In addition to the blog network, Steven Hodson, Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins and myself are going to do a weekly podcast where we talk about whatever is on our minds that week. It could be mainly tech related news, or it might go in to other fields, who knows. This first episode is dominated by tech news, and with three of us involved it ran well over an hour. Overall I think for a first episode it went well, but then again, we are all experienced podcasters at this point.
- FriendFeed changed over to what had been their Beta look, and none of us are overly impressed with the color scheme or the functionality of the site. Honestly it was almost like launching an entirely new service. If anything, we think it will make this site go even more niche than it already was.
- Should employers use social media to look into potential employees? Steven brought this one to the table from a post he did, and it brings up some really interesting questions for employers and employees alike.
- Why does the United States get all the cool stuff, and other countries get shafted? Again, this is a Steven rant, but he brings up excellent points, especially since he lives in Canada and he can’t get even some of the same features on an iPhone that we get here.
- A general discussion about advertising and Twitter, with some focus on what works and what doesn’t.
Great first episode, and well worth a listen, although I will warn readers of my blog who are used to my “no cursing” rule on Scattercast does not apply to CobWebs! Foul language is contained… send the kids to bed.
Oh… and some Canadians may be offended as we mock Steven.
If you want to listen in live, we will be recording these episodes on Wednesdays at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST. You can find us on TalkShoe.
So help me, I think I may actually be looking forward to the second Transformers movie.
My dislike of the first film is well known, and maybe it is my lowered expectations this time around, but I have a small sliver of hope that this one won’t make me ponder taking my own life in the theater. Yes, the humans are still going to get too much screen time it looks like, but the sharp rise in the number of actual Transformers is making me happy. Aso we can do away with that painful first hour where we kept waiting for more Autobots to arrive.
It still looks like the fight scenes will be confusing as all get out, but I’m liking the idea we’re going to delve a bit more in to the mythos of the Transformers, and the history of the war, and how they may have influenced human history through out time. I’ll probably still end up hating it, but at least I have a bit more hope this time. New trailer is below.
Do not adjust your monitors… The Cynical Bastards control the vertical… and the horizontal.
You may notice a few changes around SeanPAune.com, but not to fret, they aren’t major changes. Starting today, this blog is part of The Cynical Bastards blog network.
Before I get to what this means to you, the reader, a little background on what The CBS is. Steven Hodson and Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins met some time back, and bonded over their cynicism towards most of the Web 2.0 and social media scene. While they weren’t critical of every new service to come down the pipeline, they were far more willing to question new services than the majority of bloggers who “oh” and “aww” over every shiny new service.
Later on, when both were working at Mashable, they met me and my own special brand of cynicism. Due to my work on hundreds of lists for the site, I saw even more services than most people, and most of them I thought were utter garbage. Mark became the linchpin between the three of us shaking our heads and questioning the status quo of the social media landscape.
However, we also discovered our general negative outlook on things wasn’t restricted to just the Web, but also to the world around us. That led Mark and I to have a late night discussion over instant message where one of us made the joke about “we’re just cynical bastards”… I bought the domain name TheCynicalBastards shortly thereafter.
As all three of us left Mashable at different times, we decided we wanted to do something that would allow the three of us to continue to work together, and we finally decided a blog network was the perfect avenue for us. We grabbed my domain name, Mark spent a weekend putting together an aggregator site for us (with much hair pulling), and, there you have it.
Now, what does being part of the network mean to the content of our sites? Nothing. Not one thing will change. None of us have any say in what the other writes, and we may even disagree on certain subjects, but that will be half the fun of it. In short, our sites and content will not change one iota from what made people come to read us in the first place. Heck, I’m not even sure all of us are putting the badge on our sites, but I will be in the sidebar.
This is merely a way for the three of us to stay connected with one another, share resources, help promote one another and so on. Depending on how things go, we may add other bloggers down the road, but for now it will just be the three of us. If we do ever decide to bring more people on board it will be via invitation, so, please, don’t contact us asking to join… because we will mock you.
