Archive for June 27th, 2009
How often have you gone into a store or business in the summer, where you needed to wear a sweater or coat to stay comfortably warm? Think movie theaters, for example. No doubt, Americans waste a lot of energy over-cooling in the summer and over-warming in the winter. Think of those businesses that keep their doors open in the winter, heat spilling out into the frigid outdoors. When we bought a Christmas tree this year, the lot was using propane heaters to heat the outdoors.
As reported by Newsweek, Japan is using common sense in an effort to make itself less dependent on foreign fuel and in an effort to reduce carbon emissions:
In 2005, Environment Minister Yuriko Koike, a pioneering female politician, was seeking ways to slash energy use. And she came up with the Cool Biz campaign. The idea: Government would cut energy bills by keeping thermostats in its buildings at 28 degrees Celsius—82.4 degrees Fahrenheit—during the summer. It quickly produced results and was adopted by the business establishment as well. Since Japan’s energy mavens realized that simply unbuttoning a shirt collar can make people feel about 4 degrees cooler, dressing down became part of the Cool Biz mentality. (Here’s an ABC News story on the phenomenon.) The only people we met with this week wearing suits, ties, and cufflinks were Americans.
At Truthdig.com, Danny Goldberg has reviewed Steve Knopper’s book, Appetite for Self-Destruction. According to Goldbert, Knopper asks asks some good questions. Was it really necessary that the record companies had to suffer their massive economic collapses? Here are many of the excuses you hear:
If only they hadn’t charged so much for CDs even after the per-unit manufacturing cost went down; if only they hadn’t abandoned the commercial single when it ceased to be sufficiently profitable; if only they hadn’t cooperated with Best Buy and Wal-Mart at the expense of indie stores; if only they hadn’t sued customers for illegal downloading, etc. etc. Referring to the fact that some of Sony/BMG’s ill-fated watermarked CDs damaged some computers, Knopper writes: “This lack of empathy reinforced Napster-era beliefs that the music industry was more interested in suing and punishing its customers than catering to them.”
Goldberg disagrees with all of this. He points to the newspaper industry, which made none of these mistakes, but is also suffering massive economic losses.
This litany of real and imagined insults to the consumer [caused by record companies] ignores the central reality of what caused the decline of record sales: the ability of fans to get albums free.
Check out the home page of MSNBC tonight (click on the thumbnail below). Do you see ANYTHING about the crisis in Iran? Instead we are presented with endless drivel about Michael Jackson, who was an extremely talented entertainer many years ago. But I suppose that there is nothing interesting going on in Iran. And nothing much else going on anywhere else either, apparently.
For all you can tell by looking at the MSNBC homepage, the problems in Iran have been entirely resolved. Or maybe the problem is that MSNBC doesn’t have anybody on the ground in Iran, and when a tree falls in the forest where there aren’t any mainstream media reporters, the tree didn’t really fall at all. Even though sustained coverage of Iran is potentially a lifeline for the brave Iranian men and women who are standing up to their government, which apparently stole their national election. And BTW, had we elected John McCain and had he gotten his way to bomb Iran, would our media have tried to present an accurate viewpoint of these young heroes? Or would we have merely seen a reply of the Iraq invasion, lots of videos of bombs being dropped and missiles being launched?
MSNBC is merely doing what the rest of the commercial news sites are doing. ALL of the commercial news sites have decided that Michael Jackson is far more important than . . . well . . . everything else combined. See the thumbnails below to see the home pages of CNN and ABC.
What do these news priorities say about our commercial news businesses, and what do they say about us as commercial news consumers? I’d suggest that this fickle coverage suggests that the commercial media doesn’t take its job seriously. Not at all.