Archive for March, 2009

Civilisation works great on TV

On smashing telly! I saw a Channel 4  program: The 50 Greatest Documentaries, and among the ones featured was BBC’s 1969 (colour!) venture Civilisation with Kenneth Clark.

One of the things that makes Civilisation great TV is that it’s such a personal account. This isn’t anonymous lecturing under the guise of scientific objectivity, but a passionate plea for culture in a society threatened by a cold war suddenly turning hot.

Here’s a little sample. Take it away, Kenneth!

The entire series is for sale here

Sensation: Knowledge isn’t power anymore

Jon Stewart’s crusade against CNBC sure stirred up a lot of dust. Just as the interview with Jim Cramer, one of CNBC’s financial experts, it made headlines all over the world.

I wasn’t that impressed. Sure, righteous Stewart exposing wicked Cramer was good television, but it wasn’t serious journalism.

I mean, of course CNBC’s (baconian) statement that ‘knowledge is power’ is both bold and ridiculous. And claiming to be the ‘ONLY network with the knowledge YOU NEED’ doesn’t help either. It’s bold because CNBC is the tabloid version of financial television news, and it’s meaningless because in the market, information is only valuable when it’s a secret. A piece of financial information which everyone knows is worthless, since the market has already accounted for it.

It’s a case of the old law of supply and demand. When knowledge is all around, it stops being valuable. And since the market is constantly changing, information considered correct and useful may turn out the next minute to be incorrect and useless.

Seriously, that’s no sensation, but I must admit: schadenfreude works on TV.

Where journalism is going

These days, with Depression 2.0 and all, it can be rewarding to take a quick recap on what actually sparked the whole thing. This little gem brings you

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.