The Media – Gutenberg Fri, 11 Jun 2021 19:42:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Media – Gutenberg 32 32 Slack Randoms: Viking Helmets, Social Media Goofs and more AI Pinkbike Comments Fri, 11 Jun 2021 19:00:00 +0000

Danish Viking Helmet Safety Advertising
What better way to advertise to cyclists? Vikings, of course. Denmark has a huge cycling culture and to encourage more cyclists to wear helmets, the Danish Road Safety Council has released this hilarious PSA.

Toyota USA’s Instagram page responded after receiving a trolling barrage for posting two photos of a mountain biker who looked less than ready to tackle the trails properly. The original posts, from May 31, showed a rider on a Walmart-style hardtail with reflectors, V-brakes and, perhaps worse, a kickstand.

It was pretty clear that someone at the Toyota USA agency hadn’t done their research. While mountain bikers are a lucrative demographic, we are also notoriously special. The post quickly became a social media pile with roasts from across the mountain bike industry alongside a few comments from shameless influencers thirsty for support for the Toyota brand. Rather than removing the photo, Toyota responded on Tuesday with a trio of new posts, this time with proper mountain bikes and what appear to be real mountain bikers as well.

This time the rider is on a Yeti bike with automatic shoes on and you can also see the bike riding (slightly) off-road. While socks and track shorts may not pass the MTB posh fashion test, the “Look mom, no crutch” legends show that at least Toyota is aware of its blunder.

Have we all played?

Putting on our foil hats, we wouldn’t be surprised if this was all just a ploy to ruffle feathers. After all, the articles have appeared on many cycling news websites and the five articles seem to have the most engagement of any Toyota USA article throughout the year. Their advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi is among the best at what they do, and they rarely do things by accident.

Either way, you have to say fair play to Toyota for rolling with the punches and dragging on the chin. Hopefully this will be a lesson for all brands that if you want to market to mountain bikers you have to work with mountain bikers.

To be fair, Toyota Pacific is a partner of Pinkbike and we are big fans of their trucks.

A Kickstarter for a kit that only fast runners could wear has been canceled

Road cycling clothing brand Go Faster canceled a Kickstart after receiving backlash for its product.

The kit was pretty standard clothing, but the brand would only sell it to you if you could prove that you could ride a bike at a certain speed. Two kits were available, one for runners who could average over 26 km / h (16 mph) and one for runners who could average over 39 km / h (24 mph). The journeys had to be proven with Strava and the speed had to be maintained over a distance of 10 km.

The idea was that runners would be proud to show off their gear as it was earned, and be less likely to throw it away, increasing its durability.

The brand was hoping to raise £ 10,000 through a Kickstarter that offered kits at a discount compared to the RRP of £ 115. However, the brand has since scaled back its crowdfunding efforts and said:

“Over the past 24 hours, we have received many messages from the cycling community, both in favor and against our Kickstarter concept. Our idea was to offer performance-conscious cyclists the opportunity to challenge themselves to improve and reward their efforts with a But we learned that the wider cycling community does not support our approach and it does. is no way to start a new brand of cycling.

“We decided the best thing to do was close the fundraising campaign and rethink our approach. We are grateful to our supporters, testers and partners for all their support throughout our journey. “

More info here.

More AI-powered Pinkbike reviews

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Social media energizes the export of American political culture Fri, 11 Jun 2021 06:36:25 +0000

ARTHUR DO VAL just wanted to be someone. Acting legislator at the São Paulo regional assembly – with, as he boasts in his Twitter biography, the second highest number of votes of all the candidates – Mr do Val rose to fame by heckling left-handers on marches . He learned this tactic, he explains, from documentaries by Michael Moore, an American political filmmaker.

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Mr. do Val has since grown into a talented and prolific producer of user-friendly content for the web. His team posts hundreds of images and video clips on social media every week. People want to be entertained, he argues, so politics should also be entertaining. Political arguments should be presented in funny memes and silly videos which, in Mr. do Val’s case, tend to focus on promoting economically liberal ideas and denigrating the left.

“I tried to be a rock star; I failed. I tried to be a fighter, an athlete; I failed. I was just a frustrated businessman. Then I saw on YouTube an opportunity to exploit my outrage, “he explains.” I just wanted to stand out, and by accident it got me into a political career. “

Mr. do Val’s rise from person-to-person to state deputy at the age of 32 was both improbable and impressive. But he embodies a new transnational class of political entrepreneurs who communicate through memes, videos and slogans. They tap into a global flow of ideas, adapt them to local conditions and send them back to the ether. Many are activists or ordinary people. Social media is their most important means of influence, both on their followers and on each other. The result is not only a new class of unorthodox politicians, but also the globalization of political ideas, many of which come from America.

