Britney, BabyTV and Even More Rankings? Thanks a Lot, Media!

Media Guy Quits His Complaining and Offers Up a Few Well-Deserved Shout-Outs (No, Seriously, He Does, Really)

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You may or may not remember my announced intention to write more non-angry, un-ranty Media Guy columns. OK, probably you don't remember, because it was more than a year ago -- when the last shiny, happy "Thank You, No Seriously, I Mean It, Really, Thank You" installment of Media Guy ran.
Midfeast peace: Seventeen tells girls not to feel bad about eating ice cream.
Midfeast peace: Seventeen tells girls not to feel bad about eating ice cream.

Forgive the delay -- I was distracted for the past year or so by my rage about the state of media.

Still, deep inside, I'm a lover, not a fighter. And so here's another round of pro-everything media shout-outs. Happy early Thanksgiving!

Thank you, corpulent boy-band impresario Lou Pearlman (the man behind NSync, Backstreet Boys, etc.), for your spirited, if gross, self-defense. The November Vanity Fair includes a story by Bryan Burrough that claims that Pearlman is a total perv -- and includes an anecdote about Pearlman, "clad only in a towel," showing up at the foot of a bed in which two boy-banders were dozing, only to end up taking "a swan dive onto the bed, wrestling with the boys, at which point his towel came off." In response, Pearlman tells Radar Online's Tyler Gray, "I've never owned a towel that could wrap all the way around me anyway." OK, ewwww! (Nevermind the Twinkie Defense -- this is the Waaaay-Too Many-Twinkies Defense.) Yesiree, if the towel don't fit, you must acquit.

Speaking of bubble-gum pop, thank you, Britney Spears, for announcing that your coming full-length CD will be titled "Blackout." I realize that you could have titled it "Nosebleed," "The DTs" or "Vomit Stain." I appreciate your restraint.

Speaking of restraint, thank you, journalist Gary Dretzka, for responding (via an open letter to the Romenesko media blog) to my column last week about the Huffington Post by upping the ante and declaring that Arianna Huffington (whom I criticized, along with her partner Ken Lerer, for not paying most HuffPo bloggers) is a "robber baron." Now can someone please write an open letter to Romenesko declaring that Gawker Media owner Nick Denton is, say, a "ruthless despot"? And American Media Editorial Director Bonnie Fuller is, I dunno, a "(culture) war criminal"?

Speaking of war, thank you, Seventeen, for your "Body Peace Treaty" program. As my colleague Nat Ives reported at, the magazine's initiative is inspired by a body-image survey co-sponsored by Dove's Self-Esteem Fund, and it encourages girls to sign a "Body Peace Treaty." The treaty pacts include, "Never blame my body for the bad day I'm having" and "Remember that the sun will still rise tomorrow even if I had one too many slices of pizza or an extra scoop of ice cream tonight." (Way to endorse unhealthy eating habits!) I feel better about myself already. By the way, Seventeen, please don't stop at co-venturing on this sort of stuff with the likes of Dove. I can totally see kids signing pacts such as, "The war in Iraq will continue whether or not I consume an entire finger-lickin'-good KFC Variety Big Box Meal -- including a drumstick, a Crispy Strip, popcorn chicken, two homestyle sides, a biscuit and a 32-ounce Pepsi -- by myself, in one sitting, while watching a 'Hills' repeat on MTV." Hell, I'd sign that.

Speaking of repeats, thank you, The Industry Standard -- the official magazine of Web Bubble 1.0 -- for planning to resume publication. I think it's important that, now that 23-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth one treeeellion dollars on paper (thanks to desperate Microsoft's apparent eagerness to overpay for a tiny stake in the company), that we get to read in-depth profiles of 22-year-olds who are creating life-changing social-networking apps that will function within the Facebook Platform development environment (life-changing in the sense that they'll make a handful of 22-year-olds insanely rich on paper for about eight months or so, before the irrational exuberance about the Facebook Economy subsides).

Speaking of standards, thank you, U.S. News & World Report, for your "Rankings and Reviews" website, in beta (with a "Best Cars & Trucks" roundup) -- a spinoff of your various "America's Best" franchises. I can't speak for other Americans, but I know I have been dying for more arbitrary rankings of the best stuff in America as determined by America's third-best newsweekly.

Speaking of shameless, thank you, News Corp., for buying a major stake in BabyTV -- a channel, seen in more than 50 countries, dedicated to the under-3 set -- through your Fox International Channels division. Since Facebook has largely usurped News Corp.'s MySpace as the social-networking media obsession of the moment, I think it's important that Rupert Murdoch build News Corp. brand loyalty among consumers not only while they're still young and impressionable, but hopefully while they're still breast-feeding. (Coming soon: The O'Reilly Factor In Utero, via ultrasound broadcast.)
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