Yearly Archives: 2009

The Importance of Being Michael

“Why aren’t you talking about Michael Jackson more?” The question, from a caller to Larry Mantle’s KPCC-Pasadena public radio program “AirTalk,” interrupted a discussion of the budget mess in Sacramento. Actually, it was more a wail than a question – a crack about the Michael mania that had hijacked the… More

No Time to Think

One of the more pernicious enclosures of the commons is the enclosure of time and consciousness. It’s pernicious because it is so subtle and rarely discerned. When commercial values such as productivity and efficiency become so pervasive and internalized, they crowd out other ways of being. Our very sense of… More

Surveillance Entertainment

In some ways we love being watched – or at least we love the results. Not only are Nielsen ratings essential to the entertainment and advertising industries, they also make for entertaining content. Who hasn’t perused within the last week at least one list of the highest grossing movies, the… More

Bling Was a Bubble

  USC Annenberg clinical professor Christopher Holmes Smith explored the emergence of a new type of American celebrity — the hip-hop mogul — in the Lear Center’s Celebrity, Politics and Public Life project, and he’s now exploring the limitations and possibilities of brands, advertising, celebrity advocacy and consumer philanthropy in… More

Technologies of Taste

Ever wondered what kind of magical juju lurks within ‘recommendation engines?’ Anyone with a Tivo knows just how wrong it can be about your preferences, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fallen into an if-you-like-this-then-you’ll-like-that click-hole, pleasurably stumbling across stuff that you can’t believe you hadn’t… More