Rob Long on the Bailout and Bob Crane

Can you imagine what it would be like if McDonalds were going the way of Fannie Mae and AIG? Rob Long has, and it makes for a damn funny article over at NRO. I don’t know jack about the financial mess – even after reading way too much about it over the last couple of days. I guess I know enough about it to enjoy this article, although I suspect that for some this is just a roundabout way of admitting culpable ignorance. Oh well.

I’ve also learned that Rob Long keeps a blog, Thoughts on Old Media, New Media, which is certainly funny in places but not all the time. That’d be a bit much for a blog. There are, however, plenty of pithy thoughts on show biz ranging from focus groups to Azerbaijan to … Bob Crane.

Crane was a porn freak. He didn’t just like to watch it; he especially liked to make his own. But back then, being a porn freak wasn’t for the casual hobbyist. The sheer weight and bulk of the equipment required – the camera and the playback machines and the giant editing deck – required a certain dedication, a deep commitment to the enterprise. The airline overweight luggage charges alone were suitable barriers to entry, and the enormous cost of what was essentially professional television equipment managed to keep the riff-raff out. Or in, depending …

Pornography, then, is a bellweather. Pornography is a trailblazer. People in search of dirty pictures created a market for new technology, which people in search of less dicey things – like videos of cats, people using pretend light sabres, my funny family, whatever — follow, a year or two later. So if the pornography business is always a few steps ahead of the rest of the entertainment industry – in distribution and business model – why not check in with it and see what’s up?

Long goes on to muse on what this might mean for writers in the future, assuming that (legitimate) show biz follows suit. Which made me feel better about saying “Damn the torpedoes!” and posting the damn novel online. That’s three “damns” in this post. Apologies to the kids out there.


  1. While I used to love Bob Crane, after watching Auto Focus, now every time I try to watch Hogan’s Heroes I have the uncontrollable need to take a very long shower and then feel as though I need to go to confession.

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