Greg was a guy I knew from comedy. We hung out a few times, did a couple shows together. I was struck by his immense intelligence and good spirit. He died yesterday after an accidental prescription drug overdose. I’ve been upset about it since I found out: too many talented people die unnecessary deaths. Andy Richter found an interview Greg did for Psychology Today, which I am reposting here. It rings too true for me. Not that I have a drug or alcohol problem like Greg, but the constant feeling of never being good enough. I think a lot of us suffer from that, so I guess what I’m trying to say is: read the interview. The lesson I take away from it is one I hope I’ve been learning over the years: have gratitude for what you have and forgive yourself for what might have been. We are all failures in one way or another, but failure is more than the end of something. It is the opportunity to begin something else. Enjoy your successes, accept your failures. Move on from both. But keep moving on.
“Oh my God, Arianna Huffington just Oprah’ed the buses! Everybody gets a bus, you get a bus, darling you get a bus, everybody gets a bus. By the way, I hope that her announcement was real and not some Huffington Post thing where it’s not like actual transportation, it’s just like embedding a link to Greyhound. I hope they’re not being bus aggregators.”—Jon Stewart on Arianna Huffington’s offer to provide bus rides to anyone who wants to go to Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity”
“So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy. Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing. Its rallies include not only hardcore libertarians left over from the original Ron Paul “Tea Parties,” but gun-rights advocates, fundamentalist Christians, pseudomilitia types like the Oath Keepers (a group of law- enforcement and military professionals who have vowed to disobey “unconstitutional” orders) and mainstream Republicans who have simply lost faith in their party. It’s a mistake to cast the Tea Party as anything like a unified, cohesive movement — which makes them easy prey for the very people they should be aiming their pitchforks at. A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC.”—Matt Taibbi (via kateoplis)
“If three-paragraph distillations of other people’s writing is your idea of content, god bless you. Then everyone’s gonna do well and eight professionals will be doing real journalism while there’s still a little cash in the pipeline. That’s not quality content. Quality content is content that matters, not what most entertains; not the juiciest tidbit about Justin Bieber.”—
The sad, unfortunate thing is, the juiciest tidbit about Bieber gets the hits, which pays the bills. The important stuff that matters doesn’t get read. Journalism is struggling because we have a society that puts a high value on junk and a low value on substance.
“As a movie about Facebook, I think The Social Network is a total failure. It doesn’t even try to capture the social reality is it nominally about. …The subject at hand overwhelmed or didn’t really interest Aaron Sorkin. Or maybe he was contemptuous of it. I don’t think he “got” Zuckerberg. (Of course, who does?) I don’t think he got Facebook at all. I don’t think he understands what a social network or social graph is, and he didn’t bother to learn.”—Jay Rosen (careful, semi-spoiler beyond this link)
Well, here are 12 ideas for ratings juggernauts that will jack your viewership so hard that the Nielsens’ heads will explode. I’m ready to do these deals right now, so call me. And you’re welcome.
1. Wacky Stuff I Just Made Up About a Fictional Person on Twitter — A hilarious buddy sitcom about a Regular Dude who has to go live inside of the Internet with his made-up imaginary friend, who says all this really salty-yet-wise stuff, but only on Twitter. There’s also a cartoonishly gay character (maybe Perez Hilton?), just for extra laughs.
2. America’s Next Top Social Media Guru — A group of assholes who aspire towards the arbitrary title of being “Top” something compete in a series of ridiculous and contrived challenges that test their skill in seeming competent and successful despite having no actual skills. Each show there is a SuperJargon Pitch Challenge, after which one contestant is eliminated by a panel of self-proclaimed expert judges who, impossibly, have even more hubris about themselves than the competitors. Only potential drawback: Bravo is probably doing this already.
3. To Catch A Chatrouletter - Basically Chris Hansen just sets up on Chatroulette and starts somberly shaming people for playing with their wiener on Internet webcams.
4.Blog Men — A gritty period piece looking back at New York City circa 2006, when mysterious and inscrutable creative visionary (and insatiable womanizer) Ned Denton is just starting out in his mission to build a scrappy startup blog called Gawker into the powerful media empire we know it as today.
5. Crunched By A Super-Angel — After being ousted from AOL for trying to bite off CEO Tim Armstrong’s ear in an “unproductive” meeting, suddenly jobless blog impresario Mike Arrington finally meets a beautiful and intelligent woman who might be just the escape from the tech world he was looking for. But things take a turn for the weird when he finds out that she also happens to be part of a secret cabal of “Super-Angel” investors hell-bent on ruling Silicon Valley. And she also happens to be a real angel, from Heaven. Will they work out their differences, or will she “crunch”… his heart?
“Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be. He wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn’t want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn’t show up to that. He came in and played “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage… comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves… That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise.”—President Obama about meeting Bob Dylan when he did a performance at the White House to celebrate the civil rights movement. (via warispeace)
“The Social Network is the anti-geek movie. It is the story that those who resist the change society is undergoing want to see. It says the internet is not a revolution but only the creation of a few odd, machine-men, the boys we didn’t like in college. The Social Network is the revenge on the revenge of the nerds.”—Jeff Jarvis