Category Archives: Media

Interactive Web Sites and Hip Hop

Screwing around on StumbleUpon today, I came across this site.

An interactive site detailing the bio of German super DJ Tomekk and his record label F-Records, this site leads you through an interwoven story about Tomekk’s career, and the growth of the label.

I spent a good 30 minutes just playing around with this site, primarily because of the infectious beats and the presence of KRS-One. If you like hip hop and/or interactive marketing, I highly suggest you check it out.

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The Simpsons Go Interactive

If you’re like most people my age (in your late 20s or early 30s), you grew up watching The Simpsons. The longest running cartoon in history, the Simpsons first aired in 1989 (’87 if you count the shorts from the Tracey Ullman Show). 22 years later, it’s still going strong.

And while I consider myself a big fan of the show, I can’t help but feel that on yesterday’s season finale they jumped the shark. The plot, which was fairly weak for a Simpsons season finale, revolved around a romance between ancillary characters Ned Flanders (the annoying neighbor) and Edna Krabappel (Bart’s teacher).

To give you some back story in case you live under a rock and have never seen the show, Flanders is a uber-religious conservative, whereas Edna has a rather checkered romantic past with lots of partners. You may have expected hilarity to ensue from this unlikely pairing – it didn’t.

But that brings me to my point – at the end of the show, Ned was having doubts about continuing to date such an experienced woman and was debating whether he should continue their relationship. And here The Simpsons producers did something rather unusual: they left this decision up to the fans.

By logging onto thesimpsons.com, fans of the show can vote on whether the couple should stay together.

While I like the idea of including the viewers in show decisions, from an established show like The Simpsons, it seems like a desperate ploy for attention. This is particularly true when you consider how irrelevant these characters are to the show in general. Sure, Ned’s Christian morals play a good foil to Homer’s buffoonery, and Mrs. Krabappel is a nice antagonist to Bart’s antics, but they’re simply just not very interesting characters on their own.

And while I understand the desire to leave the fans wanting more by leaving questions unanswered on the season finale (sort of like their “who shot JR?” take-off “who shot Mr. Burns?”), as a longtime Simpsons fan, I can honestly say, I don’t care. I don’t care whether Nedna stays together.

Bringing the audience into plot decisions is an innovative approach to television, but interactivity for its own sake seems like a waste to me. But then, what do I know? I’m just a guy.

Tweet at Your Own Peril

In the course of my daily meanderings in cyberspace, I came across this article from MediaBistro. Apparently NBA referee Bill Spooner is suing AP reporter Jon Krawczynski over a tweet from the January 24 game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets.

The backstory:

In the second quarter,  Spooner called a sketchy foul on the Wolves’ Anthony Tolliver, which upset coach Kurt Rambis, who asked Spooner how he was going to get those points back.

Krawczynski then tweeted “Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he’d “get it back” after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That’s NBA officiating folks.”

The Fallout:

The NBA investigated the call and decided the matter was closed. Spooner, however, decided to file suit, asking for $75,000 for “defamation per se to his professional and business reputation, a declaratory judgment that the Twitter publication constitutes defamation and an injunction requiring the removal of defamatory statements from the Defendants’ Internet postings.”

My take:

As a former journalist, this is absurd to me. Journalists, especially those who write opinion pieces, have the right, nay, the duty, to say any damn thing they want (within limits established by their publication’s editorial board).  If Spooner’s lawsuit, by some freak occurrence is upheld, it will strike a major blow against journalistic freedom and integrity in this country. I know Twitter isn’t exactly the same thing as an op-ed piece, but at the same time, freedom of speech and the press is a fundamental part of this country. Taking it away because someone is offended (by an accurate observation at that) would be a travesty. I hope the judge throws this out, but I guess we’ll see