Tag: Media

2017, Books, Non-Fiction

Weaponized Lies (2017) by Daniel J. Levitin

This is a layman’s summary of how to understand probability and statistics and other critical thinking tools Levitin feels are necessary to have in the era of “Post-Truth”. It’s very much meant for the lay reader and it’s likely an expert in statistics or (especially) probability will be bored and possibly even annoyed. At this …

2017, TV

The Problem with Apu (2017, Michael Melamedoff)

The Problem with Apu is a brief, made-for-TV documentary about how the only major American (east) Indian character on TV for a very long time was a stereotype voiced by a white guy. As a white guy myself, of course I never had any problems with Apu. Fortunately we now live in an age where …

2012, Books, Non-Fiction, TV

The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Forever [Updated] (2012) by Alan Sepinwall

Sometime while I was making my way through The Wire and Deadwood for the first time, I had an idea for a book. It would be about how a bunch of HBO shows, and a few other select shows, altered the nature of fictional TV series (drama but also comedy) forever, finally bringing TV to …

1985

Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death is a frustrating and maddening book that might be better called Old Man Yells at New Technology and About How Things Were Better Before He Was Born. It’s considered a classic examination of the problems of new technology, which I find odd given how shoddily the argument is made. If this …

1987, Movies

Broadcast News (1987, James L. Brooks)

This is a well-meaning satire of television news and where it was headed in the 1980s (i.e. where we are today with infotainment) that is hijacked by a love triangle, which prevents it from turning into the 80s Network, which is certainly could have been.

2013, Books, Journalism, Non-Fiction, Society

Informing the News (2013) by Thomas E. Patterson

This book was written to make the case for “knowledge-based” journalism. It was sponsored by an initiative that is trying to establish that kind of journalism. The author believes strongly in the cause and has been a crucial part of the initiative that sponsored his work here.

2016, Movies

The Witness (2016, James D. Solomon)

We’ve all heard the story of the woman who was murdered in New York City in sight of thirty eight people who did nothing, a story that told us all of the moral degradation of modern urban society. I thought the story was apocryphal. Well, this movie is about her brother, his quest to find …

2011, Movies

Big Boys Gone Bananas (2011, Fredrick Gertten)

Regardless of what you think of Fredrick Gertten’s Bananas!* – a film I was skeptical of in part because of the film itself and, likely, in part, because of Dole’s campaign of defamation against Mr. Gertten – I doubt you believe that it should be censored (especially if you’ve never seen it). I have seen …

2014, Movies

Merchants of Doubt (2014, Robert Kenner)

This is a compelling film about how corporations and lobby groups use pundits to undermine scientific consensuses that would otherwise hurt their profits. The film examines the bag of tricks both the tobacco industry and the oil industry have used to fool the American public about both the short and long term health risks of …

1968, 2015, Movies

Best of Enemies (2015, Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville)

When I was younger, I used to long for the days when US news shows were just the news, and when talk shows had actual intellectuals on, on occasion, to debate. I remember once seeing a clip many years ago where Gore Vidal – whom I have a love/hate relationship with – and Norman Mailer …

Politics, Society

Please, everyone, just calm down

Please, everyone, let’s just calm down a little. Let’s try to have a sense of perspective. Let’s try to think about the big picture. I know that’s very difficult when someone you never met dies, but let’s try to be bigger than knee-jerk reactions this one time.

Politics, Society

Treason is what you make it

I am a regular viewer of the Amazing Race, the only “reality” show I can handle which isn’t cooking-related. I am aware that the show is not exactly what it seems, as I am aware that it is edited and that the crew manipulate the results. I don’t care. I enjoy the “race” aspect of …

Journalism, Politics

Journalism and Democracy

We are at a time when journalism – or at least the potential to perform journalism – has become democratized in ways previously never thought possible. There are more “journalists” and outlets supposedly performing “journalism” than ever existed in history before. There are more people and outlets posing as journalistic. There is more coverage of …

2012, Economics, Politics

The Fiscal Cliff: Another triumph of rhetoric over policy

I am not economist and perhaps that’s why I have trouble understanding the panic and the political stubbornness around the non-crisis of the so-called “fiscal cliff. (On the other hand, it is perhaps because of the fact that I am a not an economist that I have perspective, something that seems to be sadly lacking in most …

Journalism, Music

Should I stop reading Exclaim!?

In the December 2012 issue of Exclaim! there is an interview with an extremely famous, near-ubiquitous pop-star. She’s not Madonna-famous, but she’s probably the next level down. On another page, a featurette compares the artist behind the “most popular song of 2012” with another, more-established artist (who, I must say, has been featured in the …

2011, Books, Non-Fiction

Bad Science (2011) by Ben Goldacre

First off, this is pretty much an essential read for anyone who doesn’t have a science background. Goldacre gives an easy to understand and funny crash course in basic evaluative tools to assess scientific studies

Music, RIP

Dick Clark is Dead

Dick Clark died the other day. I woke up to a CTV news feature which included a CTV employee saying that Clark had “real talent” and was very nice… unlike all those other “middling talents” who weren’t so nice. If Clark had real talent, I wonder what all those musicians he showcased had? Extra-real talent?

2011, Basketball, Journalism, Playoffs, Sports

Media Bias in the 2011 NBA Finals

So maybe I’m just a homer, and I can’t be objective about my second favourite basketball team (I certainly couldn’t be in 2006), but it seemed like everything was “Miami is doing this well” / “Miami isn’t doing this well” and very little was about Dallas. Worse, it seemed like Jackson had already decided Miami …

2011, Hockey, Sports, The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke

The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke: Media Complicity in Maintaining Fan Delusions

On Blue and White Tonight this evening Gord Stellick said something to the effect of “We can’t figure out how many games the Leafs have to win, they just have to win games. Whether it’s 11-2, or 9-4, or whatever, they have to win a lot of games.”

2010, Hockey, Sports, The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke

The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke: 2010 Off-season Trade Rumours

So today there is a column in the Star today suggesting that Leafs are trying to trade for three players: Dan Hamhuis Patrick Sharp Nathan Horton

Baseball, Journalism, Sports

The Toronto Sports Media Strikes Again

Our beloved sports media (specifically the Star) cannot hold a consistent position on anything, it seems. Obviously, the best example of this is Damien Cox and his endlessly wavering positions on everything. (Currently, this fixation is the Bettman-Balsillie affair: one day Bettman and the league are in the right, the next Balsillie is, and so …

2007, Politics, Society, TV

The Daily Show, Conservapedia

A friend of my once mentioned that he didn’t like the Daily Show that much because it was too “left wing.” To call the Daily Show left wing is to buy in to the US bullshit about “right-left.” This supposed distinction (which isn’t much of one at all), makes these terms virtually meaningless except as applies …