Saturday, April 28, 2007

TIME enough at last

Piper at Lazy Eye Theatre just wrote an excellent posting, TIME Lost. It's a response to the article Boys Who Like Toys by Rebecca Winters Keegan in TIME Magazine. The article itself is one lazy piece of reporting.

Occasionally, the mainstream media drags up this story about fanboys and rumor sites. My recollection is that the first big splash was the alleged triumph of Ain't It Cool News over Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin, which would make this story 10 years old this year. There can't be a single person with even the tiniest interest in movies or the Internet who finds another article like this even remotely informative or interesting.

The people who find it interesting are the editor and/or reporter. It has a sexy lead, with a "clever" and "ironic" twist. Not to mention, the story has been written so many times, it practically writes itself. You can pretty much knock together the story, makes some calls to merely fill in the blanks with the essential quotes you already knew you'd get. It also gives them an opportunity to slip in a promotional picture from Spider-Man 3, helping them get some points with Sony Pictures. It's good in every way for TIME, but does nothing at all for TIME's readership.

Mind you, in case you were unaware, TIME just declared Time's Person of the Year: You. This was, they suggested, a catching up with the times, seeing the way the Internet has changed the face of media. Unfortunately, this demonstrates that their view of that change is at least 10 years old.

10 years ago, the Internet was still sneaking into the homes of ordinary people and it was the fanboy types who saw it as their way to be heard. They were the young and computer savvy. One of the key things they... Ok, we... saw was that it was terrific for spreading and finding information. Hey, it's what it was built for! Not, mind you, always terribly reliable information, but it spread information like wildfire.

Now the Internet is in everyone's home and many of us loud and brash fanboys of before have grown up. The environment is growing and changing. As Piper writes (and links) in his posting, there are many things going on beyond that world, and that's the aspect of the Internet that's growing all the time. This spiral of blogs that celebrate the uniqueness of each opinion are to today what the fanboy sites were 10-12 years ago. If TIME wants a news story, this is where it is.

I know. The problem is that this phenomenon, growing though it may be, doesn't have the brash youth to it. There's no sexy, ironic or even "ironic" opening to draw us in. Many of the movies we discuss don't have big studios mounting big bucks to get them in our faces, so TIME has no reason to care about placing promotional pictures. Where's the hook?

I say it's the Blog-a-thon.

The Blog-a-thon has an excited base. It's very quickly becoming the "new thing" in the blogging world, as many of you know. Heck, many of you probably discovered this site in one Blog-a-thon or another. The subject matter has been all over the board and much of the writing has been absolutely wonderful. One day soon, it'll be old news before the mainstream media even bothers to notice it.

And there couldn't be a better time than this. As most of you have noticed, there are more and more every day. It was in February, around the time I announced The Trashy Movie Celebration Blog-a-thon, that I noticed there were too many for me to fully participate in all of the ones that interested me, now I can't even keep track of them all.

And look at the subjects covered so far, starting with Showgirls and moving to directors from Robert Altman to Roger Corman, from Film Criticism to Contrarianism, from Contemplative Cinema to, well, trashy movies. And that's just being clever, not at all being comprehensive.

And look, up yonder, it's a Star Wars Blog-a-thon, The Simpsons Blog-a-thon, the Ghiblog-a-thon and an Action Heroine Blog-a-thon. I don't know yet if I will participate in any of these, what with the others I already consider to be "on my plate", but look how neatly they'd go with promotional pictures for Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, Disney or, well, just about anyone they might want to suck up to.

All that and being the first to catch up to the story, while the people involved are still interested... Is anybody listening? Hall-oo?


J.D. Judge said...

Wow, people are upset. But not angry upset, silent angry/keyboard mightier than the sword upset. All I know is I'm getting linkage, lol! And I would never suck up to Disney. They're a bunch of evil sorcerors! They made me want to kill myself over the trailer for Bridge to Terabithia! Why would I say I like them?! If anything, I'm sucking up to Ghibli, and that should be painfully obvious. And yeah, sticking to the same thing every year while the world is always changing around is never a good idea. Unless you're the government. Then you can under-the-tabel assassinate people who disagree with you.

Neil Sarver said...

I don't see that I implied that people were "angry upset". It certainly wasn't my intent. If I took any tone, which I'm not really convinced I did, then it was merely for dramatic purposes.

And I didn't mean you or any other blogger would suck up to Disney. I meant that if TIME were to cover Blog-a-thons and included a note about the Ghiblog-a-thon, they could use that as an opportunity to include an illustration from one of the Ghibli movies, which from TIME's perspective, could make Disney happy and help them get preferential treatment on some future Disney related story.

But mostly I was just making a rhetorical point about the mainstream media missing real stories in favor of easy one's, of which this is only one tiny example that happened to come up this week and strike me.

Piper said...


As I said on my post, I think you make great points about the Blog A Thon. I've been thinking about this more and I think you seriously pitch the idea to Wired and/or Rolling Stone and/or anybody else who will listen.

It's worth a shot.

Neil Sarver said...


It does give a nice angle for showing the diversity of thought and ideas, which is what I think the real story about the blogosphere is now. I may just work on pitching it.

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