Archive for the ‘celebrity’ Category

With all the hyped and real charisma that can be mustered concerning a NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement, two of my favorites were inducted last week.   Yes, some of the presentations were better than others but it may be that way based on which player was your favorite person to follow or scorn.   You saw it all on TV.  You were treated to the stories, the emotions, the commitments and sometimes the confessions that came forth.  Almost to a person, each claimed that they were who was now standing in front of that elite group, family, friends and invited quests due to the hardships they experienced and overcame along the way.

Here are some of the statements from Deion Sanders:

“I made a pledge to myself.  I don’t care what it takes.  I’m not going to do anything illegal.  But my mama is never going to have to work another day of her life someday.”

“When you told me what I couldn’t do; when you told me what I didn’t do; when you told me what I’d never be, I saw …”

There were equally compelling statements by Shannon Sharp and sometimes even poetic descriptions of living in poverty in a leaking cinderblock house in Glennville, Georgia, where his existence was hard, unforgiving and marginalized:

“I didn’t want my kids to live one hour in the life that I had, let alone a day.  … [I] got them to a life they never would’ve enjoyed had it not been for that” [the costs to his family…]

No, there was going to be no country cooked raccoon, opossum, squirrel and turtle. He committed then and there that…

“I’m not gonna have to eat that when I become an adult.”

And he didn’t.  He committed at an early age that his family would never have a reason to endure that level of despair and poverty.  And they didn’t ever have to.  Both these heroes of mine made millions and provided for mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, brothers and friends in ways that made certain those individuals would not have to do what he did… to experience the elevated status that both were now experiencing.

But the power of consequences of those commitments was lost on their self-congratulation and entitlement.  I was hoping they heard their own voices but the lights were bright and those sitting there on folding chairs may not have sensed their missed opportunity, not of experiencing poverty but of commitment and dedication.

Each person in the audience that was provided for by these athletes would never know the thrill of victory or the despair from a loss.  No one wants to have that poverty and no one wants their children or family to struggle against all odds.
They hadn’t been ‘robbed’ by being provided for but in most ways their chance at learning and achieving great success was ‘short-circuited’.    There they were, Deion and Shannon, the pillars of self-reliance and perseverance having learned, struggled, and found success now entitling others to watch rather than start doing early and do what they did to succeed. Not necessarily football but anything…

Experiencing the consequences of commitment, focus and dedication is what the Hall of Fame members in all sports share.  Deion got the closest to describing the formula for his success by providing the components for “Prime.”  But, the $1500 plane ride to hear someone talk about how they prevailed is transitory and is known to induce a stupor similar to that of being stoned.

It was how Deion and Shannon handled the consequences of their struggles, their focus and their perseverance that got them there and nothing else.  It is what they did…  It would have been nice to know both understood that and to hear them say it loud so the fans that idolize them could hear it clearly that nothing is free and everything each of us values comes with a price.     Maybe next year.


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The Jay Leno Show has been widely discussed.  Is it a fundamental shift in TV? does it change the economics?  Will it flop? Will others follow?

Pre-launch reactions weren’t really positive nor negative.  However, tonight’s airing didn’t really seem to knock people’s socks off.

The ratings will have to be the final verdict. BUT…. (it wouldn’t be a fun blog post if I didn’t speculate without sufficient data, right 🙂 )

My initial take: this will be a mediocre success in the short term and eventually make for a hard decision at NBC.  The huge amount of internal media thrown at it by NBC ensures that people know about the show.

The show’s content long term challenge will come from the Internet.  A topical comedy show that aims to be on top of the day’s events is really the specialty of Internet media.  The fact is TV content needs to be of a certain quality to succeed long term and trying to churn out decent comedy in this new form is going to be very difficult.

The business of the show will struggle long term as well.  They have to make big bucks on TV ads and I don’t think they can make the same cashflow with this show AND 2 late night shows. Here is also another issue… how will the other shows and the local affiliates react.  Let’s say this does work a little bit.  There’s a high likelihood that the Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon will suffer from lack of a strong lead in and ad dollar competition.  The local affiliates might hate it to as for decades viewing behavior has been news then comedy.  If others are like me then as soon as these monologues finish you start to fall asleep…. uh oh!

Oh, yes, let’s discuss Kayne and his impact on Leno’s ratings. This is not going to be a long term boost to ratings.  When Hugh Grant happened, we didn’t have youtube and twitter.  Kayne’s moment has already peaked.  What I mean is that the consumer attention for this Kayne moment on Leno has already been exhausted by the Internet.

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Does anyone see the irony AND similarity between the Wilson shout-out, “You lie…!” during President Obama’s address September 9th, 2009, on health-care legislation to a joint session of Congress and the Kanye West shout-out that he thought Beyoncé deserved to win the Moonman for Best Female Video.

Wilson, 62, shouted “you lie” at Obama during the  speech which came after Obama said his health-care overhaul wouldn’t benefit undocumented immigrants.

Later that evening FactCheck.org, a Washington-based watchdog group, said Obama was telling the truth.

On Sunday (September 13), Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech speech at the VMAs to express his independent and self-professed ‘invaluable’ opinion.

Can we dare say ‘art imitating life’ or is it that there is a growing lack of contingencies for un-civil behavior?

What is it we value?   Ya, I’m talking to you…   What is it you value?   Right; watching VMAs to see the wardrobe malfunctions and the Dolt meter red line…

Clearly what matters is so different for those entitled from those that aren’t entitled that this will continue to happen until the fear subsides and we come to value solution over exhaust.

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What do you make of Michael Vick, Ted Kennedy, Dick Cheney and Michael Jackson?  Villians? Heros? Role-Models? Titans? Flawed? Deserving? Entitled? Charismatic? Faithful? Loyal? Disturbed? All of these things? None of these things?

These people, as all people, are infinitely complex.  However, in the mass media (TV, radio, news, magazines)  they are portrayed in very simple ways.  Snippets of complexity stitched together into caricatures.   As proof of the over simplicity flip on the TV or browse your favorite news, sports, politics, or music site.  There is the rare exception (abcnews Ted Kennedy section) and usually it is buried on a website special section (you decide if that’s mass media).

Mass Media needs to generate and dramatize conflict.  When media fails to do that it usually doesn’t gain mass appeal.   There is a reinforcing loop for mass media producers to generate caricatures that get consumers to disagree and or promote that caricatures and the more consumers do this the more mass media produces.  If a person is presented in all their complexity it grows ever more difficult for a consumer to outwardly respond (e.g. blog, talk around the water cooler, call into radio shows…).  There is also limited time and space (and consumer attention) for mass media.  Broadcasting or publishing detailed profiles of people is physically impossible.

Yes, it is possible for a dedicated consumer to find the rich profiles and details they desire.   I do have a personal fear though – mass media drives so much of the political and social discussion and the world moves so fast that fewer and fewer consumers take the time to uncover the details.  Political marketers know this.  The Health Care discussion is a very good case study in how mass media fails to provide a robust intellectual platform.   There’s no one to blame.  Mass media has to make money for their shareholders and consumers do what they do.  Perhaps just a talking point and something to consider as we go about our lives.

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