German Pop Idol: DSDS online

January 27, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Entertainment, German, Popular Culture, Television, Web 2.0 | 3 Comments
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DSDSOf the many Pop Idol franchises, the one with the most contrived name is probably the German one: Deutschland sucht den Superstar (Germany searches the superstar). Given the German predilection for abbreviations, people refer to the show as DSDS (pronounced day ess day ess – think of a North East English accent). It is currently running in its fourth season – I don’t have TV reception, meaning that I cannot watch it when it is aired.

BUT: In the time span between the third and fourth season, RTL has launched its new video community Clipfish – yet another start-up vying for the remains that youtube and myspace have left over. I suppose (but do not know for sure) that Clipfish is linked with RTL Interactive, the successor of RTLnewmedia with whom I had a job as a student employee around the time that the Web 1.0 bubble burst. Even the chat supervisor, i.e. the one that is paid for monitoring an army of unpaid* forum and community moderators, is still the same as five years ago only that he is now dubbed BigFish – it’s quite pathetic if you think about it.

*: well, they get an RTL keyring for Christmas.

ClipfishThe concept of the site isn’t bad though – as is typical for any venture that RTL has a finger in is you can do next to nothing on the site unless you are a registered user (apart from viewing the videos, of course). But in the Web 2.0 days, people don’t seem to mind registering and filling in extensive profiles to fuel their online personalities.

Clipfish is definitely a smart move when it comes to marketing their own TV shows and establishing tight customer relations: All the online activities for the new season of DSDS are managed via Clipfish. In the past, online editors covered the show, wrote biographies and built image galleries – no trace of such effort this time. Instead they’ve reserved a seperate category and subportal for the video coverage of the show on Clipfish.

Carmen LeibEmbedding won’t work (only youtube is supported on wordpress), hence here a link to my favourite contestant so far, although she’ll have a hard time to survive the Recall. 80 kilo goths have never been able to last long on casting shows. Btw, I wonder whether Recall is the appropriate term or just another one folk ethymological anglicism such as “das Handy” for mobile Phone. What Recall it is meant to signify here is the first (non-live) show after the three or four casting sessions during which the ten contestants will be appointed.

NicoThis guy is also interesting – raised in a children’s home, lived on the streets with 12, went to jail, is now married, has a son, and all that at 19. Dieter Bohlen, Germany’s biggest music industry sleaze, immediately became suspicious of him (and said so), most likely the unconscious response of a fat cat against the young and hungry. The kid’s peculiar eyes might have done the rest.

Race, Class, Culture & the Big Brother House

January 19, 2007 at 10:15 am | Posted in Entertainment, Gender, Popular Culture, Race, Television, Web 2.0 | 4 Comments
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Read Lenina’s post Shilpa vs. Jade: Indian upper-class vs. White working-class and watch the video below. It might stop or flicker when you play it the first time, but once it’s been fully loaded the quality is quite good of that one. I suppose it was uploaded by one one of the Channel 4 employees, as it shows the credits sequence for a suspiciously long time and freezes on the logo in the end.*

Why though did “they” choose to subtitle Shilpa’s, but not Jade’s words? Apparently because Jade’s accent – distinctively working class – was considered typically native. Being a non-native (or non-Brit – that might be the more crucial distinction at work here) I have a much harder time understanding Jade than Shilpa (and I’m quite fond of the Indian accent).

Lenina read the incident as a class issue, the British public predominantly has to read it as a race issue (and display signs of guilt and horror to appease the Commonwealth audience – to whom the show and its continued airing is probably a clear case of colonialist behaviour and discourse).

One could simultaneously look at it as an example of typical problems that may arise in crosscultural communication. As Jade claimed herself, she wasn’t able to read Shilpa or figure out whether she was “genuine” and hence assumed, based on her previous perception of such behaviour (in upper class people), that she wasn’t. Shilpa (even Jade had unknowingly provided her with the code to deconstruct the attack) in turn was hurt because she mainly took in the reproachful comment that she wasn’t genuine and that she played games, but clearly couldn’t see why Jade’s inability to read her disconcerted Jade so much. According to Shilpa, she simply “played the game (= BB) by the rules”. In the same way, Jade wasn’t able to see why what she perceived of as “being direct and honest” was not appreciated, but taken as vile (uneducated) behaviour and interpreted it as an upper class reflex. It couldn’t occur to her that being working class (and behaving like it) was probably not a centre of positive identity construction in some cultures (like the Indian), and looked down upon for other reasons than wanting to deride the uneducated. Etc, etc. Watch the video and see for yourself 😉

Bye the way, eviction night is on tonight on Celebrity Big Brother!

*) Back in the Web 1.0 days, start-ups had to take successful content like comedy show videos off the web because they couldn’t afford the bandwith. These days, they just upload them to youtube. How youtube can afford this is beyond me – but we also do not know yet whether the Web 2.0 bubble is going to burst or not. I think it will, but not quite as dramatically as the last one.

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