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MISCmedia MAIL for 8/18/16: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DORK
Aug 18th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We’ve got a graphic example of how to avoid looking grotesquely “fake hip,” by visually celebrating your geek. Plus: how not to headline a story about a white supremacist’s violent crime; Seattle’s “most dangerous street” gets a little less so; a trans singer-songwriter tries to find his voice again (literally); and the heat’s gonna be brutal.

MISCmedia MAIL for 8/17/16: DE-BUNK-ING
Aug 16th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

There’s more rancor over the “Bunker” police precinct. Additionally, the judge in the police-reform case takes a stand; Councilmember Sawant makes a life change; City Light’s new boss was accused of sexist behavior at his previous job; a great indie grocery’s threatened; and Jacob Lawrence’s magnum opus’s coming here next year.

MISCmedia MAIL for 7/26/16: THE NIXON WE LIKED
Jul 25th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

It’s a sad day for fans of “ghost singer” and KOMO kids’ host Marni Nixon. We also think about a victory for a police whistleblower; a potential new name for Alaskan Way; the STILL unending road work on 23rd Avenue; attempts to pump up the local arts scene; and what the Seattle U sit-in protesters still want.

MISCmedia MAIL for 7/7/16: FEELIN’ LUCKY?
Jul 6th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

On the supposedly luckiest day of the year, we explore still more trouble for Tim Eyman; a scheme to build “affordable” housing on top of parking garages; Microsoft learning how not to relate to college students; a company trying to create “viral” videos; and a broadcasting landmark’s sad end.

MISCmedia MAIL for 6/22/16: RIP CITY RIP-OFF?
Jun 21st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

A Portland sportswriter sees the TrailBlazers hiring the ex-Sonics announcer, and imagines a secret plot to ship the NBA team to Seattle (apparently a secret to everyone in Seattle). In more fact-based reportage, we view more Cobain-sploitation coming across the USA; trouble for Virginia Mason Med. Center; K Records trying to right its fiscal ship; the rise of the “upper middle class” (aka the people all those “upscale” products are aimed at); and political organizing for renters.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/20/16
May 19th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

For our big pre-weekend missive we’ve got: A city growing even faster than Seattle (no, not THAT one); why drones should be kept away from orcas; the first thing associated with the “50 Shades” franchise to actually occur IN Seattle; the Pride Fest boss quits; and the Mariners bringing up a childhood TV memory.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/26/16
Apr 25th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The Mariners won at home! And we also peer at more folk who want more light rail and they don’t mean decades from now; the eco-cost of the new Arboretum trail; a Seattle/Mexico joint theater project; local delivery trucks with out-of-state plates; and the business case for a $15/hr. wage.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/18/16
Apr 17th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Hot weather’s back, but we keep our cool whilst observing the KEXP Komplex’s public opening; KING’s continued shrinkage; the deaths of two pivotal local-arts pioneers; an outdoor film screening and/or public orgy scheduled for July; why the U District should stay cheap n’ kitschy.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/18/16
Mar 17th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We welcome spring, and the expanded local light rail, with chatter about a way to prove your Northwest-bred-ness on your vehicle; a whistleblower’s blast against Hanford’s waste-treatment project; a resource center for Af-Am entrepreneurs; a new way to keep sea lions from decimating fish stocks; and a plethora of weekend activity choices.

MISCmedia MAIL for 2/2/16
Feb 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Among other endlessly-repeated Groundhog Day topics: The need for artists to own up to their role in gentrification; UW students just scraping-by; a new challenge to the broadband duopoly; is Seattle really “all that” as a lit center?; the looming end of the oldest local TV studios.

THE IN AND THE OUTED FOR SWEET ’16
Jan 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

new years 2016 z

Would you believe, this is the thirtieth MISCmedia In/Out List? Well, it is.

As we prepare to begin the pearl-anniversary year of this adventure in punditry, we present yet another edition of the most trusted (and only accurate) list of its kind in this and all other known media.

As always, this list compiles what will become sizzling and soggy in the coming year, not necessarily what’s sizzling and soggy now. If you believe everything hot now will just keep getting hotter, I’ve got some Sears stock to sell you.

INSVILLE OUTSKI
ABC AMC
Saving KPLU Saving the Seattle Times
Turquoise Mauve
Spinach Kale
Hollow Earth Radio/KHUH KIRO-FM
“Black Lives Matter” Macho anarchists
Empathy Superiority
Gents Bros
Stopping Trumpism Treating Trump as a joke
Taking back Congress Merely keeping the White House
Ta-Nehisi Coates David Brooks
Storytelling “Branding”
Mismatched plaid separates Striped socks
High-speed rail Hoverboards
Fewer cars “Greener” cars
NHL NBA
Fiat (still) VW
We Bare Bears Teen Titans Go!
Juxtapoz Erotica Censored Playboy
Hillman City Ballard (alas)
Lalaloopsy Minions
Searching for solutions together “You figure that part out, I’m just sayin'”
Issa Rae Zooey Deschanel
Michael Fassbender Will Farrell
“Genderqueer” movement “Men’s rights activists”
Exciting machines Boring machines
Real virtue Virtual Reality
Granny shoes Skinny jeans
Justin Trudeau Justin Bieber (duh)
Sia Zac Brown
Light rail to Husky Stadium Parking downtown
Hydrox cookies comeback Crystal Pepsi comeback
Monkey Shoulder Wild Turkey
Milk stout Bud-owned microbrews
“Homey” “Artisinal”
Citizens “Stakeholders”
Uniqlo Gap
Bellingham Bellevue
Back-yard cottages “Tiny homes” in the far countryside
Millennials as defiant activists Millennials as selfish slackers
El Borracho Chipotle (duh)
Guy Maddin J.J. Abrams
Permanent progressive movements Only showing up in election years
Wisdom Data
“Snap!” “YOLO”
Moving the world forward “Taking America back”
MISCmedia MAIL for 11/23/15
Nov 22nd, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

In Monday’s magnificent MISCmedia MAIL: Snowpocalypse Not Now; Cliff Mass bashes KUOW again; a local TV legend resurfaces; the local crab season’s delayed. 

