Sunday, July 29, 2012

Winning "softly". Lebanon edition.

Books can be (and I'm sure, have been) written on this subject, but here I just wanted to highlight two very interesting - and more or less, recent - examples of the fight for popularity in Lebanon.

The first is a "Beer Fest" put together earlier this month by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The embassy (!!). The event was put out on Facebook and the initial invitees were welcome to extend the invitations further. Here's the text:
Join the Beirut Brewers Guild at 7:00pm on Friday, 13 July 2012, to celebrate the greatness that is beer. Please extend this invitation to your friends (2 degrees of separation only, please) and we can all have a jolly good time. Casual dress, adults only. There will likely be dancing.
If you plan to attend, please write your name on the wall so we can put in the paperwork to get folks through the gate.
Brilliant!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No more "Alyona Show"

According to the latest info, Alyona Minkovski, the host of "The Alyona Show" on RT, will be joining the HuffPost Live online video service.

My sympathies to all the fans...



The first question I had when I saw the news was whether she will be taking this up in addition to her RT job, taking the show with her to HuffPost Live, or leaving both, RT and the show for good. Although there seems to be no detail on any of these just yet, a tweet from Alyona herself, yesterday, suggests that the show will be ending soon:



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pentagon's "Hollywood Liaison" on WAMU

Just in case you missed today's Kojo Nmandi Show (and well, for those outside of the DC area, there would - probably - be no reason to be listening to it, in the first place), I thought I'd highlight the special guest he had: Phil Strub, the Director of Entertainment Media at the Department of Defense. In short, Pentagon's "Hollywood Liaison", that Al Jazeera kept talking about all this time.

Quite an interesting discussion, I should say, especially given that he seems to be the guy behind the scenes, rarely in the limelight. Especially not on a radio talk show all the time.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Russian "Orientalism"?

Keeping with this week's "cinematic" theme...

"Russian Orientalism" might sound inapplicable or ironic, given that the Russians themselves have been (and still are) the subject of the "West"'s Orientalist stereotypes and approaches, especially with regards to references such as (and those reminiscent of) "Oriental" and/or "Enlightened Despotism".

But, since everything is relative, Russians themselves have had their Orientalist stereotypes, which are still very much alive and kicking (trust the one with the "Armenian" label, on this). Just as with every other nation, these stereotypes are reflected in (and, in turn, perpetuated by) the culture, whether "high" or "popular", and often come alive in novels, poems, paintings, operas, ballets, and more recently, movies, cartoons, and TV shows (remember "imagology"?).



Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Militainment and "Act of Valor"

Al Jazeera's "Listening Post" last week had a segment on "Act of Valor" - a box office hit that came out back in February - starring active duty Navy SEALs, using "real" equipment and tactics from the Pentagon itself, and shot during actual training sessions.



This comes a little late, perhaps, but is certainly worth revisiting in light of the patriotism high and all the hype surrounding the Fourth of July.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On RT being the "Most Popular Foreign News Channel in Key US Cities"

This post was supposed to have been up last week, but I was waiting for a note from Nielsen, secretly hoping that they might, eventually, respond. They did not. So, here we go.

In early June, Kim Elliott, arguably the leading blogger on international broadcasting, had a post linking to a story in The Moscow Times, stating that "Russia Today [is the] Most Popular Foreign News Channel in Key U.S. Cities" in 2011. According to the article:

Viewership in New York alone nearly tripled, while the channel also made significant advances in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the report by media analysis company Nielsen said, RIA-Novosti reported Tuesday.
[...]
The report said RT beat out EU's Euronews, France 24, Germany's Deutsche Welle, the Middle East's Al Jazeera English, Japan's NHK World and China's CCTV News in the five cities in the report, though the BBC was not included in the analysis. In New York, RT's weekly audience was nine times that of NHK World, and in Chicago, daily viewership was three times higher than Al Jazeera's.
Wow.