Monday, January 11, 2010

Religion & Media Roundup for Jan. 11, 2010

Thanks to Butler's "Collegiate Readership Program" I get free access to The New York Times and USA Today on a daily basis. But as my professor so aptly put, "After college, things aren't free anymore."

Since classes have only just begun, I had the luxury (read: "time") to read both newspapers for Jan. 11, 2010. Here are some interesting religion & media stories for today:

"What Would Buddha Do?" (USA Today)

Tiger Woods' big publicity blow-up has gained some spiritual ground. Fox's Brit Hume pleaded for Woods to renounce his Buddist ties and return to his Christian foundations. In a secular news outlet with high journalistic standards, I would expect reporters to steer clear of implementing their own views.

Stephen Prothero, the columnist here, also equates Woods' childhood to that of Buddha.

"What's The Future of Media" (USA Today)

From USA Today's "Money Bookshelf" section come three relevant books: Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, The Curse of the Mogul, and The Chaos Scenario.

David Lieberman begins his review with "This is an awkward time to write about the media business." No kidding.

NPR reviewed Googled with an edge of frustration. The only problem with writing about the media now, is that the next day it seems out of date.

"But the winners in media avoid competition...That's great for investors; not so much for consumers."

It's nothing I haven't heard before; big media comglomerates thrive, but crush options for consumers. It's part of why we continue to have easy-to-produce-and-consume TV shows (i.e. Sixteen and Pregnant or numerous cops/lawyers shows).

Of course, it's still interesting to examine the Google model: how do you get money for a product that can reach everyone for free?

According to reporter Lieberman, Bob Garfield of The Chaos Scenario says the public has enough time, curiosity and IQ to compensate for all the newsrooms shutting down.

"Churches Attacked Amid Furor In Malaysia" (NYT)

Christian Muslims who used the word "Allah" suffered church bombings over the weekend. Arsonist Muslims in Malaysia vandalized churches, increasing political turbulence. According to the NYT, these attacks were unlike anything Malaysia has experienced. It is not uncommon for Arabic- and Malay-language bibles to substitute "Allah" to describe "Jesus, the son of God." However, in Malaysia, Muslim worshippers say that word should only be associated with the Islam faith - otherwise it could confuse people. Malaysia is 9 percent Christian.

"Art Coakley, Animator Who Created Gumby, Dies at 88" (NYT)

Aside from the obituary, it was interesting to know that Coakley's
"asparagus green hero had adventures with a spiritual dimension." According to the article, Coakley sought Enlightenment most of his life. The "Davey and Goliath" show had spiritual undertones, and was apparently underwritten by what is now the ELCA. The show aimed to instruct on values of charity and tolerance.


Bob Garfield said...

Yours is a fair summary of what Lieberman wrote. However, what Lieberman write is a preposterously incorrect summary of what I wrote.

I never said and do not believe that the death of traditional journalism will be compensated for by the wonders of the Brave New World. What we are losing is priceless and irreplacable. However, in media and every other institution disrupted by the digital revolution -- including (as I write about in "The Chaos Scenario") religion -- the connected world will offer some advantages never imagined even a decade ago.

Yes, there is lots we will gain. But the world will tremble at what we lose.

-- Bob Garfield

Meg B said...

Thanks for your comment, Bob. Of course, a review of anything is subjective, but I will have to look into reading your book so I can decide for myself. Thanks for commenting here; I truly appreciate your thoughts.

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