Sochi 2014: If Malice Be the Food of Sport, Play On


Expecting the…

Nothing brings out the misanthropic journalists like an Olympics. However, an Olympics hosted by Russia elevates the conventional doomster journalist to channel not just Anaximander, and Ebenezer Scrooge, but wholly tuck into a chunk of Schadenfreude. The 2014 Winter Olympics are here in less than a month and one has been hard pressed to find a newspaper, blog, or journal that doesn’t allude to the unpropitious conditions of what will be the first Olympics hosted by the Russian Federation. Common phrases summarized –  No One Expects Russia to…(Succeed)

For many it is hard pressed to forget the XXII Olympiad hosted by the Soviet Union in 1980, the Summer Olympics celebrated in Moscow that instigated a 4 year diplomatic tennis match between the West and those behind the “Iron Curtain”. The 1980 Olympiad boycott was the equivalent of the United States’ brandishing their foreign policy stick at the Soviet Union for the latter’s war in Afghanistan. And in response the Eastern Bloc, led by the Soviet Union, boycotted 1984 Olympiad located in Los Angels, later to be vindicated by the United States as Soviet “revenge” for the West’s 1980 boycott.

Are You Not Entertained?

We are the Mob.  20 years after the 1980 and 1984 Olympiads, the Malice Games are back, for the same reason that Rome profited from the Colosseum. We the Mob love a good fight and a good story regardless of the truth, The juicer the story, the more we satisfy the raptorial inside us. Controversy ensures that periodicals fly off the shelves, and gossip keeps all those editors flush. And true to form, Russia is the exemplary recipient for the ultimate journalistic tittle-tattle-bollucking. Corruption, Human Rights, terrorism, ecological disaster, cronyism, waste, global warming catastrophe, all salacious topics splayed across the headlines, yanking back similar sentiment exhibited during the Cold War. Stories that appear in respectable periodicals that are disaster porn, is a testament to how little the West has progressed when it considers the 17.1kms (6.6 million sq miles) that takes up 1/8 of the globes surface. Judging from memory I don’t believe there was a 400 page ” Atlas Behind the Real Beijing, Vancouver or London.

Pre-Olympic rancor has become a sport in itself between newspapers and journals with the goal being who can publish the most boorish negative propaganda about an event whose goal is to bring the world together for 2 weeks of healthy competition and celebration. The latter truly brings forth a conundrum: where does the competition end and sportsmanship begin? Giving credit, where credit is due has been regrettably sparse occurrence, what should be praised, is clouded with puerile spite. Achievements such as building the “greenest” Olympics to date, (have we forgotten the life-threatening pollution levels in China?), sending the first Olympic Torch into space (I am sure we can forgive if the flame goes out from time to time) not to mention it’s journey is the longest in Olympic history carried by the largest number of people (and probably the most eclectic choices of transportation). Additionally, the largest gathering of youth volunteers Russia has ever seen to work at the games coupled with its sustainable facilities  are testaments of the direction that the country hopes to move toward.

Is Russia Ready to bask in the Olympic spot light?

Bear Tough, or Tough to Bear?

Taking chances by choosing Sochi,  to host the XX Winter Olympics can be easily seen as both politically ambitious and foolish, a decision shared by the Olympic Committee and Russia. Never before have the Olympic Games been held in a region that contrasts more strongly with the Olympic spirit than Sochi. Just twenty kilometres away is the conflict zone Abkhazia. To the east the Caucasus Mountains stretch into obscure and impoverished republics such as North Ossetia and Chechnya.” For the Pollyanna in us, it can be presumed that by choosing Sochi the Winter Olympics might draw $ £ RUB, and perchance initiate opportunities to create constructive resolutions to implement within the conflict ridden areas.

Expectations can not only be met but transcended; Great Britain couldn’t wait for the Olympics to be over before it had begun, but during those last few seconds remaining of the closing ceremony, we all hoped it could go on just a little longer. To be British in 2012 was the greatest feeling, we were no longer a small island but rather, a great nation that had come together and hosted the greatest Olympics in living memory. And it is time that Russia and its citizens come to know that same feeling of success and pride.

