In the world of tech, a ‘unicorn’ is a private startup valued at more than $1 billion. So-called, of course, because of how rare and unlikely this is: only a few hundred ‘unicorns’ have ever existed, a classification made up of unique, massive, and complex beasts such as SpaceX. Generally, surfers in their 20s who rent desk space do not end up alongside them.
Yet, in less than a decade, co-working startup WeWork became — or, rather, a handful of tech bros incorrectly claimed it had become — a unicorn 47 times over, allowing the ‘We Company’ to expand into…
NB: you’re getting this several days late because I just realised that I sent it on Friday as a POST, not as a newsletter email. FFS. It’s been a long week!
It’s been an exciting week for me — I reached out to the Media Reform Coalition after their excellent Media Democracy Festival a couple of weeks ago (which you can still access for free online) and it looks like I’m going to be working with them on some campaigns this year. Watch this space.
I’ve also written another ‘core’ article for Chompsky, to give new (and old!)…
In my head, the term ‘pop culture’ will always conjure the ancient realm of the 1990s. Comic books, glossy magazines, cartoons, neverending banks of music video channels — a colossal, largely tangible entertainment industry that delivered top-down, mandatory super-fun-times. A rockin’ and rollin’ mass culture peppered with originality, generously layered with toxic tropes, and delightfully lacking in self-awareness.
BIG CHANGE in the Chompsky camp. I’ve decided to:
As a platform, Substack is a stronger space for media/politics writing but…
…is a complex beast. When we talk about ‘It’ — even when specifically pinpointing, for example, the dreaded 👻 ‘mainstream media’ 🧛— we’ve immediately lost all nuance and detail. (Which is surprising, given how reasonable and listen-y everyone is in the digital age.)
‘The Media’ is not only a huge number of different companies, people, financial structures, etc. It’s also a huge number of different media.
It could mean newsrooms. It could mean entertainment. …
Hi all, just a quick extra newsletter notice this week, ahead of Friday.
I know many of my subscribers are young Bristol-based filmmakers! So I wanted to share this runner ad, which starts on Friday.
Get your CVs in ASAP, and make sure you include on it any runner/assistant roles you’ve done. If you have a driving license, ensure that fact’s on there somewhere too!
If you know of anyone who is looking for opportunities like these, please share this newsletter with them and let them know to subscribe.
The New Corporation is out! It’s been streaming in Canada for a while but premiered in the UK at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival last night.
For anyone who has seen 2003’s The Corporation, I hope this is exciting news; you may be interested to know the ‘unfortunately necessary sequel’ does *not* also have a 3-hour runtime.
I’m glad to have had the privilege of reviewing it this week!
In other ‘unfortunately necessary’ but enjoyable events, this week’s Media Democracy Festival has been…
I can’t recommend 2003's The Corporation enough. A polemic about our fabulously irredeemable corporate overlords, it’s full to the brim with case-studies from The Walt Disney Company to industrial flooring manufacturers. It has long been one of my favourite films; my only gripe being its combination of a 2 hour and 45-minute runtime with the most beautifully soporific, velvety narration in cinema history. It was not easy for my teenage brain to digest three hours of information about exactly how and why my future was doomed, accompanied by an eerily erotic lullaby.
But if you can stay awake and maintain…
Anything in media news recently I should be writing about? JOKES.
The Meghan and Harry fallout, funnily enough, has coincided with this week’s Media Democracy Festival, hosted by the Media Reform Coalition. Their work is all about how to improve the culture and power dynamics of the industry, and the festival will tackle a series of questions in free, online sessions all week — and what timing, when the topic has permeated every corner of the news cycle and its urgency is fresh in people’s minds.
In the weeks before the Oprah interview, the TV industry had already…
For any activist, a return of focus to your campaign is bittersweet because it almost always means that something has gone badly wrong. In the week before 2021’s Media Democracy Festival, the fallout from Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview has seen an explosive reaction in and around the tabloid press, throwing a spotlight on the case for the media reform movement.
The couple illuminate a particularly high-profile version of some of the media industry’s most pernicious effects, subtle and overt. And in their responses, the press and the public have largely proven the couple’s point.
Writer, covering media, politics, and labor. Editor of Chompsky. Media reform advocate. UK/US.