American movies, television and music are loved everywhere. Its consumer brands are globally beaten. Its social media stars have global influence. As the most powerful country in the world, with enormous cultural reach, it has always had a huge impact on political trends and movements.

In 1990, Joseph Nye, a political scientist at Harvard, introduced the concept of “soft power,” which he defined as “the ability to affect others and achieve preferred results through attraction and persuasion rather than coercion or payment “. Hollywood, pop music, McDonald’s and Levi’s jeans are all expressions of American soft power.

For many people beyond its shores, consuming these goods was as close as possible to sharing the American dream. When the first McDonald’s opened in Mumbai in 1996, thousands of Indians lined up to sample its legendary burger (albeit made without beef), replicating a scene from Moscow six years earlier. (The opening of a Starbucks in Mumbai ten years ago sparked a similar reaction.) Mumbai’s film industry, the world’s largest, is called “Bollywood” to emulate its Los Angeles counterpart. Nigeria has “Nollywood”, Pakistan “Lollywood”.

Even though McDonald’s and Hollywood contribute to growing obesity and unrealistic forensic expectations, for policymakers the important thing is that, as Mr. Nye puts it, “attracting others often gets you. what you want “. A fondness for American brands is positively correlated with a favorable opinion of the US government. What has changed is that the culture the country exports has broadened to encompass its politics. And in the age of social media, memes, not McDonald’s, are the primary vehicle for American cultural influence.

Take Brazil. Its political scene is teeming with YouTubers and Facebook influencers. These include supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, the president; government critics like Felipe Neto, who rose to prominence by making videos for young people; and a large market of political content creators in between. “There is a lot of influence, even unconscious, of the [American] speech. What happens there comes here, ”says Mr. do Val, citing debates about face masks or race. It’s not as easy as copying and pasting American arguments, he warns. On the contrary, America provides the models that anyone, anywhere, can apply.

According to Whitney Phillips, a media researcher at Syracuse University in New York City, America’s role in shaping political debates does not come only from the standards it promotes. It also “stems from its cultural production – the real stuff of media and memes,” she writes in “You Are Here,” a new book examining global information flows. One of the reasons America’s influence is greater now, she says, is that “social media is global. And there are a lot more people outside of the United States who use Facebook than in the United States.

Black Lives Matter Sweeps Nigeria

Consider the issue of black lives (BLM) protests that erupted in America in 2020. They have inspired local versions everywhere, from South Korea, where there are very few people of African descent, to Nigeria, where there are very few people who are not. In Britain, where police usually do not carry firearms, a protester held up a sign saying “Demilitarize the Police”. In Hungary, where Africans represent less than 0.1% of the population, a town hall attempted to install a work of art in support of the BLM movement, only to win a reprimand from the prime minister’s office. Last year, the Hungarian government released a video stating: “All lives matter”.

QAnon, a conspiracy theory that pedophile cannibals rule America, began circulating in 2017. It has since gained a lot of followers outside of the United States. At a small QAnon protest in London last year, people carried signs that read ‘Stop protecting pedophiles’. In France, it is based on yellow vests (yellow vest) demonstrators. According to one estimate, Germany has the second highest number of QAnon followers in the world. The conspiracy theory has even spread to Japan, despite the country’s radically different political culture.

Cultural influence is not a one-way street. British political influencers enjoy a large following, including in America. The strange Canadian takes a look. Mr. do Val proudly indicates that the “Confused Woman” meme started in Brazil but is now widely distributed abroad. Yet few people know of his Brazilian origins. Brazilian movements – or any other – also don’t inspire similar memes around the world. The ability to influence the world, even indirectly, is proportional to the cultural weight of a country (see graph).

A big part of that is the work of social media. It amplifies new voices, accelerates the speed at which ideas spread, and expands the scale at which people and ideas can gain influence. But established newspapers and TV stations also retain immense influence, even online. CNN is the second most visited English language news site in the world, after the BBC. the New York Times is third. In November, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, complained to the newspaper about his coverage of a terrorist attack near Paris. Mr. Macron is not contacting all media about his coverage. But some 50 million people outside the United States, in every country on Earth, read the New York Times online. Of its 5.2 million digital subscribers, nearly a fifth are located outside the United States.

