Category Archives: Media

You Get What You Pay For: Broadsheet Newspaper Annihilates Circulation Records!

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You Bet, Commish: Reflections On Bart Chilton’s Educational Legacy

While normally we at Mediolana are more than pleased to announce the population of our main corporate portal with yet another exclusive article, our latest mediolana.com piece – You Bet, Commish: Reflections On Bart Chilton’s Educational Legacy – is tinged with sadness at the loss of its subject, the former Commodities Futures Trading Commission (‘CFTC’) doyen Bart Chilton (1960-2019); please do take a few moments out from your day to reflect on the educational legacy of this remarkable regulator-turned-broadcaster.

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Filed under Economics, Education, Finance, Law, Media

The RTE Effect: How Turkey Turned into an Advanced Democracy

For anyone with even a passing interest in political science, Turkey has long been a rich source of material for serious contemplation. However, the result of the Istanbul mayoralty contest in the 2019 Turkish local elections – a narrow win for the Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu – may yet be recorded as one of the most remarkable global political developments of the twenty-first century to date. It potentially heralds nothing less than the emergence of an extraordinarily sophisticated voting public – an entity which has been created in no small measure by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan may seem like an unlikely author of this particular chapter of democratic evolution, but close examinations of his actions reveal an historical trajectory that – with hindsight – appears designed to make politics interesting again. This trajectory has five stages:

  1. Great Governance. It may seem unthinkable now, but not so long ago Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a figure from near the periphery of the Turkish political scene. Essentially, he was perceived by the establishment of the 1990s as a ‘deplorable’ who possessed a dangerous gift for reaching out beyond his natural constituencies of the urban poor and various shades of neo-Islamists. Accordingly, Erdoğan’s rise to power was fiercely resisted by the system; nevertheless, he transcended their limitations, culminating in his nascent AKP political movement sweeping into office towards the end of 2002.
  2. Destroy to Build. Having shown up the propaganda of one establishment – an unthinkingly laicist one – for being fundamentally vacuous, Erdoğan then set about dismantling this establishment’s structures. In particular, his courageous neutralising of the military in the context of civilian affairs provided some much-needed breathing space; further liberalisation of the economy – a process begun in the 1980s under his loose spiritual predecessor Turgut Özal – helped imbue Turkish society with a more international orientation.
  3. Counterproductive Consolidation. With economic success and relative political stability being repeatedly rewarded at the polls, Erdoğan began to act like a statesman enamoured with his own hype; step-by-step, power was centralised, with the vast new presidential palace complex constructed in Ankara’s Beştepe neighbourhood a giant physical manifestation of a deeper malaise. Unquestioning loyalty became the supreme virtue as a new iteration of a very old form of political organisation took hold.
  4. Staring in the Mirror. Perhaps the most obvious problem with the architecture of single-man rule – at least from the perspective of the person gripping the levers of power – is that when the permanent human invariability of things going wrong rears its ugly head, there is but one prime candidate to pin the blame on. With some pathos, Erdoğan has resorted to further command-and-control-style centralisation at a time when a cooler tactician would seek to deliberately devolve power away from himself.
  5. Children of the Revolution. The great paradox is that large sections of the Turkish public – much like the Erdoğan of the turn of the millennium – have learnt to see straight through previously dominant state-authored, corporation-disseminated narratives. Political infomercials on free-to-air television channels – even when broadcast wall-to-wall – simply do not have the effect that they once did, and the election of İmamoğlu illustrates that this perspicacity traverses traditional ideological and religious lines. Ironically, through trying to superimpose the ‘solutions’ of the 1980s onto the extraordinarily complex landscape of the 2010s, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent his nation’s political evolution into warp drive mode; unprecedentedly rerunning elections is only going to speed this process up yet further.

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Filed under Media, Political Science, Politics

Miracle Formula: New Motor Sport Format Enjoys Sensational Growth! #FormulaE

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Filed under Environment, Media, Sport

Why Asians (Still) Can’t Play Football: the US$45tn Rhetorical Question

As YouTube attains a certain level of commercial maturity, we at Mediolana continue to be impressed by the output from the team at COPA90, one of the very few independent channels to successfully bridge the gap between basement video creation and recycled ‘legacy’ media clips. One of their most recent (and perhaps controversial) offerings is well worth under fifteen minutes of any football fan’s time.

