- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

YouTube Effect

“With more than 81 million unique viewers a month and 13 hours worth of video uploaded every minute, [YouTube] … has become the go-to portal for all clips political during this presidential election. It’s where candidates set up shop by creating their own YouTube channels to upload official campaign videos. …

“The early assumptions about YouTube’s potential political role were largely based on one word - ‘macaca.’ In August 2006, Sen. George Allen referred to his opponent’s campaign aide at a rally by that name as the young man filmed him. The clip went viral when it was uploaded to YouTube, and within weeks the Virginia Republican’s career was effectively over …

“Traditionally, campaigns have produced TV ads, press releases and direct mail, often thinking of themselves as advertisers within, say, a TV show. … Still, YouTube played more like the go-to source for campaigns and viewers and less like the virtual burn book many candidates imagined.

President-elect Obama plans to continue using online video when he’s in the Oval Office. … Just as Obama used the medium to respond to [President] Bush’s State of the Union address [in January] Obama’s listeners will likely use video to respond to him. Call it the YouTube effect.”

-Jessica Ramirez, writing in “The Big Picture” on Newsweek.com Nov. 10

The ‘new’ guys

“In Hollywood, whenever there’s a management upheaval, the ‘new guys’ coming in seem strikingly similar to the ‘old guys’ going out. The club is still intact.

“Staring at President-elect [Barack] Obama’s new crew of economic gurus, it seems many of them represent the same Wall Street crowd that got us into this mess. So here’s an unsolicited suggestion to the next president: Why not exercise a few restrictive criteria to keep out the crooks? …

“Every time I’ve looked into some esoteric new financing ploy that had a complicated name, the guys who created it also had names I couldn’t pronounce, like those two Merrill Lynch geniuses, Osman Semerci and Abmass Fakahany. Will they be on the Obama team?

“So let’s keep it simple, Mr. President Elect: Appoint some serious businessmen and economists and keep out the financial hucksters with unpronounceable names.”

-Peter Bart, writing in “Obama’s New Think Tank,” on Variety.com Nov. 10

The ‘celebrity’ life

“When I read the news … that Joaquin Phoenix was giving up acting …, I felt strangely proud and full of admiration for him. I have always wondered why more celebrities don’t come to this same decision, especially the ones who are always complaining about the lack of privacy. …

“But then I saw the … interview wherein he reveals this startling information … Joaquin Phoenix came across as smug and arrogant when Extra’s Jerry Penacoli laughed at his statement, assuming he was just joking. … And then it dawned on me … this is why celebrities have trouble giving up ‘celebrity.’ They are so accustomed to someone hanging on their every word; ready to fulfill every wish and desire that normal every-day life would be a tremendous adjustment.

“Case in point: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt … They have the power and the money to contribute to the world … But … didn’t they also make a commitment to parent and raise 6 children? They certainly have enough net worth to be able to take a break from working in entertainment, continue their charitable work, and focus on raising emotionally stable children. …

“As humanitarian as Angelina is; recently traveling to Afghanistan for 3 days, her children remain estranged from their mother for that time. What about the needs of her own children?”

-Colleen Perry, writing in “A Scathing Look at ‘Celebrity’,” at Huffingtonpost.com Nov. 7

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