In addition to the aggregating site, we will also be launching a new podcast, CobWebs (Cranky Old Bastards take on the interWEBs). We will be recording the first episode tonight on TalkShoe at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST, watch our Twitter streams at @StevenHodson, @Rizzn and @SeanPAune for a link to where you can come listen in. We plan on making this a weekly show, and if you can’t make it to the live record, we’ll be posting it afterwards for download.
I’ll leave you with the quotes from our press release as to what makes each of us cynical.
“Read a couple hundred blog feeds about tech and social media each day, and that will be enough to turn Saint Teresa cynical.” – Steven Hodson
“There’s obviously a lot of hot air that gets passed around the press and the blogosphere in the tech business. We believe in being honest and critical without being constantly negative. We walk that line, and we call it being cynical.” – Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins
“Why are we cynical? Because each of us has been around the block a couple of times and that leads us to believe that if you’re breathing, we pretty much instantly distrust your intentions. That’s why we’re cynical.” – Sean P. Aune
How on Earth did I totally miss that work had begun on the Jonah Hex movie?
Imagine my surprise when the picture of Megan Fox on her way to the set of Jonah Hex popped up online today. This picture surprised me for a number of reasons.
I hadn’t even heard this movie had been greenlit (it’s been rumored for years), let alone gone through casting, pre-production and is actually before the lens.
That it actually DID get greenlit. Jonah Hex is one of those characters that is going to make for a really odd movie.
Oh look… a movie team found yet another way to cover Ms. Fox’s hideous Marilyn Monroe tattoo on her inner right forearm.
For those who have never heard of Jonah Hex, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. He is a character in the DC Comics universe that first appeared in 1972, and is known more for his odd facial scar than anything else. However, I will let Wikipedia explain a bit more for you:
Throughout the character’s history, the western genre conventions have been heavily subverted. Jonah has battled alcoholism, and as an adult faced his mother’s turn to prostitution. Though he traveled extensively throughout the American West, he also ended up in South America and China. At one point he quit bounty hunting, got married and had a son, and took up farming, though it didn’t last.
Hex’s facial injuries can be traced back to being sold into slavery by his father to the Apache for safe passage. Jonah eventually saved the chief from being killed by a mountain lion and was made an honorary member of the tribe. He was soon betrayed by the envious son of the chief while on a raid. He returned years later to challenge him in a sacred tomahawk battle. But the chief’s son sabotaged Jonah’s tomahawk and Jonah used his knife in self defense when the tomahawk broke. The tribe saw this as breaking the rules of the sacred battle and sentenced Jonah to wear the mark of the demon by pressing a searing hot tomahawk to his face. They said his honorary relationship to the chief was the only thing that saved him from death.
Despite the oddness of the property itself, they have assembled a pretty great cast for the film. Besides Ms. Fox, they have Josh Brolin as Jonah and John Malkovich as Turnbull. The question is how will a movie about a scarred bounty hunter, set in the old west, play during their height of a summer movie movie run? Probably pretty well with this cast involved. Despite my problems with Ms. Fox’s acting abilities, she is a box office draw, and judging by seeing her in this corset, she won’t have any problem drawing in the teenage boy crowd come next summer.
I do find it interesting she keeps showing up in things like Transformers and Jonah Hex, and now there there are rumors she will soon play another comic book character in Fathom based on the recently deceased Michael Turner’s book of the same name. Apparently if you are hot, and comfortable with fan boys drooling all over you, you can get a lot of work in Hollywood. Good to know…
I’ve done a quick update for my regular readers of all the comic book related movies I know of, and what their expected release dates currently are. If you know of any other projects (seeing as this one totally got past me) please let me know in the comments and I will look into it. If you have a link to info on it, all the better.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – May 1, 2009
Iron Man 2 – May 7, 2010
Thor – June 4, 2010
Jonah Hex – August 6, 2010
Green Lantern – December 17, 2010
The First Avenger: Captain America – May 6, 2011
Spider-Man 4 – May, 2011 (tentative)
The Avengers – July 15, 2011
Kick-Ass – To be announced, but my guess is sometime in 2009
It’s times like this that I think back to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
I won’t bother explaining the quote. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, you get it. If you haven’t done either, you still get it… it’s like a universal quote.
