Open Thread for April 17, 2009

Instead of talking about the culture, let’s navel-gaze this weekend.

I usually check the entertainment section of Google News for the most prominent pop cultural tidbits. And, especially this time of year, I frequently am disappointed. The best thing on there was that there’s a new Harry Potter trailer out. Zowie. Get excited people. Here it is:

Maybe I’m missing something. If I am, I beg you: Bring it up in the comments.

But, failing that, let’s navel-gaze. We’re about one quarter of the way into the second year of this site. We’ve had some incredibly popular material, and some articles which, while less link-baity, showcase perfectly the blend of eccentricity, erudition, and earony I had in mind when I invited the smartest, funniest guys I knew to start a website more than a year ago.

As OTI transitions into a more established and regular publication—a process not without some growing pains—we’d like a report card. What do you think of how we’re doing? What could we do better? How would you like to see the site grow and change in the future? (One thing we’re thinking about is forums, to give our readers, many of whom are just as much the pop culture idiot savants that we are, a place to shine. What do you think?)

Don’t be a dick about it, but please be candid. We want to make OTI the best OTI it can be. For America. For the children. And for you.

UPDATE: Of course, right when I hit “Publish”, I read here that YouTube has just created a new section to highlight the treasure trove of TV shows and movies—including highlights T.J. Hooker, The Addams Family, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures (the animated series), I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched (in glorious black and white or in color, and Married with Children. As if my procrastination problem weren’t bad enough.

UPDATE UPDATE: Oh, also, Oprah is on Twitter and the Pirate Bay guys are guilty of something. (Characteristically, they’re not worried.)

12 Comments on “Open Thread for April 17, 2009”

  1. Matthew Wrather #

    I really need to do my web browsing before I write the copy for the open thread.

    Hey, you know what words and phrases should be banned from the language? “Monetize.” and “jumped the shark.” and “webisode.”


  2. Gab #

    Re: Harry Potter: Its release date was also moved. ;)

    Re: Pirates: WHY hadn’t I heard that on my own? I’m glad about it- the right people are being held accountable. And in other pirate news, how about those Somali pirates, eh? EH?

    Re: The Site: I do so like the fancy new layout and such. Searches run very well, for one thing. I generally avoid forums because those attract lots of jerks and idiots that would turn me into a jerk myself if I read their posts due to how much they’d piss me off. I don’t think I personally would post on them (much- the weekly open thread seems to be adequate for me, but who knows?), but I wouldn’t stop stalking y’all if you added some. Just don’t turn the site into some social networking thing with profiles and membership and quizzes and requests and friending and stuff. Please. I beg of you.

    Re: YouTube: I don’t post vids, but I know a number of people that do and are very irked with how it’s changing. I hear a lot of negative Hulu comparisons. I’d like to know what the regular writers here think, since I know some of you use it for your personal videos. I guess my thoughts on the matter aren’t as meaningful because of my distance from it, but I *am* saddened that it seems as though the original idea is pretty lost now. Sort of like Facebook.

    Oh, and a warning: don’t go inhaling seeds.


  3. lee OTI Staff #

    I think OTI should rapidly monetize its content by producing a series of webisodes that ideally would never jump the shark.



  4. Gab #

    Lee, epic.

    Oh yeah, and Phil Spector was (FINALLY) found guilty. Anyone else think he’ll get off for being a nutter?


  5. Matthew Wrather #

    I mean, the original idea of Facebook was that Harvard students could look at pictures of each other. I’m not so sad it’s evolved.


  6. Gab #

    Well, I joined specifically for the exclusivity. I deliberately avoided MySpace and picked FB instead because in its original inception, one needed a legitimate college email address to join FB. It felt safer. And it was very, very simple. Now anyone can join and it bombards a person (that checks their account) with spam and extras that make it very, very similar to MySpace. So *I’M* sad it evolved. This probably makes me sound like a hypocrite, since I’m usually very pro-proletariat and such, but, well, that exclusivity made me and the people I joined with feel secure and safe, like we’d be able to avoid creeps and pedophiles. Now we rarely use it (and I’m contemplating deleting my account) and we communicate less overall because one of our outlets is not as comfortable for us any more. And that makes me sad. So I’m a sad panda.


  7. Trevor Seigler #

    The first time I got on Facebook, I thought “man, this is a stalker’s paradise.” And I was not of the opinion that stalking should be made any easier. So of course from time to time since then, I’ve done my fair share of gazing at my attractive female friends’ pages more than I should. I am a horrible person, thanks to Facebook.

