Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, August 04, 2021

it's britney, bel canto
If you think the life (so far) of Britney Spears evokes the fate of Madame Butterfly, then an opera based upon the pop tart’s imagined death scenario should resonate with you:

The work is called Timberbrit — as in Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. It’s a tragic tale that imagines Spears’ last concert, in the final hours of her life. Timberlake returns after a long absence to win back Spears’ love, but in the end she chooses the audience’s love above all else.

[Composer Jacob] Cooper began work on the opera by experimenting with a technique called time-stretching. Using digital audio software, he slowed down Spears’ songs — and suddenly the light pop tunes seemed hauntingly tragic. Phrases like “Hit Me Baby One More Time” took on an entirely different and more weighted meaning.

Cooper then collaborated with his performers to create new pieces of music inspired by those slowed-down hits, and writer Yuka Igarashi crafted fresh lyrics using the vernacular of Spears’ songs — tears, love, dreams, innocence.

Shows you the depths you can plumb (or, at least, emulate) via the art of the remix. Not to mention reigniting the torch for the failed relationship between these two former Mickey Mouse Clubbers. I’m sure many a GenYer will be crying buckets over this wish-fulfillment.

A sample of the operatic stylings being applied to the Britney oeuvre: A music video of “Worst Fantasy”, based upon her hit single “Toxic”:

Somewhere, a diva weeps. And prepares for her aria. All while driving around LA.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/04/2021 09:34:14 PM
Category: Celebrity, Creative, Pop Culture
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native born
You would have thought that the crackpot “forged Hawaiian birth certificate” story would have fizzled out shortly after Inauguration Day (which itself, thanks to the do-over oath of office, is subject to conspiracy theorizing). But somehow, the demented drumbeat about President Obama’s birthplace goes on, with the “birther movement” causing serious credibility problems for the Administration’s opposition.

Appropriate for a conspiracy theory is a conspiracy meta-theory, partisan-style:

Republicans suggest that some Democrats are trying to keep the matter alive because it makes the Republican Party look bad. MSNBC, which has several liberal-leaning hosts, has discussed the topic frequently in recent days. Orly Taitz, a California dentist and lawyer who is among the leading voices in the anti-Obama movement, made her case in a combative interview on MSNBC.

“Obama is completely illegitimate as a U.S. president for two reasons — not only because he did not provide the place of his birth, but also because both parents have to be U.S. citizens,” Ms. Taitz said. “His father was never a U.S. citizen. He was in the United States on a student visa.”

Presumably in on this Democratic-induced juicing is the ostensibly right-leaning Lou Dobbs, who’s tussling with CNN over his fixation on the birthers. Lots of reverse-psychology at play, I guess.

By the way, that bit about both parents having to be U.S. citizens is pure bunk: The “natural born” eligibility requirement means just that, and applies solely to the candidate, not his parents. Of course, that detail is all mixed up in the supposed Kenyan-soil birthplace, so no convincing the nutjobs on such subtleties. Just like there’s no convincing them that a major detail like the place-of-birth requirement would’ve been thoroughly vetted by both parties before a candidate even got his/her Presidential aspirations off the ground; or that there’s any logic at all in either Democrats or Republicans taking such a risky approach to capture the White House, when it would be that much easier to nominate someone with bulletproof birth credentials.

I’ve noticed before that conspiracy theories tend to appeal to people who, paradoxically, feel more at ease with the idea that a cover-up exists, rather than mentally process reality as it is. This is a classic case. Frankly, I don’t feel much pity over any manipulation that they’re undergoing.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/04/2021 05:19:06 PM
Category: Media, Politics, Society
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I’ve already taken note of the new focus upon data-mining in online advertising. Thanks to recession-prompted constraints, the imperative to apply quantitative analytics has moved offline, to challenge the traditional dynamics within the advertising industry.

After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising — the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like “the ultimate driving machine” — are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds. Or as Jon Bond, a co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, which has done work for Target and Panasonic, says, “If we were in India, it would be as if the untouchables had suddenly become the ruling class.”

What has allowed the lowly quants to sit at the same table as the advertising Brahmin is a new way of thinking about the creation of desire. No longer is purchasing simply considered an emotional act, but rather one that can be measured with scientific precision. Our synapses, it turns out, are hardwired to respond to certain types of messages. And newly available numerical analysis is taking the guesswork out of deciphering which ads will best turn consumers into Pavlov’s dogs — purchasing not by will but by reflex.

The fundamental shift, from the creative-process side: Advertising is becoming less artistic, and more technical. That’s the hope, anyway — all in pursuit of eliminating the fabled “wasted half” in advertising budgets.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/04/2021 04:27:08 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Creative, Science
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