Today on the list: PBS is as white as TV gets, the three myths that keep flummoxing America, and the Middle Easterners who conquered Europe with their magic potion—milk.
PBS Just as Corporate, White, Male and Republican as Commercial TV
According to a multi-part report in the latest issue of Extra! magazine, published by media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting), PBS is not the indie alternative to corporate-owned television it once was. In fact, in many ways, PBS now is corporate-owned television. At the same time, many PBS shows’ guest lists are woefully non-diverse.
Basic-cable shows are multiplying-and changing the way TV is made
As a longtime producer on CBS’ popular crime series “CSI,” Josh Berman got used to submitting scripts to network executives and changing them according to their dictates. But when he pitched his own series to cable, Lifetime “just said go for it,” and its executives have mostly left him alone ever since, he says.
Block That Adjective!
I am not at all sure—convinced, certain, persuaded—that creative-writing courses are a good idea unless they prevent people from writing sentences like this one, where adjectives—useful, helpful, intensely descriptive words—are stacked upon one another as Pelion used to be piled upon Ossa.
The Buzz on Buzz
In recent years, the subject of buzz has generated a burst of scientific attention, as researchers try to understand why having lots of people talk about a brand of jeans, or a new smart phone, makes the products so much more likely to succeed in the marketplace. The new buzz research demonstrates that we’re much less autonomous than we imagine. Everything we do is shaped by everyone else.
The passion behind the populist insurgency is less about liberty than a particularly American idea of karma.
What do the tea partyers really want? The title of a recent book by two of the movement’s leaders offers an answer: “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.” The authors, Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, write that “We just want to be free. Free to lead our lives as we please, so long as we do not infringe on the same freedom of others.”
The insiders’ guide to the arts
How long should you look at a painting for? Where are the best seats for ballet? Big names from the arts world, including Charlotte Rampling and Richard Eyre, share their tips.
Hyper-libertarian billionaire’s plan to pay students to quit college
To describe Peter Thiel as simply a libertarian wildly understates the case. His belief system is based on unapologetic selfishness and economic Darwinism. His most famous quote—borrowed from Vince Lombardi—is, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” In a personal statement produced last year for the Cato Institute, Thiel announced: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
£30m forgeries send shock waves through the art world
German police hold three suspects after works sold through leading auction houses are exposed as fakes.
How Middle Eastern Milk Drinkers Conquered Europe
New research has revealed that agriculture came to Europe amid a wave of immigration from the Middle East during the Neolithic period. The newcomers won out over the locals because of their sophisticated culture, mastery of agriculture—and their miracle food, milk.
Three historical myths have been leading American presidents into folly for nearly a century
Three enduring illusions—a misguided faith in universalism, or America’s power to transform the world from a community of hostile, lawless nations into enlightened states devoted to peaceful cooperation; a need to shun appeasement of all adversaries or to condemn suggestions of conciliatory talks with them as misguided weakness; and a belief in the surefire effectiveness of military strength in containing opponents, whatever their ability to threaten the United States—have made it nearly impossible for Americans to think afresh about more productive ways to address their foreign problems.
On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication.
A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.