In Why Do British Asians Never Make It Pro?, host Adam McKola poses one of the more discomfiting socio-cultural questions of our time: how it is possible that in 2019, there are not enough professional footballers of British Asian ethnic origin in the first four levels of the English soccer pyramid to even come close to filling a single match day squad?

A particular strength of this piece is that it correctly underlines the inadequacies of conventional theories – parental preferences, cultural proclivities, middle-class economic aspirations – which seek to explain this stark lacuna. Ultimately, there is no shortage of football-mad, working-class people of Asian heritage in the United Kingdom; ceteris paribus, it defies all rational expectations that there has not been a single ‘breakout’ player emerge from a broadly-defined community numbered in its millions.

However, at the end of McKola’s mini-documentary, our Creative Director & CSO was left slightly unfulfilled when it came to both the historical treatment of this issue and prescriptions for a remedy.

The question of why British Asians have enjoyed only the most marginal of successes in the country which codified the modern form of the beautiful game was being asked by anti-racism campaigners at least as far back as twenty years ago, when it became clear that the coming of age of second-generation UK Asians was not being accompanied by their acceptance into what is arguably the nation’s single most important cultural experience; the fact that only the slightest of progress has been registered in all this time evinces just how stubbornly positive change is being resisted.

As uncomfortable as it is to articulate, the only plausible explanation for this dynamic is the existence of a form of structural discrimination which is so profound that it shapes interactions on a much more powerful level than most of us would like to admit. The legacy of colonialism – which involved the heisting of at least US$45tn from the Indian subcontinent, surely one of the greatest acts of de-development in history, recorded or otherwise – means that in England, pseudo-nationalist demagogues and well-meaning liberals alike are curiously united in regarding British Asians, in this particular context and perhaps others, as essentially invisible; additionally, a media which simultaneously portrays South Asian males as night-time economy predators and sexual sub-incels is doing nothing to promote an objective perception of their attributes, sporting or otherwise.

Once this truth has been accepted and internalised, the path forward for the British Asian soccer stars of the future is clear: they must seek their fortunes in systems which have actually demonstrated that they do value players of South Asian descent equally. Holland, Norway and France have all recognised footballers of subcontinental origin with caps at full international level; this fact alone should be enough to end the collective British Asian fixation on a Premier League which evidently has little place for their type.

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Going Live: #China #Livestreaming Market Attains Critical Mass!

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Desperately Missing ‘Marissa’: Was Mischa Barton the Last Great American Icon?

Moments of transcendence in the context of the act of purchasing a consumer fashion magazine are usually rare to the point of non-existence, but back at the start of 2005, the person who was to become Mediolana’s Creative Director & CSO experienced precisely one such episode on seeing Mischa Barton grace the cover of the short-lived Elle Girl. Barton – at the time, the ace face of a certain California-based teen soap opera – was an it-girl with a difference: namely, an unusual depth of being which was almost totally incongruous to the rapidly-decaying US media environment she found herself inhabiting.

With the best part of a decade-and-a-half has passed having elapsed since this point, we at Mediolana have recently been troubled by a question to which we have no satisfactory answer: with no female (and almost certainly no male) remotely of Ms Barton’s stature having emerged from Hollywood and its domestic satellite media markets in the intervening period, was this remarkable actress the last great American icon?

This question is not merely an academic one. Particularly in the post-1945 era, the projection of US dominance has been inextricably linked to its national brand; in turn, the ability to create personas worthy of emulation and adoration is a key element of this vital ‘soft power’ element. For decades, Brand America enjoyed peerless reach, and globalisation was presumed by many to be synonymous with Americanisation.

However, since the increasingly catastrophic moral and geopolitical failure that constituted Operation Iraqi Freedom – in 2018, Chinese and Russian oil companies are operational in what was until at least the late 1980s a US client state – the United States has apparently been unable to engage in cultural reproduction with anything like the same degree of success (with seemingly even post-Season One installments of The O.C. suffering). Indeed, it has been losing market share in the domain of scripted content to nations such as South Korea and Turkey for some time now.

Of course, explaining this phenomenon requires a broad and sophisticated examination which is beyond the scope of a mere blog post. But it surely isn’t unrealistic to posit that one core reason behind this decline is the total, jarring absence of anyone who can enthuse viewers – particularly young consumers – from São Paulo to Istanbul in the way that Mischa Barton so evidently could. This is something for US policymakers – and not merely television and film executives – to contemplate in an atmosphere of profound sobriety.

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Filed under Culture, Media, Political Science