See more at:


The Revenge of the Micro (sharp)

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 19.23.48
Microsoft has been sharpening its marketing/creative strategy by
churning out razor-edged TV spots which are both unique and humorous.

What the Window Tablets Are Saying Inside

Apple on the other-hand has been neglecting its marketing strategy by
letting its message become rather dull and seemingly regurgitated

Motorola’s marketing campaign

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 18.32.38

Apple TV Ad – “Designed by US
Tagline: This is Our Signature and It Means Everything
(George Orwell couldn’t have said it better himself)
Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 18.37.53*Assembled in China

And in the words of the iPad

End of the Paper Trail

The other day I had the opportunity to flip through a few books which were published in the 1600’s. And when I say flip through I mean turn the pages ever so carefully, as if they were made from the most delicate crystal. This took place during my Renaissance lecture which for that day took place in one of our libraries.

While paging through these great but ever so delicate pieces of history I wondered, what will people be paging through 350 years from now? Most likely nothing. There will be no collections of books which were published in the 21st century, for two reasons: 1) the paper is acidic and more susceptible to disintegration, and 2) everything is slowly becoming digital and thus doesn’t leave a “paper trail”. How will the future turn around and look back at us? Will they be able to carefully maintain tangible items which are hundreds of years old- displaying what was once? How does one display something digital and make it look historic?

The Renaissance was a time where what was once old was the found again, marveled at and then used as a point which to build from. It was a time of competition, innovation, and curiosity. A time where one would look to the Greeks, Romans, or Egyptians learn all they could and then try and improve what had already been done. During this time it was a select few who discovered, and then determined what was worth pursuing and what was best shoved under the rug. Now today we all decide for ourselves what we want to hear and learn, and rarely do we ever have some one deciding for us. “We are collaborative animals, it turns out, and joyful amateurs interested in entertaining and informing ourselves than being entertained and informed by professionals, ” write Michael Wolff for this months Vanity Fair. How very true, look at the world of advertising, no longer are we the drones of 2000, sitting back and ingesting whatever advert popped up on the screen. We now decide for ourselves what we want to see, hear, believe – so how does something from the past have a chance of influencing the future?

We see that today, the internet which was once Netscape, AOL and a dial tone, is now so integrated with our non-digital lives we are almost always connected to it. We live in a world which is half virtual and half realistic – however, the former seems to be eating away gradually at the latter. For where does one look to first for information? The internet. Where does one hang out with friends and find out what the newest thing to do is? The internet. Where does one shop, browse through the latest fashions, flip through books and magazines, sort through the best deals? The internet. Where does one browse the latest jams, the newest hits, last nights episode? The internet.

The question is will the internet provide those of the future with a glimpse of what once was? We see artifacts dated hundreds of years, going to museums, places which are designated to specifically house the past, marveling at what lies behind the protected glass. The satisfaction, the thrill, the joy of unearthing something once buried, hidden from the world – will it cease to exist in the future? Will discovery be merely in the form of that which is the future, and never more what was the past? Are people even going to be looking to the past, or just purely looking ahead? Will discourse be so open and available that nothing will be left for personal discovery?  What will the History Channel or National Geographic be? Will people hold books? Flip through pages? Or just click, click click away?

Well at least we know that the trees will be safe, hopefully.


Tonight, March 7th 2010

THE FIRST WOMAN ever was awarded BEST DIRECTOR AT THE OSCARS. Not only did Kathryn Bigelow win but, she beat out her ex-husband, James Cameron whose movies have grossed the most of any films ever made, who has won Oscars left and right, and whose movie Avatar was thought to have trumped every movie ever made.But finally, it was shown, that ‘ about how much money your movie grosses, it’s not about the special effects, or the fact that you are a man….OUR TIME HAS COME, as Barbara Streisand said poignantly…IT one of four women to have been nominated for an Oscar as director ever- says it all…(and even though Oscars aren’t the voice of the film industry its just a huge achievement)...

