A Bundle of Oy
John McCain may seem like an unlikely person to deliver the message about the new world of content consumption, but in an LA Times op-ed, he makes some excellent arguments about the need for cable companies to change the way they determine how much consumers should pay (after years of sticking to a strategy that can be summed up in one word: more). “The 82% of American households that subscribe to cable or satellite television are stuck paying escalating prices for ‘bundled’ packages of more than 100 channels, despite the fact that the average viewer tunes in to only about 18 of them.” With young people cutting the cord, the big cable companies will have little choice but to make some changes.
+ The impending release of an entire season of Arrested Development on Netflix provides a perfect example of the pressures mounting on the traditional cable model. But the show’s creator has a warning for us: “Don’t feel obligated to watch it all at once. It’s a comedy! It’s not like Lord of the Rings. Comedy takes a lot out of you.”
+ Did David Foster Wallace predict this era of binge-watching and what comes next? After watching 80 or so episodes of The West Wing during the course a single month, The Morning News, James A. Pearson reflects on life in an on-demand world: From Here You Can See Everything.
+ The future of TV (or at least TV marketing) might be on Twitter.
In what’s being viewed as a terrorist attack, two men used cleavers and carving knives as they killed a British soldier in the Woolwich section of London. They may have done even more damage had it not been for a woman who confronted one of them: “I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else.”
+ From AP, here are the key facts we know about the Woolwich attack so far.
In Newsweek, Tony Dokoupil takes a look at what he calls the suicide epidemic. More Americans die from suicide than from murder and natural disasters combined: “More and more of us are living through a time of seamless black: a period of mounting clinical depression, blossoming thoughts of oblivion and an abiding wish to get there by the nonscenic route. Every year since 1999, more Americans have killed themselves than the year before, making suicide the nation’s greatest untamed cause of death.”
Getting Too Frisky
The New York Civil Liberties Union took a look at police data to get a clearer picture of NYC’s stop-and-frisk tactics. Last year, there were “168,126 instances in which an African-American male between the ages of 14 and 24 was stopped by police.” In the entire city, there are a total of 158,406 people in that demographic.
You Will Forget This
I was an English major and I got through a decent number of novels before I discovered the addictive and mind-numbing habit of opening 104 browser tabs at once. But I’ve also forgotten almost all of the details of many of the books I’ve read. And apparently, I’m not alone. This is what The New Yorker’s Ian Crouch sees when he looks at his bookshelves: “The spines look familiar; the names and titles bring to mind perhaps a character name, a turn of plot, often just a mood or feeling — but for the most part, the assembled books, and the hundreds of others that I’ve read and discarded, given away, or returned to libraries, represent a vast catalog of forgetting.” (Oddly, I can still remember the plot and moral lesson from just about every Brady Bunch episode.)
+ As individuals, some of us may be forgetful readers. But we are building a sort of communal memory out of the passages we choose to highlight in our e-readers. Noreen Malone on what the Kindle’s most-highlighted passages tell us about the soul of the American reader. (Mostly that we really like Hunger Games.)
What’s in the Box?
At the time it was sold to Dropbox, you might not have even heard of a new app called Mailbox because it wasn’t yet available to the public. But apparently, its goals hit a nerve because there were 800,000 people on a waiting list. From Ryan Tate at Wired: Meet the Man Who Sold a Month-Old App to Dropbox for $100M.
Tumbling Tradition at The Wall
If you think The Wall in Game of Thrones is well-guarded and the scene of a lot of tension, then you’ve never visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Now there is a plan to finally create a “section for more-liberal streams of Judaism, such as the Reform and Conservative movements, where men and women would worship together, sing and play music.” Spoiler Alert: The debate will not be calm and reasonable.
Utah, For Entertainment
“Unlikely as it sounds, young Mormons are being sucked out of the middle of Utah and into the very centers of American pop-culture manufacturing.” From the NYT Magazine, Jon Mooallem describes a place that has become a hotbed (just not too hot) from animators: When Hollywood Wants Good, Clean Fun, It Goes to Mormon Country.
They Make Decent Bookmarks
You’d think book lovers would be able to read the writing on the wall, but about 17.7 million of them have been left holding $210.5 million in unredeemed Borders gift cards which a judge just deemed worthless. You know what makes a great gift card? Cash.
The Bottom of the News
My cats have projectile-vomited some pretty impressive hairballs. But a 400-pound tiger had one so big that surgeons had to remove all four pounds of it.
+ My friends over at Time have published some photos of Barry Obama on prom night. The pictures may be a bit blurry but the message is clear. Be nice to everyone in high school, because you never know who’s gonna end up with the drones.
+ Chartgirl is out with a new chart that asks: Where in the World is (Bitcoin creator) Satoshi Nakamoto? Maybe he’s as virtual as his currency.
+ Photographer Thomas Hawk shares this excellent shot from Coachella. Great photo. I’m never attending.