The Glory Days Were Not So Glorious

It is human nature to look at the past through rose-colored glasses. Nostalgia is the basis of all good memories and makes one feel good. I say this in reference to two pieces that I came across this week: Jack Meyers' "Network TV Upfront Week 2008: Not So Bad After All" and John Dvorak's "Losing Perspective."

In response to the first, I simply have one question: why? Why is part of the success of the upfronts based on how good the party was as compared to last year's? Why are we even having this discussion? If people really knew the business and cared, they would know that the recovery hasn't happened for many a writer in Hollywood, and that the entertainment economy hasn't bounced back. With a recession looming, groups at the bargaining table and an industry in flux, why are on earth do I care that CBS didn't have a party? At least those media executives have jobs! I am mean, I remember the greatness of the party being a determining factor in one's popularity in high school -- but it still amazes me at how a multibillion-dollar industry and its constituencies are rated based on their ability to booze and schmooze media buyers. I am not naive, I get it, people. But it still baffles me.

As for John Dvorak -- well, John, your reader who pointed out that you are about 15 years late to the party was right. Bemoaning the current state of the media world and longing for a time when newspapers were better subscribed, when schools were better funded and could teach things like languages, the arts and music, and even afford a physical education teacher -- and a time before the Internet devastated your perfect world, is a fruitless endeavor.

What you really should be asking yourself is this: Now that the world has changed and arguably is flat (for a more extensive discussion on this please read Thomas L. Friedman's "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century") how do you narrow down the choices with which you form your world view? Which sources do people trust? (And by people, note that each demo will have its own version of The New York Times).

Yes, "60 Minutes" is not what it used to be. Then again, 20 years ago, Mike Wallace would smoke during an interview and before the advent of the Internet and bloggers, Dan Rather and his team of producers would have had no accountability in reporting the news. And yes, the self-esteem movement has permeated both the educational system and parenting styles over the same time period, but I would rather tell a child they are worth something than have it "drummed into them" that they are worth nothing. And if you are that concerned about what "is going to happen when it dawns on this crowd that they are useless boneheads," why don't you help them out by focusing your efforts and writing the definitive how-to for the Net and media, rather than pointing out the inadequacies of others? If it is the past you seek, may I suggest the following channels of entertainment for your enjoyment --TV Land, TCM and anything on public television.

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