WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Zohair Hussain 09.04.2013
Posted In: Culture, TV/Celebrity, Music at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
getty

'Blurred Lines': Styled vs. Sensationalized, or Why 'We Can’t Stop'

As readers' interests shift, integrity seems to lose its main market in reporting

Following last week’s “scandal” at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pacing of news and reporting made itself known as a speed force to be reckoned with. In the minute-by-minute duration and aftermath of the performance of one, Miley Cyrus, and her “partner in crime”, Robin Thicke, new age media came together to do what it does best: twitter our feed with dribble and spit-up commentary. It can’t be denied that news reporting, in many ways, is stepping further away from hard facts and closer to tabloid gossip. In a day and age where Twitter is the new paperboy, it can’t be denied that the facts are coming faster. And while this could be an opportunity for better news, more quickly, more often than not we’re trading chances for quick links to real stories with 140 character quips on MC-Hammer-like “did you see her butt”s (#chauvanistsforCyrus). The real disappointment comes, though, when we look to major media outlets (Still trusted by some. Take off the aluminum hat, Johnny.) the next day for hard-hitting news, only to see that they’ve decided to throw their own hats in the ring. With prize-winning headlines such as CNN’s “Miley Cyrus twerks, stuns VMAs crowd,” the morning news was just as obsessed as the evening newsfeed. As a reporter, a writer, an observer, this obsessive, sprawling focus is what scares me most. It isn’t the performance itself, full of dancers dressed as teddy bears or Cyrus’ gyrating hips on Thicke’s overly hyped crotch (See “Blurred Lines” for more details). It isn’t so much the event that took place, as it was the reactive reports that left an extra, bitter after taste to my morning coffee. Even arts reporting, perceived to have more lenient, pop-culture laced subject matter, used to hold itself to similar standards of respectful re-tellings of facts rather than fiction. Though there had once been a clear distinction between opinion pieces and news articles, even in the realm of aesthetic focus, the lines are suddenly more blurred than ever. And where does that leave us, the “responsible” voices? Culture is, in many ways, defined by the voices that carry out its most essential conversations. If we are of the few so lucky as to have a readership, our words carry the weight of decades of said cultural insight and historical backing. What do we have to say for ourselves when these words, our influence, sacrifice authenticity for celebrity? Integrity for popularity? What are we really accomplishing when we re-draw the line between honest reporting and scandalized, gossip mongering, and honest words inch closer to the latter? What would our (fore)mothers say? This isn’t to say that there aren’t some voices, some news outlets out there, who aren’t doing it right. While most couldn’t look away from Cyrus’ extended tongue (search “Venom” and “Marvel Comics” for more details), The Guardian, for example, wouldn’t look past the more subtly digressive implications of the performance. Did you miss the moment where the young, stage-dominant, Caucasian Miley Cyrus groped her not so white back up dancers? (The Guardian didn’t.)   Some took an even more seasoned route, using temperance techniques to stop the sensational train in its tracks. In Rolling Stone's initially deceptive write up, “It's Miley, Bitch: The Tongue That Licked the World”, Rob Sheffield gave a more balanced account of the 2013 Video Music Awards, mentioning Cyrus almost in passing, and spending his time taking equal shots at all the stars involved in what he said was MTV’s attempt to make “sure this year’s VMA party was a real show. With a little help from Miley." I ask again: What are we creating when we allow objectivity to bend to the will of popular demand, asking for glitter and jazz and sensationalized headlines? Nothing. We are creating a secular sinkhole of informational access. We lead our readers right back where they started. And that says to me that there must be a change made. The truth is, we CAN stop. If we want to. Why can’t we create insight, rather than propagate fan mongering, rather than cling to one star's fateful decision to wear her teddy bear out that night? Let the reporters report and the readers decide. It’s now or never. Robin Thicke will age (even more so, it seems) Miley Cyrus will find Disney again (and a few more times after that), “Blurred Lines” will find its way off the Billboard charts (catchy can only be caught for so long), but the honest word —that will last for…at least a few more years.  
 