Just perhaps, the reason why Avatar won was because it was a woman directing it. Even with all the hype behind it, as it was the David against the Golith-Avatar/James Cameron, and with its string of awards it had garnered before the Oscars – perhaps, the one thing that sealed the envelope was in fact Kathryn Bigelow. Well, Kathyrn Bigelow and the history that went with her. It was maybe the time when the Oscars thought, hey maybe tonight we too can make history- and their chance was Ms. Bigelow. The 2010 Oscars provided not only a place in the history books but a chance to be the star for a possible motion picture (Nancy Meyers Im sure has already begun the screenplay starring Diane Keaton, Steve Martin and Meryl Streep and perhaps even this time Sandra Bullock)!




And congratulations to Sandra Bullock on her first Oscar!!!!!!

“I look at the company I keep in this category and you can’t pick,” … “There’s not one that rises above the others. I feel like I share it equally in five parts because we ladies need to stick together” – Sandra Bullock, 7/3/2010

The Catechism of an iRevolutionist

It the first sunny day in LA for a week- people have begun to come out hiding, to recharge themselves, as if covered in solar panels to come back to the world, to continue their lives and learning here in south central.  Sitting in my political science class after having just spent an hour discussing, and ranting over Nechayev’s “Catechism of a Revolutionist” we commenced to a short break -so that the true revolutionaries of the class could  stew outside, and continue their rant while puffing on their cigarettes.

For those of us who do not inhale cancer we remained glued to the chairs, attempting to catch up on any messages or news we might have missed in the past house. So saying,  screens on the laptops in front of me immediately jumped into action, as if on cue, to the first news, technology site available, revealing photos of Steve Jobs, holding a rather comedic like piece of technology.  Immediately the tittering* ensued..”oh my god, like have you seen it? it looks like a giant i-phone…oh my god, (twirls hair with pencil) like no way, thats not cool, its way to big to fit in my hand, OMG, but you can rot your brain with all its games and 10 hour battery life..LIKE WAY COOL…” (now you know why I’ve used OMG to grab peoples attention to my blog) About half an hour ago Steve Jobs just announced Apples newest gizmo – the iPad-. holy hell…something slimmer and cooler to make all those other laptops feel fat enough to think that they must get on that slim-fast diet again, and actually start working so as to please their owner and not end up in the bin….

Considering the last 24 hours I’ve spent reading up on the revolutionaries of the world for various classes- the most recent being Sergey Nechayev, a rather fun individual..I wonder is the arrival of this newest sliver of technology, the spark, the modern Molotov cocktail, into the world that we know or, did know today? Is the ipad..our generations revolutionist? According to Nechayev, a revolutionist must destroy all- tear apart all that is filthy, all that is not titanium and 2 inches thick-  everything that is around it so as to start society over again. It is supposed to get people to start reading again, but not on those things which cause global warming, newspaper or books but on a screen which, just makes you itch to multi-task..Its a person with ADHD’s dream.

But, also the dream of the Revolutionist when the current society will implode….Apple is slowly bringing the world closer to that day. They are both the anti-Kant, ant-Rousseau, anti-stability, anti-lets just think this over and not rush into it. Even the French are scratching their heads at where it is supposed to go in their life…”Liberté, égalité, fraternité….tablité? Ne vous occupez jamais….Et Viola! Enter the iPad, “boom”..there goes the two piece laptop, “boom” there goes whats left of the desktop, “boom” there goes the smartphone- Blackberry, Palms etc, “boom” there goes the Kindle and “boom” there goes conversation and the ability to straighten ones neck or fingers ever again.

Sweets, drinks, anything which is sticky will be taken off the shelves, houses will be padded so as not to allow for any possible damage to the device, and while we’re at it you might as well put a straight jacket on so as to stay with this world just a few more minutes. Otherwise let yourself rip….”boom”… I say again, OMG. The Revolutionist says, ha ha, da, horosho, success! Erase the capital “I” and let there only remain “i”…you laugh? I joke? well we shall see…me thinks I joke not.

