Monday, July 13, 2009
Synergistic business practices and other powerful emetics
Like many users of the Interwebs, I have fallen into habits, some of them not so good. I visit The Huffington Post nearly every day to see what they think the headlines are. They have some good bloggers, most notably Harry Shearer who writes about his hometown of New Orleans and the cartoonist David Rees, whose weekly animated cartoon Get Your War On was one of my favorite things to watch during last years' election.
Like any big website, there are ads, but these are only sometimes obnoxious. After the banner headlines at the top, the Post is split into three columns, the left is for bloggers, the middle for "hard news" and the right for "soft news", usually about show business. The rule about the left column being for bloggers is hard and fast. The split between hard news and soft news in the other two columns... not so much.
What I noticed is the number of soft news stories that just happen to involve actors whose movies are about to open at a theater near you. Last month, nearly every day there was some story about Shia LaBeouf, the male star of the Transformers sequel, or a set of pictures of Megan Fox, his very hot female co-star. When the movie finally arrived in theaters, suddenly the Huffington Post was full of stories about Sacha Baron Cohen and his character Bruno. Now that movie is in theaters, and HuffPo is full of stories about the stars of the next Harry Potter film, most of the stories centering on what a lovely young woman Emily Watson has grown up to be.
Maybe the Huffington Post is just good at spotting trends, but it's much more likely money is changing hands, and it's disgusting to watch. It won't change my mind about what movies I'll see this summer. I couldn't be dragged bound and gagged into a theater playing Transformers or Bruno, but I will go see the next Harry Potter, because I have friends who will gladly attend with me.
I think I have to find a new place to get the headlines.