 

Curmudgeon Notes 7.24.2013

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Northern Kentucky’s Sarah Jones is a statistic, one of many public school teachers caught having sex with students. Jones’ conviction joins her local identity with “former Bengals cheerleader.” Now, she could become more widely known as winner of a vexing First Amendment case.   
by Jac Kern 07.22.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Humor at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

With Kate Middleton on the verge of popping out a little prince or princess, Royal Baby Watch has reached CODE RED. So secure your fanciest fascinator — you do not want to be naked-headed when this kid enters the world — because with Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly in labor! Fans and press alike have congregated outside Buckingham Palace and the hospital where Wills-n-Kate are set up, prepping for a birth announcement, despite epic temperatures. You know, some celebrities have experienced especially tough scrutiny in the press while pregnant -- Kim K's fashion choices, Jessica Simpson's apparent marathon gestation period. And while, obviously Kate Middleton, royalty, is held to another standard, can we please talk about how she's been pregnant forever? This kid should come out with a couple giant British teefs and, with his/her prenatal care, at least the slightest understanding of the English language. Kate is approximately 13 months pregnant and 97 pounds, so I’m guessing the kid’s first words will be, “GIMMIE A BISCUIT!” So here’s hoping Kate releases a dainty hiccup (the only way I imagine her "giving birth") and lets that kid out fast! Because there's no amount of riches that can possibly make being nine+ months pregnant in the middle of a July heatwave even menially comfortable. We're pullin' for ya, gurl.UPDATE: SHE POPPED. IT'S A BOY. (Which means Queen E won't slowly poison Kate for screwing it up. GOOD JOB, KATE.) KING BABY. Geraldo Rivera says "70 is the new 50," burns all our eyes (NSFLife, but no actual privates at Large), then removes the nekkid photo from Twitter. San Diego Comic Con was this weekend, which means every movie, TV show, comic and any other piece of media that exists served up something exciting for fans to enjoy. One of which is the trailer for the Veronica Mars movie, which was totally funded by fans via Kickstarter. The Walking Dead Season Four trailer also premiered: Exciting news: Derek Wallace from The Water Boy plays a new character! Confusing news: Not even a glimpse of The Governor at the end? Wha? Everyone and their estranged Facebook friend has an opinion on the latest Rolling Stone cover, which features Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the headline, “The Bomber.” The debate is more than just over whether the Rock mag should handle news fare or tragic subject matter, though — Rolling Stone has long covered current events. The image of Tsarnaev, a photo he had posted online himself, depicts him as a cool young man. Without any context, one might assume he was a musician, a rising star — definitely not a terrorist. Is it OK to depict terrorists as cool or sexy? Did Rolling Stone simply use this tactic to create buzz for the magazine? Is this what Tsarnaev wants — Rock star status? With all the controversy about the cover and the subject, are people even reading the actual story? These are probably just a few of the questions currently cluttering your newsfeed. Local chain Tom + Chee was featured on Shark Tank back in May and, although owners Trew Quackenbush and Corey Ward ended up turning down the deal they accepted on TV, business has been booming ever since. The guys have received more than 7,000 franchise requests since their episode of Shark Tank aired two months ago, and grilled cheese-n-tomato soup fans across the country (and world?) will be able to get their hands on Tom + Chee yums with the 60 new locations expected to open in 2014. Emmy nominations were announced last week. Check them out here. For the first time ever, digital-only Netflix original series were included in the awards (House of Cards, Arrested Development and Hemlock Grove). And speaking of, I finally started watching the latest Netflix series, Orange Is the New Black, and it is awesome. Early Weeds vibe, funny, dark, great characters. It's always nice to see Donna from That '70s Show continue to be super hot. And I don't know why I'm rooting for Jason Biggs, but I like that he's in something successful. Also, Laverne Cox. Watch it.
 
 

Dummy Up

Photographer Matthew Rolston features Vent Haven figures in upcoming book

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Matthew Rolston has taken close-up portraits, startlingly realistic headshots, of some 200 figures — colloquially known as dummies — at Fort Mitchell, Ky.’s Vent Haven ventriloquism museum. The results are in a new book, Talking Heads, to be published next month by Pointed Leaf Press.  
by Mike Breen 03.29.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 09:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
drhookrs

This Date in Music History: March 29

Dr. Hook makes the cover, Perry Farrell turns 53 and Bunbury announcement coming today