The insanity that is circulating around the recent outbreak of swine flu is staggering. You couldn’t bat an eye on Twitter this weekend without someone talking about it. Blogs are writing endless posts about what to do. Television shows are being interrupted to bring you the latest news when an a confirmed case is reported…
We get it, there is a flu going around… it is transmitted via human-to-human contact… people have died.
You know what this reminds me of?
Yes, it is a bit worse because this one came out of the blue, and we do not currently have a vaccine for it, but, then again, sometimes the vaccaine is worse than the flu for those who remember what happened in 1976. In short, the vaccaine ended up killing a lot of people, and the pandemic like spread of the virus they predicted never materialized.
I do think it is wise to inform the public, “Hey, this is going on, you need to be careful, wash your hands, don’t go to work if you’re sick”, etc, but these are common sense rules everyone should follow. Course, if they did, then I wouldn’t have had to write a post like Social Etiquette While You’re Sick just last month. Do make sure you go back and read that because it is filled with basic tips that may keep you healthy during any flu outbreak.
What gets me is how the media is just making this worse. They are acting as if no one has ever died from the flu before. So, I went and looked up the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports on flu mortality rates. Here is the excerpt for just the 2007-2008 flu season.
As of June 19, 2008, 83 deaths associated with laboratory-confirmed influenza infections have occurred among children aged < 18 years during the 2007–08 influenza season that were reported to CDC. These deaths were reported from 33 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin). Among the 83 cases, the mean and median age was 6.4 years and 5.0 years, respectively; seven children were aged < 6 months, 16 were aged 6–23 months, 18 were aged 2–4 years, and 42 were aged 5–17 years. Of the 79 cases for which the influenza virus type was known, 51 were influenza A viruses, 27 were influenza B viruses, and one had co-infection with influenza A and B viruses. Of the 63 cases aged 6 months and older for whom vaccination status was known, 58 (92%) had not been vaccinated against influenza according to the 2007 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations. These data are provisional and subject to change as more information becomes available.
83 deaths in the United States alone. Where were the experts on TV to tell us how we should protect ourselves? Where were the flashy graphics? Where were the news conferences by elected officials? What about the travel warnings by other countries? Oh, that’s right, it’s because this happens every year.
There is an old saying in journalism, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Here you have a pre-packaged story for lazy reporters. You have deaths… in an exotic locale… a snazzy, brandable name (go and try to find a Swine Flu related domain name that isn’t taken… I dare ya) that is easy to say and can invoke fear because it’s short and weird sounding… hey, wait a minute, didn’t we play this exact same scenario out with Avian flu? Oh, and wasn’t it SARS a few years before that was going to kill us all?
Again, I am not saying you should be cavalier about this, do take precautions, I’m just saying they should be no different than the ones you should take every flu season. And as for the people in the media… stop being lazy.
And, oh yeah, it still doesn’t have a cast or a director. Obviously those items aren’t important to a production any more.
I remember back in the summer of 1985, I was 14-years-old and my parents took me to a science fiction convention in St. Louis. Part of the reason I wanted to go was James Doohan, Scotty from Star Trek, was going to be there. During his big question and answer session, a lot of people were asking questions about the upcoming Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and after my excitement for this movie could no longer be contained, I stood up and asked Mr. Doohan if a release date had been announced for the movie yet. I can clearly remember his answer as being, “Oh no, sir, you never announce the release date of a movie until it’s completed!”
… apparently a lot has changed in Hollywood in the past 24 years.
