....LMB: "Da Superbowl"....

February 01, 2004

We'll start with some cultural criticism from Michael R. Real's book "The Super Bowl: Mythic Spectacle":

"Football centers around winning property by competition, as does capitalism. Moreover, in football the winning of property means nothing unless one wins all the property, that is, backs one's opponent to his own valueless end zone."

and

"If one were to create from scratch a sport to reflect the sexual, racial, and organizational priorities of the American power structure, it is doubtful that one could improve on football."

I've only read a snippet of that book, but it was all good subversive stuff like that. I'll bet it's out of print by now.

Then, we'll go with a little humor, Adam Felber's Non-Fan's Guide to Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Now we'll move on to MoveOn.

Surely you've heard about the anti-Bush commercial contest that the organization had, and the money they raised to have that commercial shown during the Super Bowl. Which Super Bowl broadcaster CBS (owned by Viacom) refused to play, causing outrage and flurries of petitions among liberals.

What I can't figure out is, who was actually surprised by this?

Corporate media behemoth Viacom chooses not to air an ad that:

- attacks the government which is currently tinkering with broadcast regulations
- will irk many in the audience, who don't like mixing their entertainment and their politics
- will alienate other advertisers for putting the audience off of their "buying mood" by making the viewers think about child labor, their own money situations, and the deficit
- will bore the audience because it's about the deficit
- will leave them open to the inevitable attacks by Bush supporters as evidence that CBS/Viacom is biased/liberal/anti-Bush/anti-American.

Whereas if they choose to not show it, the only negative consequence is that they will receive tens of thousands of letters from angry lefties, letters that the corporation can easily chuck in the shredder and ignore.

Is it censorship? Of course it is (unless you're one of those folks who insist that censorship by definition is a task reserved for governments). Is it surprising? Not to me.

Trying to change the political landscape while on the turf of powerful media companies with their own opposing agendas is unlikely at best.

Posted by Jake at 03:42 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

It's funny that MTV/Viacom made asses of themselves, exposing Janet Jackson's breasts during the halftime show. Ha Ha Ha! Now, get off the air.

Posted by: Eric at February 1, 2004 09:24 PM

Sports, in themselves, should be something enjoyed to take part in, watch etc. But just like other aspects of social, political, and cultural life, capitalism has corrupted this. Organized sports are basically media for hysterical patriotism and consumerism.

Posted by: Eric at February 1, 2004 09:31 PM

The problem with the censorship thing is that legally, private companies can censor all they want, there are no constitutional obligations at play here. I think it's high time that corporations are considered more than individuals, with as much power as government.

Posted by: Eric at February 1, 2004 09:41 PM

CBS doesn't air issue ads? Who knew? Cuz I always thought the notion that drinking lots of beer will make you more attractive to women was quite an issue, of itself.

Posted by: Lex at February 3, 2004 07:44 AM

I don't think there is anything wrong with watching Football. I do think there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with a white male ripping off a black woman's shirt during the half time show.

I am sick of Viacom. They put MTV2 over the air in my city. In addition to my complaint over the Superbowl stunt, the FCC has a registered complaint from me over "MTV2's Most Controversial Videos" episode which aired Friday night. It showed unedited and uncensored videos- some NEVER shown EVER before. It showed full nudity & didn't bleep out any cuss words. The worst video was by Prodigy (i think) called "Smack my bitch up" and it showed violent sexual assaults!
David Letterman also said on tv he watched the Paris Hilton video. I don't watch him any more. She is NASTY and I'm SICK of Viacom PROMOTING that nasty woman and her even nastier video.

Posted by: Alexx at February 3, 2004 11:29 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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