Showing posts with label Atlanta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atlanta. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I'll bet they stomp puppies, too

I don't believe in torture. I am willing, however, to consider an exception to this for certain multinational bankers after watching the above WSB-TV report.

Others well to my right, though, might think the real problem down in Georgia is that Fulton County sheriff's deputies are a bunch of squishy-soft socialists. For refusing to throw a 103-year-old woman and her 83-year-old daughter out of their house and onto the street after Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Chase foreclosed on them, with the blessing of a local judge.

Chase, which services the loan for Deutsche Bank, took $25 billion in TARP money from the American taxpayer after investment bankers blew up the U.S. economy. And those who received much financial mercy from the American government and people showed none to two little old ladies in the dead of winter.

That is, until the TV cameras showed up, and the cops discovered that sometimes the law is no fit thing for a just man to enforce.

THERE'S EVEN a scripture for this. Let us turn to Matthew, Chapter 18:
21 Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.

When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.

Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.

At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’

Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.

When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’

29 Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.

Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.

His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.

Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’

34 Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.

35 So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”
WATERBOARDING: It's not just for Muslim "enemy combatants."

I wonder whether the present crop of publicly God-fearing Republican presidential candidates -- some of whom are chomping at the bit to torture somebody . . .
anybody -- are willing to go there with the very folks the Bible says have it coming. Their pals the bankers.

Something tells me the answer is no.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hip-hop all the way to hell

Culture precedes politics . . . and everything else.

Music both produces and is produced by a culture.

A culture centered on titty bars -- music deemed stripper friendly before it can burrow into your children's brains -- is no culture at all. It is an anticulture.

NPR was on the anticulture beat Thursday. I'm not so sure the reporter would have been this bemused had she known what she was dealing with. Then again, maybe the NPR report is part of the anticulture just as much as titty-bar-tested hip-hop singles -- I don't know.

JUDGE for yourself:
Hip-hop producers have been breaking records in Atlanta strip clubs for a long time now — at least as far back as 2003, when Lil Jon was doing it with songs like, "Get Low." He's been quoted as saying "the butts don't lie," meaning if the strippers can dance to it, the song has potential. In Tamara Palmer's book, Country Fried Soul: Adventures in Dirty South Hip Hop, Lil Jon says "Get Low" had a slow start: the dancers "didn't feel it at first." But eventually it grew on them and several dancers at different strip clubs asked the DJs to play it during their stage sets. "Get Low" took off — in mainstream clubs and on radio and TV across the country.

What attracted us to this story was that the strippers seemed to have a lot of power in the hip-hop hit-making process. Obviously they are the focal point when a new song is being played. As DJ Scream told me, "There's nothing like seeing a woman dance to a record. There's records that I hate and when I see a woman dancing I think, 'It's not that bad.'"

Another reason strip clubs are the perfect place to test out a song is the clientele. In Atlanta, I'm told nobody thinks twice about going to strip clubs for a bite to eat or just a night out. They're so popular that some of the dancers are treated like local celebrities.

On any given night you might find record label execs and radio programmers, other professionals, college students and couples watching the booty shake.

The dancers have an incentive to make a song exciting: They get paid when the patrons 'make it rain,' or throw money on the stage while they're dancing. I asked Sweet Pea, one of the main dancers in the Snack Pack at Magic City, if she'd ever refused to dance to a song she didn't like. She made it sound as though that just doesn't happen. "If it's got a good beat, you can dance to it," she said. In other words, even if she doesn't think a song has potential, she'll give it a try because she knows the folks from the record label will make it rain extra hard when she's dancing to their song.

As for the strip club DJs, they get paid when the dancers tip them at the end of the night. So it's in their best interest to keep the dancers happy and play whatever songs they request. Record label executives usually spend a lot of money on those nights they're trying to break a record, not just on the dancers but on drinks and food. When the song is working, and the dancers are happy, it might rub off on the patrons who — it's hoped — will spend even more money. So the strip club owners fully embrace the process. Sweet Pea says, "It's like a little promotional circle." One DJ told me, "We're all just hustling each other."
ANTICULTURES CANNOT long endure. They're either going to collapse utterly of their own societal, dysfunctional weight, or they're going to fold like a cheap tent before some opportunistic onslaught. See Visigoths, The.

Decline and fall -- one way or the other.

Laugh if you like. The ancient Romans did.

Monday, May 04, 2009

This is an ex-newspaper!

It's over.

The American newspaper is dead, and we just need to start figuring out what replaces it. We need to start figuring out what keeps quality journalism alive.

I don't have any empirical data telling me the newspaper is dead, dead, dead. I do, though, have a nose that can smell a rotting corpse.

And when
this (see right) is the best a major metro newspaper can come up with for a redesign, the parrot has expired.

Of course, the people who have gotten newspapers into their present state of repose would just have us believe that institutions like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution aren't dead, they're just pining for the fjords.

THE EDITOR of the Journal-Constitution, Julia Wallace, is one of those trying to convince us her newspaper is not an ex-parrot:
Nearly two years ago, we set out to chart a course for the future. As information habits changed and more of our print audience shifted to the Internet, we knew the status quo was not an option. A struggling economy only added to the challenge before us.

We thought the best answers would come from our readers. We talked to thousands of them. They guided us to the new product you’re holding in your hands today.

This daily newspaper is one designed for newspaper readers. For years our industry has chased those elusive nonreaders. Our market research led us down a different path. What we’d have to do to win over those nonreaders risked driving away our core readers. We believe we can thrive by increasing the satisfaction of those who already engage with us regularly. So . . . you see a newspaper that looks and reads very much like a newspaper.