I see the iPad as the revolutionist so described by the Russian madman, Nechayev, who saw everything around him society, politics, men, women at the mercy of his beliefs, people who were either destined to join the cause, to be used for the cause, or to die being the cause…there is nobody as conscience, powerful, devious, intelligent than the revolutionist..i mean iPad….i mean Apple….i just mean..i.

For me it is not that we are moving forward with technology it is how, people have already begun to question the need for this new toy – what will it provide us that we dont already have already…carpal tunnel in our necks? The same way that the masses responded to Nechayev, even his fellow revolutionists took a step back and set themselves apart from his radicalism. The question we should ask is do we really need this? Why do away with what is not broke? Why change a system which is one of the very stable ones which we have in our lives right now?

Finally, I leave you with this: the revolutionist will put himself and his beliefs before all…himself before himself…what better re-branding of a revolutionist than to rename him…iRevolutionist…irest my case. iwiedersehen.

*for those not adept to the British language, titter is defined: to giggle, to gossip, to converse in a silly manner. Basically what people do to one another in the non virtual world.

The Otherside of Advertising- Week 11

The Joneses – a new movie about the art of marketing. Somewhat puts the art of advertising into a whole new light. The concept really is brilliant if you think about it. It would almost make advertising obsolete. And I say almost because the movie industry today is currently half about people having an impact on others materialistically. Those who star in movies are marketing tools for companies. No longer are movies soley for the purposes of conveying a story. Its all about selling baby.

The Otherside of Advertising – Week 10



To play devils advocate, or making an attempt to put my feet in their Louboutain pumps:  how else does one stop the French from doing something which is part of their cultural heritage. Its like asking them to stop drinking, riding mopeds, or having contempt for everyone else who isn’t French.



The campaign was created by the firm Euro RSCG C&O and cost €975,000,000. Huge protests have be voiced in France by feminist groups, socialist, and the population in general for the government (mainly Sarkozy’s) waste of tax monies on a campaign that is supposed to advertise a €35 billion (£31 billion) loan that, it is hoped, will fund investment and stimulate growth.[1] C’est la vie.

WHO ARE Euro RSCG? An international agency with offices in the U.K., the Netherlands, Czech Republic, North America. Client Partners include: Heineken, Peuegot, Citroen, Air France, Jaguar, Credit Suisse, IBM, Charles Schwab. The French branch was Voted ‘European Communications Group of the Year 2009‘ by Les Agences de l’Année. Ranked #1 creative agency in France for 12 of the past 16 years (CB News). For some reason I dont feel like that first place will be attainable for 2010.[2]


Bottom line: anything that wouldn’t be allowed/or understood by the general public when advertised in the United States appears to be the French tactic.



Social Networking in Russia is Tweet. Or is it a Digital Dictatorship in the making.

Washington sent a delegation of silicion valley’s hippest tweetest leaders: (including Ashton Kutcher, which really should speak wonders regarding where the government is spending your Tax $$) to Moscow. “Among the delegation’s goals was to persuade Russia’s thriving online social networks to take up social causes like fighting corruption or human trafficking, said the U.S. [2] Russians are huge participants of online networking – “spending 6.6 hours a month” according to comScore. (To get an idea, the average worldwide is 2.7.) Even, the  Russian President, Dmiritri Medvedev, maintains his own video blog.

But, I dont know if this delegation is a) really necessary (i say again, Ashton Kutcher was part of it) and b) really considering the implications of social networking.  For the digital world could be construed as a dictatorship as such. WSJ article: The Myth of the Techno-Uptopia- by Evgeny Morozov cautions the U.S.government (Hilary Clinton etc.) to perhaps consider their stance of making internet completely free of censorship (goodbye footnotes) and making the digital world a form of democracy. It would be a world where people runamuck. Oh Goody.

Let the Online Revolution begin.

