Friday, June 10

Rumblings in the Northwest (3#) -

Washington State's alleged Barefoot Bandit has pleaded not guilty to a new charge involving the burglary of an ATM bank machine, while his lawyer, John Henry Browne, is in the process of forging an overall plea deal with the Feds.

The resolution of the deal has been complicated by issues related to Colton Harris-Moore's forfeiture of his intellectual property rights to his own life story. Although he still seems to have the FA right to tell his story, the Feds were stipulating that any financial proceeds flowing from it should be relinquished for purposes of restitution.

Now, however, some of these
issues may have become more complex:

"The question of whether Harris-Moore can sell his story to help pay restitution, now calculated at about $1.4 million, is unresolved, Browne said."

Elsewhere in Washington State, the Barefoot Bandit story is set against a backdrop of Anarchist activism in the Pacific Northwest, making the Feds seem wary of the Media turning him into a Celebrity.

The Olympian Newspaper building on Bethel Street and an Olympian photographer’s home were targeted by vandals overnight Wednesday with anarchist graffiti.

"The vandalism is the latest in a string of such incidents at various locations in Olympia. In early May, someone left anarchist graffiti in a rest room at the new City Hall and attempted to pour cement into the toilets. In April, vandals shattered every window at South Sound Bank on Harrison Avenue and left anarchist graffiti, according to Olympia police. In March, anarchists were suspected when unknown people tried to set fire to a back door of the Olympia Police Department’s Harrison Avenue substation."


Thursday, June 9

Licensing Mayhem (7#) -

Lonely Girls, Amanda Knox,
Casey Anthony, and Buffy . . .

In the Post-Modern 21st Century, new ways of telling stories are being explored. Among the most controversial, is the use of a grisly crime being transformed into a Reality TV series.

Back in the beginning of the last decade, the 2003 online saga of fugitive heiress Isabella V unfolded in the blog She's a Flight Risk, captivating many people, who did not know whether the story was fictional or true.

Then, in 2006, there was the web-based video sensation Lonelygirl 15 which focused on the life of a teenage girl named Bree, although, the show did not initially reveal that its story was fictional to its audience.

Lonelygirl 15 had a number of spin-off shows such as the British version called KateModern, which ran from July 2007 through June 2008, and a Polish version called N1ckola which started in January 2009. And then, an Italian version was announced:

What to expect? It would be "very much like Buffy, a little bit of comedic element, teen angst and romance, and sci-fi drama." Like past series, the new show is likely to have a young female star... as well as EQAL’s honed elements of brand integration, interactive live events, and fighting against "The Order."

CBS signed a deal with them. And it was CBS that began turning the Amanda Knox Italian Situation into a continuing Reality TV Soap Opera saga until its producer, Joe Halderman, was put away in prison as a convicted criminal.

"In July 2010, after his conviction and incarceration, Halderman was nominated for an Emmy as a producer of a 48 Hours Mystery segment regarding Amanda Knox."

More recently, ABC has picked up this Amanda Knox baton and tried to move it forward. But the fusion of Journalism and Entertainment has come under increasing scrutiny and has raised doubts about the potential for transforming the savage murder of Meredith Kercher into hypnotic "sticky eyeballs" entertainment. This project has also attracted some deeply disturbed and possibly dangerous characters onto their bandwagon.

Now it has been revealed that ABC paid accused murderer Casey Anthony $200,000 in exchange for exclusive rights to video and photos.

No mention of any monies exchanged in the Amanda Knox Italian Situation has been disclosed yet, but the entire issue of "licensing fees" has come into serious question:

"By paying for material like dramatic images, emails and call logs, news organizations are creating a market for them. That market may attract people with agendas who create situations that will lead to dramatic images or materials. That is dangerous, for journalism and society."


Tuesday, June 7

An Assorted Cast (4#) -

Trending: Pharmacies are increasingly under siege by addicts who have been raiding them for their supply of Oxycontin. As a result, some pharmacists are now packing guns, while others are refusing to stock the drug.

# Ricky Jay, the magician, has been collecting curiosities of all kinds for a long time. Celebrations of Curious Characters, his latest book, is reviewed by Richard Rayner at the LAT.

# Meet the Tribes of Manchester.

# The Latest Fizz: Miss Peregrine's
Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

:: It's a book for now and will be a movie later.


Monday, June 6

Weekend Tech Storm (4#) -

On Friday, Syria shut down most of its Internet connections to the rest of the world, but Telecomix stepped in to offer an emergency dialup number for Syrians to use.

Then, a group calling itself LulzSec launched a cyber attack on an FBI-linked security organisation called InfraGard.

And, finally, Aussie Joel Falconer reports that Anonymous is planning an Op Iran hack to mark the upcoming election anniversary.


Sunday, June 5

Storymaking At Random -

We have Jersey Shore as our latest big hit Reality TV series here in the U.S. Meanwhile, on the other side of The Pond, they have The Only Way is Essex as their latest big hit Reality TV series in the UK. I read about it once in a while; this weekend, here's what caught my attention:
It's "scripted reality", a freshly minted genre, which has crossed reality TV with soap opera to create a format that uses dramatic structures and devices but whose subjects are "real people" rather than actors. Or, as the disclaimer at the start of every episode states: "This programme contains flash cars, big watches and false boobs. The tans you see might be fake but the people are all real although some of what they do has been set up purely for your entertainment."
It seems to me that that some version of this approach is being attempted by ABC TV in its coverage of the Amanda Knox Case. In itself, there's nothing wrong with trying to make a coherent story out of the situation, except for the fact that the entire series is based on a very savage killing.

:: The piece excerpted above by Carole Cadwalladr
is quite thoughtful and well worth reading.