We’ve invested millions in press upgrades, more color and a more newsy, sophisticated look. We hired an award-winning design firm, Lacava Design, from Montreal to help us create a newspaper that is easy to use and filled with information.

Also along the way, we found ways to do things more efficiently. Our reader feedback proved valuable when economic necessities forced us to scale back plans and coverage. It was our readers who helped us set priorities for what to keep and what could be sacrificed.
WE TALKED to thousands of readers. (We're blaming it on our audience research.)

We hired an award-winning design firm. (We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for this turkey. After all, nothing says "In touch with north Georgia like designers from Montreal." I'll bet the TV listings have the late news coming on at 2300h

We adopted a more newsy, sophisticated look. (We laid off all our photographers.)

Ladies and gentlemen,
this newspaper is bleedin' demised!

This paper, and others just like it, are bleedin' demised because editors and publishers didn't see the handwriting on the wall two decades ago and start looking for a new way forward. Since, classifieds have disappeared into a black hole called
Craigslist, readers have abandoned print at warp speed for various Internet offerings and The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central -- Comedy Central!
-- are where smart political commentary and sharp writing have gone to hide out.

on the other hand, are where the corncob suppositories at least keep the grim reaper alert for the next spate of layoffs.

The Daily Blab isn't dying because it didn't do enough readership surveys and tracking of how members of focus groups say they use the newspaper. The Daily Blab is "pinin' for the fjords" because of the one thing editors and publishers have forgotten: Imagination

They couldn't imagine a future different from the printed past. They couldn't imagine, amid their MBA armies of men uniformed blue suits and red ties, that newspapering -- indeed, journalism
-- is just as much artform as it is science.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution front page you see is the result of research and science. It reflects none of the passion, art and creativity involved in bringing the news to one's neighbors . . . every day

The news is an ongoing conversation -- one cooked up with equal parts yelling, reasoned argument, compassion, "just the facts, ma'am," fire in the belly, smartassery, sobriety and a good belly laugh. What you see here is a research report.

It's what everybody said they wanted in a newspaper. Only lifeless. And the Internet Revolution will proceed apace. Without newspapers.

what really gave me that gut feeling of doom? The moment I noticed the dead parrot had been nailed to his perch by the pet-shop editor owner?

It was
this, published today in Adweek:

At a time when newspapers are in a fight for survival in the Internet era, one is fighting back with an ad campaign that positions the paper as a chance to escape the tyranny of digital devices in everyday life.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has rolled out a new "Unplug. It's Sunday" campaign to promote the old-school Sunday newspaper as a refuge from the constant buzzing and beeping of smart phones, instant messages and e-mail that marks the modern workweek. The campaign, which runs until the end of the year, coincides with a recent redesign of the paper.

The Cox Enterprises paper is ironically turning to a digital agency to make the case for print.

The campaign, which costs over $1 million, is designed, in part, to reach readers of the AJC who don't get the paper on the Sunday, said Amy Chown, vp of marketing. It isn't meant to replace their Web use with the paper, she added.

"This is not an anti-Internet campaign," Chown said. "It’s not that we don’t want them to read us online. We wanted to balance the use of during the week with the paper on Sunday."

"It's about how to reposition the newspaper," said Tony Quin, CEO of IQ Interactive, the independent Atlanta digital shop that created the campaign. "We came up with the idea as a counterpoint to the digital cacophony that exists in everyone's lives. Sunday is the day to relax and do something different than you do the rest of the week."
I GET A MENTAL IMAGE of buggy-whip makers putting up billboards saying "Horseless carriages are noisy, and shoveling manure is good for you."

Besides, the Journal-Constitution ad campaign
does too undermine its digital product. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The ink-stained wretches in Atlanta could have saved themselves a lot of money and embarrassment. Before launching such a pointless and stupid campaign, they could have done one more bit of audience research.

They could have tried to pry a cellphone out of a teen-ager's hand and see what happened.

No, this is an ex-newspaper.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fresh media meat on the chopping block

The Grim Reaper puts in some overtime at yet another American newspaper. This time, it's the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

IT SEEMS 74 newsroom employees saw the handwriting on the newsprint and took buyouts. Others, including the entire news art department, just got the ax straight, no chaser, reports Scott Henry on the Creative Loafing Atlanta newsweekly web site.
But AJC staffers are most outraged by the surprise firing of newsroom assistant Mark Slockett, who had worked at the paper more than 30 years. I’m told Slockett had struggled over whether to take the buyout, but had ultimately decided against doing so because he was only a few months away from being eligible to receive full retirement benefits. I’m trying to verify this information, but I’ve already spoken to more than one newsroom employee angry over the apparent shoddy treatment of Slockett.

“This had always been a company that took care of its employees,” one staffer told me who asked not to be named. “But this seems to be an indication that they don’t care anymore.”
JOURNALISTS, just like everybody else, have to get it through their heads: You're pieces of meat.

It's a utilitarian world out there, and you're only worth what you're worth to somebody else. Truly, like
Dino used to sing, "You're nobody till somebody loves you. You're nobody till somebody cares."

American society has chosen its path, and turning back won't be easy. Because, frankly, we're all pretty much in agreement -- at least until we're the piece of meat on the chopping block.

No, in the womb or on the job in this utilitarian kind of world, you're worth only what you're worth to your betters.

You may be king, you may possess the world and it's gold,
But gold won't bring you happiness when you're growing old.
The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
You're nobody till somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love.

And quick.