The media elsewhere are inspired by their American counterparts. According to the analysis of Kings College London (KCL), mentions of “culture wars” in the British press were once a quadrennial phenomenon, suggesting that they occurred in conjunction with the US presidential elections. But in recent years, the use of the term has exploded. “We imported the language of cultural wars into the UK basically, ”says Bobby Duffy, director of KCLInstitute of Politics.

Together, these factors help explain why QAnon gained worldwide fame, lockdown skepticism adopted American vocabulary, and BLM the protests have spread across the world. Just as people all over the world watch Hollywood movies, they also follow US newspapers, TV shows, and social media.

The same cannot be said of any other country. Take China. The protests in Hong Kong have generated sympathy and solidarity, but have not inspired similar protests. Not many people outside of China are enthusiastic about buying Huawei phones or shopping on Alibaba. TikTok, its only globally successful internet product, is split into a Chinese version – Douyin – and the version used elsewhere. The Great Chinese Firewall keeps the rest of the world out, but it also keeps Chinese ideas out.

In addition, the openness of American politics allows for easy appropriation of its symbols and iconography, explains Craig Hayden, professor of strategic studies at Marine Corps University in Virginia. Videos of riots in American streets are ostensibly expected to hurt the country’s standing in the world. Instead, people in other countries see unrest in Washington or Minneapolis and think America is “engaged in this kind of struggle that parallels ours,” he says. And America’s ambitious cachet makes its movements all the more powerful. “I can think of a random country somewhere that has internal racial conflicts; we don’t all retweet what’s going on there, ”he adds.

Uncle Sam’s digital megaphone

Just as political power in the age of social media has yielded to disruptors, so has the power to influence affairs in distant lands. Social media users in Minneapolis or Seattle can impact São Paulo Instagrammers. Arguments that start on New England college campuses migrate to Old England lounges. The Internet promised to help information circulate around the world. But social networks and their algorithms have just amplified America’s voice.

This article appeared in the international section of the print edition under the title “What is Japanese for QAnon?”

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The media got it wrong Thu, 10 Jun 2021 13:10:04 +0000

Law enforcement responds during a protest near Lafayette Park ahead of President Trump’s trip to St. John’s Church on June 1, 2020, in downtown Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

A year ago, on June 1, 2020, we all saw US Parks Police chasing Black Lives Matter protesters from Lafayette Park in front of the White House, followed shortly after by a video of the President Trump walking to the park for this. famous photoshoot holding a bible.

Well, the official report on this incident was released yesterday, and it concludes that the decision to evict the protesters had nothing to do with the photoshoot.

This was done so that a security fence could be installed.

The timeline shows that the plan to install the fence was underway several hours before park police knew the president was heading there, and park police knew nothing about the Bible photo.

And on Fox, Sean Hannity triumphed:

“Do you remember that fake news last summer?” NPR: Peaceful protesters used tear gas to clear the way for the Trump Church photoshoot. New York Toilet paper Times: Trump’s idea for a photoshoot has taken its toll in a park.

Talk host Mark Levin totally agreed that The New York Times just outright lie:

“They covered up the Holocaust, so of course they’re going to lie about what happened in Lafayette Park.”

And he quoted what candidate Joe Biden said at the time:

“When the Americans demonstrate peacefully outside the White House, this president tear gas at them for a photoshoot. Liar!”

So there you have two conservatives – and it doesn’t get more conservative than Hannity and Levin – saying the “mainstream” media got it wrong, and Biden got it wrong. And who has understood correctly? The impartial inspector general of the Ministry of the Interior.

Well, it seems to me that this is the EXACT type of independent investigation that the House approved for the January 6 attack. This tells me that there is also a chance that it will completely justify Trump. Imagine how much the mainstream media would be in trouble then!

So here’s my idea for getting Republicans to support him:

The Inspector General who led the Lafayette Park investigation – the investigation that left Hannity and Levin delusional gleefully – is a career public servant by the name of Mark Lee Greenblatt. He was nominated by Trump two years ago and confirmed by voice vote, absolutely without controversy.

Put HIM in charge of the January 6 investigation. How could Hannity be against that? Heck, how could Trump be against this? He named the guy! This is my idea. And if that doesn’t get the support of Republicans, then they MUST have something to hide.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to podcast here.