MISCmedia MAIL for 11/5/15
Nov 5th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

There’s no such thing as “old news” for election pundits. Also in MISCmedia MAIL for Friday: More thoughts on the soon-to-be-temporarily-gone Gum Wall; sports teams’ “pay-triotism;” a 17-mile freeway backup.
 
GENTRIFYING THE ‘STREET’
Aug 13th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

sesame street fever

Since this entry is all about a program that’s all about “learning,” let’s start with the facts.

Starting this next season, and for at least the next five years, new episodes of Sesame Street will appear first on HBO and its online streaming service, along with selected old episodes.

Street reruns will still appear on PBS, in hour and half-hour formats. After a nine-month HBO exclusive “window,” the new episodes will appear on PBS also.

Up to this point, Sesame Workshop (née Children’s Television Workshop), the indie nonprofit that’s made the show these 46 years, has relied on two main streams of funding:

  1. The same corporate donations and government grants upon which all PBS shows rely; and
  2. its own licensed merchandising, DVD/record sales, etc.

With the industrywide collapse of CD/DVD sales, the latter has been a less reliable source of money.

And with more PBS Kids shows on the daily schedule vying for the same corporate/government bucks, the former has also been less lucrative.

As production money got harder to get, the Street got fewer and fewer episodes every season. But with HBO’s money, the show will produce 35 episodes next season, up from 18 the year before. (In its early days, the show produced 130 hours a year.)

At the network’s 1970 launch, Sesame Street was essentially PBS’s first hit. It was one of three series (the others were Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The French Chef) that continued on from PBS’s even more-underfunded predecessor, NET (National Educational Television).

It’s not hard to say there would have been no Nova, no Frontline, no Masterpiece Theatre without the Street’s initial popularity, drawing audiences to the previously little-watched local “educational” channels.

While its ratings, its episode orders, and its merch sales have shrank in recent years, it remains the third longest running “scripted” show on American TV. (Only General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, among currently in-production shows, have lasted longer.)

You can now make up your own “Sesame Street on HBO” joke here. Many already have. About Carrie Bradshaw and the gang turning Bert and Ernie’s tenement into a ritzy condo; or about Elmo facing a Game of Thrones surprise slaying; or about Big Bird and Oscar as Tony Soprano’s newest henchmen.

Just remember that, along with the “naughty” sitcoms and the “artistic violence” dramas, HBO’s also the channel that gave you Fairie Tale Theatre, Little Lulu, and Fraggle Rock (another Jim Henson co-creation).

But without the Street having its exclusive home on the nonprofit network, what will PBS’s defenders invoke when the Republicans next threaten to cut off its (relatively paltry and very incomplete) federal funding?

Time says HBO pursued the Street because it really wanted to get more young viewers hooked on its on-demand and streaming platforms.

Jessica Winter at Slate says the move symbolizes “the ultra-efficient sorting process of socioeconomic privilege,” and compares it to the drastic cuts faced by Head Start and other pre-K programs for non-rich kids.

THE LAST GRIST FOR JON STEWART’S MILL
Aug 6th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

you wrote it you watch it

I still remember Jon Stewart as the host of a consistently unfunny MTV sketch show called You Wrote It, You Watch It. He was the only memorable part of that unmemorable endeavor.

Then he had a regular ol’ talk show with a monologue and musical guests and all; first on MTV and then in syndication.

Then he took over an existing comedy-talk franchise from Craig Kilborn on a cable channel that, at the time, you couldn’t get here.

The first piece I heard from Stewart’s Daily Show was a bit replayed on KJR sports radio. He introduced a clip from the GOP rebuttal to one of Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speeches, delivered by athlete-turned-politician Steve Largent.

Largent began by telling his own rise-to-fame story, noting how “I lived out every boy’s dream, to play professional football… for the Seattle Seahawks.”

Stewart jumped in: “It’s really every boy’s dream to play professional football for any team OTHER THAN the Seattle Seahawks.” (The Seahawks, just a few years after almost moving to Anaheim, were decidedly not the powerhouse they became.)

I knew then I would like Stewart, and have continued to do so.

Even when he was injecting humor into really icky news events (of which we’ve had a lot) and other TV channels’ lame coverage of those events (of which we’ve had a HELL of a lot).

Surveys listed Stewart as some people’s primary “news source.” Here’s one reason why:

There came to be a lot of “funny fake news” out there—in print (for a while), on TV, and especially online.

But Stewart didn’t run totally-fabricated stories with halfway plausible “clickbait” headlines.

He and his rotating sidekicks (“correspondents”) repeated the facts of a story (or whatever other channels claimed were the facts), and only then joked it up about them, in ways ranging from the joyously juvenile to the deadly serious.

Along the way, he always appealed to his audience’s image of itself as the only people who “really knew things,” as above all the hype and manipulation. (Which, of course, is exactly what Stewart’s nemeses at Fox News encourage their own audience to believe about itself.)

If there were any surveys about “the most popular TV show among people who pompously refuse to own TVs,” Stewart’s show would have topped them. (And they still could, with multiple online ways to see the show.)

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© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).