Archives for August 2013

Robin Thicke Is A Douche, Not A Plagiarist

imagesLast week poop pop singer Robin Thicke (son of Growing Pains‘ Alan) filed a very strange lawsuit: facing an imminent legal claim by Marvin Gaye’s family that Thicke’s song-of-the-summer smash “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright of Gaye’s disco classic “Got To Give It Up,” Thicke and his co-writers requested a preemptive ruling to the contrary: that Thicke’s song does not infringe upon Gaye’s. It was reported that Thicke offered the Gaye heirs a six-figure settlement in hopes of making the whole thing go away, but the offer was rejected and the whole thing appears to be headed for court.

Despite the fact that it seems to have supplanted “Get Lucky” as the biggest song of the year, I’m not a huge fan of “Blurred Lines.” I first heard it in a commercial for a portable speaker that ran ad nauseam during the NBA playoffs, and what got my attention was not the song but Thicke’s absurdly sexy co-stars in the ad, cavorting about in their underwear against an all-white background. (Those ladies appeared nude in the official video for the song, but I guess they shot some alternate footage with the portable speaker in which they kept their clothes on and made a commercial out of it.)

Like everyone, the first thing I noticed about the commercial (after the girls) was the song’s similarity to “Got To Give It Up.” The second thing I noticed was the girls again. The third thing I noticed was Robin Thicke’s singular lack of chemistry with either his costars or the camera. Then the girls again. Then the portable speaker. (Great job, ad guys.)
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Stay Away, Jon

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart with John Oliver

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart with John Oliver

I have been a big fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart since before it was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Even back in the late ’90s, when Craig Kilborn was applying his (in my opinion, underrated) fratboy enthusiasm to what then billed itself as “the most important television program ever,” I was a loyal near-nightly viewer, and though I liked Kilborn’s version just fine, the show clearly improved when Stewart took the helm.

The political commentary got sharper, the show got funnier, the correspondents were nearly all replaced with better correspondents, and just when it seemed to have hit top gear in its coverage of the 2000 election, the Florida recounts, followed by the second Bush administration, made the show absolutely essential for the next — get ready to feel old — 13 years (!!!!!).

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Moscow On The Potomac

From-Russia-With-Love

Or, To Russia With Love

It’s been hard for me to really feel much outrage about the data-gathering and surveillance programs brought to light by Edward Snowden, the NSA-contracted intelligence analyst-turned-international fugitive recently granted a year’s asylum in Russia — probably because, like everyone who ever had this conversation on the phone…

“…yeah, so, do you still have that book about, ah, Sacajawea…? Could I stop by later and get that from you? It’s just, ’cause I have this paper due… on the EIGHTH…”

..I’ve always operated under the assumption that these things were at least maybe already happening.

As I understand it (and it’s entirely possible that I have this wrong), the PRISM data-collection program that Snowden exposed gathers and stores metadata from telecom companies — who called who, how long they talked, and when — but that it’s such a massive amount of information that it can only be practically useful in hindsight. As in, “Looks like Arturo was behind this bombing. So let’s tap his phone going forward, and while we’re at it, pull up his records for the last six weeks and lets see if we can figure out who helped him.” That doesn’t really bother me.

And, let’s face it: thanks to social media, privacy is quickly going out of style:

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