Tag Archives: ads

Hulu: The Greatest Argument For Piracy I’ve Ever Seen

I should probably state two things right off the bat, just to set the stage. The first is that editing anything, whether it be a weekly all-comics print publication or a blog that floats a measly few thousand views a week [not a humblebrag, I know what good site traffic is], is difficult. The second is that I consider fellow Culture War Reporter Gordon one of my best friends on this planet. It’s for those two reasons that I find covering the issue of piracy, of the copyright infringement variety, so harrowing.

In writing this post I forced myself to do my due diligence and read over my co-writer’s others two articles concerning the topic, and it was truly an ordeal. While in his first there are some fairly reasonable assertions like “Some People Will Never Buy” they’re coupled with others like “Anti-Piracy Hurts the Environment”, a point that ignores outlets like Netflix and other similar legal streaming services that harm God’s green earth just as much as The Pirate Bay. The second covered the “Vindication of Piracy” predicated on an article published by the BBC. All I have to say about that is . . . covered in the lengthy comment I left on that very post, if you’d like to check it out on your own.

As you should be able to tell based on how the above paragraphs are written, I feel very strongly about this. Which should make it particularly notable when I say that due to recent events in the past week I almost agree with Gordon.angrymanfist-2400px copy

And it’s all because of Hulu.

Hulu is the most compelling argument I have ever come across that piracy is both legitimate and possibly even necessary.

Now it’s going to look like I’m talking down to you, but I just want to make everything as clear as possible.

When we watch TV we are bombarded by commercials because the networks need money [as we all do] to survive. Some of that money makes its way to showrunners and the like, and the more successful their programs are the more money, ostensibly, the network will give them, because you want to spend money on that which makes you money. Hulu is an American streaming service that allowed you to watch TV shows the day after they aired, but had them accompanied by ads, for obvious aforementioned reasons. Continue reading

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Fame Day: Stopping Super Bowl Sexism

I have to admit it. We had a Super Bowl party at our house. By Super Bowl party I mean we had some friends over and John watched the game while the rest of us chatted and ate food and had fun, then when the commercials came on we would all quiet down and turn up the volume.

While there were, of course, a few “ugh” commercials, most were pretty good.
One that really stood out was this year’s GoDaddy commercial. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it featured this woman quitting her job in their commercial, since she knew her boss would be watching the game.

Gwen Dean says “I Quit” to her boss as she publicizes her plans to become a puppet master.

Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Censorship

GORDON: Welcome readers to another exciting installment of [redacted], where we’ll be discussing [censored] and the [undisclosed] surrounding it.
(The topic for today is censorship, for anyone baffled by my oh-so-subtle clues…)

While this topic did originate out of Evan’s and my discussion of TV (how we’d deal with rating systems, more specifically) we HAVE touched on this topic before, with our previous discussion of the UK’s automatic porn-block for British ISPs.

KAT: You guys actually included a poll in your discussion on television, too. And while there weren’t an awful lot of votes, it seems like more readers agreed with censoring daytime TV to some degree.

Censorship is such a big topic, but before we go much further, let me get an idea of how you feel about it. Is censorship ever okay? If so when? And by who?

Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: How We Would Do TV


EVAN:
 The idiot box, the boob tube, the . . . television receiver . . . TV’s a pretty important part of our culture, and even as I write this the flatscreen is on, showing the Rockets pretty soundly beating the Spurs-

There are also certain ways that things are done, which is apparent as anything else given the upcoming Super Bowl and the so-called “Ad Blitz”. What we’re here to do is explain how we’d do things, were we the ones running the show.

GORDON: Since you brought up commercials, that’s probably a good place to start.

How about declaring a law that the same commercial cannot be shown twice in the same hour? Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Advertising

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, today’s Culture War Correspondence is brought to you by-

-well, we’re going to hash that out in just a second. Our topic tonight is advertising, on this blog specifically.

EVAN: If you all want to check over on our Contact page you’ll see that Michelle, “of BowlingShoes.com, BowlingBags.com, BowlingBalls.com and DiscountBowlingSupply.com” left us an offer to help advertise their products.

This isn’t the first time she’s contacted us either, as she sent the same offer to the blog’s email address, which I thought I replied back when I got it early November but didn’t.

As it stands, I’m going to have to publicly politely refuse her offer, as this blog isn’t the sort of place to find a) bowling paraphernalia reviews or b) other people’s writing. She did help us come to this topic, though, so my thanks to her for that-

GORDON: Which begs the question, of course, if you’d be up for other kinds of advertising here on the blog. What’s your gut reaction to the idea? Continue reading

Fame Day: The Grid

I say with complete honesty that I there are times that I feel genuine pity for those of you who don’t live in Toronto. I mean, sure, there’s the fact that it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world, is home of the 3rd highest tower in the world [underneath which is brewed some pretty decent beer], and  is the setting for pretty much the entirety of the Scott Pilgrim series-

You can click the image above to check out a whole bunch more.

No, the reason for that, dear readers, is The Grid. A weekly publication, this newspaper describes itself on its website as:

…a weekly city magazine and daily website providing a fresh, accessible voice for Toronto. Our goal is to capture the vibe and energy of a city in ascendance, largely by rejecting the glossy, doggedly aspirational vision of it you see in so many other publications. Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Talk: Facebook and Privacy

EVAN: So in spite of the fact that I voted for my topic of preference on last week’s poll, Facebook and privacy and whatnot won. Having bitterly admitted that, Gordon?

GORDON: While the topic of Facebook (or all social networking) and privacy certainly isn’t a new debate, it’s not one that’s lost its relevance either.

