Several readings on (you guessed it!) libel, privacy and social media:
The news broke the first week of January 2014. Football fans in the heat of the NFL playoffs were facing potential disaster. It wasn’t a potential strike of NFL players or a lockout by management. And it wasn’t a dispute between a cable company and the network broadcasting the big game, threatening a blackout of the Super Bowl over a major urban area. No, this was something really serious, the Cheesepocalypse—a shortage of Velveeta with which to make queso dip for Super Bowl and playoff watch parties.
It started when Advertising Age magazine contacted Kraft Foods after news reports surfaced of shortages at East Coast grocery stores. Kraft spokeswoman Jody Moore told Ad Age, “Given the incredible popularity of Velveeta this time of year, it is possible consumers may not be able to find their favorite product on store shelves over the next couple of weeks.”
Kraft took a humorus response to this mild shortage, declaring that America was in the midst of a “cheesepocalypse.” Here are several links that deal with the cheesepocalypse:
“I was disappointed that pornography got to the Net. But I’ve come to learn that pornographers are almost always the first ones to adopt new technology. If there is a new way of distributing their product, they’ll find it.”
-Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s creators
As I worked on the fifth edition of Mass Communication: Living in a Media World during the summer of 2014, a fish named Grayson was playing the video games Pokémon Red and Blue on a Game Boy emulator using a motion sensor aimed at his fish tank. Each area of the tank is assigned to a different Game Boy button, and as he swims into the area, the button is triggered. That a pair of technically oriented college students in New York would rig some equipment to allow their fish to randomly play a video game is not surprising. It’s the kind of hack that might seem reasonable on a late Friday night. The fact that as many as 22,000 people at a time would watch the fish play Pokémon using the video game streaming service Twitch is kind of amazing.
Should you join in on the party, you will see a divided screen showing the Pokémon game on the left, the swimming fish with the control grid imposed over it in the center, and a chat session on the right where viewers either try to kibitz the fish or proclaim that he is dead. (The fish’s owners point out continually that Grayson isn’t dead; he’s just sleeping.)
Watch live video from FishPlaysPokemon on www.twitch.tv
Catherine Moresco and Patrick Facheris, Grayson’s owners, were likely inspired by the efforts of an anonymous Australian gamer who rigged the fifteen-year-old Game Boy game Pokémon Red to be played by the inhabitants of the stream’s chat room. At its peak, as many as 75,000 people at a time were inputting controller commands with text comments. The stream differs from most of the video game viewing that takes place on Twitch because it combines the sport of watching someone play a video game on Twitch.tv with actually participating in the progress of the game.
The story in the New York Times started out provocatively:
When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.”
That opening line, and a story that went on to note that actress Viola Davis, who stars in Rhimes’ TV series “How To Get Away With Murder,” is “older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful” than Olivia Washington, who stars in another Rhimes show, “Scandal.”
A pair of lengthy articles from NY Times public editor Margaret Sullivan quotes extensively from reader criticism of the article, that she says is righty deserved.
Read the article and the two responses from the public editor so you can form your own opinion. Does the writer, a white male, treat Rhimes the same way he would have treated a white male? What things are the critics sensitive about? How do you feel about how the author defends himself?
As I write this in mid-October, 2014 it is hard to know which, if any, of the episodes of the classic TV series I Love Lucy will remain available for free online. CBS has just announced their new pay service for streaming content, and they may or may not force all of the free copies of Lucy off the web.
In the mean time, here’s a link to several episodes of I Love Lucy from Hulu.
Box Office Mojo, the source of endless movie box office financial statistics, disappeared for a couple of days in mid-October 2014, prompting speculation that the site had been absorbed into IMDb.com, which owns BOM. But then it just as mysteriously re-appeared. And no one will say what happened. Hmmm….
Me, I’m looking for Benjamin Linus and the island from Lost.