Okay, I’m sneaking a little break away from visiting family in Virginia to breathe the fresh air of the Internet. I wouldn’t exactly call Virginia a hellhole (at least not in front of the family who lives here), but the Internet cafe (Panera Bakery) I’m surfing at blocks arthur silber’s the light of reason and poor man as Forbidden Category “Adult/Mature Content”. Sigh.
Anyway, one of the sites I can read is Wired. In the recent interview with Jon Stewart & Ben Karlin (Daily Show’s Exec Producer) (“Reinventing Television”) I noticed this commentary:
WIRED: [“The Daily Show”] is among the most popular shows traded online. People download and watch the whole thing, every day. Were you guys aware of that?
Karlin: Not only am I not aware of that, I don’t want to be aware of that.
WIRED: Well, don’t go shutting it down.
Stewart: We’re not going to shut it down – we don’t even know what it is. I’m having enough trouble just getting porn.
Karlin: If people want to take the show in various forms, I’d say go. But when you’re a part of something successful and meaningful, the rule book says don’t try to analyze it too much or dissect it. You shouldn’t say: “I really want to know what fans think. I really want to understand how people are digesting our show.” Because that is one of those things that you truly have no control over. The one thing that you have control over is the content of the show. But how people are reacting to it, how it’s being shared, how it’s being discussed, all that other stuff, is absolutely beyond your ability to control.
Stewart: I’m surprised people don’t have cables coming out of their asses, because that’s going to be a new thing. You’re just going to get it directly fed into you. I look at systems like the Internet as a convenience. I look at it as the same as cable or anything else. Everything is geared toward more individualized consumption. Getting it off the Internet is no different than getting it off TV.
WIRED: Isn’t that going to pose a challenge to the traditional network model?
Stewart: But we’re not on a traditional network: We’re on the goofy, juvenile-delinquent network to begin with. We get an opportunity to produce this stuff because they make enough money selling beer that it’s worth their while to do it. I mean, we know that’s the game. I’m not suggesting we’re going to beam it out to the heavens, man, and whoever gets it, great. If they’re not making their money, we ain’t doing our show.
And on the famous clip of Stewart on CNN:
WIRED: [T]he show was a total sensation: Something like 3 million people saw that – but mostly online. Less than a quarter of them saw it on CNN proper. It was huge, phenomenal viral video.
Stewart: It was definitely viral. I felt nauseous afterward.
WIRED: It was one of the most downloaded clips ever.
Stewart: Really? That’s not true. Pamela and Tommy Lee?
WIRED: OK, maybe that was bigger. But it was amazing that CNN was so clueless about what you gave them. Suddenly, for once, everybody wanted to see Crossfire. They could have taken the show and put it on their Web site, said Click Here, and gotten all this traffic. Instead, everyone had to go through these other sites and back doors to find it.
Stewart: That’s really half the fun, isn’t it? If CNN had put it on its Web site, it would have lost some of its allure.
Karlin: It’s people going, “Holy shit, did you see this?”
And, last but not least, my favorite quote:
Stewart: The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.