Monday, February 08, 2010

This space is about to change

If you've been checking this blog at all over the last couple years I thank you. With a variety if things coming up I've decided to move this blog to the inactive list in the near future. Here's what will take it's place:

For Youth Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of WNY go to:

For the blog of Jay Phillippi go HERE

The shift over has already begun on my blog, the youth blog will take a little while longer.

This blog has served me long and well but I need to get my thinking a little better organized.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Star Wars vs Star Trek

I will confess to being a total agnostic on the question. I love them both.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things I Don't Get - Fashion

This is an ongoing, occasional series of comments on things I don't understand. It's just me thinking aloud, not passing judgement. I encourage people to help me understand.

This one comes as a complete surprise to all of you who know me. I don't get the whole idea of fashion. Of being in fashion, of being fashionable, of the importance of fashion.

It's that very quality of "now" that bothers me most about fashion. The fashion industry wants you to buy it now because it's the current style, the current rage. A year or two from now they will excoriate you for wearing that same piece. All too often the latest "fashion" seems to have much more to do with some form of primal display behavior than anything else. "Look at me!"

So fashion for me fails on several points:

It is ego driven - Either through the need for self aggrandizement or more often I'd bet, a need to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. In the second instance we need to recognize that fashion not only will not compensate for whatever shortcomings we feel, it is in fact incapable of doing any such thing. In fact it is designed to constantly push new inadequacies on us. Why we would place ourselves on such a treadmill of self inflicted insult is unclear to me. If your level of "cool" or "sophistication" (the adult version of "cool") is based on your ability to be fashionable then aren't you admitting that you are "unsophisticated" by nature? That you must obtain and put on sophistication since you have none of your own? On the other hand if you are already cool then surely your status in relation to a changing and arbitrary "fashion" is irrelevant. Isn't it?

It is materialistic - It's about what you own, what you can possess, what you can acquire. So naturally fashion is kept expensive. Expensive in that it requires an ongoing expenditure of time and wealth. Expensive in that it is kept at a (false, IMO) high value. You, in this moment, are not capable of having what is needed to be happy. You MUST acquire more, acquire the latest, acquire the newest. Fashion in this sense spreads beyond clothing to many other parts of our lives. You must have the fashionable phone, computer, game system, TV, car, eat the cuisine of the moment. When your happiness or completeness as a person is based on things you need to realize that it can be taken away from you. It can be destroyed so very simply. Amazingly we teach just this concept by our actions to our children. And have been doing so for generations now.

There is one other thing about fashion in clothing that I don't understand. It happens almost entirely in the fashion industry for women. It is the circus side show element of the "clothing" presented. So much of what is presented to women as desirable, "fashionable" can not possibly be worn by the majority of the women of the world. Another large portion of it looks like something thrown together by a mad man. They are costumes or fabric art but they are NOT clothing. Well except maybe for Lady Gaga. In the end too much of what is "fashionable" actually makes people look stupid IMO. Like the Emperor we blind ourselves to the reality of our fashion in the vain hope that it makes us better.

For me fashion is a waste of time. It is a tacit admission that the fashion consumer has nothing else to offer except display. In entering into that covenant with fashion we sell ourselves short, we cooperate in our own diminishment. And that maybe the greatest offense of fashion of all.

Spare me the pursuit of the latest and greatest. Give me rather the person who by the quality of their mind, their spirit, their personality puts the petty, ephemeral nature of "fashion" in its proper, minimal light.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Two More Answers to Ignorance

Two videos showing a much better and more theologically sound response to the tragedy in Haiti.

The first is by Frank Logue a contributor at

And the second from our own Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church:

Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is one of the best things about our denomination. If you would like more information or to contribute go to their website - Episcopal Relief and Development

Because Ignorance requires an answer

Following the devastation of Haiti this week two outspoken idiots aired their intellectual deficiencies for the world to see. Rush Limbaugh decided that political game playing was more important than human suffering and Pat Robertson decided to twist not only theology but history in order to make sure that he could assign blame for the suffering of the nation.

So let me make one thing perfectly clear to the world.