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Nigeria requires social media companies to obtain local license Wed, 09 Jun 2021 18:46:00 +0000

Social media companies wishing to operate in Nigeria must register a local entity and obtain a license, the country’s Information Minister said on Wednesday, the government’s latest move since banning Twitter (TWTR.N) this week. last.

“We insist that in order for you to operate in Nigeria, you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the Broadcasting Commission,” said Lai Mohammed, Nigerian Minister of Information, Broadcasting Companies. social media.

The new regulations will include conditions for continued operations, Mohammed said, without elaborating. The move comes amid what critics say was a broader crackdown on free speech in Africa’s most populous country that has drawn comparisons to decades of Nigeria’s military rule in the 20th century.

The Nigerian government announced last week that it had suspended Twitter activities, two days after the platform deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish secessionists. Nigerian telecommunications companies have since blocked access to Twitter. Read more

Buhari is a former military ruler.

Mohammed did not give a deadline for registration and licensing, but said some companies had received a notice, without naming the companies involved. He did not respond to calls and a message asking for details.

“Twitter has always made its platform available to those who threaten the existence of Nigerien businesses,” Mohammed said, naming a separatist leader and police anti-violence protesters.

The minister said Facebook (FB.O) and its affiliates Instagram and WhatsApp had not been suspended, but did not say whether they needed to register and obtain a license.

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Winners, losers on social networks Wed, 09 Jun 2021 03:05:42 +0000

From the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream business, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and – perhaps most importantly – social media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, which helps outsiders better understand the minds of athletes.

After Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 189 in Las Vegas, several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to respond to the event or share. a message with the supporters.

Check out some of these reactions.

The vanquished

The losers: Jordan Leavitt

The losers: Youssef Zalal

The Vanquished: Tabatha Ricci

The Vanquished: Makwan Amirkhani

The losers: Tanner Boser

Defeats: Ariane Lipski

The losers: Dusko Todorovic

The losers: Laureano Staropoli

The Vanquished: Walt Harris

The Vanquished: Augusto Sakai

The winner: Claudio Puelles

The winner: Sean Woodson

The victorious: Manon Fiorot

The winner: Kamuela Kirk

The winner: Muslim Salikhov

The winner: Ilir Latifi

The winners: Montana De La Rosa

The winner: Santiago Ponzinibbio

The winner: Roman Dolidze

The winner: Marcin Tybura

The winner: Jairzinho Rozenstruik

the Blue corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it too seriously, and neither do you. If you come to complain that something you read here isn’t hard-hitting news, expect the previous sentence to be repeated in ALL CAPS.

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The Broncos’ Jerry Jeudy isn’t just about social media – Denver Broncos blog Tue, 08 Jun 2021 10:04:55 +0000

ENGLEWOOD, Colo .– Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos is just your friendly neighborhood receiver trying to turn his lightning and wrestling blitz rookie season into so much more.

Jeudy is often frugal with his words, but his actions – in the form of training videos – speak volumes. The last offseason was his feet. This offseason, on social networks, we can see Jeudy sprinting in the middle of his neighborhood with a Broncos helmet.

“What happened was … I was training and I was like, ‘Man, I need some conditioning’ [and] I was already home when I thought about it, “Jeudy said.” I was like, “I need more conditioning.” I just put on my helmet, got out and I went. ran. That was essentially it. I hadn’t planned on going outside for a run. It just happened like that. … the neighbors came [out] as you can see from the video. “

The video provides a look at Jeudy’s offseason as he tries to turn a mostly productive rookie season into something much more suited to him in 2021. Jeudy finished with 52 catches for 856 yards and three touchdowns last season. . His yards total was fourth among a historic rookie receiving class, behind Justin Jefferson (1,400 yards), Tee Higgins (908) and Chase Claypool (873). And his average yards per catch – 16.5 – was second among rookies, behind only Gabriel Davis (17.1).

He’s also had more than a few drops, including five cringe-worthy in a Week 16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I think a great thing happened with Jerry – like I told you when it happened – in the 15th game of last year when he had a few drops in that game, I thought it was going to be a defining moment in his career, ”Broncos coach Vic Fangio said in recent days. “… Then in our last game he played a really good game and caught a bunch of balls for a bunch of yards. I think that was a very defining moment in his career. I see a more focused receiver and more diligent about the details. He knows he can’t relax. I see a much more mature guy right now. “

Part of the optimism is that Jeudy, dripping or not, seems to have handled the hardest part of being a rookie catcher in the league – running routes with enough precision to create space against cornerbacks. more physical than the NFL. It has opened up against frontline cornerbacks on several occasions, even after Courtland Sutton was no longer in the lineup due to a Week 2 knee injury. With Sutton out, Jeudy s’ is often found followed by cornerback # 1.

