My life is even more boring than usual, so it’s all-bloggage Thursday:
Watching online video journalism find its footing is fascinating. I’ve said before I live in one of the worst markets for TV news — big and prosperous, but fully in the grasp of people who are squeezing it for every dime they can, while they still can — but this stuff is giving me hope.
I stumbled across this in my work last night, an index page for a video series on entrepreneurs produced by Crain’s Chicago Business. There are only two stories up, and both are good, but the one on the bike messenger is great. I’ve messed around a bit with digital video, so I have an idea what went into making it, and the answer is: A lot of work, and not a lot of money. They attached a POV (point of view) camera to the messenger and let him do his thing, then sat him down and had him talk about it a little bit, which they added as a voiceover. The video is nerve-wracking — I kept wanting to scream, “watch out!” — but his voice is calm, talking about finding the natural flow of the traffic and being like a river running through the rocks (rocks = cars). The reporting happens almost by accident. We learn that the messenger is a co-owner of his business, the Four Star Courier Collective, that it runs by “commie ideals” and that it makes for a unique niche of the profit-making community. There are a few facts about the messenger industry in general — it’s in decline — and the daily grind of getting from the Sears to the Hancock tower in five minutes, but then having to spend far more time being vetted by security.
If this were on one of my local newscasts, we would have seen the reporter’s face at least six times. There would have been silly wordplay and a question about firm thighs. The cuts would have come at a 3X pace, because people get so bored if they have to look at the same thing for longer than four seconds. And then there would have been the chuckling handoff to the anchors, who would say stupid things, and then on to the animal story.
I suppose, in the interest of transparency, I should admit that I sometimes indulge in a brief fantasy of being a bike messenger myself. Alan’s getaway-career fantasy is boatbuilding; mine is hangin’ with the dreadlocked boys down in the Messenger Center, comparing scars. This may have colored my opinion.
Why should the nation rebuild New Orleans? To give the world more fertile ground for the production of whorehouse proprietors who give good quote, that’s why:
“I know he’s not a drug addict,” she said. “I know he’s not a person that would down talk a woman. I know that he’s respectful. I know from what I’ve seen that he is honorable, that he’s a good man. His wife should be very proud of her husband irregardless of what he’s done. He was not a freak. He was not into anything unusual or kinky or weird.”
What a heart of gold that girl has!
I knew, sooner or later, Bigfoot would turn up in Michigan.
Today’s dirty-joke thrill: Unintentionally sexual comics covers/panels. You’ll feel so ashamed for giggling.
Have you noticed the amount of random b.s. that goes around the conversational circuit during your average day? A few months ago we discussed the “every meat eater has several pounds of undigested hot dogs in their bowel” meme, which I was astonished to read not long ago in, no kidding, a health magazine. It was a first-person piece on getting a colon cleanse; I guess someone drank the Kool-Aid.
One of the neighborhood kids is a veritable font of this stuff. “Did you know that you swallow, on average, eight spiders a night?” she told Kate the other day. This was followed by the news that “some ring of rocks” was “put there by aliens.” Kate, bless her heart, said, “the asteroid belt?” No. Further questioning revealed she was talking about Stonehenge. I tried to correct her, but I doubt it sunk in.
Today I read in the New York Times that someone is pushing a $25,000 genuine horsehair mattress with claims that it “breathes,” useful in that “the average person sweats about a pint a night.” Yes, a pint. Yes, “average.” Does anyone ever dare to say, “Um, that’s a load of crap” to people like this?
Anyway, I’m of two minds. I’ve introduced Kate to Snopes and their valuable service, so that’s one. The other is to fight fire with fire, to make up my own counter “facts,” a la John Hodgman. Next time I’ll tell that kid that you not only swallow eight spiders a night, but usually at least one millipede, and, while camping, two earthworms.
That’s it for me, folks. Discuss.