questionable topic – uneasy matters since 2008

American Mozart

Posted in amazing, anthropology, culture, entertainment, music, opinion, PR by questionabletopic on Monday, April 16, 2012

By David Samuels

Intense, emotional, and frequently out of control, the hip-hop superstar Kanye West allowed his antics to turn him into a national joke and to earn him the criticism of two American presidents. Would a massive concert tour with his friend and rival Jay-Z offer the troubled rapper a taste of redemption—or disaster?

Whatever you think of the many controversies he has ignited, you must admit that Kanye West is at least some kind of musical genius, ranking among the top five producers and the top five rappers of the past decade. (His singing, by contrast, is kind of a joke.) Every one of his five solo albums has gone platinum, and he has sold 30 million digital downloads of his songs, to become one of the most downloaded musical artists of all time. He has won 18 Grammys—the most of any artist in the past 10 years—while serving as a backpack-wearing icon of black nerd chic. Kanye’s power resides in his wild creativity and expressiveness, his mastery of form, and his deep and uncompromising attachment to a self-made aesthetic that he expresses through means that are entirely of the moment: rap music, digital downloads, fashion, Twitter, blogs, live streaming video. He is the first true genius of the iPhone era, the Mozart of contemporary American music, intent on using his creative and emotional gifts to express the heartbreaks and fantasies of his audience.

In addition, though, Kanye West is, according to the president of the United States—the first black president of the United States—a “jackass,” a narcissistic monster who tore a massive hole of self-regard in the American cultural quilt.

Worse even than the president’s epithet, which he first offered on September 14, 2009, is the near-universality of his verdict, which has been echoed for years on talk shows and gossip sites across America. Most painful of all, perhaps, was the classic “Fish Sticks” episode of South Park, which portrayed Kanye as a designer shades–wearing egomaniac who is so humorless and devoid of self-awareness that he can’t comprehend a simple joke about fish sticks. Being represented as the most humor-impaired man in America by the South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker may have actually hurt more than what the president said.

Steve Jobs Oldie but Goodie

Posted in amazing, consumerism, industry, PR, story by questionabletopic on Sunday, May 22, 2011
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John Ashcroft Is Blackwater’s New Ethics Chief | TPMMuckraker

Posted in industry, PR by questionabletopic on Thursday, May 5, 2011

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft has signed up as an “independent director” for Xe Services, the infamous private security company that used to be known as Blackwater.

Spencer Ackerman reports:

Ashcroft will head Xe’s new “subcommittee on governance,” its backers announced early Wednesday in a statement, an entity designed to “maximize governance, compliance and accountability” and “promote the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private security industry.”

In other words, no more shooting civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan; no more signing for weapons its guards aren’t authorized to carry in warzones; no more impersonations of cartoon characters to acquire said weaponry; and no more ‘roids and coke on the job.

“This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers,” Ashcroft said in a statement. “I look forward to helping [U.S. Training Center, aka Blackwater] enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward.”

via John Ashcroft Is Blackwater’s New Ethics Chief | TPMMuckraker.

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Bristol Palin’s Abstinence Campaign Payday: Her Latest Teen Pregnancy Outrage – The Daily Beast

Posted in anthropology, industry, politics, PR, prominent persons by questionabletopic on Monday, April 18, 2011

Bristol Palin’s Abstinence Campaign Payday: Her Latest Teen Pregnancy Outrage – The Daily Beast.

Even before it was revealed that Candies Foundation paid Bristol Palin $262,500 to be its abstinence ambassador, her campaign against teen pregnancy was a farce. The Candies Foundation exists, in the words of its 990 form, “To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.” Palin, a young woman whose unplanned pregnancy has rocketed her to reality star fame, could scarcely be a worse spokesperson. Everything about her and her celebrity telegraphs the message, already distressingly prevalent in this country, that pregnancy offers a way to trade boring high school anonymity for attention and adoration.

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two sides of the coin

Posted in culture, entertainment, PR by questionabletopic on Monday, March 14, 2011

Two and a Half Men Is Better Than None

.. A lot changed in my life with that decision. And I do not regret it. The movie and television business are filled with some of the most wonderful and talented people you could ever know. It is also the rock under which you find the biggest, lyingest, thievingest scumbags on Earth. (They tend to be the ones that are not in any craft or union related to actually making a movie.) However, one of the great oddities in show business is how someone you respect can have a good experience with someone you loathe. Conan had a tough time reconciling Jeff Zucker’s decisions. Maybe I would have too. Meanwhile, Jeff has only been supportive of me during my recent years at NBC. Go figure.