I am extremely excited for this movie as the character has always held a lot of appeal to me, but I am getting worried about the quality of the production before even one storyboard is drawn. It’s as if the film was a ship, and someone told it to go ahead and sail without her captain… the first mate… oh yeah, and a map on board. I think DC and Warner Brothers are so concerned with the release schedule that they are forgetting some of the most basic steps in the filmmaking process, and that is always an early sign of a film becoming a disaster.
Anyone remember the recent remake of Planet of the Apes? Tim Burton was brought in as the director late into the production process, and we all saw how that turned out.
I beg of Warner Brothers and DC Comics to consider the fans on this one for just a minute, and not put a release schedule ahead of quality. If you have any hopes of continuing the success of the Batman franchise, you have to remember those are succeeding on quality, and not the slapdash production style and look of the majority of the Marvel Comics films. Quality has to be a priority here, and you need to realize that any work done without your director in place could go disastoursly wrong. And a director without his lead is never a good idea either.
According to Mark Penn, there are now over 20 million people in the United States who are blogging, of those numbers, 1.7 million are profiting from it, and another 452.000 are using it as their primary source of income. He got those numbers from a poll on Technorati, and he’s sticking to them.
He then went to a post on ReadWriteWeb where they talked about 20 of the top-tier bloggers who shared that they are earning between $45,000 to $90,000 a year. This is also his source of information that sites that generate around 100,000 unique visitors a month can expect to earn around $75,000 a year.
While I certainly don’t know every blogger out there, I have been in the professional tech blogging field now for close to 22-months, and I can assure you I am not earning $45,000 a year. I can also say, with a fair degree of certainty, that I only know of one of my fellow bloggers in that pay range, and right now there are rumblings of him receiving a pay cut.
Sure it is nice to a see more positive piece about one my current professions, but I also think that Mr. Penn is painting a far rosier picture about the industry than it deserves. Revenue from blogging is almost 100% dependent on advertising, and companies are currently cutting their advertising budgets to the bone. I have already seen bloggers receiving tremendous pay cuts due to the downturn in ad dollars, and I have seen others completely lose their jobs. Right now is not the time for anyone with even an inkling of how this business works to be saying, “wow, look at how much bloggers are making!”, because, quite frankly, we’re not.
My biggest concern out of a piece like this is that it is going to give false hope to people who have recently lost their jobs that they may be able to replace some of that income with trying their hand in the field, or even launching their own blogs. Mr. Penn writes in fairly cheery tones how the barrier to entry is so low to start your own blog, saying that it is around $80, which is actually high, and how you can work your way up to earning a few hundred dollars a month. Again, speaking as someone who has run this blog for 49 months, I can assure you it is not making a few hundred dollars a month. If I manage to cover my hosting fees each month, I call it a good month.
So, how far off is Mr. Penn from reality?
He waxes on poetically about how much the top bloggers earn, and how you can expect some single pieces to pay you $200 a pop and so on. Course he doesn’t tell you about how to find these jobs, how long those people have been in the field, how some blogs find sneaky ways to not pay you and so on, but hey, you can say in theory you were supposed to earn $200!
The field is currently choked with seasoned writers, and it is a buyer’s market out there. We, the writers, are all scrambling to find work to make up for jobs we’ve lost, or ones where we have had our pay cut. We are all competing for the same handful of positions, and we don’t need a publication like the Wall Street Journal working off of pre-economic crisis blog posts to tell a whole new group of people, “Hey, come over here, there’s ‘easy money’ over here!”
Running Your Own Blog
I speak to this from the perspective of running several blogs. While my mother and I started StarterTech.com over a year ago, its numbers are still low. As for ad revenue, it doesn’t even cover its portion of the hosting fees, but we’re fine with that, we see it as a long term project, and we’re dedicated to it, but it is also not expected to be our primary source of income like some of the neophytes reading that original article might look upon any blog they start.
