Sunday, February 14, 2010

Media Roundup: John Mayer, Esquire, Gay Capricans, Starlog, & More

The latest in the vast, wild, weird world of media:

  • For people looking for signs of life or death of print media  on the newsstands, Folio: interprets the disastrous second half of 2009 as evidence that things will be getting better, not worse.
  • The new Syfy Channel series Caprica has gone unwatched in my house, except for the previews and a five-minute taste of the first episode, both of which confirmed in me my disinterest. I would, after all, far rather see a continuation of the incredible Battlestar Galactica series -- arguably one of the best dramatic series on television in the first decade of the 21st century -- than this prequel SF-lite series. Nonetheless, it's their money, their choice. But I was happy to hear from blogger Nick Mattos that Caprica features a gay couple, and it's all done without hype or over-reaction. That was, after all, just what we wanted from Star Trek all those years, but Trek never gave it to us (and I refuse to be happy with the forced allegories of that Enterprise episode, or the sex-shifting metaphors in Star Trek: The Next Generation). Babylon 5 didn't have a problem with having a major gay character. Galactica gave us the lesbian leader of the Pegasus and bridge officer Felix Gaetta. But Trek's given us squat. So, congrats, Caprica. 
  • Let me reiterate my belief that one-time science-fiction media powerhouse magazine Starlog is dead, dead, dead. Happy to be proven wrong, but frankly I think this is a market opportunity for someone else. I doubt others will know how to exploit it (though I do), but that's the big leagues for ya. If the UK can produce two monthly science fiction movie magazines with more than 130 pages (SFX and Sci Fi Now), certainly the much-larger United States can do one. Right? 
  • If print is dead and Playboy is dead, the print edition of Playboy sure does seem to be getting a lot of press lately for what it's doing. Unfortunately, the talk at the moment is about its interview with idiot-of-the-month John Mayer, someone I'd barely heard about before this hubbub about his allegedly racist (and definitely sexist) remarks in his Playboy Interview in the magazine's March issue (see image). Whatever happened to the interview with Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman we were promised? Why do we keep getting idiots like John Mayor and Sean Combs? Playboy is a much more intelligent magazine -- and is doing some really great work these days -- than these interview subjects would indicate. How about Krugman? How about Robert Reich? Michio Kaku? There's a long list of people who have much more interesting things to say than the know-nothings Playboy Interviews have featured for the past few years, with a few exceptions.  
  • Despite my frequent dissing of Esquire magazine on this blog in the past, I must say I've been impressed with a couple of their recent articles, which have risen above their standard snarky and overly attitudinal fare. In the current issue, check out the profile of Chicago movie legend Roger Ebert. And in the previous issue, I was surprised to find myself actually reading several articles, including a quite-good profile of the U.S. secretary of defense. Maybe the economic collapse has focused the minds at the Esquire office on the need to focus on quality writing rather than just cover gimmicks. Or maybe they were flukes. Either way, I'd like to see more of this.
  • And, for you comics fans -- and/or you Zac Efron fans -- who read German, here's a report on Efron's upcoming comics film role.
  • And, finally, let me complain about Google's blogger interface, which has all on its own added random underlining, reformatting and placing photos, and other ridiculous stuff while I tried to write this short blog post. Much wasted time. Don't they test this stuff? Who do they think they are, Microsoft?
Read my previous Media Roundup.

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