Pop Attention Span

Trying to keep up with the zeitgeist

That’s some well-coded language

While the idea has been brought up many times previously, the door has opened to Nevada’s legal brothels to hire men as prostitutes. As with the currently employed female prostitutes, male prostitutes will be able to choose if they serve male or female clients.

However, an industry lobbyist has voiced his opposition to the business expanding the potential clientele.

“There should be some fallout and backlash from this decision,” (George) Flint said. “Some may feel it’s a repugnant thing to do or something that does not have the appetite of the state as a whole.”

“We’ve worked hard for years to make the traditional brothel business in this state socially acceptable an something we can be proud of that most Nevadans accept,” Flint added. “We have some concerns that this can be diluted by what Ms. Bobbi Davis wants to try.”

Flint went on to say that he’s proud of the industry’s track record in preventing the passage of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, between prostitutes and clients.

“Now we’re going to get into an areas that doesn’t enjoy the same track record that our industry has enjoyed,” he said.

Hm, now why would the safeguards currently in place not be effective for male sex workers? After all, the risks don’t differentiate if the professional is male or female, so making sure prostitutes follow safe sex guidelines shouldn’t change things. Oh, I get it, once you introduce teh gay, that all attempts to prevent HIV infection are useless because AIDS is a gay disease. Is that what you’re trying to say, Mr. Flint?

The interesting bit about Flint, however, comes in how the article describes him early on.

George Flint, the former Assemblies of God minister who has been lobbying for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association for 24 years

Strange bedfelows, eh?

Coded language isn’t new to the industry, as the article notes early on, the state only banned men from working as prostitutes indirectly:

Men were previously barred in Nevada from the oldest profession because codes specified that prostitutes must undergo “cervical” testing for sexually transmitted diseases, which ruled out men.

I’ve been to Vegas (where prostitution isn’t legal) a few times and the thing that stands out about “Sin City” is that the definition of “sin” has its clear limits. Strip clubs and the euphemistic “escort services” advertise everywhere but aside from the two major male reviews (or the inclusive Zumanity), you don’t see any of those ads with men presented as the ones to be on the receiving end of the gaze. You can’t even try to figure out which showgirl revues include male dancers among the cast by looking at the advertising.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Comments Off

Today in “Is it really that hard to see?”

As a marketing geek, I’ve got experience in how branding guidelines can mix frustrating and hilarious in the ways they switch from sensible to totally nonsensical. However, in looking at what Kotaku finds “odd” about Microsoft’s guidelines for using XBox Live avatars, I’m left wondering if someone missed the “Amateur Marketers 101″ lecture. Among the guidelines Kotaku finds odd are:

When Avatars are used in a group of three or more, at least one Avatar must be female.

When Avatars are used in a group of three or more, consider including different ethnicities.

Is it that hard to understand that Microsoft wants potential customers to look at XBox Live avatars (which are supposed to represent actual XBox Live members) and potentially see themselves?  That when you portray a group of your customers as all-male or all-white, potential female and POC get a subtle message that they’re intruding on a club that’s not for them. And considering that Kotaku found this strange, video game marketers definitely need to have this explained to them.

And, of course, a clueless Kotaku post wouldn’t be complete without a more clueless comment:

I like how if you have 3 people, at least one must be female, but no rule about one must be male is provided.
3 girls playing games together = Totally cool.
3 guys playing games together = Sexist

Is it really so bad to show some bros gaming together without a girl in the group?

Sigh. Is it really so hard to understand that the feeling of alienation that the idea of including a woman in the group is the overall rule, not the exception, for female gamers?

December 2, 2009 Posted by | video games | , | Comments Off

Does Microsoft hoping to buy away Google News users

Rupert Murdoch has complained in the past about Google “stealing” News Corp’s content in public before and Murdoch’s online detractors have typically had two reactions — 1) “You’ve heard of the concept of ‘Fair Use’ right?” and 2) “You know Google makes it easy for you to block them from finding your articles, you could stop this theft pretty quickly.

News Corp might have found a new way to monetize their content, as the Financial Times (a Murdoch paper) is reporting that Microsoft is negotiating with News Corp to block its content from Google. Presumably, Microsoft is hoping to attract web surfers to use its search engine Bing by spending money to make Google’s searches make fewer hits.

Oliver Willis is right when he says a lot of people will like Google better if it were free of News Corp content. I know I would be happier if I could have gone through the past two seasons of Doctor Who without seeing The Sun report again and again that Tennant and/or Davis was about to quit the show until they finally did. (Keep saying it’s about to happen, eventually you’ll be right.)

But, if Microsoft goes through with the deal, it’ll put out a very bad message. Microsoft generally has a reputation for succeeding more by knowing how to use its resources to make up for what their product lacks in quality. After initially trying to pitch Bing as a better search engine, Microsoft would be spending money to try to make its top competitor worse. The best case scenario for Bing is new users who aren’t there because they like the service or feel loyal to it, but a feeling that Microsoft took away their alternative options. (Which is how many people feel about other Microsoft offerings.)

