Rushfield: Ask Not For Whom the Bela Toils
She toils for thee. Another Netflix exec gets a close up, and we realize we've been looking at the company all wrong
I'm a fan of TV. I work in TV. I watch everybody's things...What is quality? What is good versus not? That's all subjective. I want to super-serve the audience.
- Bela Bajaria, The New Yorker
When it comes time to find an epitaph for this era, and the changes wrought by one service particularly, we'll be hard-pressed to sum it up better than that.
In what is becoming a familiar ritual, a Netflix executive descended from Olympus this week for their profile. The much-talked-about but little-seen Bela Bajaria led a New Yorker reporter around the world, for an up-close-and-personal look at the very model of the modern international television executive.
Interesting that when the Lords of Netflix choose to open up to mortals about their lives, that they don't do with a financial or entertainment publication. Instead, they lately turn to one of the high-end general interest “prestige” publications named for a city that is not Los Angeles. This is how grand narrative-setting is done.
So how does the mighty Bajaria come off? Well, on a personal level she seems smart, energetic and personable. She has an interesting, impressive history in TV. One can see how she rose up, why you'd want her working for you.
Which is all... great!
But what was the point of this piece? To show that one of Netflix's highest execs is smart and enthusiastic? To exorcise the town’s ghostly whispers of “shows were better under Cindy Holland?” What is the message that very very subtly Netflix is trying to send with this piece?