As we rely on the internet more and more as our primary means of communication and entertainment, how do we address the issue of having every little element of our lives dissected and sold to the highest bidder?-

EVAN: I mean, really, everyone has been the target more or less of having their information used by Facebook. Log on and check out those sidebar ads; every one has been tailored using the cookies of sites you’ve visited. Which is why mine are always StarCraft related, etc.

GORDON: First thing we gotta ask is- “Is this really a problem? Aint it better to have ads that are actually relevant to you, rather than yet another ****ing insurance commercial courtesy of Geico?”

EVAN: Ugh, Geico. How many ad campaigns can a single company have?

EVAN: Moving disgustedly along, that’s a very relevant point. I’m interested in video games, so to have sidebar ads about such things is not something I can really complain about.

GORDON: I’ve got a pretty aggressive adblock, so I’m fortunate enough not to have to deal with that; but the underlying assumption with that kind of thought is that ads are inevitable. That you can’t get away from ’em, so you might as well try to get ones you like…

EVAN: Which is why, as you well know, I only thumbs up a select number of ad types on Hulu. Food, alcohol, video games, and certain movies.

GORDON: But with Hulu- you are the person in control. I mean, think of it this way: would you tolerate a guy going through your garbage so he can send you junk mail tailored to you?

EVAN: I’ve gotta think about that for a second . . . I mean, not getting junk mail about window/door services would be nice.

The whole “going through your garbage” thing definitely carries some different associations then simply tracking cookies. Maybe it’d be more like- a TV guy who follows you around when you shop, noting what you are and aren’t interested in.

GORDON: But that’s also flawed- in that scenario, you’re actually looking for stuff to buy….

EVAN: Well, you window shop, I mean- browsing, etc. Looking at what you look at, that sort of thing.

GORDON: So I’ve got this obnoxious guy following me wherever I go, listening in on my every word, and trying to sell me his wares without rest. Isn’t that one of the ironic punishments in Dante’s Inferno?

EVAN: Bringing this back to Facebook and whatnot, do we in general have a problem with the ads? I mean, they’re not the most obtrusive to begin with.

GORDON: Well, ads are only one example. What about your location?

EVAN: People want that stuff, though. It’s part of this new generation, tweeting where you are, statuses that read “I just had lunch with ______ at ______.”

GORDON: I’m not talking about when you state your location, I’m talking about when your location is pinpointed and used regardless of your awareness. Sexy Singles in Houghton being a prime example.

EVAN: Heh.

For context, Houghton is where we both attended college. It is so small it is not considered a town. It is a hamlet.

GORDON: The majority of the population- vast majority- is made up of the student body.

EVAN: Vast majority.

GORDON: Meaning that the town decreases by about 80% each summer.

EVAN: But those ads are all the same- they’re just slapping a different town [or hamlet] name onto whatever’s being advertised.

GORDON: But are you really okay with that? That not only your interests are out there, but your location as well? Regardless of your consent?

EVAN: As far as I can tell, it’s more eerie than anything else. And it goes from creepy to laughable when something like “Sexy Singles in Houghton” comes up.

GORDON: Now, as you are in Canada, this might not sound as relevant to your situation- but what about the gummint’ commin’ t’get’ ya?

I mean, there have been issues here in the States,  huge issues, with companies turning over personal information- including conversations- to law enforcement and security agencies without much (if any) process.

EVAN: Heh. “Gummint.” But yeah, that stuff has definitely happened. And seriously, what Facebook does with our personal information is very important.

GORDON: I guess it’s more or less the same for me- though I was a bit older, and having grown up in Syria (where they eventually blocked Facebook)- I never put anything on there I didn’t assume everyone could and would read.

Still do. Or don’t, rather.

EVAN: It’s interesting in that privacy settings are so much more advanced now though, in a way. If you don’t want people looking at even your profile pictures you can do that. Meaning that potential employers can’t use it as a legitimate check on future employees anymore.

GORDON: Now that  is messed up. We can all agree on that.

EVAN: Hm?

GORDON: Employers attempting to maintain control over their workers by monitoring their FB profiles, citing “character” as a reason or justification.

EVAN: Ah, that’s what you were getting at. So to some extent we’re in control of an aspect of our privacy on Facebook.

GORDON: No question. But speaking in a more general sense, what does that do to us as a people? As a society?

EVAN: Well, I for one am incensed when I want to look at a pretty girl’s profile pictures, and even though she clearly has them, I’m told that “there are no pictures in this album.” Bold-faced lies.

GORDON: You’re a pervert.

EVAN: My point stands.

GORDON: So we’re more dishonest with each other? We’re still ironing out the wrinkles in our old-world/cyber-world blend?

EVAN: Are we more dishonest with each other? I mean, if we’re really deconstructing this, the internet has made us more dishonest than we’ve ever been ever.

GORDON: Explain.

EVAN: Nothing we put online is necessarily true. Dating website profiles back me up on this.

GORDON: This is true. Are we then actually more skeptical and guarded despite the critics’ claims?

EVAN: Which are-

GORDON: The general spiel- the internet (social networking especially) is playing on our trust and making us more and more exposed for those who would make money off of us.

EVAN: Ah. Vulnerable, etc. I gotcha.

I’d say people in general are still naive enough to fall for obviously stupid ads [if they didn’t work they wouldn’t still be around]. But we are more skeptical as a generation, so really both are true.

GORDON: Fair enough.

EVAN: And we are exactly out of time.

GORDON: Remember to stop by next week for our discussion on the upcoming season of Community.

EVAN: Yes. It’s gonna be good. And I already know you’re going to end this with that Troy/Abed gif.

GORDON: I am indeed.