Wednesday, February 12, 2020

I started to make a "Vulture" joke, but I realized carrion play an important role in the ecosystem

This screen grab does a great job capturing so much of what’s wrong with the New York Magazine family and with business and entertainment journalism in general.

First off, there’s the article itself. Billed as an explainer, it’s nothing more than an especially embarrassing press release for a business model that makes WeWork look well thought out. It will take more than one post to explore the full awfulness of Quibi as an investment. For here, I’ll just say that this is possibly the stupidest proposal you’ll read involving the streaming industry, and that’s a high bar to clear.

Then there’s the sidebar. I’m sure I could think of a celebrity of comparable stature more despicable than  Gwyneth Paltrow if I tried, but none come to mind (and, no, that’s not an invitation for suggestions. I already spend too much time thinking about horrible people). She uses the press’ sycophancy toward the rich and famous and fascination with lifestyle porn to push flaky and sometimes  dangerous pseudoscience. The New York Magazine group has been playing footsie with quacks and new age charlatans for years (see here and here)

Finally there’s Netflix’s minor but still notable accomplishment of making the normal monthly cycling of shows in and out of rotation into a respectable news genre. Even HBO, which has long been extraordinarily good at working the press, was never able to get this kind of steady, extensive PR out of routine programming changes. We can’t exactly single out Vulture for this one but they certainly seem willing to play along.

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