Books that re-wire your brain
In yesterday's New York Times, columnist Nick Kristof ran a piece, âThe Boys Have Fallen Behindâ.
The focus of Krisofs' piece was that across the boards, with the exception of math, there is an academic gender gap, with boys falling far behind girls in achievement.
Â¶The average high school grade point average is 3.09 for girls and 2.86 for boys. Boys are almost twice as likely as girls to repeat a grade.
Â¶Boys are twice as likely to get suspended as g
We were down in Cape Town, South Africa last month running a VJ training bootcamp in partnership with Tape Town, a South African production company.
While we were there, there was a great white shark attack just off the beaches in Cape Town.
The attacking shark, the papers said, was 'the size of a small bus'.
Well, you don't see that kind of thing every day, unless, or course, you are swimming in South Africa.
So I turned to our SA (or ZA) partners and said, 'here's a series'.
Well, the best way to sell a series is to create a promo. And they got to it.
I got it yesterday.
Check it out.
Tell me, would you watch this?
I think youâre going to like this pictureâ¦
Since video first appeared there was no question that film was vastly superior.
When video moved into newsrooms with the first big RCA cameras, conventional cameramen who had spent their lives shooting in film where aghast.Â The quality was indeed terrible.Â There was no comparison when it came to quality- tape was just faster and cheaper.
But video technology continues to expand.
A few years ago, 35mm camera makers like Nikon and Canon began
Pay attention.. this is important stuff.. no, really. Pay attention.. hey you, wake up!
So the New York Times has launched TimesCast, its daily âlive from the newsroomâ webcast.
Well, this is only about two years behind The Newark Star Ledgerâs Ledger Live, with Brian Donohue.
The New York Times is not exactly breaking new ground here. In fact, they are late to the party.
And compared to the eminently watchable, entertaining and informative Ledger Live, it is also a poor
HANA KA HOEÃÂ ÃÂ (THE PADDLE MAKER) from PF BENTLEY on Vimeo.
Here's how you start a business.
You get an idea.
Then you go to some smart rich guys.
Nick Nicholas was a smart rich guy. He was then the Chairman and CEO of Time/Warner. You don't get much smarter or richer than that.
I got a meeting with him and explained an idea I had -give great journalists small video cameras and teach them to shoot and cut.
This was 1990.
20 year ago.
Nicholas listened, and to my delight and astonishment, he reached into his desk, took out a checkbook and wrote me a check for $100,000.âLet's get started" he said.
The next thing he did was send me to meet a few of theÂ top photographers at Time Magazine.
PF Bentley was one of them.
Nicholas understood that the notion of professional photographer at a place like Time Magazine was drawing to a close. He wanted to see if I could transit their skills and experience into video.
The video part was easy. Finding a niche for them in a world in which everyone has a video camera and going to Cambodia is no longer so unusual was harder.
Now, it's time for the historical analogy.
The French Revolution in 1798 was also a period when an entire economic structure got burned to the ground. It was particularly bad for the nobility, who used to represent about 95% of the wealth of France while constituting only 5% of the population.Â They lost their heads -and their massive agricultural estates.
But it was also bad for the people who used to work for them.Â They also lost their jobs and their homes.
One class of people who were really in trouble were the people who used to run the kitchens for the nobility. If you were a noble living in Versailles at the time of Louis XIV, it was party, party, party all the time. And the meals were sumptuous.Â Incredible, really. Eating in France was akin to watching the superbowl in Ohio.
The Revolution meant that the vast staffs of these massive dining affairs were out on the street.Â No more party. No more lavish dinners. The 9-course banquet every night was dead -along with the guy who paid for it.
Bereft and unemployed, the best of the chefs came up with a very radical idea.Â Why not cook fantastic meals for....the peasantry. Or at least the aspiring bourgeois?
This was an almost unthinkable idea. Soil you hands preparing fine foods for the peasants? Would they even know what you were offering them? Would they pay for it?
But a few took a shot.
They started an entirely new concept in France, and later the rest of the world- The Restaurant.
Prior to 1789 there had been inns that served grub, but no fine dining.
After 1789 the world of eating (for us peasants) would never be the same.
Now we come to PF Bentley, and people like him.
While any idiot can operate a video camera, any idiot can make an omelette
Then there are the Jean Georges and the PF Bentleys.
In an earlier era, Jean Georges Vongerichten or Alain Ducasse might have been employed by a noble family.Â PF Bentley might have been employed by a Time Magazine.
Both the nobles and Time Magazine have lost their heads.
Jean Georges found a very lucrative living selling his skills to the general public packages as a restaurant.
I am wondering of the most talented, like PF Bentley might not find their fortune selling their very impressive skills to the bourgeois as well.
While any idiot can operate a video camera, I am wondering if there isn't a market for a kind of fine arts in the world -personal documentaries ? As video becomes more and more ubiquitous, I am wondering if the rich and near-rich wouldn't spend a lot for "home videos" that are closer to feature films.
You think it's crazy?
So too did the unemployed chefs of 1789.
I am not so sure.