would have used technology to find out that most of what he said has already been addressed by people who study sociology. How can someone so obviously connected be so utterly DISconnected?

 

 

 

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October28,2011

Decoding Hermain Cain’s New Campaign Ad

Ain’t no way in hell Hermain Cain should be running the country. That being said, I finally got a chance to check out his new campaign video. After almost a week of reading tweets about whether or not the video was “real,” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I have to say, as weird as it is, there’s some genius there.

Using an old Hollywood western style, the video successfully conveys Cain’s primary message which is “Hey! I’m just as white as you are, thank you very much!”

The video starts with his Chief of staff Mark Block, an older white male, saying what an honor it’s been to work for Cain. You get the feeling that there is a good chance that this man may have shot the Sheriff AND the Deputy. After giving his spiel about whatever it is that America needs that we really don’t, he ends his statement by taking a puff of a cigarette and blowing the smoke right in the viewer’s face.

How’s that for thumbing the nose at everything that America’s wimpy side stands for?   What may look like some silly hypermasculine puff of smoke to you was really a coded action. With that puff, Block just told all of you that Cain isn’t some soft, new-age, PETA-supporting, we-are-the-world, race-speechifying Obama supporter. This is a guy who doesn’t mind if you smoke, eat copious amounts of red meat, or carry a gun onto school property.

When times are hard, nostalgia reigns supreme and Cain’s ad provides a healthy dose of it. The narrative that America has gotten too “soft” is a popular one in red states. Lots of Americans long for a time before there were regulations that protected us from companies, strangers, and ourselves. When you could smoke a cigarette without everyone looking at you like some sort of pariah. There is a direct correlation, in some Americans’ minds, between America’s one-time strength and the popular norms and values of that time.

Of course those would be the norms and values they like to remember like smoking in public places, not the ones they conveniently forget like openly accepted racism and sexism (though I gather they don’t think that was all that bad). Cain’s supporters want America to be free again whether that means exercising some prejudice or simply smoking while having a drink at the bar.

The song you hear in the background “I Am America” is a perfect complement to the video and so is Block’s immediately preceding line about taking the country back. Cain’s face shows up right as the lyrics begin to play and there’s a subtle message that again, as dark as Cain may be, he’s just as whitebread as you and the rest of your family. With this video and subsequent sustained messaging, Cain may effectively detach “taking the country back” from racially coded language and reduce it to merely politically-coded. Can you take the country back from blacks if a black man is leading the charge? Literally, yes. Figuratively, no.

On a whole, this video spits in the face of almost everything I learned studying elections and media. Of course, my original study took place long before you tube and the advent of online viral campaigns.  But it gets one thing right for sure–it portrays the candidate in a way that will appeal to his audience. And due to the fact that many folks in red states have shown a distaste for negative ad campaigns when polled, Cain was wise to avoid yet another formulaic 30 second take-down of an opponent.

 

 

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October10,2011

The Biggest Issue I have With Google Plus — WHY ARE YOU ADDING ME?

First of all, is anyone still using Google Plus? I can honestly say that I was NOT at all looking forward to maintaining another social network. I joined Google Plus because I heard that when it comes to sharing it really beats twitter. Or, at least it was the first couple weeks it was out. I do notice that people are RTing blog and news posts a lot less these days and I think that a lot of it has to do with long term use of twitter changing the landscape of how people feel about those they follow and the content they post. I have some other theories too…

But we’re not here for that right now!

I did join google plus, I started adding people to circles.  My main purpose for google plus was to enhance football conversations as a complement to my football blog. I tweeted to my twitter followers that if they want to be in my football circle to add me. So…people start adding me. I quickly note that some of the people adding me do not like football. I know this for a fact!

So…why were adding me?

Obviously, the answer to this is because they want to keep up with my non-football updates. But how would I know that? See, when someone follows you on twitter it’s easy for them to follow and unfollow if you’re content isn’t what they’re looking for. When someone adds you on facebook, they’re getting whatever you post to your timeline that is accessible to them. They know that they won’t like everything you post, and they’re not looking to do so.

But on Google Plus, you have NO CLUE why people are adding you. And it makes it a much harder social network to manage, especially if your plan is to be a one-trick pony.

The way I’ve tried to solve this problem is by creating a temporary circle I called “why did you add me?” I posted an update to ONLY that circle that said tell me which circle you’d like to be added to: football, social media, or general updates. This is a fine strategy except that most of the people in that temporary circle will never see the post. Should I repost? I don’t know.

The best way to achieve this goal is to tag the folks in an update so that they get a notification about it. That’d be fine if I didn’t have 106 requests.

What google doesn’t seem to understand, generally speaking, is that people want to be able to choose how they use a social network. This is the same problem that surfaced with google suspending accounts that don’t use real names. Why would I use my real name when everyone on the web knows me by “J Danielle?” For a supposedly groundbreaking social media site, there’s absolutely no respect or attention to the personalities that exist online.

Getting back to choosing how you use a site, there’s no fool proof or easy way to separate people in a way that lets “influencers” reach the right audience and also helps “audiences” get tailored content.

I have other issues with google plus as well, such as the SPAM. I mean who wants email notification that a spammer added you to a circle?

