I’ve lengthy harboured an irrational loathing for the phrase “content material”, particularly when used as an informal stand-in to imply one thing like a movie, a tv present, or a bit of artwork or music.

I think that always when folks use the phrase it’s to make them really feel as in the event that they’re in Succession, when it’s extra like we’re all languishing in an countless episode of The Apprentice. It’s consultant of the form of insidious enterprise communicate that has change into regular for non-business folks to say, like “private model”, or “blue-sky pondering”. Don’t get me began on touching base.

Think about my pleasure, then, after I learn Martin Scorsese’s essay for Harper’s about Federico Fellini, which is disdainful in regards to the notion of artwork as “content material”. Scorsese’s piece is ostensibly in regards to the Italian director, though it’s also an growth of his concepts about how risk-averse the trade is turning into, which he first put ahead in 2019, speaking in regards to the success of superhero movies and the way they’re “not cinema”. I really like a Marvel film as a lot as the subsequent nerd, apart from those that break the three-hour barrier, as a result of none of them should be that lengthy and it’s simply displaying off, however Scorsese argued that placing out superhero sequel after superhero sequel was merely satisfying an present demand, reasonably than permitting movies to be stunning or surprising, which might create new demand.

He returns to comparable territory in Harper’s, with a prolonged, erudite piece in regards to the artwork of cinema, referencing Truffaut, Godard, Cassavetes and Antonioni, with some ideas in regards to the issues with algorithms dictating what movies we, as viewers, are made conscious of. I loved his reward of curated platforms equivalent to Mubi, though my very own Mubi subscription lingers as an everyday reminder of how I’m a horrible individual for spending the night watching one more actuality present about canine who don’t know the best way to behave, after I needs to be watching an neglected French basic about heartbreak and infidelity earlier than it disappears.

Scorsese argues that “the artwork of cinema is being systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned, and decreased to its lowest frequent denominator, ‘content material’ ”, noting {that a} phrase used nearly completely within the context of enterprise is now utilized to “all shifting pictures”. It’s worse than that. It’s used for the whole lot. A music, say, is content material, as is the fabric round it, as is an interview to market it, as is a publish by somebody about how a lot they prefer it. Scorsese is taking a stand, however I fear that it’s already too late.

Countdown shouldn’t be the place for spite

Anne Robinson: a consonant, please.
Anne Robinson: a consonant, please. {Photograph}: Dan Wooller/Shutterstock

My lockdown-three bingo card, handmade from sourdough starter and salty tears, after all had Tory backbenchers clamouring for an early finish to restrictions, science be damned.

What it didn’t have was Anne Robinson being slated on Twitter for one thing she stated throughout an episode of The Weakest Hyperlink, a quiz present that led to 2012. When she was named as the brand new host of Countdown a clip resurfaced, displaying her being nastily snobbish to a contestant.

It was the form of nasty not a lot seen in popular culture now, though it was frequent, earlier than viciousness was outsourced to trolls. The Weakest Hyperlink’s promoting level was that she was arduous on the contestants; she purred insults at them, and so they took half anticipating to be insulted.

This was additionally the period of The X Issue spotlighting individuals who couldn’t sing and sneering at them for daring to assume they might. The final couple of years have seen makes an attempt to rethink that interval, with documentaries like Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain, Celebrity: A 21st Century Story and Framing Britney Spears displaying how merciless the highlight could possibly be.

Instances have modified. Robinson is taking on from Nick Hewer, who turned well-known on The Apprentice, a present not recognized for being variety to its wannabe magnates. He didn’t host Countdown as if Alan Sugar had been about to fireplace every contestant. I’m certain Robinson will keep away from berating anybody for his or her private lives, when all they want is a consonant, please.

Jason Donovan needs to be on hazard cash

Back pain: Jason Donovan.
Again ache: Jason Donovan. {Photograph}: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Dancing on Ice followers might be disillusioned to study that there’s to be no reside dancing on ice or in any other case on ITV this weekend, after a mixture of Covid and injuries tremendously decreased the variety of celebrities ready to participate within the episode.

You realize what they are saying: dropping one contestant is careless, however dropping 5 is an indication, maybe, that the competitors is extra Starvation Video games than Olympic Video games. Jason Donovan’s again ache had meant that he would miss one other present, whereas Emmerdale’s Joe Warren-Plant needed to withdraw after testing optimistic for Covid, simply as Rufus Hound did earlier this month.

“The welfare of all of these concerned is vital to us and we felt it prudent to take every week’s break at this juncture,” a spokesperson informed the BBC, to which you’ll be able to solely reply, duh. Dancing on Ice is, inexplicably, on its thirteenth collection, and I say inexplicably, as a result of I can’t work out how there are any unhurt celebrities left to seem.

If it ever does come to an finish, maybe they might strive one other exercise. I suggest All About That Base, a brand new idea through which celebrities strive base-jumping, and hope they will choose up the abilities in time.


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