Happy Friday, everyone!
1. Disney Deal Fits in a Murdoch Family Fault Line (NY Times)
Mr. Murdoch had built an empire by divining where media was headed, and the landscape ahead troubled him, according to several people who speak to Mr. Murdoch or to others close to him and who insisted on anonymity. Growth for 21st Century Fox, with its mix of traditional cable networks and movie labels, would be increasingly difficult to deliver as technology giants like Apple and Amazon pushed deeper into the film and television industries, changing the way people get entertainment. Netflix was already becoming big enough to outbid Fox and other old-line entertainment companies for scripts. Facebook was coming after sports rights.
The Sports streaming thing is interesting because that is the last thing that's holding the traditional cable bundle together. Viewers can stream pretty much anything at any time, but getting a broad spectrum of live sports is still easier via cable subscription. But now Facebook and others are looking to get into sports streaming, mostly away from the American mainstream to start, but that's just for now, right? Plus, there are any number of online bundling packages, though getting a lot of sports this way won’t necessarily save a lot of money (for now).
The best old-line media folks see what’s coming. They’re either gobbling up everything like Disney is trying to do, or they’re concentrating on one really rock-solid niche like Fox (i.e. Fox News) is trying to do, or they risk winding up digital roadkill. I mean, we don't know how this is all going to work itself out, but if even Murdoch is scared...
2. Where U.S. Health Care Stands Out: Price (NY Times)
There are ways to combat high health care prices. One is an all-payer system, like that seen in Maryland. This regulates prices so that all insurers and public programs pay the same amount. A single-payer system could also regulate prices. If attempted nationally, or even in a state, either of these would be met with resistance from all those who directly benefit from high prices, including physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies — and pretty much every other provider of health care in the United States.
I've been telling people in my day-to-day life that nothing lasts forever, that although Republicans are ascendant right now, we should probably think of this as a little more than a specific moment in history. Sure, there are folks who believe that taxation is theft. A lot of them. But most Americans realize a more obvious truth, that taxation is the cost of citizenship. We can and should argue about spending priorities, but society has some jobs it has got to get done through government, and those jobs cost. Most people get that, which is how we’ve come to a point where Americans are getting a tax cut, andnearly everyone is actually pissed off about it.
Articles like the one above indicate how severe the backlash is going to be when it inevitably comes. We all see that, right? That single-payer is coming, and it will be here sooner rather than later, along with a host of other, very seriously liberal economic ideas?
This is what happens when you refuse to talk to the other side. It happened when the Dem’s were in office, it’s happening now, and if the Dems again ram unilateral garbage through Congress on their next time out, it will happen again after that. Because, bottom line, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Right now, that’s all of America.
3. What kind of crazy TVs will we see at CES 2018? Here’s a sneak peek (Digital Trends)
You may begin to see massive 8K TVs (read: bigger than 90 inches) in heavily guarded areas of high-end electronics stores toward the end of the year. And if you’ve got a fat enough wallet, you could buy one and put it in your home.
Here is what I've learned: even owning a 4K TV is meaningless if you don't have at least 50" worth of TV in your house. Which is insane because 50" is a lot of TV!
We just got a new 55" 4K TV, and it is enormous. I mean, it eats up almost one entire wall in our basement. Moreover, we almost never actually use the full resolution--apparently, you need a dedicated DSL line to get it reliably--but even if we did, I personally wouldn't be able to tell the difference because my eyesight isn't that good!
If you purchase one of these monstrosities, please please please invite me over, so I can get a look at it. I’ll be super-curious to hear about its data requirements.
UCF was 12-0 in the regular season, and ranked No. 12 by the CFP heading into its New Year's Day Peach Bowl showdown with No. 7 Auburn. UCF went on to win 34-27 in a thrilling game. Auburn was in the red zone at the end of the game with a chance to tie it up, but quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw an interception on an errant, hurried pass to give UCF an exclamation point on its victory.
The committee, of course, ultimately gave Alabama the nod as the No. 4 team in the country, despite losing to Auburn and not playing in its conference title game.
He's got an excellent argument. His team beat the team that beat both of the teams in the actual playoff.
5. Celebrating 2017 (Army West Point Sports)
Celebrating 2017.pic.twitter.com/jwycXfWFEf— ArmyWestPoint Sports (@GoArmyWestPoint) January 1, 2018
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One more time, because nothing generates clicks like Star Wars.
In The Force Awakens, we learn that Rey grew up in a junkyard of Star Wars garbage: a busted AT-AT, the decrepit Millennium Falcon. (It’s basically the Kahn basement before my mom culled the Legos.) The legend lurks in the background of The Force Awakens, where it weighs most heavily on Kylo Ren. Critics and audiences recognized that he, at least, was struggling with history—“I will finish what you started,” he says to Darth Vader’s destroyed mask—but they generally understood the film as a nostalgia trip. As I wrote at the time, this wasn’t quite right. The musical score was full of ambivalence, slipping almost too easily between the new menacing themes and the old comforting ones. And besides, what version of the legend had Kylo Ren inherited if he worshipped Vader as the pinnacle of darkness? Was he conscious of Vader’s final turn to the light?
|Star Wars: The Force Awakens promo art|
If you’ve never written a story and solicited literary feedback, you may never have heard of the “3 Levels of Feedback”.
Level 1: Spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This is not where you want to be. At this level, one’s work is barely comprehensible. Folks can’t get to the point because they’re too busy correcting your use of language.
Level 2: Construction and execution. With a new project, this is generally where you want to be. Does the project work overall? Is your storytelling effective? Does the structure serve the plot? Do your scenes and sequels serve to heighten tension? This is the hard part of writing, and I personally find it nearly impossible to judge from the inside.
Level 3: What does it mean? You know your project works when people immediate start arguing about what it means. This is not the same as having folks like it. People are individuals, and as a writer (artist), it’s wrong to expect that people are necessarily going to like your work or see it the way that you do. In fact, there are a host of reasons why no one will ever see a thing the way that you see it as a creator. However, if folks are arguing about what something means, then your project worked overall, and that’s all you can ask.
Ryan Johnson’s film worked beyond measure because people started arguing about it so vehemently about it from almost the moment that it was released. He knows this, and so does Disney. That is, was, and always has been the best possible outcome, which is why Disney has already given Johnson a sequel trilogy, and no one’s talking about taking it away despite all the fan “backlash”.
If “backlash” is folks talking about your film endlessly on every media everywhere, then filmakers the world over would truly love to have that now and forever more.
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That’s all I’ve got.
Welcome back to the office. 2018 is here, and it’s already a total bitch. Woof.