As for this blog, it has taken me years to get it up to decent traffic. 2008 was my best year ever, doubling the traffic of 2007. This year is shaping up even better with me having surpassed the traffic for all 12 months of 2008 on April 19th. It has taken a lot of time and effort this year to get my numbers up like that, and I am still not near those magical numbers Mr. Penn mentions.
He really makes it sound so easy to do, but he doesn’t go into things like how these bloggers would have to learn about SEO (search engine optimization), meta tags, setting up site maps for search engine crawls, submitting to the engines and on and on and on. Nope, just throw $80 at someone and you have a blog that will be making you money! Running a site is as hard as any other desk job, and in some ways even harder if you have no clue some of the technical aspects even exist. There are millions of blogs out there, and you have to jump through hoops to make sure you even get noticed.
Is This The Next eBay Gold Rush?
This article reminds me so much of the ones you saw around the time everyone was discovering eBay for the first time. “Did you know there’s money to be made out there?!?”, and people who had no clue what they were doing, all ran out to their garages, took pictures of their junk, and tried selling it via auctions. Sure, some good sellers came out of that, and I am sure we could gain some good bloggers, but it’s the initial onslaught of everyone with a keyboard trying to be a blogger that worries me. More people fighting for the limited jobs, more blogs to help muddy up the search engines and just more drivel in general making it onto the Interwebs.
I don’t think this will happen unless more articles like this begin to appear, and seeing as how journalists are already fearing they may lose their jobs to bloggers, something Mr. Penn oddly does address, we won’t see an onslaught of new people in the blogosphere. I do think his article does point out, one again, that unless you understand all the facets of a subject, perhaps you shouldn’t be writing an opinion piece on it.
A long time stage actress, Ms. Arthur came to be best known in the 1970′s when she was was cast as Edith’s (Jean Stapleton) cousin, Maude Finley, on the hit series, All in the Family. Maude was a very liberal woman who proved the perfect foil for Archie’s (Carroll O’Connor) old world views on races, women and everything else under the sun. Though she was already 50-years-old at the time, ABC took notice of her performance on the show and decided to spin her off into her own show, simply entitled Maude.
Maude was a hit series in its own right, and propelled Ms. Arthur even more into the national spotlight when her show started tackling serious issues such as alcoholism. However, it was when her character had an abortion that the series took on a life of its own as it was the first time it had been mentioned in a television series since it had become legal. Protests were launched against the show, but it only seemed to make it that much more of a “must watch” series.
That series came to an end in 1978 when Ms. Arthur opted to leave the show. By this point she was a household name, and due to her unusual height (5’9″) and exceptionally deep voice, she got a lot of work in guest appearances on various series. It was in 1985 when she joined a new series entitled The Golden Girls with Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. This series once again broke new ground as all four leads were older women, and she was once again propelled into another hit series. She stayed with that show, now a basic cable rerun staple, until 1992. The show continued one more year without her under the name The Golden Palace, but without Ms. Arthur it just couldn’t succeed.
Since the end of that series her work has been very sporadic, but she was still an iconic television figure never needing an introduction.
She passed away at her home, surrounded by family, of an unspecified form of cancer.
Thank you for many great years of very entertaining television, Ms. Arthur.
It would seem Marvel Comics really doesn’t like you to talk about them… unless they tell you what to say.
The Inquisitr and Newsarama are both talking about Marvel Comics seeming hatred of the comic industry press and Twitter. While using Twitter comments (also known as “Tweets”) in reporting is considered lazy by some, I don’t see it as any different than quoting something printed elsewhere such as in a magazine or newspaper. I honestly think it is a littler stronger than that because you are 100% sure the person (or their paid representative in the case of some celebrities) actually said it. However, some of the exectutives at Marvel are taking offense at their Tweets being reprinted elsewhere and are launching a war of words with bloggers, and even going so far as to suggest they are owed payment for their use.
Are they out of their freaking minds?
Oh wait, this is the comic book industry… they ARE out of their freaking minds.