I’d be interested to see how others are using google plus? Is there a way to separate people appropriately that I haven’t found yet? if you can totally debunk my argument by showing me how to achieve my goal, that would be absolutely great.

 

 

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October10,2011

On My Sudden Hiatus From Media Strut

I seriously cannot believe I haven’t blogged on this web site 4 months. One of the things I really hate is when I visit a blog and the person says “sorry I haven’t updated in a while.” I vowed to never be one of those people. So I won’t be. Plus I don’t assume that anyone wants to hear what I have to say though I hope you do!

I haven’t been blogging on Media Strut for three reasons.

1. I have a football blog that has kinda taken off. I started almost a year to this day–October 10th, 2010. In grooming the football blog which can be found here, I just didn’t have time to nurture Media Strut. Now that I’ve hired someone to handle the promotion of that site, my goal is to pick up on MS again and shake it alive.

2. I got utterly tired of politics. Burnt out on it. Pooped. Done for. Typically, I take about two weeks off from reading news and politics stuff every couple of months. But this time that two weeks extended into a month, and then almost two months. I didn’t start reading again really until Amy Winehouse passed away. In searching for information on her, I noted that their had been a shooting at a camp in Norway and a famine in East Africa — neither of which I knew about at the time.  Burying my hand in the football sand was great for a while but not realistic for me in the long term.

3. Media Strut is a little over a year old now. And the year mark is when blogs either fail or hit their stride. When MS hit the year mark, I wasn’t sure where I was. The blog is DEFINITELY not a fail from a numbers perspective, although most of my readers finally stopped coming by around late July. However, from a voice and style standpoint I think this site needs work. Originally I wanted to give out a lot of advice on speechwriting, dealing with the media and things like that. And I definitely think there’s room to do that here, but it probably needs to more consistent with the “analysis” route most of my posts seem to have taken. At any rate, I still have to find my footing. I don’t want this blog to be too random…I want people to know why they come here and I want them to stay once they arrive. woot!

Right now I’m looking at a goal of blogging three times a week. That’s the most I can hope for now that I’m editing other people’s blogs, freelance writing and blogging on two sites. And, of course, writing speeches and op-eds and media coaching some knowns and unknowns. I still see Media Strut as a site with great potential so I’m hoping to get back on path, regain readers, and get more feedback than ever.

Sidenote: There was a conversation on twitter (that I think I started sort of?) about the need for better monitoring of black women in the media. I’ve given it some thought and may create a special category on MediaStrut for that purpose. I don’t see this becoming a “black blog,” though, cause race is not my area of interest or expertise (if you can call race an area of expertise–that’s debatable).

 

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June1,2011

Post Calls Single Ladies “Embarrassing”; I Comment on Giving Bad Black Shows Ratings

Like a lot of people, when VH1′s basketball wives ended on Sunday night I was prepared to make the transition in to LisaRay McCoy and Stacy Dash’s new show “Single Ladies.” I definitely did not have my hopes up–although McCoy and Dash are two of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen, neither can act very well. McCoy’s acting is particularly painful and always has been. That fact makes it even funnier that the show was designed around her.

Unfortunately, 90 seconds into the show, the acting and premise made me so comfortable, I didn’t last another 90 seconds much less two hours.

If you want to know the exact time I turned away and never came back to the show, it was when Dash is yelling at some guy “IF YOU LIKED IT YOU SHOULD HAVE PUT A RING ON IT.”

That line told me all that I needed to know about the show’s lack of appeal to my own sensibilities.  Carrie from Sex and the City would have NEVER said that!  And this is coming from, again, someone who had just finished watching (and enjoying) Basketball Wives. And, whose favorite character is the villain Evelyn Lozada.

 

Judging from the “Single Ladies” trailer, the tweets on my twitter timeline, and the 2 minutes I suffered through, I don’t think I missed much by turning away. I would guess that the show tries to be some amalgamation of things black women want to see themselves as (attractive and living well) with some fantasy (hot sex and controversy) mixed in. But this approach may have missed the boat.

From the Post:

The women seem to be operating from a false sense of empowerment, a soulfulness that unfortunately reads as soullessness. The men all talk like that gran­dilo­­quently suave Old Spice spokesman who rides his stallion shirtless. “Single Ladies” dares the more sheltered among us to ask: “Are there people who really look and talk like this?”

When I read that quote I immediately thought of Beyonce’s music and Tyrese’s twitter timeline. Anyway, the Post pulls no punches and says the show is embarrassingly bad.

Since I didn’t watch the show, I can’t review it, but you’re welcome to do so in comments.

The real reason I wrote this post is to share something that was told to me a while back.

On the issue of blacks supporting television shows even when they’re bad in order to keep shows with with predominately black casts on the air or help them get greenlit in the future. I talked to some folks in the television industry and they pointed out to me how blacks supporting shows doesn’t keep those shows on the air.

For example, “The Game” had solid ratings when it was cancelled as have other black shows that have appeared on network television. In many cases, networks use black audiences to build an audience and get us watching other shows and the like. So while blacks think they are playing the “ratings” game,  many times they are simply being played.

Thoughts?

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