And, in the end, here’s the thing newspapers have to understand about the internet — somebody will always be willing to put the news out there for free because they’re willing to accept less or a profit (or, rather, a business model doesn’t involve as many expensive upper management), even if its a blogger summarizing what was just reported on the news. More likely, however, it’ll be sites that mix advocacy with original reporting like Talking Points Memo or Fire Dog Lake. Newspapers that offer something unique like the Wall Street Journal can put their content behind a subscriber wall but the papers that spent the last couple decades by cutting corners and filling their pages with the wire articles found in nearly every other paper are paying the price for not offering their readers much value.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | web | Comments Off

Inexplicable comment

Jerry Bruckheimer is surprised at how well the Prince of Persia movie tested, especially among women:

What we found when we tested the movie a few weeks ago, and it tested extraordinarily high which surprised me because I always think these things are going to fail but this one turned out great; the women were a surprise because I thought we made a terrific movie for the boys because the girl is beautiful but the women flipped over this film.

Let me see if I understand this. Bruckheimer expected men to like the movie because the lead actress was hot. However, he was surprised women liked it  because… he doesn’t think women  find Jake Gyllenhaal hot?

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Comments Off

Is this how you draw female horror fans?

The release of Jennifer’s Body started a discussion of how the audience for horror movies is largel female nowadays (with 65% of the audience for some horror movies being women) but after terrible marketing Jennifer’s Body bombed. However, after seeing Penn Badgley discuss his role on The Stepfather, I wonder if horror’s female fanbase is starting to affect the genre.

Bagley discussed having to get in shape for the movie and mentioned that he probably spends half the movie shirtless. From what I’ve seen, he spends the same amount of time shirtless in the ads for The Stepfather, as well (which, admittedly, has gotten me to watch ads for The Stepfather quite a bit).

Horror movies have already seen an influx of hotties from TV shows with young and female fanbases — think Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki in House of Wax or Jensen Ackles in My Bloody Valentine — but this is the first time I’ve seen a half-naked CW stud presented so often (though Murray’s shirtless torso was fairly prominent in  ads for House of Wax, just not this prominent) as a reason to see a horror movie.

And while the producers gave an infuriating rationale for why one of the characters was changed from female to male in remaking The Stepfather, I’m wondering if the real motivation  was that it would make it easier to add a frequently-shirtless hunk into the movie that way.

If this is where the horror genre is headed, it might be a sign of how the common wisdom of Hollywood marketing (where, it was presumed, all you had to do to get a woman’s entertainment dollar is to convince her man he was interested) may finally be changing.

October 16, 2009 Posted by | Horror Movies | , , , | 1 Comment

Cyndi, no!

For the most part, I’ve managed to avoid The Apprentice, even when the amazing Miss Alli recommended the first “celebrity” edition. However, if Cyndi Lauper ends up a part of the next season of Celebrity Appentice‘s cast, I’m afraid I will feel compelled to tune in.

Please, Ms Lauper, I beg you, don’t compel me to watch Donald Trump.

October 16, 2009 Posted by | US Broadcast Networks | , | Comments Off

Battle of the sitcom bands

In an interesting bit of synergy this week, we had two sitcoms put out a silly song on the web.

On How I Met Your Mother, Marshall’s ode to his double date with Barrobin got another joke website out out there to join the likes of Canadian Sex Acts and Slap Bet Countdown (sadly both sites seem to have disappeared).

Too bad there isn’t a longer version of Marshall’s song about accidentally killing his mother-in-law’s cat.

Meanwhile, on Modern Family Haley’s boyfriend was on the verge of winning over her parents until they heard his song “In the Moonlight”.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | US Broadcast Networks | , | Comments Off

So long Fox Reality Channel

My first reaction to the news that the Fox Reality Channel will be shut down was snark. After all, the best thing the channel gave us in five years were reruns of The Mole and The Search for the Next Elvira while also subjecting the world to shows like Battle of the Bods, the transphobic There’s Something About Miriam and Smile… You’re Under Arrest. It’s almost as if the network were designed to make the Fox network’s reality shows look classy by comparison.

However, after some thought I realized that there was a real missed potential to the network. Instead of filling its schedule with repeats of US reality shows, the network should have aired more imports and positioned itself as the way to deal with withdrawal from your favorite reality franchise.

Can’t wait for the next Project Runway season? Then check out Project Catwalk, the UK version, until the new season begins. Let down to see America’s Next Top Model crown a winner and wrap up the cycle? Hold yourself with a season of Canada’s Next Top Model.

Imports should have made for fairly cheap programming while being something that could be promoted as original programming. Additionally, those imports would have played off of the brand identity of the US edition.

The channel’s Wikipedia entry says the show aired some international editions, but since that was the first I heard of it I’m guessing they never promoted these shows effectively. Maybe another media company could consider such a venture.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | US Cable Networks | | Comments Off

That’s Gay: No Homo

Current TV’s infoMania is easily my favorite week-in-review comedy show. It’s easily one of the smartest shows in the genre, avoiding the easy snark for sharper, more cutting insight. Some of that comes from the variety of voices behind infoMania, Sarah Haskins has been dropping some feminist humor since the show began and Bryan Safi has similarly tacked gay issues with humor with his “That’s Gay” segment.

In the latest “That’s Gay” Safi takes on “no homo” and breaks down the ridiculousness of it all.

October 8, 2009 Posted by | US Cable Networks | , | Comments Off

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