Thursday, November 11, 2010

Highlights, Lowlights, and Conspiracy Theories from the Visual Culture

1. Video
You just know that there are weird things on YouTube that you never see, and maybe never want to see. Whatever. AwesomeRebo has done the work and rounded up a bunch of the strangest channels to be found. There is the man who wants to be a unicorn, the lady giving anger management advice to a digital Mel Gibson, the man who smokes pipes, and my favorite, featured here. I laugh, though I am also slightly frightened. But if, like me, you like to watch, you will not be able to take your eyes off the screen. You've been warned.

2. Art
Cindy Crawford by Herb Ritts
Hugh Hefner told the Associated Press that Playboy magazine "helped to change the very direction of commercial art—breaking down the wall between fine art and commercial art." When I read that, I wanted to wave the "exaggerated hyperbole" sign, but as usual Hef is right. Anyway, 125 pieces from the Playboy Art Collection will be auctioned at Christie's on December 8. Of course there will be photos. The Herb Ritts picture of Cindy Crawford (left) is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. The photo of Jerry Seinfeld by Steve Wayda is estimated at $7,000 to $9,000. Go here to see more images to be featured at the auction.

3. Blogs

TBDArts has an interesting post about Gawker, which recently announced that it had removed a picture that showed the body of Christopher Jusko, the graffiti artist who was stabbed to death in the East Village of Manhattan on October 25, after receiving lots of criticism in the comments section of the post. As Ryan Kearney points out, Gawker is usually "impervious to criticism," and the removal of the image was an usual act. Why did they do it? Cynically, he thinks it's because the story had just 42,000 page hits at the time the photo was pulled—a small number, by the standards of Gawker, which based most editorial decisions on page hits. Sometimes cynical is right.

4. Television

I have two stories the require mentioning. First, we all know now that Matt Lauer's lame, lame, lame interview with former President George W. Bush on Monday night was also a ratings loser, scoring 1.7 among adults 18-49. As you see here, that's lower than ratings for the entire season of Chuck. Americans may have voted in a Republican House, but they are not interested in Bush.

Second, I was happy to find this picture of Chase Carey, the News Corp. executive who prevented me from watching the first few games of the 2010 World Series. Carey, who has a douchy mustache, was the guy in charge of negotiations between FOX and Cablevision. Since this is FOX, Carey has placed the blame on the fiasco squarely on....the government in Washington. He says here that government officials didn't make it clear enough that they would or would not intervene in the negotiations. Not that old-fashioned greed had anything to do with it. And did anybody else think it was funny that baseball came back on the air just as the Series moved to Texas, where George W. Bush (former owner of the Rangers) and his family could be seen behind the plate in about every other shot? Not that FOX has a thing for Bush. Or is that cynical?

5. Advertising

Above, Kim Kardashian in a new campaign for Beach Bunny Swimwear. The photo, she says, was inspired by the film Barbarella. Enough said.

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