Linear TV: A television service that requires the viewer to watch a scheduled TV program at the particular time it’s offered, and on the particular channel it's presented on. Synonyms include time-and-channel based TV, appointment-based TV, and traditional television. (Source: ITV Dictionary.) Non-linear TV comprises on-demand formats as well as programs that don’t emanate from a network channel, also known as web TV and digital media.
The hook for Shapiro’s story is Going Clear, Alex Gibney’s new documentary about the Church of Scientology, which will have its premiere March 29 on HBO. (Shapiro said the film aired “last week.” Maybe for critics, but the rest of us will have to wait.) The film is based on the book of the same title by Lawrence Wright; the book was published in the U.S. in 2013 (and was short-listed for a National Book Award), but has not yet been released in the U.K. There have also been “serious challenges” to the release of the film, Shapiro reports, “because Britain does not have the same free speech protections as the United States.”
The libel tourism coinage is credited to the British media lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, who cited “the menace of libel tourism” in a 2010 opinion piece for The Guardian. The term had already been in circulation for at least a few years by then. It appeared in a January 2008 article by Doreen Carvajal in The New York Times about a Scandinavian case:
You’re an investment bank in Iceland with a complaint about a tabloid newspaper in Denmark that published critical articles in Danish. Whom do you call?
A pricey London libel lawyer.
That is called libel tourism by lawyers in the media trade. And Britain remains a comfortable destination for the rich in search of friendly courts, which have already weighed complaints from people who consider themselves unfairly tarred with labels like tax dodger, terrorist financier or murky Qaeda operative.
Russian oligarchs and Saudi billionaires have also found refuge in British libel law, Carvajal writes. Her succinct explanation:
Britain is a legal refuge because of defamation standards rooted in common law. They essentially assume that any offending speech is false and the writer or author must prove that it is in fact true to prevail against the charge.
In the United States, with its First Amendment protection for free speech, the situation tilts in the opposite direction: To succeed, libel plaintiffs must prove that the speech is false and published with a reckless disregard for the truth.
The expanded Dictionary.com entry brings us up to date:
After several high-profile libel suits filed in the U.K. against U.S. authors resulted in judgments against the authors—lawsuits that, in the opinion of many jurists, probably would not have held up in a U.S. court of law—Congress in 2010 passed the SPEECH (Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage) Act. The title of the act speaks volumes: foreign libel judgments are no longer enforceable in the U.S. unless they meet the same high legal standards in libel matters as required by U.S. law, including that they do not violate the First Amendment right of free speech of an American author.Thus the tourist must return home.
SPEECH is a masterly example of the bureaucratic backronym.
Besides libel tourism, there are a few other examples of the “X tourism” formula.
Birth tourism, also known as maternity tourism, is travel to another country for the purpose of giving birth. Reasons for the practice, according to a Wikipedia entry, “include access to the destination country's healthcare system, circumvention of communist China's one-child policy and (in countries that recognize jus soli) birthright citizenship for the child.” According to a CBS News story published February 9, 2015, the number of Chinese women giving birth in the United States “more than doubled to about 10,000 in 2012.”
Medical tourism is travel to another country for health care, often for economic reasons. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has estimated that 750,000 U.S. residents travel abroad for medical care each year; a CNBC report put the 2013 figure at 900,000, and noted that the worldwide market is $20 billion to $40 billion. Websites such as MedicalTourism.com (“Your Passport to a World of Options”) and PatientsBeyondBorders.com (“The Most Trusted Resource in Medical Travel”) provide information and patient accounts; companies like Planet Hospital (“A New Way to Care”) handle the logistics.
A subset of medical tourism is surgery tourism, and a sub-subset is plastic surgery tourism, which New Yorker contributor Patricia Marx touches on in her “Letter from Seoul,” published in the March 23 issue. Her subtitle: “Why is South Korea the world’s plastic-surgery capital?” Her answer:
“Surgery tourists” from abroad make up about a third of the business in South Korea, and, of those, most come from China. One reason is that, throughout Asia, the “Korean wave” of pop culture (called hallyu) shapes not only what music you should listen to but what you should look like while listening to it. Cosmetic transformations can be so radical that some of the hospitals offer certificates of identity to foreign patients, who might need help convincing immigration officers that they’re not in the Witness Protection Program.
Some of the clinic names Marx spotted on her visit: Small Face, Magic Nose, Dr. 4 Nose, Her She, Before and After, Reborn, Top Class, Wannabe, 4 Ever, Cinderella, Center for Human Appearance, and April 31 Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Marx’s translator explained “Small Face” to her: “Koreans, and Asians in general, are self-conscious about having big heads,” he said. “This is why in group photos a girl will try to stand far in the back to make her face relatively smaller.” Also popular in South Korea: the “Bagel Girl” look—bagel being a portmanteau of “baby-faced” and “glamorous.”
In New York City, you can summon a limo with an app called Gett.
TechCrunch calls Gett “Uber without surge pricing.”“Gett rides are $10 in central Manhattan, anywhere between Houston and Central Park South, no matter what day of the week.”
You can tell your Gett driver to take you to Lincoln Plaza to see a screening of Gett.
