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Poptastic Quiz —

OK, here’s your homework.

Suffer, if you have the inclination, through this episode of “Boing Boing TV”, a regular feature of the Boing Boing weblog, which discusses the upcoming film Speed Racer, a special-effects laden summer blockbuster from the makers of the Matrix Trilogy. (The episode is entitled “Speed Racer is “poptimistic”: interview with John Gaeta, part 1″.)

Remember when people who considered themselves vanguards of Internet technology bleated and blorted about how on the Internet, things would be different? Loosed from the constraints of the current mass media paradigm, they could really take the discourse in new directions? Sure, a lot would be stupid and petty and weird, but a lot wouldn’t. Unquestionably, if you were tired of being spoon fed pre-packaged goat pellets, you were in for a treat.

So here we have an episode of “Boing Boing Television”, the newest feature of one of the unquestionably most popular “weblogs” currently extant, which would not be out of place in a low-funded television station on the ass-end of a major network syndication feed. After a couple seconds of from-the-studio footage of a major motion picture, we get the BoingBoing TV logo, which includes lifted (and uncredited) audio from the song “Video Computer System” by Golden Shower, and then, at the 10 second mark, a big fat ad for BMW, telling you this was “brought to you by” a specific model of BMW car. 30 more seconds of from-the-studio footage follow it.

From there, a tarted-up Xeni Jardin asks a bored John Gaeta such probing inquiries as “Did working with this movie change the way you look at vehicles?” (which he responds with “I don’t know”) and we’re peppered with Gaeta’s prepared speech on choosing the specific design of the film’s special effects. Throughout his mentioning the technology, we’re given more canned studio footage of the “making of”.

At the three minute mark, because surely we’ve gotten bored with this discussion, we are treated to a 30 second ad for the model of BMW car the episode was brought to you by.

Three more minutes of Gaeta giving canned responses to Xeni’s quiet nodding and a spastic camera shot are interspersed with canned studio footage from the movie, along with shots of the movie’s logo. We then receive quiet credits which include links to the movie and the information that this goulash is creative commons licensed.

Is that it?

Is that what it’s all about?

The best we can get is a 6 minute ad for a summer blockbuster broken up with a BMW ad, brought to you by a BMW model, while a person with a journalistic background asks meaningless questions of a established Hollywood technician which he ignores and answers with canned speeches? Is it 1988? Are we satisfied with having a low-end Entertainment Tonight cloneclip without the benefit of full 720×480 resolution or adequate sound and video technicians?

No, Xeni, Cory, I don’t want to hear your fucking excuses. You horn on enough about sites like TED.COM that feature exciting people discussing amazing ideas and theories, people off the beaten path and who are beating the path we might all eventually take. The audience contributes ratings on which talks are the most interesting, funny, jaw-dropping, and so on. In these clips, which are also brought to us by BMW, we are given an engaging sound logo, followed by a 2 second “brought to you by” and the BMW logo, followed by anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of someone being fucking amazing. Nobody peppers these people with inane overtures to launch into canned monologues selling a product; they deliver rehearsed yet engaging presentations of whatever they know best. So we know this sort of thing is being done… You’re just not doing it. A lot of people are not “doing it”.

Somehow, with the same opportunities (you certainly run into enough brilliant people along the way, you own a camera, you have BMW sponsorship), TED.COM shows class, insight and depth where you eject out sugar pills of Hollywood movie ads. Are you going to step it up? Are you going to talk the game?

Then play it right.

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  1. Joe Crawford says:

    As a longtime internet nerd I’ve enjoyed BoingBoing for a while, but I have never been able to see value added by encapsulating weblog posts as television. I’m happy to see this assessment remains correct — there is no value added.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had different ads… you’re right, this sucked.