Thursday, January 26, 2006

Burlesque & Business

I didn't know there was a second silly season for the media. How else to explain the prominence given to the whale in the Thames & Celebrity Big Brother. Even the "serious" media outlets, such as Newsnight, Radio 4, the Guardian & the Independent have caught the bug.
Meanwhile, Grotesque George Galloway has received the verdict of a different group of voters (http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,1695156,00.html ).
Even his Respect acolytes pause tellingly before attempting to defend their leader's exercise in ego stroking & self-indulgence. Many cite Galloway's feline purrings with Rula Lenska & his surreal motions in a red leotard as the moments when the penny dropped, any remaining vestiges of political credibility being brutally torn away. I think that the "Emperor's New Clothes" moment came at the very outset when Galloway entered the Big Brother house, claiming to reach out to young people.
Today's Guardian carried a timely piece by John Lanchester on the Google phenomenon (http://media.guardian.co.uk/newmedia/comment/0,,1695200,00.html ).
Unlike some romantics out there in cyberspace, I've always recognised Google to be a business, its "Do No Evil" motto amounting to no more than a hazily recollected phrase from hippiedom.
Google's decision to censor news content on its Chinese service is not surprising. The latest move, affecting the Chinese Google site's treatment of entries such as "Tianmen" & "Tibet" is a logical next step in this regard. Google may feel comfortable striking a "liberal" pose with the U.S. administration ( a stance which is now being dissected in the U.S. media: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/26/technology/26privacy.html ). Let's have no illusions, though. Business is business. Google is doing exactly what any other global player would do.

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