“I think he handled it well,” said Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick. “Obviously he could have handled it better at times, but he was a rookie. He puts a lot on his shoulders, and he wants to be super really bad. Things happen. Going into year 2 – I have it. Already said, Jerry Jeudy is really good, really, really good. For him everything is mental at this point. He knows he can open up against anyone in this league. “

“[It’s] mostly focus and focus on the ball, ”said Jeudy. “I’m so quick to catch and run that I just hurry up and play instead of catching first and then running. That’s mostly what is, trying to play too fast. “

In the end, it was the big picture to take away across the board. No one, with Jeudy in the lead, was happy with the drops, especially the variety that was in their hands. Not from a guy caught with the 15th pick in the draft.

But Jeudy’s five-catch, 140-yard performance in the season finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, seven days after what we’d called the worst day of his footballing life, included a 92-yard touchdown. It was the longest passing game in the league last season.

Jeudy said he made that closing game of his rookie season part of his offseason work. He said he thinks he has a better idea of ​​the nuances of each passing game and how he fits in with Sutton, who is also expected to reprise a leading role in the passing game.

“I feel like I’ve matured,” Jeudy said. “You don’t know what you’re getting into [during] your first year doing something. This is my second year and I feel like I learned a lot from my first year. I know how to overcome everything I have had in recent years to make this year a better one. “

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Popular Chinese startups’ social media accounts darken Mon, 07 Jun 2021 16:12:09 +0000

Beijing [China], June 7 (ANI): The national social media account of China’s popular e-commerce site Xiaohongshu was closed after posting a post about the 32nd anniversary of Tiananmen Square in 1989 on the microblogging site Weibo. I did. Status.

The Shanghai-based startup, backed by Alibaba Group Holdings and Tencent Holdings, wrote in a Weibo article on June 4: ..

The post was quickly deleted, but by midnight in China on Friday, Xiaohongshu’s entire Weibo account, which has 14 million followers, was gone. I received a message stating that my account could not be used because I suspected that I had broken the law.

E-commerce and social media sites are currently working with China’s Cyberspace Administration to conduct an internal investigation into the case, according to people familiar with the matter.

Founded in 2013, Xiaohongshu is one of the most popular apps among young Chinese consumers in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, browsing, shopping and reviewing a wide range of products, from fashion brands to hotels. Used for publication.

In recent months, Xiaohongshu posted a similar post on Friday to celebrate next weekend. The original intent of the recent publication was unclear.

According to the WSJ, a study that appears to be politically sensitive to the Chinese government could complicate plans to list the company’s shares in American technology.

The Communist Party’s crackdown on protesters in central Beijing in 1989 continues to be one of the most politically sensitive events in modern Chinese history. The government has long sought to curb the event commemorating the event, in which Chinese troops killed several students during a protest in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago.

Hong Kong police have banned annual candle light gatherings for the second year in a row to commemorate victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China in 1989 due to COVID-19 rules.

However, the protesters spread throughout the city, lighting candles and flashing cell phones, protesting. They also violated police bans on annual gatherings in Victoria Park. Shouted the slogan of independence.

At least six people between the ages of 20 and 75 were reportedly arrested on suspicion of incitement to attend unauthorized gatherings, regular assaults, assaults in public places and obstruction by police.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Chinese internet regulators will automatically remove social media posts hinting at dates, images and names related to protests around June 4, hence online. Strengthening surveillance

Additionally, users are not allowed to update their profile pictures on popular social media platforms like the WeChat messaging service, so they have already taken this opportunity by changing their avatars to represent a burning candle. User scoring is frustrating.

Despite last year’s ban, thousands of people, including alliance leaders, flooded Victoria Park to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the crackdown. A total of 26 opponents were accused of organizing, attending and instigating unauthorized meetings. (Ani)

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“Please don’t blame the media, you spent your day in court and you lost” Sun, 06 Jun 2021 20:48:32 +0000

At Fox News Sunday, Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who now chairs the former president’s political action committee, has been asked about recent reports suggesting that Trump thinks he will be ‘reinstated’ as president from August. “The president and I never had that conversation about his ‘reinstatement’,” Lewandowski said, before turning to repeat unproven claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“Look, there are questions of electoral integrity that we have to deal with, there is no doubt about it,” Lewandowski said. “When I was in Philadelphia, PA, after the election results, we informed the media of at least one deceased person who had voted …

At that, host Chris Wallace pushed back, saying “you keep blaming the media. The point is, this has happened in over 60 different court cases and you have been beaten in each of them. The Supreme Court has even refused to hear Trump’s challenges, so please don’t blame the media – you’ve had your day in court and you’ve lost.