    I like the site, but I’ve only been exposed to it for a few months now (I got hip to it right before the change). As a freelance writer willing to submit material even though there’s no financial reward, I feel reassured that at least here my material gets a fair shake (usually my competition at other sites has been titty jokes and guys farting the national anthem). It’s hard out there for a pimp, and even more so for a writer. Perhaps I should actually write something again and send it, instead of commenting on these open threads…nah.

    Oh, the “tea parties” swept the nation (and by “nation” I mean “Fox News’ corporate headquarters/Fuhrer bunker”). Speaking as someone nominally in Fox News’ target demographic (white guy from Middle/”Real” America), I’m curious as to how they’re perceived in New York, capital of everything that’s bad for you (Jews, homosexuals, minorities, Broadway musicals, etc.). For the record, I voted for the socialist anti-Christ who’s taking away all our taxes and spending it on welfare mothers who don’t work and illegal immigrants who do, so I’m not an O’Reilly follower.


  8. Trevor Seigler #

    @Gab: I know what you mean about the loss of exclusivity, FB now is just a lawsuit away from being on Dateline’s To Catch a Predator (though I think they discontinued that). I’d delete mine if it weren’t so damn addictive (maybe that’s a good reason *to* delete it).


  9. Gab #

    Trevor: He’s a *fascist*, get it right, dude. Oh, and he’s also a Muslim. ;) I have “views” on those Tea Party things, somewhat expressed on the most recent addition by Schechner (so I won’t repeat them). I’m not from New York, but Vegas. Not much better on the scale of “what’s bad for you.” But I live currently in a very conservative town, and let me tell you, there are plenty of people here that think it was a great idea. The two news station options available at the gym I go to are CNN and FOXnews, and I usually go, coincidentally, during Lou Dobbs and Bill-O. Oh my God, it’s hilarious to watch other peoples’ faces. And to hear what they shout at the screen (either in moral outrage at those Communist Chinese assholes or in agreement when Lou does everything but ask for the mass execution of every illegal immigrant EVAR, even the ones that are already dead). I laugh to myself.

    And about FB, the stuff that makes it so addicting for you, the stalker-ease stuff, was progressively added. It didn’t go through The Change- there were no sudden hot flashes and poof, no more babies. Okay, granted, there were some great leaps (so maybe a few night sweats), but a lot of it was gradual, too. So the version I signed up for a few years ago is still quite different from the one you joined a few months ago. Yeah, I wanted to keep in touch with my friends, but I didn’t want to stalk them the way I’m practically forced to now (if I look at the site- again, I only look at it a few times a week nowadays).

    I think a lot of it has to do with the exhibitionist mentality our new technologies are enabling. Twitter is a great example, and the “what’s on your mind” thing on FB is very similar. We want as many people as possible to know what WE are doing, but we really only care about a couple people and what THEY are doing. Overall, at least. To reiterate (circumlocution ftw), I joined to keep track of a couple people and so they could keep track of me. Now I either have to scroll through a sh*t-ton of OTHER people that I’m really not all that interested in to get the same updates about those friends, or I do my best to change my settings so I see… nothing at all. And then there’s the fact that you actually CAN’T change much any more…


  10. Trevor Seigler #

    @Gab: Totally feel you on the small-town embrace of Fox News, I’m from the great red state of South Carolina and they’re definitely folk heroes down here. I’ve always been a bit of a “different drummer” kind of guy, though I did go through a conservative phase that I don’t talk about too much nowadays. There are a lot of angry people in this country who need to let some steam off, so in that sense I appreciate FN. But I do wonder sometimes if Glenn Beck is gonna inspire someone to take a shot at the Prez or blow up a building. Free speech can be a bitch sometimes.

    I’ve actually been on FB since May of ’06, back when it was students-only (and my initial reaction about stalking dates from that time). To a person with low self-esteem or worth (me circa 1998-2007, but that’s a whole other story), Facebook can encourage some exhibitionist tendencies and stalking tendencies that we might not otherwise wish to acknowledge, all as a way of getting attention. It’s a sort of manic-depressive narcissim(sic) going on for some people, seeing how many “friends” you can get to validate your existence. Now I use it more to stay in touch with real-life friends and also network in the interests of promoting myself as a writer (you never know, it could happen). I do feel dirty sometimes when the “newsfeed” insists on letting me know what my friends are up to, but I try to counter that by not looking on their profile unless I’m going to write to them about something and I don’t mind it being in their wall. It’s about self-control, and I hope that as the years have gone on I’ve learned to be careful with just what I share on there.


  11. piskodrocho #

    I want to listen good music!


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