October 15th, 2024

Edelman and Wal-Mart and fake blogs? Oh my…

  • el
  • pt
  • [Disclosure: Saturday night at a fund raiser for Rae Vogeler, our Green Party candidate for Senate, I picked up two “I Hate Wal-Mart” pins. I put one on my jacket, and brought the other one home to Beth.]

    But really… Edelman is supposed to be coached in this web-world stuff by the best. How could they make a bonehead move like this for such an important client? I’m guessing, a) they didn’t ask David Weinberger; or b) they didn’t listen to what he told them.

    WHAT DO YOU CALL A phony blog that’s actually a front for a huge corporation? A “flog”?

    A pro-Wal-Mart blog called “Wal-Marting Across America,” ostensibly launched by a pair of average Americans chronicling their cross-country travels in an RV and lodging in Wal-Mart parking lots, has been reduced to a farewell entry. One of its two contributors was revealed to be Jim Thresher, a staff photographer for The Washington Post.

    The blog, launched Sept. 27, was profiled in this week’s issue of BusinessWeek, which exposed the site as a promotional tactic engineered by Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFWM), an organization launched by Wal-Mart’s public relations firm Edelman.

    October 15th, 2024

    Least tragic hip-hop deaths…

    I don’t want to be thought insensitive — especially I don’t want to be thought insensitive by a bunch of gang bangers who hold their guns sideways while they blow people away — but this post cracked me up!

    Does anybody know if this guy was an actual rapper, or if the cops just assumed he was a rapper because he got shot?

    I know that’s a serious question, and the other citations and comments on this post are serious too, but my style is to smile at that shit. Take 2Pac, number ten on the list of least tragic… there’s gotta be a weed carrier out there who should replace 2Pac. Yet I always think of 2Pac as the only Marin County rapper I know, and there’s a disconnect there, until you understand more about the projects at Marin City.

    Cobb (Michael David Cobb Bowen) cites the “least tragic” post while writing of his equivocal love for Hiphop. He says, “You know something mysteriously wrong is going on when you have a category like ‘Least Tragic Hip Hop Deaths’.” He brings a lot of other threads together, including Lonnae Parker’s Washington Post article today:

    Last spring, I got together with some other moms from the first generation of hip-hop. We decided to distribute free T-shirts with words that counter some of the most violent, anti-intellectual and degrading cultural messages: You look better without the bullet holes. Put the guns down. Or my favorite: You want this? Graduate! We called it the Hip-Hop Love Project.

    Others are trying their own versions of taking back the music. In Baltimore, spoken-word poet Tonya Maria Matthews, aka JaHipster, is launching her own “Groove Squad.” The idea is to get together a couple dozen women to go to clubs prepared to walk off the dance floor en masse if the music is openly offensive or derogatory. “There’s no party without sisters on the dance floor,” she told me. In New York, hip-hop DJ and former model Beverly Bond formed Black Girls Rock! to try to change the portrayal of black women in the music and influence the women who are complicit in it. “We don’t want to be hypersexualized,” said Joan Morgan, a hip-hop writer and part of the group, but we don’t want to be erased, either.
    Lonnae O’Neal Parker

    Final analysis for me is to read the comments thread at bol’s “least tragic” post. For me, Hiphop is about the language. The commenters’ back and forth on 2Pac, the “hateration” and the slams on one artist or another, the ethical asides, the serious intent of some commenters and the dry humor of others makes the post entirely worthwhile. I’m grateful to Cobb for surfacing it. Cobb says this and I can say no more:

    As usual at Cobb, I think of taxonomies. And because it was my generation that was responsible for investing so much into hiphop, these taxonomies are deeply intertwined with black identity. So I must speak of these in terms of black people and all of black music. Black music is Hiphop, Gospel, Blues, Funk, Reggae, Jazz and R&B. Seven nice round categories. Each of those expresses a different set of values best. The tragedy of hiphop is that while it has the potential to sample expressions of all because of its open structure, that it has been reduced to the narrow emotional spectrum of lust, greed, anger and frustration. Now one can split hairs and say that is really the fault of rap lyrics; that hiphop music can express a broad range of emotion instrumentally. My response is that jazz musicians and R&B artists have appropriated all that. I would allow one other exception to the completeness of this taxonomy and it is an important one, and that is the emotions of dance music. When Missy Elliot cranks out one of her jams, she has got the groove nailed and the infectious beat. I’m going to call that Funk, not Hiphop. And in that realm, I’ll gladly admit things get complicated for me.

    October 15th, 2024

    Bring out your dead…

    Peter (the other) worked up a nice Friday the 13th rant and ramble regarding body counts and all…

    … the venerable John Hopkins has chimed in (via Lancet), and if a blog is not a place to go FUCK YOU! I TOLD YOU SO YOU GOD DAMN MURDERERS…. well then, what is it for then?

    Sadly, those who would prefer not to believe the stark facts regarding the horrible costs of the Bush war can always find an equivocation. Cal Berkeley grad student Ka-ping Yee offered up a thoughtful post and his readers were amazingly diffuse in their responses in the comment thread that followed.

    As President George W. Bush is fond of saying, “Denial is not just a river in Libya.”

    So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? The evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old…
    – Ti Jean

    October 15th, 2024

    River of Clues

    Getting back to basics this morning…

    October 15th, 2024

    Mackin’ on the Galaxy

    (h/t to shakespierce…)

    Jonathan Abrams raked down $13million in VC cash for a stake in Friendster (YASN). The safe bet would have been the $30million that Google was offering. This is a story that’s two or three years out of date but it seems to have grown legs because Google bought YouTube. The cultural poverty, the lack of imagination implicit in riding that Silly Valley merry-go-round, stretching out for the brass ring, over and over, trying to get rich from the business side… that’s what the NYT River of Cluelessness story is about today. It’s not about the fun Abrams had genning up a big social network enterprise in the days when YASN was a new acronym. It’s not about the staying power of useful products and services. It’s simply about the brass ring and the lionization of windfall success.

    Any analyst worth her salt knew the potential and the limits of Friendster two or three years ago. The story of Abrams $13million payday remains a nice success story. Belittling the accomplishment because Google-power could have left him enormously better off is shoddy story telling.

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