In the same interview, Wallace asked Lewandowski about Trump’s speech on Saturday in North Carolina, where he targeted Dr Anthony Fauci, and suggested that not enough had been done to investigate the origins of the coronavirus and the possibility that it came from a “laboratory leak” in Wuhan. “If he was so concerned about the Wuhan lab,” Wallace asked, “if he wanted to, he had the opportunity as president. Why didn’t he get tough on China then, when he had the chance? “

“We were listening to what the media defined as the experts and Dr. Fauci in particular,” Lewandowski said.

“Come on, Corey,” Wallace said. “Corey, Corey, Corey. Wait a minute. You tell me the president – are you going to blame Dr. Fauci for his inaction? “

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Social media reaction to Jon Rahm’s removal Sun, 06 Jun 2021 02:10:00 +0000

After lighting up Muirfield Village golf clubs with a Saturday 64, Jon Rahn came off the 18th green with a six-stroke lead over Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay.

The Spaniard, who is ranked No.2 in the official golf world rankings, had every reason to feel on top of the world, but before he could climb the fan-lined hill and sign his scorecard, he was greeted. by a PGA Tour Official, stopped by and said he had tested positive for COVID-19.

As Golf week Steve DiMeglio reported from the course that Rahm was under contact tracing protocols from Monday after coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus. He was tested every day this week and the results were all negative until Saturday when a test he took after his storm-delayed second round came back positive at 4:20 a.m. on Saturday afternoon. A second test on the sample came back positive at 6:05 p.m. ET.

PGA Tour guidelines demanded that Rahm immediately withdraw from the tournament and self-isolate for 10 days. At this point, Rahm can be released from solitary confinement on June 15, which is Tuesday of the week of the US Open.

The reaction to the news that Rahm tested positive and had to withdraw from the Memorial was swift and varied.

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Stylish meeting of friends recalls the glory days of mass media Sat, 05 Jun 2021 10:46:12 +0000

I never wanted “friends” to get together. The end was too sacred. It was a thing of the past, outside the clutches of a tired industry that spews out sequels and charmless specials with the energy of a sick patient.

“Friends” have good instincts. They let everyone go first. They refused to indulge in cheap storyline expansions. The result was a warm and sparkling special room worthy of their greatness, which added to their heritage rather than detracting from it.

The “Friends” reunion on HBO Max is a joy. It’s more of a documentary than anything else, again capturing the first moments of the cast on their set, nearly two decades after the show ended. Creators Kevin Bright, David Crane and Marta Kauffman add pre-recorded ideas that complement the nostalgia. Tabletop readings are transparent and limited, scrambling then and now for a powerful effect.

The documentary value alone of reuniting again six close and hyper famous friends who have had a unique experience together is powerful. This was to produce some interesting results and, indeed, the production captured them with art. It’s amazing just to watch and listen to the six cast members reflect on their meteoric rise, friendships, and imprint on popular culture.

Everything was beautifully shot. In fact, we are also learning new information, despite the mountain of existing behind-the-scenes information that has grown over the years. Some gags are briefly a little cheesy, but they easily fall into the background.

It’s just a positive experience, elegantly designed, fun and reflective, but free from the baggage of our current popular culture, just like the show itself. In fact, that’s what makes the reunion so interesting.

“Friends” is in contemporary pop culture but not of contemporary pop culture. With “The Office”, it remains one of the most watched television shows. In the 90s, it was the escape from everyday life. Now it also serves as an escape from the heaviness of everyday life. It’s just better than the current alternatives, which are for the most part dramatic and for the most part divisive, thanks in large part to the niche-ification of the entertainment economy.

The recently bygone era of mass media has produced a lot of garbage, but has also prompted artists to tap into shared human experiences – sometimes producing something brilliant. “Friends” matches this bill.

The reunion proves it. The dying art of mass lust is powerful and the “friends” have mastered it. The show’s enduring popularity is solid proof of this. By producing a reunion that has eschewed contemporary pressures to milk iconic intellectual property for all it’s worth and atone for alleged political sins, we’re reminded why “Friends” always stands out. It’s just good TV.

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