So, in case there is anyone left in North America that I haven’t already mentioned this to – I think EVERYONE should go see Where the Wild Things Are immediately!! It is, in my opinion, a stunning and powerful piece of art.

There was a beautiful review by Manohla Dargis in the Times that is totally worth reading. And (in the interest of pretending to be fair and balanced) a healthy dose of skepticism care of  the WSJ Blog’s Review Roundup.

But what I think is particularly interesting (from my educationally-enforced-media-analysis perspective) is this bit from the Entertainment Weekly review (my emphasis added):

From Maurice Sendak’s beloved picture book about a rambunctious little boy named Max and the kingdom of untamed creatures who adopt him as their like-minded king, filmmaker Spike Jonze has made a movie that is true to Sendak’s unique sensibilities and simultaneously true to Jonze’s own colorful instincts for anarchy. This is, to quote the 1963 children’s classic, ”the most wild thing of all.” It’s also personal movie-
making, with corporate backing, at its best.

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A New York Times piece earlier this month considered the possibility of an M&A deal between Comcast and General Electric for majority control of NBC Universal. The piece suggests that the deal would not only give Comcast a huge share of the cable market, in addition to control of its first broadcast network, it would also result in Comcast gaining “an important foothold in another area it has been trying to break into: digital media” when it acquires control of the NBC Universal owned website Hulu. The piece quotes analyst Craig Moffett who says, “I suspect what Comcast is looking for is some measure of control over the future of distribution”.

Interestingly, though, several of the contributors to the article have a different view of what the future may look like. Analyst Frederick W. Moran criticizes the strategy, saying that this vertical integration approach, giving Comcast control over production of content and distribution, “seems like a strategic plan of yesterday”. And during an appearance on Charlie Rose this week, writer Andrew Rose Sorkin suggested that GE’s willingness to make the deal may signal a shift in their future outlook as well. Sorkin characterized the move as GE saying “maybe we don’t want to be in the TV business anymore”. Obviously the issue isn’t quite that cut and dry, GE would still have 49% control of NBC Universal following a deal with Comcast, but Moran and Sorkin’s analyses raise some interesting questions. How would Comcast’s acquisition of media property currently held by Vivendi effect the balance of the big five? And does GE’s willingness to cede majority control of NBC Universal, which has underperfomed significantly in 2009, really signal a shift in TV’s importance in the portfolios of the top media companies?

…in more than 140 characters.

Ever the diligent student, I’ve decided to do my homework in the blog-o-sphere. The real keys to success in grad school are a strong knowledge of your field and an intimate relationship with your alcoholic beverage of choice  (see below).  Below is the first of many posts inspired by my fields of study.

How did Twitter start you ask? Well apparently: “It all started with a “stupid” idea and a message about pinot noir.” I’ve always suspected that the road to genius is paved with booze! Check out the original WSJ blog post for more on the origins of Twitter and a potential IPO in their future.

Falling right in line with a recent class discussion, of Yochai Bekler’s The Wealth of Networks, the Times ran a story this weekend about user generated Twitter features. The article introduces the new features but also gives a nice history of user influence on the site: “Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. and author of the book “Democratizing Innovation.”

Still not atwitter? (sorry!) Check out this Harvard Business blog post about the viability (or at least existence) of Twitter’s business model.

It felt like it was a whole lifetime of blissful paid holiday leave, short weeks, and empty-office workdays (did I, as threatened, get all risky business during the two weeks that less than 10 of us were in the office? the world will just have to keep on wondering). And now? Now, it’s over!  In an effort to combat the back-to-work blues, I am going to try to focus on some recent news that makes the work day a little bit more bearable.   

 First up (care of the lovely and talented Claire) – Manohla Dargis’ review of Bride Wars in the Times. Coming off a season of critical acclaim and some commercial success, Anne Hathaway puts her career right back in the pot with an epically stupid chick flick, or at least that’s what Manohla Dargis has to say. While critics have had a lot of things to say about Anne Hathaway’s career and the movie itself, Dargis manages to pretty successfully avoid talking about both. Even if the review had been nothing more than its cheap cracks at the expense of the film (for example: “Liv replaces Emma’s spray-on-tan formula with an angry orange that brings to mind deep-fried Donatella Versace.” Or ““Bride Wars” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Dangerous acts of consumerism.”), it still would’ve been a totally awesome in the news. But aside from her considerable wit and her admirable ability to get through the whole review with a single use of the word “frenemy”, Dargis also manages to engage in one of my personal favorite pastimes: finding the gay in a movie (in my case also a book, a tv show, a piece of art, a friendship between Olympic swimmers) that no one else thinks is gay at all.

Right from the beginning, she bemoans the fact that this isn’t a lezzie tale of bridal bliss, “since childhood, the two have dreamed of getting married at the Plaza (alas, not to each other)”. So to clarify, Step 1: Damn, I wish this was gay! Then, fully engaging in my personal pastime, she finds gay where others might not – “the opener — a gauzy scene from childhood that finds Liv and Emma, dressed as a bride and groom, tenderly dancing with each other — and an adult catfight, which looks like a prelude to a kiss”. Step 2: See, it sort of IS gay! She also goes on, as I would, to suggest that the gay is not all in her head saying, “there may be more to this friendship (and the fury underlying its rupture) than either the women or the movie can admit.” Step 3: Not only is it gay but they meant it to be gay, damnit! Finally, she ends the review by bringing it around to the best gay this season, the awesomely spectacular Milk. Essentially, her final analysis suggests that if the movie was actually about something significant, rather than an excuse to watch two hours of consumerism and Stepford creepy cityscapes, it might be worth watching. So Step 4: Gaying it up would’ve at least stopped it from sucking so much! Epic heterofail!

So, on the second straight Friday of the computers in my office going haywire – it is time for a blog post! Today’s topic – disturbing in the news!

The most disturbing news item I can think of should, by all rights, be the story of an actor actually slitting his throat onstage with what he thought was a prop knife during a performance of Mary Stuart in Vienna.

Unfortunately, because of what society has become in the twenty-first century, that horror is eclipsed in my mind by the results of a recent survey from the UK. According to a recent hyper-unscientific survey conducted by thebabywebsite.com, the site’s mostly British readers can’t remember the words to classic lullabies. That, in itself is hardly distressing – after all, I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.

What is upsetting, as reported by Jezebel and the Motherlode blog at the Times (and a bunch of Brit papers), is what they are doing instead. For reasons that are completely mysterious to me, parents, who presumably smoked so much weed in college that “rock-a-bye-baby” presents an insurmountable challenge, have rated Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” as the third most popular song to sing as they lull little baby Billy to sleep.

I can hypothetically understand the hypothetically addictive appeal of the ridiculously danceable song to people who should really be bemoaning it as a cheap commercial trick that exploits the legitimate sexual experiences of a considerable segment of the population (I may or may not hypothetically have it on my iPod and dance around my kitchen singing along to it when no one is home). But even with my shameful appreciation of the song, I fail to see how it makes the top three in newly minted lullabies!

The Times blog, trying to class up the story and prove how sophisticated fancy New Yorkers are, refers to her as “Kate Perry” and then asks readers to share their own bedtime traditions. Naturally favorites like the Beatles and Peter, Paul & Mary come up but so do Bob Marley, Rihanna and NeYo. You’ve come a long way (from Baby Mozart), baby!