January 26, 2006
An Ordinary Week
Virtually every morning, I get up, pour coffee, do e-mails
while making my way through that first burst of caffeine.
I shower, dress and, depending on the day, move into my home
office or head into the city for meetings. In the week just
past, no extraordinary things happened. Neither death nor
illness visited my family or loved ones; no major events shook
my life. It was an ordinary week.
But was it? It also was a momentous week, even if not on
a personal level.
In the media world, The WB and UPN gave up the fight for
independence and announced they would merge to form a new
network; the CW for CBS and Warner Bros. The move garnered
kudos for Les Moonves, President of the newly independent
CBS while many television veterans wondered what had taken
Two years ago it would have been unthinkable that Disney
and Pixar would merge; now they seem to be in the process
of doing it. What a difference a change in regime makes! Eisner
and Jobs disliked each other intensely; Iger and Jobs seem
to get along [though there are now office pools being formed
on how long Iger will last]. Eisner, never to be left out
or ignored, kvetched that the price was too high to anyone
who would listen. Few were and his comments were mostly footnotes,
a fact that might well have infuriated the former Disney Chair.
A small film entitled BUBBLE is opening today in a few theatres.
Nothing special in that and yet what has made this tiny film
with no stars by Stephen Soderberg [TRAFFIC], the object of
abject attention is that it is the first film to be released
on VOD, in theatres and on DVD all within the same week. Any
one who follows the movies is studying this small
experiment as it could impact the movie distribution model
which has previously existed. No major, sudden change will
result from BUBBLE yet it potentially heralds a sea change
in movie going habits. With big screens beginning to burgeon
in home theatres the movie going public may decide
that the couch is the best place to view first run films.
On the political scene, seismic things have been happening,
just not at home. Buried deep in the venerable New York Times
yesterday was the story about the fact that the Liberals have
been knocked from their political perch in Ottawa and the
Conservatives are being asked to form a minority government.
What is momentous about this is that Mr. Harper, head of
the Conservative Party and soon to be Canadas leader,
is a pro-Bush, anti-central government figure who opposes
gay marriage and national health care. In fact, it seems he
opposes much of what has been Canadas social givens.
In Palestine, the peace process may be on the road to derailment
due to the surprising showing of Hamas in the elections there.
The current head of government has offered his resignation;
President Bush is apoplectic and promising to do everything
in his legal power to derail this nonsense.
How did these things happen? Well, both in Canada and Palestine,
the voters were tired of scandal plagued regimes that seemed
to be plundering national treasure for personal gain. Fatah
and the Liberals found themselves on the short end of the
Makes me wonder if that could happen in our next election
In Palestine that could mean short shrift for the peace process
and in Canada it threatens the social foundations which the
country has accepted for at least two or three generations.
Speaking to a couple of Canadian friends, they were almost
as distraught about Mr. Harper as Mr. Bush is about Hamas.
Bill Ford is announcing that Ford Motor Company will eliminate
something like 30,000 jobs over the next six years. DaimlerChrysler
will cut an additional 6,000 jobs worldwide, following on
the 37,000 it eliminated over the last four years. And at
the Detroit Motor Show, China introduced a vehicle that will
get high gas mileage and will cost under $12,000.
while I was showering, the world was changing
a lot. Even ordinary weeks are not so ordinary.