I featured Cara in a column two months back, "Ubiquitous Blurbs and the Future of Search," about how we're becoming obsessed with reviews. Today, there's a great piece in the NY Times on some satirists taking this to an extreme:
It turns out "The Daily Show" makes viewers more cynical, makes them less likely to read newspapers, eliminates the positive effects of statins, decreases the birth rate, increases hurricanes, and, come 2008, might just lead us to a totalitarian regime. All these inferences are as logical as the ones Richard Morin covers in his latest Washington Post column.
He reviewed a study from Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris of East Carolina University who found that "The Daily Show" makes its young, impressionable viewers more cynical. Apparently, after watching Jon Stewart, viewers have less respect for politicians across the political spectrum, and they put less trust in the news media.
"Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have
participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls," they
Well, yes, this is true. If you think everyone running for office is an idiot, it's going to be hard to wake up early come election day. But imagine the other consequences: viewers demanding more of the news media, people aware of who's representing them and what the elected officials are doing for (or against) their constituents, citizens seeking out political candidates with more substance. What the study completely seems to overlook, if the Post's coverage of it is anywhere near accurate (being a cynical "Daily Show" watcher, that's a tenuous assumption), is what dangers lie from buying into very last word that politicians and the media spew out.
It's the status quo that allows this Post reporter to recycle coverage of this study without even questioning what it's saying. He'd be well served by watching "The Daily Show." Maybe he'd even develop a sense of humor.
I'm not a movie popcorn kind of guy. It's overpriced, the crunching's distracting, and it's hardly great nutritional value. Okay, I'm not so Puritanical with my dieting habits, but there are some places where I have better self control, and movie theaters happen to be such a place. Yet this time, the whole concept of watching a cinematic dramatization of United 93 called for popcorn - with a bit of movie theater butter, and a Coke.
As I was going to sleep last night, I watched A&E's made-for-TV movie on the same topic as the big screen production. It wasn't that bad, until seeing it done right on the big screen. It also felt more wrong, more silly on TV. It was hard to tell the difference between United 93 and a Joanna Kern movie on Lifetime. Maybe she even played a stewardess in the A&E version.
I'd have been pretty ticked off if someone else by me was munching on popcorn the entire movie. Yet for the first half of the film, I liked having the snack on-hand. It was comforting, and I needed something to hold on to, a distraction. It also felt positively ironic. Here I am watching the unfolding of a real terrorist plot and a number of ordinary people who save hundreds or potentially thousands of lives, and I'm munching and slurping away.
By the point in the movie where the second plane hit the World Trade Center and the film, for me, got really intense and emotional, I was done with the junk food, and it was just as well. I had to put the bag on the empty seat beside me - there was nothing I could let myself hold on to. There's no security blanket for this one.
For those of you who actually get to work on time, you don't know what you're missing on the morning talk show circuit. Today, for instance, I was treated to the first few minutes of "Tyra," the talk show hosted by America's last top model, or something like that. I don't know why it was on. All I know is that after hearing NY1's news for the fourth consecutive time around this morning, I needed something else.
This was definitely something else.
There was a woman who was deathly afraid of styrofoam. She even threw out her four-year-old son's Easter art project since it was made with styrofoam egg cartons. There were actually some feasible psychological underpinnings (no, nothing involving the Duke Lacrosse team; just some uncle who'd spit tobacco in styrofoam cups which she was urged to avoid as a kid). Still, I'm amazed this fear exists. I call it styrophobia.
Apparently this isn't a totally new phenomenon. A Google search on "fear of styrofoam" (with the quotes) turns up 47 results, such as this one - which tells of a woman who also fears (brace yourself) chalk.
I'm not the only one who was floored by this Ty-revelation. The entire video segment is online here.
One other fun fact: you can't spell "styrofoam" without "Tyra." However, you can spell "polystyrene" without her. Another great life lesson from Marketers Studio.
David Berkowitz is Chief Marketing Officer at agency MRY. A frequent speaker and media pundit, he has been published hundreds of times in MediaPost, Ad Age, eMarketer, Mashable, and elsewhere. Get to know him in the links below the blog's header.