Gett—it's the Hebrew word for a religious divorce—is an Israeli courtroom drama that opened in the U.S. in February. New York Timescritic Manohla Dargis called it “gripping cinema from start to finish.”
Curiously, the ride-hailing app Gett was developed in Israel, where Hebrew is, of course, one of the official languages. In most of the 32 cities in which it operates, the company is known as GetTaxi.
Confused? You could just stay home and watch getTV.
Shipping: “A fandom practice that involves imagining relationships between two fictional characters from a show, movie, or book series.” (Source: Know Your Meme.) The TV Tropes site notes that the word “ostensibly derives from ‘Relationship’ (though it might as well be ‘Worship’; in some fandoms, it's Serious Business).” TV Tropes traces the origin of the term to fans of The X-Files, “who were divided between ‘relationshippers’ pushing for romance and ‘noromos’ [from no romance] who would rather have No Hugging and No Kissing.” The X-Files ran from 1993 to 2002; an early use of relationshippers appeared in 1996 in an X-Files newsgroup. The earliest Urban Dictionary definition for shipping(“A term used to describe fan fictions that take previously created characters and put them as a pair. It usually refers to romantic relationships, but it can refer platonic ones as well”) was entered on March 6, 2005. Blogs and Tumblrs devoted to shipper fiction have been published since 2004, if not earlier, according to Know Your Meme.
In the February 22, 2015, issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jenna Wortham wrote about the shipping subset occupied by “online superfans of the BBC show ‘Sherlock’” (2010-), who perceived a love that dared not speak its name between Sherlock and Watson:
These fans wring meaning out of every lingering glance and anguished expression that crosses Cumberbatch’s impressively dimensioned face and superimpose their own dialogue atop these moments, amassing a trove of erotic imaginings that is in some respects more compelling than the canon, at least in the unpredictability of the plot twists. For example, one offshoot of Johnlock, known as Fawnlock, imagines Cumberbatch as an ethereal deer, complete with graceful antlers and a speckled coat — and of course his lover, Watson, cradled in his forelimbs.
Wortham’s story includes a slide show of Sherlock-Watson fan art and a brief glossary of shipper lingo, including crack pairings (“a coupling that is considered bizarre by the standards of shipping, often for mixing universes [e.g., Shrek and Sonic the Hedgehog]”).
Names in shipper fiction follow intricate conventions, according to the TV Tropes entry:
There’s a whole nomenclature dedicated to Quick, Easy and Idiosyncratic Ship Naming, often varying from fandom to fandom. The most basic tool of communication here is the slash — if you wanted Alice and Bob to get together you could always say you shipped Alice/Bob. However, for most fandoms that's just not exotic enough. They will not be content with anything less than a short, sweet and catchy brand name — the more Incredibly Lame the Pun, the better (Harry Potter fandom actually named ships the “HMS this-and-that”). Shipping culture has also imported the Portmanteau Couple Name from Japanese Anime fandom; apart from its infamous usage in the gossip industry (“Brangelina”, “Bennifer”, “TomKat”) you can find people online declaring themselves fans of “Pepperony”, “Wuffara”, “NaruHina”, “Sheelos”, “Applepie”, and “Jam”. Yes, Jam.
I’m back at the Strong Language blog today with a post about “Schitt’s Creek,” a new sitcom that makes its U.S. debut tonight on cable TV’s Pop channel. The title was too taboo for NPR’s television critic to utter aloud, so he spelled it out, provided a rhyming mnemonic, and subsequently truncated the offensive name to “Creek.”
There’s a second naming story hidden in that one, although it’s not as racy: Pop (as in pop culture) was formerly known as the TV Guide Network; it rebranded last year as “a multi-platform destination dedicated to celebrating the fun of being a fan” where “fans don’t sit at the outskirts of pop culture making snarky comments, they live right smack in the middle of it.” Pop is targeting “modern grownups” age 35 to 40 (a rather narrow demo, don’t you think?) “who have a lot of disposable income and still go to the gym, want to look good and want to watch the show everyone is talking about,” according to the channel’s president of entertainment and media, Brad Schwartz.
In addition to the vulgarism in the title, the movie is notable for its poster design, which is either a homage to or a ripoff of the great designer Saul Bass, who created titles and posters for Vertigo, Spartacus, Anatomy of a Murder, and many other movies. As noted in a recent Reddit thread, the Merry Friggin’ Christmas poster also bears a startling resemblance to the poster for the 2008 Coen Brothers film Burn After Reading. (A Merry Friggin’ Christmas was directed by the memorably named Tristram Shapeero.)
For the Strategy magazine Agency of the Year competition, Canadian marketing agency Cossettepromoted itself with a video that asked a single question: “What the fuck is going on at Cossette?”
NSFW unless you use headphones.
AdFreak called the video “amusing,” and congratulated “people from rival agencies who make cameos here, including Carlos Moreno and Peter Ignazi of BBDO and—at the very end—Geoffrey Roche, who founded Lowe Roche. Other folks making appearances include the Trailer Park Boys, Chris Van Dyke of School Editing and Ted Rosnick of RMW Music.”