I’ll be making my way to a remote island without internet when that happens.

[1] Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/European Pressphoto Agency. Taken from




Click Here.

and just so BMW doesn’t feel left out, I heard that the curling team was looking for some additional team-mates.

The Otherside of Advertising – Week 9

I had thought about writing this right after seeing the Super-Bowl advertisements of last Sunday, but then so as not to go off with the mouth and later embarrass myself, I decided to let myself simma down. But, after a week it still continues to erk me, and its not just about the Super-Bowl disaster that occured last week.

The New York Times made a reference to the Superbowl, referring to it next to the Sundance Film Festival and Fashion week as being an event fueled more by the media that goes along with it, and not its original content. In this case – its not just about the football.[1] The Superbowl doubles as medium for people to watch the best the NFL has and the best that the world of advertising has to offer. Advertising has the attention of more than 90 million viewers for that one day, and this year the 2010 Super Bowl became the most watched programme in history with 106.5 million viewers.[2]

Now I don’t watch football but I have always tuned in to catch the commercials, and have been rolling on the floor with laughter with a good many of them. When I tuned into YouTube, popcorn in hand I settled down to be rofl’d again, but instead was left feeling as if I had been slapped in the face. I clicked desperately spot after spot in hopes that one would make the rest all go away. No such luck. The tones were dull, flavourless, weak, and left a very clear message to me: if seeking career in advertising, females no need to apply.

At an average of $2.8 million a spot, not to mention the $100 million plus that is spent by the firms to create them and especially in todays economy I would think that agencies would seek to get the most “bang” for their buck.[3] It doesn’t take millions to be creative, but it does take some brain activity and foresight. Apparently, 40 million women watched the Super Bowl in 2003[4], and 7 years later it was estimated that more than 50 million women would tune for the 2010 game.[5] So why the violence, and animosity towards women, the elderly, the family and homosexuals in many of the ads this year? Why the over targeting of thirty or younger males, who eat chips, drink beer, who sometimes probably enjoy insensitive, immature material and who are misogynistic to their core? Click here for additional rants on the superbowl commercials.

Now, I’m not one for spouting women’s rights, and tooting feminist statements but, after seeing the 2010 super bowl ads, I am rather peeved as to how women were portrayed. Because it’s not like women don’t like football, or sports, or contact, or the male population, or being a woman for that matter. Last week being a woman meant your husband liked his four tires instead of you.

I was even shocked at Audi’s spot, and as a huge huge fan of Audi’s advertising in all forms – print, outdoor and TV, it really had taken a lot. While Audi deserved the recognition of being the most efficient car of 2010, the company in about 30 seconds appeared to show just that they too could be just as wasteful and inefficient as well. All the song and dance, the hiring of hundreds of individuals to make a joke about green policing was as far from funny as possible. It was plain stupid, and a tad i might be so bold as to say, arrogant.

The only commercial that really seemed geared for women was the FloTv spot. It really begged the question: Do I need a regular, big or extra large iPad to handle FloTV? Hopefully it won’t get any of those annoying PMS channels.

The Consumer Generated Super-Bowl Ads


I want to bring forth one last observation. The competition between mommy and daddy, which results in mommy being the winner, brought forth by both MacDonalds and Dairy Queen: videos to come

Now the competition between BMW and Audi has always been fun to watch, and to make up slightly for their SuperBowl fax pas, they’ve aired this new dig. The creative says every friendly competition has a loser. Then, as an Audi pulls past a BMW, a voiceover says, “BMW knows exactly how this feels, as super reads, “Audi has defeated BMW in three straight Car and Driver comparisons.”[6] Video to come.