On this day in 1973, wishful thinking channeled through a Pop song paid off for rootsy New Jersey Rock group Dr. Hook when they appeared on the cover of the Rolling Stone. The band formed in 1967 and, in 1970, Dr. Hook was asked to cut a couple tracks for a film that featured songs written by poet/illustrator Shel Silverstein. Those songs led to a record contract and the group continued its collaborative partnership with Silverstein. After modest success with its debut, Dr. Hook's second album, Sloppy Seconds, was completely written by Silverstein and featured what would become the band's signature song, "The Cover of the Rolling Stone." The song was a lighthearted, ironic take on the amateurish idealism of young musicians who believe that if they could only make the cover of a major magazine, they'd finally be successful. (It reminds me of my grandmother who once suggested to me that if my garage band could just get on that David Letterman show, maybe we would be more popular and successful.) The smart-asses at Rolling Stone put them on the cover in caricature form under the caption, "What's-Their-Names Make The Cover." Dr. Hook indeed became Rock stars after that and continued to have hits into the ’70s with Soft Rock material like "When You're in Love with A Beautiful Woman" and "Sexy Eyes." The band broke up in the mid-’80s. Here's the band's first big hit.Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a March 29 birthday include star actress/singer Pearl Bailey (1918); Brazilian Bossa Nova singer ("The Girl from Ipanema") Astrud Gilberto (1940); Greek musician/composer (Chariots of Fire soundtrack) Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, better known as Vangelis (1943); singer for soft rockers Toto, Bobby Kimball (1947); late smooth Jazz taxman Michael Brecker (1949); master Blues harmonica player William Clarke (1951); late original lead singer for Ohio-spawned New Wave band The Waitresses ("I Know What Boys Like"), Patty Donahue (1956); singer/harmonica player with ’90s hit makers Blues Traveler, John Popper (1967); and Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell (1959). Born Peretz Bernstein in New York City, Farrell grew up to be one of the leading generals of the Alternative music revolution of the ’90s. Besides being the engine behind one of the leading bands of Alt music's eventual mainstream takeover, Farrell created the Lollapalooza traveling festival in 1991 (the first year also served as Jane's "farewell" tour). The fest, itself a kind of traveling Woodstock, paved the way for like-minded tours like Lilith Fair and H.O.R.D.E. The traveling package tour trend petered out and, after a failed attempt at another touring fest in 2004, Lollapalooza became a stand-alone "destination" festival in Chicago's Grant Park in 2005. It remains one of the more anticipated events of its kind alongside Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Coachella in California.Farrell has reformed Jane's Addiction yet again and this summer the band is touring extensively, playing several music festivals around the world that undoubtedly owe some debt to the success of the initial Lolla tours. Jane's comes to Cincinnati to headline the opening night of the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival on July 13. Check back later today for news on Bunbury's lineup. An announcement is expected at noon. Here's some raw footage from that very first Lollapalooza in 1991, with Jane's playing "Classic Girl."
 
 

Gadhafi, Randy Newman and Rolling Stone

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Several Pop stars have found themselves in the spotlight recently for performing in service of a restrictive dictatorship … and we’re not even talking about Clear Channel! The New York Times recently highlighted a juicy tidbit from the infamous WikiLeaks cables about how celebrity performers like Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Usher and 50 Cent all accepted huge paychecks to entertain relatives of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.  

REO Speedwagon, Gucci Mane and Dire Straits

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Several months ago we told you about a new video game based on ’70s rockers REO Speedwagon. If you thought, “That has to be the weirdest, most random and unlikely band to have its own video game,” you were right. Until now.   

Robbing to Start a Record Label, Reality TV and Rolling Stone's Next Venture

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Though less in recent years, Rolling Stone magazine still publishes quality journalism. But with the imminent "Death of Print Media!," it looks like the company is preparing a fall-back plan. Stars from the American Music Awards got a sneak peak of the magazine's new venture at an after-party recently — no, it's not a new vodka or energy drink, it's The Rolling Stone Restaurant & Lounge, scheduled to open to the public next year.  

Access to Important Sources Often Means Journalists Avoid Controversial Stories

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Access is everything to reporters. We want people to talk to us, to share confidences and documents, to point us to others who will do the same. But there's a price: Don't burn your sources ... which can mean ignoring a story that will prompt the subject to slam the door (figuratively or actually) in a reporter's face. That might be one reason it took Rolling Stone to reveal the contempt for the president and other civilians to whom U.S. military officials in Afghanistan report.  

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