Sunday, December 06, 2009

It is risen, and it eats your brain on stale crackers

Abraham Joshua Heschel often used the word "embarrassment." "The cure of the soul," he wrote, for example, "begins with a sense of embarrassment, embarrassment at our pettiness, prejudices, envy, and conceit; embarrassment at the profanation of life. A world that is full of grandeur has been converted into a carnival." Speaking of Faith.
Heschel, beautiful soul, contemplate Comcast. Here's a tube-and-truck shop that just found 13.75 billion simoleons to buy NBC. Where the fuck does a publicly-held company stash that sort of cash? Don't poverty-stricken shareholders get some of the vig?

Comcast Corp. is said to be serviced by the smartest money men that money can buy. (I recall being reamed (by phone, long distance, from Corporate) by one of their top accountants for failing to follow expense account procedures. I'd been there less than a week, the money in question was no more than $40.)

Perhaps that is why, despite the need to come up with some hard cash, Comcast has also found it in its heart to succour its long-suffering faithful:
Comcast Corp. Increases Dividend 40%; Intends to Complete Current $3.6 Billion Stock Repurchase Plan Within 36 Months
Thursday, 3 Dec 2009 06:18am EST
Comcast Corp. announced that the Company's planned annual dividend has increased 40% to $0.378 per share. In accordance with the increase, the Board of Directors has increased the quarterly dividend payable on January 27, 2010, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 6, 2010, from $0.0675 a share on the Company's common stock to $0.0945 a share. Additionally, Comcast announced its intent to complete its $3.6 billion share repurchase authorization over the next 36 months.
I remember the epiphanic, or apophenic, moment when, at 7:30 a.m., employees were summoned to a general meeting at a large auditorium distant from our workplace. Why, Truepenny? To be privileged to be among the first worldwide to behold the new Comcast Corporate Logo. It arrived amid sound, fury, smoke and mirrors + video of the long struggle to find that glyph, that Mark, that amulet which would and could only say, speak, represent, embody, BE, Comcast:

as the Eleatic Stranger would completely understand. Balm in Gilead. Hosannah. He is born/risen/compounded quarterly at 7.5% tax free.

So all "kidding" aside, I have to ask - if Tube ownership is so lucrative that Comcast can afford to own one of the major Big USian Content providers, then what's the problem with my argument that those who own the tubes, Big Pipe et al, ought to be sharing the wealth with the po' folk that every day strive to provide meaningful content on the web, at no cost, with piddly ad contracts, outdated marketing schemes, and human salt?

Why should the tube be worth, basically, infinitely more than what it is there to carry?

Friends who remain at the gnuspaper I used to work at tell me that, after having scraped every possible bit of dollarage from them, Management (still owned by the New York Times) has notified them that they not only won't receive bonuses for doing more work with fewer people than ever before, but they'll also be forfeiting the 5 vacation days they received last year in lieu of a salary increase, because it was tough to find enough living bodies when people actually took their daze off.

Abraham, Abraham, I say to you: Until the Contentasters rise up and demand a sou or two from the Tubers, there will be no joy in Mudville; the model cannot hold. The forces that want Murdoch and Comcast to control Content believe we know no better than to want to be held in contempt, controlled by corporate Virii that will do our thinking for us, and be well compensated for their pains. After all, they've got the business model now haven't they? How embarrassing.

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Blogger jonhusband said...

Tom, thanks for this excellent small essay.

I honestly do not know how you or anyone else could make it any clearer.

12/08/2009 10:05 PM  

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