That’s the problem for politicians in the new media age—success is about knowing how to ride the waves created by viewers and voters, not about making your own waves. What do you think—which political leaders “get” the Internet, and how much difference does it make to you if they do?Cherwell 24 is not responsible for content of external links Once upon a time, Facebook was for Ivy Leaguers, iPods were for tech geeks, and CNN was for the politicos.Nowadays, Oxford tutors are on Facebook and grandmothers carry iPods. Politicians are getting on YouTube! to reach the young reluctant voters they need to secure if they want to survive into the next decade.Tony Blair thinks new media is a feral beast, but he’s smart enough to use it himself. When Nicholas Sarkozy was elected President of France a month ago, Blair gave out he usual “welcome to the club” message statesmen send one another, but he did it over viral video. After chuckling at his school boy French, I have to give Blair credit. Like it or not, he knows there is no going back to the old-media days.Back on my side of the pond, Hillary Clinton is doing her part to run a new-media campaign. This month, she asked voters to help pick her campaign song in a series of kitschy viral video spots, the last of which offered a decent parody of the last Soprano episode.Do young Americans have really poor taste, because they picked Celine Dion’s “You and I”? More likely is that Hillary’s video campaign never reached the hip young things she was after. As Jessi Hempel of Businessweek explains on her blog, Hillary’s schtick comes across as decidedly old school, meant for TV networks. Internet video is its own beast, and the style needs to feel authentic. To come across as young and cool, you have to be young and cool.For Barack Obama, a political novice, this is good news. And the Obama campaign has the chance to reap big benefits from YouTube video, namely the I’ve Got a Crush on Obama video recently launched by the comedy site BarelyPolitical.com. A sultry young woman in short shorts and a shorter t-shirt grinds up against posters of Barack and croons, “I can’t wait for 2008/Baby you’re the best candidate.”A smart candidate would capitalize now to tap the population of young voters that no one’s been able to bring to the polls, despite all the chatter about youth activism each election year. A smart Obama would buy the rights to that video and post links to it on official campaign sites. A smart Obama would offer the 5 teens at BarelyPolitical a day shadowing him on Capital Hill, where they could video tape him at work, and YouTube! the footage.A stodgy candidate would take offense at a video that highlights just how young and inexperienced Obama is. The video signals that Obama is young enough to attract a woman young enough to be the daughter or niece of most middle-aged voters.I’m an Obama-skeptic, and so far, I can’t tell which camp he’s fallen into. And importantly, it’s not Obama’s own charisma that makes the video so powerful—it’s the fact that teens, not campaign staff, came up with it, that it rose to fame as part of the ideas MoshPit online, and was never planted into prominence by Obama2008. Even Obama can’t force his way into social media—his application on Facebook has gotten eye rolls from most of my friends as “trying too hard.” David Cameron, who has one of the better political blogs, can’t force it either—Cameron’s site has few comments, and as far as I can tell, most Britons aren’t reading it.
Reed Mathis continues to drop teaser trailers for his new Electric Beethoven project, which features an impressive array of jam and jazz musicians. So far, the Tea Leaf Green bassist has revealed that Jay Lane, Todd Stoops, Cochrane McMillan, Clay Welch, Stanton Moore and Joe Russo have all contributed to the project, as well as Phish’s Mike Gordon for some dual bass action.Today we have our newest taste, as the Chairman of the Boards himself, Page McConnell is featured on the release. Mathis has shared a quick sample of McConnell’s work, which you can stream below.Electric Beethoven is described as the first-ever “Classical Dance Music” group. After announcing themselves by appearing on the Jam Cruise lineup, Mathis has been gradually rolling out clues about his project. You can check them out on their official website.We’ll be keeping you apprised of this exciting project as more details develop!
A day after the firing of coach Steve Sarkisian, USC players walked to practice among a sea of cameras. One USC freshman asked his teammate, “You were here when Coach O was, right? Was it this crazy?”Athletic Director Pat Haden and interim head coach Clay Helton are committed to focusing on the players right now. For some of them, Helton will be their fourth head coach at USC.“The biggest thing is a lot of these guys, fortunately or unfortunately, have been in this situation before. We were in it two years ago. I thought that staff that was together did exactly what we’re doing right now; we bonded together as a Trojan Family and a football team,” said Helton in a press conference after practice.Though some players are dealing with their fourth head coach since their time at USC, Haden is proud of the way the veterans are handling the unfortunate situation.“It has also been very difficult for our players, as you might imagine, but I am really proud of the way they are handling it,” Haden said.Haden added that the mindset of the team had similarly been his main concern when evaluating whether or not to keep Sarkisian after an incident in which the coach appeared intoxicated at an alumni event before the season.“I felt a great deal of compassion for Steve Sarkisian,” Haden said. “He deserved another chance.”Since then, Haden said he determined that Sarkisian’s recent conduct did not uphold either the behavioral expectations they had outlined after that night nor the standards for being a coach at USC.“He knew those expectations and failed to meet them, so we made a decision in the best interest of our student-athletes, and that was to terminate Steve,” Haden said.Haden said that both the NCAA and USC conducted background checks on Sarkisian and that he had talked to dozens of people, including head coaches, staff members, friends and “people who have known Sarkisian for many years,” none of whom raised a concern.But Haden did not make excuses for the coaching fiasco that might come to mar his reputation as athletic director.“At the time of Steve’s hire, I firmly believed that it was the right choice and fit for USC. As we sit here today, Oct. 13, the decision I made did not work out, and I own that.” Haden said. “I have great confidence in the ability of Clay and the assistant coaches to rally around this team. And I am really impressed by the reception he got when I introduced him.”Helton has been attempting to provide players with a positive presence to get through this dificult time.This was evident in practice today when the team continued the tradition of “Competition Tuesday.” Players laughed and cheered as they gathered in a circle for a hitting drill where two teammates collided in the middle. Offensive linemen were going against defensive linemen, tight ends against linebackers and so on.“These kids had a blast today,” Helton said. “And they love to compete.”Helton insists that being named the head coach, even in an interim situation, is still a serious honor.“I’ve been in this profession 21 years. I’ve probably forgotten a lot of games and a lot of plays,” Helton said. “But I will never forget, as long as I live, Pat Haden introducing me to this team and the ovation they gave. I will never forget that for the rest of my life.”When Haden addressed his record as athletic director, he repeatedly referred to his love of USC and being part of the Trojan Family. Comparably, Helton said the support he’s gotten from friends and players proves the Trojan Family exists and added that if USC is to reach their goal of winning the Pac-12 South, they are going to have to play as one.“As we rally together as a Trojan Family during a hard time, you’ll see what the true character of what Trojans are made of,” Helton said.The Trojans ended practice by breaking the huddle with the chant “family.” Helton and Haden both voiced their support for Sarkisian, saying he is a friend who is “going through a tough time.”“Steve Sarkisian is a good person,” Haden said. ”I have known him a long time. And I know he is a good football coach. I wouldn’t hire him otherwise. I wish him the absolute best. He has my support and our support. We’re concerned for him, and we hope that he focuses on his health and his well-being.”