Rush Limbaugh does not speak for me as an American.

Pat Robertson does not speak for me as a Christian.

In fact I don't believe that either speaks for most Americans or Christians of any stripe, style or persuasion.

The Haitian ambassador to the United States offered a wonderful retort to Robertson's astounding nonsense (you'll have to endure Pat's twaddle to get there):

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

View From the Phlipside - Facebook and Grades

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

Most parents complain that their kid spend too much time on social media like Facebook or MySpace or Twitter or whatever. And students wish Mom and Dad would get off their backs and leave them alone. Well the argument can finally be put to rest. A survey has been done and the results are in.

The great fear for parents is that the all this online stuff is chewing up so much of our kids attention that their grades are going to suffer. Let's face it we were taught to believe that school work requires all of our attention, that distractions will result in failing out of school, never getting a decent job and living in a cardboard box for the rest of your life! OK, now that we've got the parental angst out of our system let me ask my fellow baby boomers - how many of you did your homework while watching TV or listening to music? Uh, huh. And our parents complained loud and long about it (I know mine did). Surprisingly we've all managed to turn into reasonably productive adults.

So I was excited when I saw that the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and Economics had done a study looking at the effect of social media use on grades. The big answer that we had all been waiting for, one way or the other would finally be revealed. Over eleven hundred students were surveyed, across a wide variety of majors. Light users were defined as people who used social media (meaning Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, blogs, Twitter or Linkedin) 31 minutes a day or less and heavy users were at 61 minutes a day or more. After careful analysis of the data they has no apparent effect on grades at all.

Nope it seems that college students at least have made social media such a normal part of their lives that it has no negative effect at all. The grades were pretty much the same as for the student body as a whole. The people getting the real bad news out of this was Twitter which only drew 14 per cent of the group compared to the champ, Facebook, which drew 96%.

So where does this leave the parent-child dispute? Well I'm thinking that overall the kids probably win this one. There is no inherent negative to spending some time on the social media at least in reference to grades. On the other hand it means there's no easy excuse either for the young people. If your grades stink, you've got nobody to blame but yourself .

Call that the view from the Phlipside

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

Thursday, January 14, 2010

View From the Phlipside - Leno

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

I don't normally do this. I was raised to believe that it was rude and not something that nice people did. It's called gloating and I really, really try to avoid it whenever possible. But I just can't resist this time. I told you so.

When it was first announced that Jay Leno was coming back to NBC to create a five night a week, saving money for the number 4 network in the land while maybe creating something that people would watch I said it was a bad idea. I said it would come to a bad end. I said that the local affiliates weren't going to like it. Turns out I was right.

I told you so.

Over the weekend the Peacock Network finally got the message from the local affiliates . Jay Leno is killing them. So after the Winter Olympics the new Jay Leno show is gone. To be replaced by the old Jay Leno show apparently. All the details are still being worked out as I write this. But it looks like Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon both get pushed back into their old slots. That's still up in the air since Conan is apparently NOT happy about this at all. Even being told he could keep the name "The Tonight Show" doesn't appear to be helping. So the drama over this bad decision isn't done yet. NBC is looking at shifting a couple of other shows around, including moving Biggest Loser later by an hour to fill the gap. They're also ordering up a lot more pilots for the fall as well.

In the end it came down to ratings. The ratings that NBC found acceptable weren't OK with the local stations who saw their 11 PM News, a major money making machine, getting pounded. At least one station dropped from number 1 in their market to number 3. That's a lot of dollars lost. And they weren't going to put up with it. NBC, after 4 months, finally agreed.

This was simply a bad idea. It wasn't about programming, or meeting the needs of the audience or doing something new and exciting on television. It was a dollars and cents, bottom line kind of decision. There was virtually no chance that this was ever going to fly for very long. I caught the new Leno show a couple times and never got snagged by it. And yes that resulted in me watching a different station for the 11 o'clock news more than a few times.

The Jay Leno experiment is officially over. It was a failure. And I get to revel in a moment of anti-social behavior because I get to say - I told you so.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown