Crummy Little Podcast Episode 4: FUBU on a Klansman?

George Chidi, who is responsible for this hilarious video of a Klansman wearing FUBU sneakers, is this week’s guest on the Crummy Little Podcast.

George got some attention for that video, as you might expect, but what’s been missed was his coverage of the confederate flag rally from which that video came. He also spent a week covering a shady soccer stadium deal in DeKalb County, outside of Atlanta. It’s a long podcast, but it was a great conversation about news reporting, media, where it’s at and where it’s going. It probably could have been two shows, but I liked the flow of it.

This was an especially fun episode for me because George and I go back a ways. Long before I had a crummy little podcast, I had a crummy little radio show back at UMass on campus station WMUA. George was the news director at that station for a time, and even guest-hosted my show at least once (and did a better job than me, if I remember right). Needless to say, he’s done our alma mater proud since.

The Ruben Sierra of Viral Video

Making the rounds of sharing this week is the video of Marina Shifrin resigning her post at Next Media Animation.  Shifrin, who used to make news videos, dances through her resignation while the subtitles tick off her reasons for quitting – most notably, the fact that her “boss only cares about quantity and how many views each video gets.”  Her video, she contends, “focus[es] on the content”:

It would be easy for some curmudgeon to yell that Shifrin is looking for creativity in the wrong place – that work is about making money, rather than fun and games.  But that wouldn’t be entirely appropriate.  You’ve probably heard of her former company, Next Media Animation – or at least seen their work.  They make those funny, Taiwanese animated videos about the news.  In 2010, they made this one about the Thanksgiving-weekend revelation that Tiger Woods was playing a few rounds outside of his marriage:

Shifrin wasn’t working at a gulag making plastic widgets for export, she was making funny, creative news videos.  NMA’s website brags about their speed, and that’s pretty important when your company’s key product is so heavily dependent on news cycles.  Ditto for quantity – NMA has released two videos already this week, one for the government shutdown and one for Lane Kiffin being fired by USC.  The company is based on producing timely content that attracts viewers and stays ahead of the news.  It probably means working off-hours (since Taiwan and America are on opposite sides of the globe).

That’s a tough job, so you couldn’t blame anyone for saying it isn’t for them.  But Shifrin’s self-indulgent resignation video says a little bit more. Specifically, it says “Be careful about hiring me, because if we have a difference of opinion, I’ll try to embarrass you.”  Working at an online video company while complaining about needing to come up with content frequently that attracts views is like former New York Yankee Ruben Sierra, after being traded in 1996, complaining that the Yankees only cared about winning.

The team at NMA seem to be taking it in stride, though:

Why do I hate Michelle Malkin’s dancing so much?

After Michelle Obama’s homage to suburban Mom dances on Jimmy Fallon on Friday night, Michelle Malkin responded with this on Sunday.  You don’t have to watch it, because for the most part it’s painful:

Malkin’s response time is great perfect – her video was up before the original had a chance at Monday morning virality (which was a lock because it was actually kind of funny).  That’s good, but it’s where the good stops; Malkin’s video is kind of lame.

[Note: It’s still better than my video, which is linked here.  Oh, that’s right, I didn’t make a video.  Duly noted.  Back to the cheap shots…]

The problem largely stems from the word “liberal” in Malkin’s title.  While factually accurate, it raises the immediate flag that this is speaking only to a political audience, the kind that will descend on the National Harbor for CPAC in just a few weeks.  There’s nothing wrong with rallying the troops, but Malkin can probably do better.

“Better” might be a mock video response that substitutes the First Lady for the President himself, bringing Michelle Obama’s decidedly non-political and self-deprecating bit into contrast with her hyper-political, self-aggrandizing husband.  It would definitely drop the political labels, focusing more on DC versus regular voters, rather than conservatives versus liberals.  And it would have to emphasize humor more than scoring week debate points, because in videos like this funny is most important.

Malkin tallied over 65,000 views at press time.  That’s impressive, but if her audience wasn’t so narrow, she might have tripled that.  There’s nothing wrong with rallying the troops, but real advancement of center-right ideas isn’t going to come from overtly political videos that preach to the choir.

[Still better than my video.]