Conan has moved on and his great talent is undiminished by his difficult experiences. I had wanted to say to him back then what I will now offer to Charlie. You can’t win. Really. You can’t. When executives at studios and networks move up to the highest ranks, they are given a book. The book is called How to Handle Actors. And one principle held dear in that book is that no actor is greater than the show itself when the show is a hit. And, in that regard, they are often right. Add to that the fact that the actor who is torturing their diseased egos is a drug addled, porn star-squiring, near Joycean Internet ranter, and they really want you to go.

Granted, it didn’t get real until you insulted them. And your suit may have real grounds.

.. Sober up, Charlie. And get back on TV, if it’s not too late. This is America. You want to really piss off Chuck and Warner Brothers and CBS? Beg for America’s forgiveness. They will give it to you.


Bad Publicity… and Charlie Sheen

While popular wisdom is that any publicity is good publicity, academic research has largely shown that negative word of mouth hurts company brand and sales. For example, negative movie reviews decrease box office receipts to the point that Hollywood pundits believe that it is “almost impossible to recover from bad buzz.” Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone estimated that negative publicity cost the move Mission Impossible 3 more than $100M in ticket sales.

Despite this, there are a surprising number of counter-examples. The Wall Street Journal reported that a wine described “as redolent of stinky socks” increased sales 5% after it was reviewed by a popular website. Similarly, reported a “300 percent increase in requests for information about Kazakhstan” after the movie Borat made relentless fun of the country.

It turns out that bad publicity might even be a reliable way to generate increased traffic – and sales – on the Web. In an article entitled ‘A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web,’ the NY Times provides a horrifying account of how one on-line eyewear site encouraged customer complaints to improve their Google page rank. The higher a site is in Google results, the more likely someone will click on it. More clicks lead to more sales. This is new, and obviously controversial, approach to search engine optimization.

.. In short, as a well-known brand, Charlie Sheen should worry but the stinky obscure wine can count on increased sales.

Charlie Sheen is a man with zero regrets.

Posted in alcohol, amazing, anthropology, culture, debate, entertainment, health, lifehack, motivation, opinions, PR, prominent persons, self improvement, story by questionabletopic on Thursday, March 3, 2011

охуенная статья о том, почему Чарли Шин важен и клев.
His appeal is that, while most guys — especially post–college — must reign in their ids and demure to society’s expectations to advance rung by rung up the soul–crushing ladder of corporate mediocrity, Sheen has reached the ultimate apex of manhood eternal: doing whatever he wants and speaking the complete truth, consequences be damned. (Even if the complete truth, as he perceives it, is “I got tiger blood,” “I have a 10,000–year–old brain,” and “I’m an F–18, bro.”)

сопливая статья о том, почему Чарли Шин шовинист и женоненависник (as if there was anything wrong with it)
Sheen’s m.o. seems to be to invalidate these women’s claims by accusing them of being money hungry or fame hungry. It’s interesting for him to consider women looking for money, particularly at the end of a relationship with him, as some kind of character flaw, considering his well–known practice of paying women to party with him, as well as his penchant for hookers. According to a recent GQ article, Sheen lost his virginity at 15 to a hooker in Las Vegas whom he paid for with his father’s stolen credit card. Kacey Jordan tells GQ of Sheen’s obsession with sex workers, “He is unhappy, and he probably relates to the porn girls, thinking they’re unhappy, too.”

вдумчивая статья о о том, почему Чарли Шин важнее Джастина Бибера в медиа–мире
If you didn’t hear, yesterday Charlie Sheen joined Twitter. Today he very well may reach 1 million followers (as I type he’s already passed the 900K mark).
How did it happen? Why all of a sudden did he wake up and decide it’s Twitter time? And how was it that Charlie Sheen went from non–twitterer to hardcore twitterer overnight? Short answer: he got a lot of help from a team of experts at, a small Beverly Hills start–up that focuses on celebrity endorsements via Facebook and Twitter.

Stewart & Colbert Rally

Posted in amazing, anthropology, contest, government, motivation, opinions, politics, PR, prominent persons by questionabletopic on Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity

Недавно, сайт Reddit решил обратится к политобозревателю Стивену Колберу с просьбой провести акцию “Restoring Truthiness” (“Восстановление Праведливости”), пародирующую акцию “Restoring Honor” (“Восстановление Гордости”), которая проводится Гленном Беком (одиозным политобозревателем республиканских взглядов и финансовым консультантом).

В этот раз, вместо малоэффективного создания групп в Фэйсбуке и тематических сайтов, пользователей Реддита попросили поучаствовать в проекте сбора средств, где Стивен Колбер числится в комитете основателей. Расчет был таков: если они побьют действующий рекорд по сборам Хиллири Клинтон ($29,945), то Стивен обратит внимание на петицию. Не прошло и 8 часов (!), как рекорд был побит суммой $100,000 (конечная — $194,000). Для начала, в качестве выражения своей благодарности, виновник акции ответил лично аудитории Реддита.

А дальше случилось еще большее чудо (в глазах фанатов этого Человека) — Стивен Колбер и Джон Стьюарт (друг и ведущий партнерского шоу “The Daily Show”) огласили о том, что проведут совместный крестный поход на Вашингтон, каждый под своими знаменами: “March to Keep Fear Alive“™ и “Rally to Restore Sanity.“.

Что тут скажешь, кроме УИИИИИИ!


Palin daughter sues for custody. ROFL.

Posted in amazing, anthropology, culture, political correctness, politics, PR, prominent persons, story by questionabletopic on Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Palin daughter sues for custody.

The custody battle between Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin became public last week when two Superior Court judges issued orders unsealing the court record and denying the use of pseudonyms to protect the feuding parents’ identities.

A Dec. 23 order from Judge Kari C. Kristiansen denied Palin’s motion to close the proceedings and opened the case file to public access, while an order issued the same day by Presiding Judge Sharon Gleason denied Palin’s request to use John and Jane Doe in place of Johnston’s and her own real names.

On Nov. 4, Palin filed for sole custody of Tripp Johnston-Palin, the former couple’s son, who celebrates his first birthday today. Kristiansen initially issued temporary orders limiting access to the case file and allowing the parties to file under pseudonyms.

Johnston wasn’t playing along, however. In an opposition to Palin’s motion for a gag order, Johnston’s attorney, Rex Butler, said: “Simply put, this matter is public in nature, the courts are not refuges for the scions of the elite to obtain private dispensation of their legal matters because the public at large has an interest in the proceedings.”

There’s another factor in the mix, of course: Palin’s mother, former governor Sarah Palin, with whom Johnston has repeatedly locked horns in the press, and from whom he claims to fear retaliation.

“I do not feel protected against Sarah Palin in a closed proceeding,” Johnston said in an affidavit accompanying Butler’s filings. “I hope that if it is open she will stay out of it. … I think a public case might go a long way in reducing Sarah Palin’s instinct to attack and allow the real parties in this litigation, Bristol and I, to work things out a lot more peacefully than we could if there is any more meddling from Sarah Palin.”


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Lady Gaga – Bad Romance (video)

Posted in alcohol, consumerism, entertainment, music video, PR by questionabletopic on Friday, November 13, 2009

Сразу оговорюсь, мне стыдно, что я такое прослушал. Но увидеть стоит. Водка “Lex” от Nemiroff, звуковая система “Parrot” от Phillip Stark, ноутбуки “Beat” от HP и Dr Dre, знак рубля от Лебедева. Это что, символы Нового Мирового Порядка? (и да, там много рекламы!)

When you advertise, just be sure you’ve got the goods!

Posted in PR, quotations by questionabletopic on Sunday, April 27, 2008

Із книги Дена Кеннеді «The Ultimate Marketing Plan».

Будет корисним не лише рекламістам, а й пиарщикам, що кожне чхання своего директора передають в прес-релізі не інакше, як виверження вулкану.

A lion met a tiger
As they drank beside a pool
Said the tiger, «tell me why…
You’re roaring like a fool»
«That’s not foolish» said the lion,
With a twinkle in his eyes,
«They call me king of all the beasts
Because I advertise!»
A rabbit heard them talking,
And ran home like a streak.
He thought he’d try the lion’s plan,
But his roar was just a squeak.
A fox, who happened on the scene,
Had a fine lunch in the woods.
The Moral? When you advertise,
Just be sure you’ve got the goods.