Cossette (named for founder Claude Cossette) did not win.
Finally, a greeting card that clearly doesn’t come from Hallmark.
Today is National Punctuation Day, a semi-whimsical holiday invented in 2004 by journalist and marketing guy Jeff Rubin. I leave it to others to wail over missing commas and misplaced apostrophes. I celebrate in my own way: by recognizing creative, quirky, and mysterious punctuation in logos, brand names, and marketing communication. (Check this space on Friday for another story about a mysteriously punctuated brand name!)
In July, A+E Networks relaunched its Bio. channel—yes, that’s Bio-with-a-period—as FYI,—yes, that’s FYI-with-a-comma. The channel’s programming “covers a range of stories and experiences that reflect how people actually live their lives today” and “embraces an adventurous, personalized and non-prescriptive approach to peoples’ [sic] taste, space, look, story and more.”
I have no idea what that means. I do know that it’s people’s, people.
“The comma is always a lighter hue and alludes to the idea that there is always something more on FYI.” – Loyalkaspar, the branding agency that designed the new logo.
Additional print work was done by Los Angeles agency And Company. Yes, that is its name.
And Company has its own punctuation story:
And Company logo.
Via Brand New, which had this to say about “FYI,”:
The name of the new channel is certainly catchy. Not only does it work on the same level as other popular cable channels like AMC, TNT, FX, TBS in that it’s an acronym but it also works as lexicon commonly used in verbal and written communication when saying “for your information” proves to time-consuming.
The name is fine. The comma is annoying.
I’d somehow missed the news that in late 2013 Verizon introduced a tablet device named for a punctuation mark: the Ellipsis.
A November 2013 upgrade announcement.
“Ellipsis”--“a series of dots that usually indicates the intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section of a text without altering its meaning”—comes from a Greek word meaning “omission.” Maybe Verizon was thinking of ellipse or eclipse. Honestly, I have no idea.
This bath mat from InterDesign is called the iDry Mat!—their exclamation point, not mine. I have no idea why it’s there, but it took me an absurdly long time to stop seeing the “i” as a Spanish-style inverted exclamation mark.
In her National Punctuation Day roundup for Time, Katy Steinmetz notes that “Exclamation marks are becoming harder to avoid, for those who would like to avoid them.” Why? “Because people need something to fill the gaps left by informative cues we get only in face-to-face communication—the raised brows, the wide eyes, the smile.”
Not sure what this has to do with bath mats, but hey! Whatever!
Some punctuation says “Get with the program(ming).”
sf.citi stands for San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation. I asked my Twitter followers how they interpreted the logo and I got various answers: “Looks like source code.” “The parentheses signal that a variable is being declared: many possible values, only one operation.” I also learned that SF is a generic object-oriented programming language (although that may not be relevant here). Charles Hill (Dustbury) probably hit the nail on the head when he said the logo is meant to convey “We can handle it, whatever it is.”
It looks like source code. But sometimes an apple is just an apple.
Ding*—yes, Ding-with-an-asterisk—is the new name of Ezetop, a service that allows owners of pre-paid mobile phones to add credit (in UK parlance, “to top up”). (Ezetop remains the name of the Irish parent company.)
Perhaps it’s my AP Style background, but I greatly – greatly -- prefer “co-worker.” Without the hyphen, the first thing I see is “cow.” The whole word looks, at a glance, like it’s pronounced “cow irker.” I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years, and as far as I know, none of them has a history of harassing cattle.
Speaking of confused punctuation, Non Talbot Wels (that’s his real name) tweeted this photo of a Pepsi Next promotion:
Taste less sugar? Tasteless sugar? A period or dash at the end of the second line would have been in excellent taste.
Looking for a suitable gift for NPD 2015? For $125, Art We Heart will sell you an Ampersand Garden wall hanging, handmade in Los Angeles of air plants, wood, and moss and measuring about 11 inches square.
Twenty-four-hour classical-music radio stations are a dwindling breed, hit hard by competition from online music-streaming services like Pandora and by the stark realities of a graying audience. All the more reason to cheer a healthy and good-humored survivor.
“Sanity Now!” KDFC outdoor ad, San Francisco. Love the script typeface.
Perhaps your first association, like mine, was the Seinfeldian rallying cry, “Serenity now!”
But KDFC has an independent claim on the slogan. The station, which was founded in 1946 and has stuck to classical programming ever since, has had five owners during the last 20 years. Before the station went nonprofitin 2011, it was owned by the Mormon-controlled Bonneville International Corporation, which promoted middle-of-the-road programming, refused to sell ads for a gay dating service, and pulled an ad for a book critical of the Christian Right. During the Bonneville era, KDFC produced a series of CDs called “Islands of Sanity,” with Classics Top 40 tracks like “Clair de Lune” and “Moonlight Sonata.”
Today, in addition to regular San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera broadcasts, the station broadcasts a daily “Island of Sanity” program hosted by Rik Malone. If you need a more immediate sanity fix, try the on-demand “instant island of sanity”: click the button, turn up your speakers, and bathe your ears in soothing strains.