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I am a big fan of writing, I love reading great writing regardless of whether I agree with it or not and I truly believe that the best writing should be celebrated whenever found. This week MTV News effectively shut down its current operations in order to redirect its focus towards video and short form content. Basically, MTV wants to get in on the ADD quick hit industrial complex that prizes cutesy, attention-grabbing 30 second videos over actual quality and labored over writing.

This news comes on the same week that Complex’s interview series Everyday Struggle went viral over a confrontation between its host Joe Budden and Migos happened on the air. Everyday Struggle is the textbook example of everything worth hating about media today: a show where middling (at best) rapper, Joe Budden, and sentient twitter parody account, DJ Akademiks, yell at each other and at guests for any number of minutes. It is the rap version of First Take and as low brow and shameless as it is, it’s brilliant. A cranky rapper complaining about rap next to an easy punching bag isn’t intriguing or quality but it is entertaining and succeeds at inspiring both hatred and love –which work the same as far as online traffic goes. For as much as Everyday Struggle personally disgusts me, it is an indicator of where all of media is headed. Easily digestible and shameless content that focuses on “takes” and panders to large masses of people; garnering strong reactions (positive or negative) is an easy sell and good content for companies that purely want to make as much money as possible. It’s getting harder and harder for journalism and great writing to fit in this incredibly cynical climate.

I don’t know anything about teens but I know that when I was a teen I read my dad’s copies of GQ and Esquire all the time. It’s what made me want to be a writer and when the blog era began, I used Livejournal, Myspace and Blogger as my training grounds for writing longform content about music and movies. The teens of today turn to Tumblr now for the same thing. The idea that teens are not interested in good, interesting writing feels disingenuous. There’s no doubt that video content is all the rage but the two things can coexist and this latest plan to forgo good writing feels extremely cynical and dismissive of the very audience that MTV hopes to appeal to. Regardless of whether it.s video, essays or a page full of giant, flashy gifs to catch the eye and/or cause epilepsy, treating your audience like its stupid never works out in the long run. MTV News marks the second time a site that had grown dear to my heart thanks to its dedication to good writing and interesting subjects has been dissolved thanks bottom lines and money-hungry corporate execs (the first was Grantland). It’s incredibly sad and it makes you feel like there’s no point in being good at your craft when lowest common denominator trash is more talked about and coveted than the best writing out.

2017 has been the worst year for me as a freelance writer. The editors I once worked with have left their respective jobs or the new ones I talk to are either unresponsive or more fickle with who they give assignments to. Despite my snarkiness and the disdain I show towards media on Twitter, I blame no one for this but myself. Media is an extremely tough gig and it takes more than talent to stay afloat. It takes networking, insightfulness and strategy. There are a million writers out there and many of them have thought the same pitches that you have; it’s up to you to find that unique angle to set you apart and connect with the particular audience of the site you’re pitching to. Not getting work out there has been extremely difficult and frustrating but more than anything else, I miss working with good editors who made me better at what I do. That to me was the most satisfying part of the writing process: having that person there who could take your words and make them better, more thoughtful, more detailed and beautiful. I don’t know where writing online will take me or if I’ll ever break out of this funk and have my words on more sites, but I hope and pray that I will work with editors again to be better at my craft. I do not believe in accepting the new normal of easy controversy and reaction bait; I still believe being a good writer is worth it and the words of the best of us will last when all the disposable content has been forgotten.

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An illustration photo shows the logo of Netflix the American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media in Paris

photo courtesy of Reuters

The past few weeks have seen a rise in the cancellation of Netflix shows –from the extremely expensive The Get Down to the deeply dull Bloodline. Some have wondered whether this is a sign of the cracks in Netflix’s facade showing or the streaming content bubble finally bursting but for Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, this is only the beginning of Netflix establishing itself as a real media network.

“What really matters is I hope our hit ratio is way too high right now… we’ve canceled very few shows.” Hastings said to CNBC anchor, Julia Boorstin, about the company. “I’m always pushing the content team: ‘We have to take more risk, you have to try more crazy things. Because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.’”

Rather than looking at cancellation as a negative, Hastings has decided it’s proof of the company’s success and that he hopes to have many more cancelled programs for its library soon. Considering this and Netflix’s penchant for throwing ridiculous amounts of money at creators, here are a few show ideas for Netflix to green light and most likely cancel in the near future:

The New Testament:

Fantasy shows are all the rage and–with Game of Thrones going off the air soon–it’s time to find a replacement series. What better than to take it back to the original: the story of Jesus Christ, this time with that prestige television filter that all the people love these days. The last supper, the temptation of Christ by the Satan snake (I think that’s what happens), walking on water, the betrayal by Judas; these are all ripe ideas perfect for an hour-long overly drab and superficial television drama. It won’t make it past the first season if the Christians of America have anything to say about it.

Bad Boy Motivation:

Sean “Puffy” Combs aka Puff Daddy aka P Diddy is one of the greatest and volatile personalities out there and it is honestly motivating every time. No person has learned the art of berating greatness out of people except for him (just watch both seasons of Making The Band). I say fly Puff out to various places in America and have him give the Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin type speech to different unions, small companies, high school football teams or disgruntled rap groups. It’s inspirational to see common people achieve goals and it’s hilarious and a little uncomfortable to watch Puff Daddy yell at you because you took  a nap instead of trying to hustle for a few more minutes longer.

Freelancers!:

If you want a show that will be canceled quickly then how about a half-hour comedy about the world of freelance creatives. Casting a bunch of attractive young people who don’t get enough jobs a month to afford the ridiculously spacious apartment they occupy in Brooklyn is sure to bore many and piss off the people who actually freelance for a living. There will be incredible episodes such as the one where everybody is still waiting for a paycheck from a job they did 6 months ago or the one where they go to networking events for free food and to hopefully meet someone who can give them an actual job in media; there’s also my personal favorite: the one where they contemplate quitting and seeing if they can get an office job. This show will be doomed from the very start.

Give Lars Von Trier a show:

The recent Twin Peaks revival is notable not just for being a return back to a show that the world fell in love with 25 years ago but also because the new series is pure, uncut David Lynch. To see a David Lynch project free of oversight, notes and restrictions has been both maddening and exhilarating but it should also open the door for other directors to have that same opportunity. And since Netflix is now in the bold chances department, what would be a bolder chance than letting director and possible crazy person Lars Von Trier having free reign to make whatever he wants. It will almost sure be controversial, self-indulgent, insane, disturbing and will have people talking. It’s a win-win where Netflix gets to say they did something brave and they got to up their cancellation numbers.

Spend Netflix’s Money:

Ok so here me out: we get a host right, let’s just call him me. We give me a camera crew and a briefcase of an undisclosed ridiculous amount of money and it is my job to spend it all in under 48 hours. If The Get Down and Marco Polo are any indication, Netflix has no problem spending insane amounts of money on nonsense so let’s cut the middle man. Maybe I’ll go to Vegas and bet the entire thing on one game of Craps, maybe I’ll rent out a football stadium and throw a kegger or maybe I’ll pay for billboards for Planned Parenthood in red states; who knows, the sky’s the limit and it will almost surely make everyone reconsider everything that lead to this show existing –including Netflix’s desire to actually cancel shows rather than just financing good and sensible programs.

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