A New Day in My Blog-iverse
Welcome to my new world.
As you may have already noticed, the Times blogs are moving over from Blogger to Typepad, so they're changing in format, style and features. For you, it means a slightly busier interface, pictures that are smaller than usual (though you can click on them to enlarge them) and new links. For us, it means a program where we can actually upload photos instead of mirroring them from other sites -- sorry for stealing your bandwidth, dudes! -- and a more reliable blogging exprience overall.
Some of us are already grousing about the new look and feel. Those of you who read this space regularly know I love to play with my pictures, and that's going to be severely restricted here. But the move also coincides with my new tenure as times TV Critic, so a major transition right now makes a lot of sense.
With that said, I want to test your patience with a little discourse on something i'm reconnecting to these days: what it means to be a critic.
Jeff Jarvis, a media consultant who delights is saying the kind of stuff that makes traditional media tear their hair out -- like pronouncing that newspapers should fire all their critics and go hyper-local -- takes on the idea of what a critic really is and should be in a way-wired world.
In a column for the British newspaper The Guardian, Jeff asserts: "Rather than issuing pronouncements and bon mots, unchallenged, from the screening room, I’d want them to spark the discussion about entertainment: find the good voices, pinpoint the arguments, even referee debates among artists and critics. A great critic should be a magnet for fascinating discussion."
He's reacting to a trend I noticed awhile ago: that movie grosses seem impervious to critical influence. But he also surprised me by getting at the core of what I think a critics job really is.
It's easy to toss around opinions about artistic work. The arguments are so subjective, almost any position is defensible. But good critics have a way of getting you to see the work in new ways, sparking discussion by insisting on seeing below the surface of this stuff. when speaking in public, I always insist that you can learn a lot about a culture by dissecting its entertainment, ad that's what I'm going to be doing as TV Critic.
So I hope you're ready for a new course; I'm not sure where this ship is headed, but i'm determined to have fun getting us there.
Joe Redner Captivates the Country
I used to get mad at local media for riding Redner's jock so much -- going along with the hilarious notion that the strip club owner might be gay was the last straw. Then I saw what happened with the chair throwing incident.
CNN couldn't stop playing the video of Redner getting whacked by a chair thrown by political opponent Tony Katz on cable access TV. I must have seen it four times Tuesday (equal to the number of spins they gave the Canadian woman who fell on her butt after forgetting the words to the National Anthem at a hockeygame). AOL made it their featured video yesterday as well (probably to take people's minds off the way they revealed search data for thousands of customers to the world).
In fact, TV stations around the country played the clip over and over (WFLA showed the chair hitting Redner four times Monday night, but no footage of the arugment which actually started it all). And seven different uploads of the video to YouTube have garnered about 4,465 viewings.
Which just goes to prove that the world can't resist a clip of two Florida politicans living down to what we all expect of them.
Name My Blog!
I'm hoping to develop this space as a cool blend of typical TV critic stuff -- which I'll get to in subsequent posts, thank you very much -- and the media stuff I've always been doing. Which means we need something.
A new name.
Please, dear readers, help a brother out with some suggestions. I'm hoping to come up with a new name and outlook within a week or so (URL won't change, so fear not). So give me a sample of your wisdom and see if you can provide a new title for this Space Which Sucks Up My Life.