The Some Things That Aren't Going So Great Special Edition

Rust and the streaming war turning Hollywood into the Amazon night shift; consultants vs. publicists at war around Golden Globes; Netflix (always Netflix); the Meta-Worst!

In 2003, Philip Morris Co., maker of all your favorite carcinogens, renamed itself Altria. In that spirit, one must assume, Facebook has announced its bold parent company name change — not at all meant to distract us from their scandals — to Meta. This “hey, look over here, not over there” move sets the backdrop for all our considerations in this edition, reminding us just what we're up against in this great streaming war.

In the face of allegations ranging from undermining democracy, to egging on teen depression, to stoking the flames of hostility, intolerance and rage around the world — plus (bonus!) allegations of having covered up the extent of their complicity at every turn — Mark Zuckerberg responds with a chipper, upbeat video announcing the company is changing its name and logo.

The company suggests trust us, how about we build a giant cartoon that you can all come live in?

This leap into mania might be the extremes of tech worlds’ self-justifying utopian ethos – or it might not. But it’s a nice illustration of where another’s industry increasingly acting as our overlord is coming from. It’s entirely possible their utopia is Hollywood’s dystopia, one where storytelling expertise will be overrun by the whiz-bang of blinding technology. Are we to believe that a company that couldn’t control social media could control a metaverse? Frankenstein is about to break out of the lab.

The callow sense that this is all a silly little game to be manipulated and tweaked along the path to controlling an ever-greater share of mindshare and advertising revenue is so contrary to the spirit (don’t gag here) of the unexpressed dreams and fantasies of the world on which Hollywood was built (vast imperfections and all).

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