- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not so glamorous

“When it first appeared, ‘Big Love’ took some [flak] from some quarters (I don’t recall exactly who), citing it as a sign of the attempt to normalize polygamy at the very least, and at the very most normalize any kind of alternative living arrangement. Well, score one for TV art because ‘Big Love’ does nothing of the sort.

“In fact, if you’re determined to find social commentary or ‘messages’ in ‘Big Love’ it would be hard to avoid the sense that polygamy, whether it’s lived out on the compound in full Prairie regalia under the Prophet or in the ‘burbs under the smiling visage of the home improvement magnate, is extremely messed up. Exploits women. Imprisons them. Keeps the men busy with their big old time capsules, determined to make their mark here and in eternity through prodigious amounts of progeny.”

- Amy Welborn, writing on “Big Love” on March 6 at her Beliefnet blog Via Media

Not so big



“These are nervous times in Hollywood, as elsewhere. And the spectacle of Steven Spielberg reduced from 800-pound gorilla to maybe 400-pound gorilla is enough to send shivers through even the iciest executives in the business.

“Spielberg’s company, DreamWorks, has had to scramble to raise financing, and that’s scary enough. But money troubles have also cost Spielberg the right to partner on his passion project - a film about Abraham Lincoln.

“With Liam Neeson lined up to star, Spielberg would like to finish by the end of 2009, the [bicentennial] of the 16th president’s birth. Spielberg has been developing the project for years and now hopes to start filming within weeks. But DreamWorks’ money troubles have cost him … . [Mr. Spielberg has] been waiting for executives at Paramount - the studio he ditched last year - to decide whether to make the film and hire him to direct it.”

- Kim Masters, writing on “Spielberg’s Lincoln Troubles” on Feb. 17 at the Slate site Big Money

Not so hot

” … I’d like to focus on [Twitter‘s] similarities to MySpace. Do you remember the early days of that site? It helped its users to connect to one another more effortlessly than they’d ever experienced before - so easily, in fact, that soon one’s MySpace ‘friends’ came to include people who thought you looked cute in your profile picture, and bands whose free show you almost went to but didn’t, and attractive looking women who said they liked your profile picture but turned out to be trolls from some online porn site, until you decided that MySpace made it too easy to connect with people, and you switched to Facebook, which at least organized itself according to people with whom you’d attended high school or college (which is to say, the semi-exclusive social networks you were already part of).

“In Washington, D.C. , many of my friends use Twitter to say that they’re going to be grabbing a drink at such and such bar after work, or that they’ll be on a panel at such and such think tank. I predict that within a year or two, either the wider Twitter frenzy will die down, or else all these people will switch to a Twitter replacement that is more exclusive, or at least provides a better way to separate ‘Tweets’ one actually wants to get from ‘Tweets’ one doesn´t. At that point, Twitter will look a lot like MySpace does today - it’ll be populated mostly by people who would use a more exclusive platform to raise their public profile or sell their product or whatever, if only there were another platform willing to grant them access to an audience.”

- Conor Friedersdorf, writing on “Is Twitter Too Big to Succeed?” on March 6 at the American Scene

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