From August 1986 to December 2001 I ran a comic book store. During that time I worked for a comic book company on the side, consulted with companies, and even worked inside the comic book & toy press industries. As much as I love comic books as an art medium, it was sort of like the old saying about loving sausage doesn’t mean you want to see how it is made. I have only recently returned to reading comics, something I used to have a die hard passion for, because it took me over seven years to try to forget just how messed up of an industry it is.
I have still been involved with it slightly over the past few years, and I have grown amazed by seeing an average comic book rise in price to $2.99 a month, with others hitting the $3.99 and $4.99 mark; the days of the entry level pricing are gone. I have also seen the number of venues where comics are sold dwindle to near non-existence, all but assuring that the industry is surviving only on those that have been it for years already, and no new blood is coming into it.
With all of this in mind, don’t you think they may want to have the word spread as far and wide as they can about what is going on in the business? Don’t you think that they should welcome every mention of their names and brands in the hopes it might bring in more readers?
Apparently if your name is “Marvel”, you don’t.
Tom Brevoort, Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada, all employed by Marvel, and they decided to launch arguments with the comic press about their, publicly available mind you, Tweets being used as quotes in articles. This has begun happening in the mainstream press on a regular basis, and even Ashton Kutcher said in the Oprah episode about Twitter that he likes the fact that he can diffuse some stories about himself in the press because he can refute them quickly on the site. Here is someone who is virtually a household name, and he encourages people to use his Twitter stream as a source of information about him.
Not in the comic book industry though. Oh no, we can’t have you using something they made public themselves without first asking their permission to do it. Apparently they have missed the fact that you can lock a Twitter stream which means that no one is allowed to republish your Tweets. No, they’ll just go on saying things that anyone can see and then get angry when people actually quote them on it.
In Lucas Siegel’s rebuttal piece to all this (Newsarama link above), he points out that due to the walled garden type situation in the comics industry, the comic book companies enjoy an unprecedented control over their industry press. If you print something before THEY say you can, they can simply cut you off from any future information. So, in general, the comics press does nothing that could potentially anger the comic book companies. This has left them with a feeling of omnipotence that they can somehow control everything that happens, but they have forgotten that once something is on the Internet, you generally lost all control of it. It takes on a life of its own, and the possibility of controlling the ways it is consumed are completely lost. As someone who has also worked inside the comic book press, I can tell you that Mr. Siegel is 100% accurate in his portrayal of how things work. No matter when or how you learn about an upcoming project, you could not run the news until the company said you could for fear of having all of your in roads to that company quickly severed.
I can almost understand their anger over the Tweets because they simply aren’t used to not having complete control over a press situation. However, to suggest that they should get paid for their Tweets, let alone the asking for permission to reprint something that was made available to the public, is just disgusting at its core. If you don’t want it done, don’t Tweet or lock the stream. Two very easy solutions, but solutions they are choosing not to take. It is far easier, it would seem, to whine and cry about it and make the press look the proverbial comic book bad guys, and the bad PR they garner over this be damned.
… have I mentioned how glad I am to be away from this industry?
Be sure to listen to this week’s Scattercast, which comes out tomorrow, where I will continue stories of my life in the comic industry, and how one big name creator once called and cursed me out for 90 minutes for daring to express my opinion about his work ethic on a CLOSED forum.
A 34-year-old science teacher in Jacksonville,FL has been arrested on allegations she had sex with a 14-year-old student.
Jennifer Marie Collier, a teacher at James Weldon Johnson Middle School in Jacksonville, FL, was arrested this past Monday on allegations that she was having a sexual relationship with one of her 14-year-old students, with the last incident happening as late as last Friday evening. Apparently after a school field trip, she offered to drive the boy home but instead took him to a Walmart parking lot and engaged in sexual activity with him in her car.
While reports don’t make it clear why the supposed victim began cooperating with the police, he reportedly informed him that he and Ms. Collier had engaged in sexual activity on multiple occasions, both on and off of school property. He also showed them several emails from the teacher that validated his claims of the activity.
