A lot of the time, it feels like I’m driving in a coma. That’s not to say that I’m unaware of what’s going on around me — I am, I swear! — but my mental processes are preoccupied with my own issues, leaving the radio (and it is radio because I haven’t gotten around to getting a decent CD changer or MP3 player for my car) as white noise. I joke that I absorb news and information by osmosis, but given how many current events I am conversant about, maybe learning-by-osmosis isn’t so far-fetched after all.
This is a long way of explaining how I spent over a week listening the KPCC (89.3, Pasadena, California) pledge drive. And at first, said drive was so much white noise, but then…osmosis did its thing. I realized that people were giving money, lots of it, to the radio station. While this is the desire outcome of a pledge drive, it struck me rather forcefully that listeners local and distant were willing paying money to become members of the station.
For the first time ever, I actually listened to the pledge drive. Guess what? In an era where (presumably) we expect information to be free and where (presumably) news can’t make money, KPCC was raking in some serious cash. The KPCC website doesn’t say whether or not this year’s goal was achieved, but I do know that quite a few challenges — where someone offers a plum contribution if certain events, a set number of new members or dollars, happen in a specific time period — were met. I spend a lot of time in the car, so this is practically a scientific study.
Ah, another day, another “the Internet is killing culture” article. What about someone writing an article about the fact that the so-called critics are out-of-touch and lazy? While I feel for all the people who are losing their jobs, I cannot help but think that so many of these critics brought it upon themselves.
Petitions and protests are not going to change the facts on the ground. Very few of see a future where there will be print coverage of the arts. The fact that there isn’t huge public outcry about these losses suggests that, well, you weren’t as valued by the public you purported to serve. Did you ever think that those online voices are filling the gaps you’ve ignored?
Here is what I’ve learned about arts critics over these past years:
I grew up in one those towns with a tiny little newspaper, The Lompoc Record, where Scott Ostler, before he was the Scott Ostler, commented on my athletic talent, saying “I buttressed the defense”. As it was likely I was sitting the bench — as I did throughout my softball career — I have to say that was as an accurate a statement as any made by a sports journalist. For big city perspective on the news, we also subscribed, on Sundays, to the Santa Barbara News Press.
Trust me, when you grow in Lompoc, Santa Barbara seems like a teeming metropolis.
Throughout my life, I have been a faithful newspaper subscriber. Note that word: subscriber. Over the past ten years, our household recycled more unread paper copies of the Los Angeles Times than read copies. It wasn’t that news suddenly became less important, it was the actual printed version of the paper that became, well, stale. Even though we stopped received the print edition some time ago, we continue to subscribe to the Kindle edition.
I realize this post is off-topic, and I hope my fellow ‘lopers see fit to allow me leeway to vent. I am angered by the fact that out-of-state interests are pouring money into California to pass a state Constitution amendment banning gay marriage. It is despicable that any sort of United States constitution is being used to deny rights of its citizens.
That is, to use the current vernacular, the epitome of anti-American.
While some marriages are performed in churches by clergy, the truth of the matter is that marriage is a civic institution. Churches cannot and do not provide any sort of rights to married couples (except, I suppose, special seating in the pews). The state (be it local government, state government, or the federal government) confers all necessary rights and privileges of marriage to citizens.
In one way or another, I’ve been involved in a lot of discussions about brand lately, and I’ve come to a horrible conclusion: businesses are killing their brands. They do it in the worst way possible, by making it impossible to see why Brand A is better than Brand B.
A while ago, my insurance company, 21st Century was swallowed by AIG. When I was told this, my first reaction was “Oh no” because 21st Century, during the lengthy period of time I was a customer, was very good to me. Dealing with them in times of crisis (like when I was the number two car in a four-car pile-up) was a pleasure. They were easy to reach, easy to deal with, and, most importantly, seemed to care about solving my problem.