New York Times Article-

[2] Super Bowl Ratings-

[3] Super Bowl Facts and Figures –

[4] Female Super Bowl Ratings-

[5] Super Bowl Ratings-

The Otherside of Cinema ~ Phoebe in Wonderland

I  saw this film about 2 years ago during a film class with Leonard Maltin and I absolutely loved it. The story was so intriguing, it left you guessing and wondering just like Alice in Wonderland. The films director, Daniel Barnz came to speak to us after we had watched the movie. He explained the hard journey the movie had taken to be shown finally on screen. The film though would not appear in the movie cinemas still for another year. This always puzzled me. The films cast is an aray of actors but who all bring very unique individual gifts to the story. Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) plays Phoebe, in such a way I think leaves her older sister Dakota in the verberbial dust so to speak. Shes young, but wise, her life is seemingly in and out of her grasp, and her facial expressions engage the audience as much as her words and actions.

Felicity Huffman, an actor I was not familar with before, but who Barnz hails as the the reason for the story being brought to life, is also engaging.  She plays a work aholic-author, who after a successful publish is now back to writing but suffering from writers block.  Her husband, Bill Pullman (Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping) plays the all caring and understanding father and husband, also a work-a-holic author – but somewhat less talented.

Besides Fanning, the two others who really bring the screen to life are Patricia Clarkson, the drama teacher who helps Fannings character, albeit in a somewhat unorthodox way, through casting her as Alice in the school production of Alice in Wonderland. This both proves as both a rememdy and protagonist as one will see in the middle of the movie. Now to Fannings co-star – Baliee Madison, who plays her little sister, Olivia, wiser for her age, provides comic relief as shes riddled with a dead-pan dark sense of humour. In one scene, both she and Fanning are trick or treating, Fanning dressed as Alice in Wonderland and she, in a suite and moustache annoyed by being asked who she was by someone, annoyingly snaps, “Karl Marx”, proceeds to ask her mother why nobody knows who she is. I dont want to spoil the movie for you or give you any more details so that you can go into it with a clean slate, allowing for more chances of surprise. You can rent or buy the movie on Netflix, Amazon, or your local video shop. Click on the fim poster for the trailer.

The Otherside of Cinema ~ Classic Disney

Now this may be because I am graduating from college, or maybe Im just a wee bit homesick for the “good old days” but, I started missing those classic Disney movies-you know the ones before Air Bud, Air Bud II, Aladdin 6, 170 Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland 8, Return of Medusa 3- you get the point. Remembering some of them and watching a few more, it made me wonder of how much time really went in to making these. I had always wondered as a child, how one could make drawings come alive, but even with the opening and closing credits there seemed more artistic value than in most of the movies made today combined. The music, the messages, the characters, sounds, just the whole bundle made you feel better about life and the world. I also loved how Disney experimented with their movies, added something different each time, (and im not just speaking about the story). What happened? Here are some old memories, and a bit of nostalgia for you. Click on the film titles if you wish to view the movie.

Robin Hood. These opening credits I think were very well done. Different from most if not all, I think that the style was genius. And also one of my top 10 (20) Disney movies. And Clucky, who doesn’t love that badminton scene. And I think it has one of the most romantic scenes in Disney. I most definitely take my hat off to it.

The Rescuers. This movie had a very mature feel to it. It was not only frightening at times, but it dealt with some topics which when I first saw it were beyond my depth. But watching it when I was older I found a deeper appreciation for it.

Alice in Wonderland. The best thing about this movie is….well everything. The music, the story, the artwork, the magic.The walrus and the carpenter, and WHO ARE YOUU?

Peter Pan. Who doesn’t love Peter Pan? Or still look for the second star on the right? Or want a dog as a nanny? oh George and his cufflinks…

The Aristrocats. To have Maurice Chevlier sing the opening credits, one can’t get more francias than that. Perfecte. I’m ready mistero

The Lady and the Tramp. Two words: BELLA NOTTE. And who doesn’t love a Tramp?

Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. A staple in my British childhood. Though at 6 never quite understood who the nazzi’s were however, I was most proud to be able to date the tapestry which appears in the opening credits to the 1000’s, the Norman invasion of england. Won an Oscar in 1972. Im off to do some Substitutiary Locomotion.. ” Treguna Mekoides and Trecorum Satis Dee…..