They Brand Cattle, Don’t They?

by Walter Brasch “Branding! We have to make you a brand!” “I’m not cattle,” I told my sometimes faux foil assistant Marshbaum, who had just burst into my office. “And if you think I’m getting a tattoo,” I replied, “my body isn’t a canvas.” “It’s sure wide enough,” Marshbaum flippantly replied. Before I could throw sheets of wadded up paper at him, he explained what he meant. “It’s not a fire-iron brand,” he explained. “It’s strategic marketing.” “I’m a journalist,” I reminded Marshbaum, “I don’t do that kind of thing.” “You will if you want to stay in business.” “I’ve been in this business four decades, and I’ve never been branded.” “That’s why we need you to do TV commercials,” … Continue reading

Have We No Decency?

Robin Williams, beloved comedian and actor died yesterday. He committed suicide. His untimely death, like all suicides, is tragic and heartbreaking and fans around the world are mourning his loss. Robin Williams put his all into the characters he played. His improv was incomparable, his wit seemed to roll off the cuff unstoppable. Although Williams was frank about his life in many ways, including his problems with substance abuse, we know now that there was much we didn’t know about the man who gave us so much joy and laughter, and at times moved us to tears. James Hamblin said of Williams in The Atlantic today: The comedian carried insecurity and self-doubt with contagious intensity. He was so grandiose and … Continue reading

RIP Robin Williams

A great comedic genius who filled the world with so much laughter died today, but the world is a far better place for all that he gave us. RIP Robin Williams, found dead in his Marin County home today of an apparent suicide. Like many who watch the news trend on the internet, I had at first hoped this was one of those internet hoaxes, but sadly it was clear that we had lost a great comedian and beloved actor today. Williams was found unresponsive at his home in Tiburon at around noon Monday, sheriff’s officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. I remember when Robin Williams first appeared on Happy Days as the alien Mork. It was … Continue reading

The Boozy, but not Newsy, Mass Media

by Walter Brasch   The Big Story this past week was the Golden Globes awards. The Golden Globes, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and broadcast by NBC, drew 21 million viewers for the three-hour ceremony, preceded by a one-hour Red Carpet gush-fest hosted by “Today” show personalities. There wasn’t one TV or film personality the hosts didn’t fawn over. Tamron Hall several times excitedly told the viewers that last year she watched the Golden Globes on TV, and now was so thrilled to be on the Red Carpet to interview fellow celebrities. Hosts praised the gowns of the women; the women returned the compliments to Hall and Savannah Guthrie. No one said anything about the spiffy tuxes that … Continue reading

Springsteen and Fallon Mock Christie as He Struggles to Distance Himself from Scandal

On Tuesday, Bruce Springsteen released “High Hopes,” his 18th studio album. Springsteen also took to the stage on “Late Night” with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday to mock New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the wake of Christie’s BridgeGate Scandal: Christie’s intial explanation, “that it was a move to punish a Democratic mayor who had refused to endorse Christie’s reelection bid,” is being met with a lot of skepticism as “two special legislative committees” begin investigations into the scandal on Thursday. The panels will have subpoena power, which means that in the coming weeks and months, a parade of former and current Christie administration officials — as well as many of the governor’s closest political associates — will be called to testify. … Continue reading

Duck Dynasty Star Cooked His Own Goose

The morality judging, conservative, Constitution clingers in the right wing are pouring on the support for Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, who cooked his own goose in a recent interview with GQ Magazine. His no holds barred sort of interview has landed him in hot water and he was put on indefinate “hiatus” by the popular A&E reality show. Robertson, is known to be an outspoken Christian; in the interview he equated “homosexuality with bestiality and called the lifestyle a sin.” “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty’,” A&E said in a statement on Wednesday. “His personal views in no way reflect … Continue reading

Legendary Actor, Peter O’Toole Dies at 81

Legendary actor, Peter O’Toole has passed away, he was 81. O’Toole rocketed to fame in David Lean’s epic masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. He was eloquent, dashing and seemed to spring out of nowhere. Peter O’Toole was “born in Ireland and grew up in Leeds, Yorkshire.” After honing his acting skills in London theater, O’Toole “beat out Marlon Brando and Albert Finney” for the lead role in Lawrence of Arabia. Michael Higgins, the president of Ireland, said, “Ireland, and the world, has lost one of the giants of film and theatre.” “In a long list of leading roles on stage and in film, Peter brought an extraordinary standard to bear as an actor,” Higgins said. “He had a deep interest in literature … Continue reading