“When you look at America, you have to concede that we have failed. Most Americans today are worse off than they were fifteen years ago. A full-time worker in the US is worse off today than he or she was 44 years ago. That is astounding – half a century of stagnation. The economic system is not delivering. It does not matter whether a few people at the top benefitted tremendously – when the majority of citizens are not better off, the economic system is not working.”
“You know, President Obama wanted to move the dinner to the Kennedy Center this year but the Republicans wanted to keep it here at the Hilton, so they compromised, and here we are at the Hilton.”—Jimmy Kimmel
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate the Huffington Post on their Pulitzer Prize. You deserve it, Arianna. There’s no one else out there ‘linking’ to the kinds of hard-hitting journalism that HuffPo is linking to, every, single day.”—President Obama
“Four years ago I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Four years later she won’t stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena.”—President Obama, White House Correspondent’s Dinner (via apsies)
There’s a lot of talkaround the web about Lena Dunham’s new HBO joint Girls and its lack of diversity. Part of the problem is that those of us who fit into that amorphous space of “black alternative” or “Afrobohemia” or whatever we are called today, so rarely see ourselves represented creatively. […]
With that said, I think storytellers—first and foremost—must pledge their loyalty to the narrative as it comes to them. I don’t believe in creating characters out of a desire to please your audience or even to promote an ostensible social good. I think good writing is essentially a selfish act—story-tellers are charged with crafting the narrative they want to see. I’m not very interested in Lena Dunham reflecting the aspirations of people she may or may not know. I’m interested in her specific and individual vision; in that story she is aching to tell. If that vision is all-white, then so be it. I don’t think a story-teller can be guilted into making great characters. […]
I thought about that episode after one of the writers on Girls responded to the criticism by tweeting sarcastically, “What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.” That comment understandably set of a new round of outrage. But it should also set off some reflection. I don’t know Dunham or anyone who writes for Girls. Perhaps that was a rogue comment that says nothing about her team. Nevertheless, I think it’s only right to ask whether you really want black characters rendered by the same hands that rendered that tweet. Invisibility is problematic. Caricature is worse. […]
There has been a lot of talk, this week about Lena Dunham’s responsibility, but significantly less about the the people who sign her checks. My question is not “Why are their no black women on Girls,” but “How many black show-runners are employed by HBO?” This is about systemic change, not individual attacks.
It is not so wrong to craft an exclusively white world—certainly a significant portion of America lives in one. What is wrong is for power-brokers to pretend that no other worlds exists. Across the country there are black writers and black directors toiling to bring those worlds to the screen. If HBO does not see fit to have a relationship with those writers, then those of us concerned should assess our relationship with HBO.
How times have changed. Karp announced at Ad Age’s Digital Conference that on May 2, Tumblr will start offering advertisers the ability to buy an ad unit on Tumblr Radar, which highlights the site’s top posts and gets approximately 120,000 impressions a day.
“I was probably being an idiot then,” Karp said of his earlier renunciation of all advertising. His conversion is relatively recent—on April 12 he told Ad Age that advertising was “a complete last resort.”
Tumblr spokesperson Katharine Barna added that the real estate being offered to advertisers was “not an ‘ad unit’ per se, but a package of native promotion for the Tumblr post ― the most essential and versatile piece of our network.”
Last week Advertising Age interviewed Karp and asked a basic question: “Can the Company Be a Business Without Traditional Advertising?”
So… Tumblr Radar is not being replaced by advertising, but instead will have banners accompanying each post? And if so, is Topherchris still the omnipotent person responsible for handpicking radar-worthy content?
"Airport security in America is broken. I should know. For 3½ years—from my confirmation in July 2005 to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009—I served as the head of the Transportation Security Administration. […]
More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve.
The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple. […]
What would a better system look like? If politicians gave the TSA some political cover, the agency could institute the following changes before the start of the summer travel season:
1. No more banned items: Aside from obvious weapons capable of fast, multiple killings—such as guns, toxins and explosive devices—it is time to end the TSA’s use of well-trained security officers as kindergarten teachers to millions of passengers a day. The list of banned items has created an “Easter-egg hunt” mentality at the TSA. Worse, banning certain items gives terrorists a complete list of what not to use in their next attack. Lighters are banned? The next attack will use an electric trigger.
2. Allow all liquids: Simple checkpoint signage, a small software update and some traffic management are all that stand between you and bringing all your liquids on every U.S. flight. Really.
3. Give TSA officers more flexibility and rewards for initiative, and hold them accountable: No security agency on earth has the experience and pattern-recognition skills of TSA officers. We need to leverage that ability. TSA officers should have more discretion to interact with passengers and to work in looser teams throughout airports. And TSA’s leaders must be prepared to support initiative even when officers make mistakes. Currently, independence on the ground is more likely to lead to discipline than reward.
4. Eliminate baggage fees: Much of the pain at TSA checkpoints these days can be attributed to passengers overstuffing their carry-on luggage to avoid baggage fees. The airlines had their reasons for implementing these fees, but the result has been a checkpoint nightmare. Airlines might increase ticket prices slightly to compensate for the lost revenue, but the main impact would be that checkpoint screening for everybody will be faster and safer.
5. Randomize security: Predictability is deadly. Banned-item lists, rigid protocols—if terrorists know what to expect at the airport, they have a greater chance of evading our system.”
“So it seems time to pronounce a rule about American popular culture: the Golden Forty-Year Rule. The prime site of nostalgia is always whatever happened, or is thought to have happened, in the decade between forty and fifty years past… And so, if we can hang on, it will be in the twenty-fifties that the manners and meanings of the Obama era will be truly revealed: only then will we know our own essence. A small, attentive child, in a stroller on some Brooklyn playground or Minneapolis street, is already recording the stray images and sounds of this era: Michelle’s upper arms, the baritone crooning sound of NPR, people sipping lattes (which a later decade will know as poison) at 10 A.M.—manners as strange and beautiful as smoking in restaurants and drinking Scotch at 3 P.M. seem to us. A series or a movie must already be simmering in her head, with its characters showing off their iPads and staring at their flat screens: absurdly antiquated and dated, they will seem, but so touching in their aspiration to the absolutely modern. Forty years from now, we’ll know, at last, how we looked and sounded and made love, and who we really were.”—What “Mad Men” Shows About American Pop Culture | The New Yorker