She was charged with sexual battery on a victim under 18, lewd battery and lewd and lascivious conduct. Due to her position of a custodial role as his teacher, her charges are considered felonies.
Records indicate that Ms. Collier had only been teaching at James Weldon Johnson Middle School for four months. Prior to this she taught sixth grade science in Fayetteville, North Carolina for two years, and before that she was a pre-kindergarten teacher in Michigan for four years. The school district has said they will turn the findings of the investigation over to the Professional Practices Commission to see what, if anything, should be done about her teaching certificate. She has also resigned her position with the school.
This women now joins the roll call of teacher sex scandals for 2009!
It has been a year since I tackled the subject of the Dancing With The Stars band, and it seems I need to do it again.
Back on April 15th of 2008 I took on the subject of the Dancing With The Stars band, and Harold Wheeler, the band conductor and arranger. In the year that followed, this has been a rather large hot bed for comments that bring my intelligence into question. The comments questioning the placement of my head in my rectal area aside, one commenter, Jeff D, made a point that actually got through to me and made me rethink my opinion on this whole matter a bit.
These arrangements are made for a standard “Big Band” format. That fits BALLROOM dancing.
And therein is the problem I believe. Well, at least most of it. This show has attempted to take popular songs from many different genres, and they leave it to the band to try to make them fit a format they were never built for. I still hate the singers, but this one comment (notice the comment didn’t insult my intelligence, amazing how much further that will get someone) really made me rethink my stance on the actual band. For instance, does anyone think The Clash were ever meant for ballroom dancing? No, they weren’t. Yet there was one of their songs a few seasons ago, being tormented to the point of painful, but I now hate it a little less because I finally see what was being done to it.
I still have problems with what seems like random changes in the tempo of songs that even seem to throw the dancers off their step. And as for the singers… the singers are a whole different matter that just make me cringe. I’m sure they’re fine for certain styles of singing, but a lot of times they just seem totally ill suited for what they are being asked to sing on the show.
Now, there is one point where I do still have to wonder about the band and Jeff D’s comment (I’m not attacking him, it is just something specific I thought of), and that is when the band tackles songs by the band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Songs by this group seem to be a favorite on this show, popping up at least 3 to 4 times thus far. For those of you unfamiliar with them, they are a California band deeply entrenched in the 1940′s swing era style of music, and you may have seen them in the movie Swingers some years ago. You would think a band that plays in swing style wouldn’t need any “corrections”, but yet, there they are when the Dancing With The Stars band plays them. It’s usually just a slight tempo change, but it is still a change.
Sure the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy issue is a small one, and I’ll forgive it, and I will say the commenter changed my mind a bit. The producers are the ones who choose the music each week, and perhaps it is time someone, namely Harold Wheeler, sat them down and said, “You really think this song is a good choice for this show? Sure it’s popular, but it doesn’t even come close to fitting the style we need.” I doubt this will ever happen, but I can dream of a day where I stop cringing when I hear them twist another of my favorite songs in to some unrecognizable mess that makes me cringe.
As for the singers… my problems with them have nothing to do with the arrangements, but more so that they are being asked to sing songs that they have never attempted that particular style before in their lives. What better time to try it out than on live TV?
One last note, in my original post I made a comment about my love of the version of the song “Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge. Many people have argued in the comments that it is a horrible arrangement, but seeing as the original band, The Police, had to sign off on its use, I’m guessing they didn’t think it was so horrible. In that particular case, yes, the song was significantly changed, but I felt the arrangement fit the context of the song’s subject matter far better. It is a song about prostitution after all, and the guttural, growling version that plays in the movie makes a whole lot more sense than Sting’s original ascending vocals that have almost a melancholy tone to them. Yes, that is my opinion, as are all posts on this blog, and it is the one I’m sticking to on that particular case. I’ll give a small victory to the commenters on the overall feelings on the main thrust of the article about the band, but I will never surrender my love of that particular version of that song.