Last Friday, we learned of the story of Batkid, aka Miles Scott, a five-year old with leukemia who spent the day fighting crime in San Francisco, as set up by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All day long, we got caught up in his adventures, how the city and beyond rooted for him, and were reminded that every once in a while in this often cold world, we get a glimpse of humanity at its finest.

But then Bob Lefsetz got involved.

Saturday afternoon, he wrote a piece with the subject, ”Batkid.” ”Just what the world was waiting for,” I thought when it arrived in my Inbox. ”The most cynical non-political pundit in America weighing in on something unanimously considered to be good. How can he possibly find something negative in this?” Of course, he did, as he attempted to use the story of Batkid to rant about the failings of the Obamacare rollout, the mass media, and, of course, the music business — none of which have anything to do with Batkid. Read on…

I don’t care.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s sad that a kid has a frightful disease, it’s cool that his wish came true.

If you didn’t want us to get you wrong, you shouldn’t have led off your column with ”I don’t care.” It’s particularly egregious since you’ve been fighting leukemia yourself for almost four years. But hey, a few patronizing words should be enough to deflect all criticism, right?


By the way, in the two years I’ve been doing this column, I’ve never mentioned Bob’s leukemia because a) it has no bearing on his opinions, and b) I don’t wish it on anybody. I only brought it up in this instance to highlight the callousness of his words.

But if you think this is news, you probably don’t know that Obamacare was supposed to save our nation’s health care industry, not destroy it.

Once again, Bob’s ferret-like attention span leads to an awkward and nonsensical ripped-from-the-headlines analogy to point out how stupid you are for not agreeing with him. I’m pretty sure they’re automatically generated by What Would I Say.



These are things the government knows nothing about.

Yes, let’s listen to what a guy who said Twitter was ”toast. Over. Done. History. Soon to be as behind the curve as Facebook, someday completely forgotten like Friendster” (yet continues to tweet) has to say about viral marketing.

But the right wing media is expert upon it.

”Expert upon it?” Jesus Christ, do you not proofread your shit because you’re afraid of realizing the stupidity of your own arguments?

Death panels. Discarded health policies. They made the failings of Obamacare go viral. Meanwhile, the Administration was oblivious. And at best, punching back, answering instead of leading.

You’re equating two different things. People losing their insurance policies is a clear flaw of the Affordable Care Act, and would be in the news regardless. The concept of ”Death panels” was a lie used to drum up opposition against the bill. Or, to use Lefsetz parlance, if you believe they’re in the same equation, you probably believe that the ACA rollout is ”Obama’s Katrina.”

Kind of like the music business.

Did you see some nitwit is making a movie how the Internet is destroying the music business?

No, but I just read a nitwit writing about it.

Featuring David Lowery and the usual suspects?

The nerve of people who say Spotify has affected their ability to make a living from complaining about it!

This is like the government allowing you to keep your lousy health care plan because it benefits you, and no one else. Even though the new rules might be advantageous to almost all.

Actually, it’s not like that at all.

I’m sorry your business model was eviscerated by the Internet.

No, you’re not.

But do we all have to stay two steps behind because you might be hurt by progress?

Here’s the fallacy of Bob’s argument: Streaming services are advantageous to the consumer at the expense of the musician. But if ”progress” means that the vast majority of working musicians can’t earn a living, then there’s less music for the consumer. And all we’ll have left are a handful of stars making music tailored for the lowest common denominator.

But in Bob’s world, this only means that the vast majority of working musicians aren’t good enough.

That’s what I hate about America, no one can lose.

Another of Bob’s famous contradictions. He spends most of the past few years complaining about how the world is divided up into winners and losers because ”deep inside we know we’re all in it together.” Now he says that he hates that no one is allowed to lose.

There can be no progress because someone might get hurt.

If Bob Lefsetz is going to be spouting Margaret Thatcher’s economic policy, he has no credibility in writing about rock music.

Meanwhile, all around you, progress takes place in industry and people do lose. Typewriter companies don’t form a lobby and get the government to outlaw PCs…

No, they either adapted, refocused their core business or got crushed. I just found out that Smith Corona is now making thermal products for barcodes. Meanwhile, IBM did pretty well for itself in home computing.

…and the government is so behind on tech…it builds a lame website.

The irony of the failure of is that Obama’s elections were widely credited to the savvy of his campaign in using modern technology for fundraising, getting out messages, etc.

You want the younger generation to sign up? At least make the site work. They live online. Not even on their desktops, but mobiles.

Then you’ve got to get the word out.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter are probably familiar with my love of pointing out the stupidity of football commentators. The above statement is the equivalent of Jon Gruden shouting, ”Somebody has got to step up and make a play!” every five minutes on Monday Night Football.

Batkid was a manufactured story. Trumped up by the usual suspects, like BuzzFeed and the HuffPo whose whole existence is predicated on link-bait, headlines which seem intriguing that can give you a respite from your normally dreary work day.

Two things: The first is that Bob just complained about those who are standing in the way of companies trying to progress in the face of changing technology, but now he’s calling two companies that have figured it out as ”the usual suspects.” Once again, Bob doesn’t know which side to be on.

The second is that he’s trying to make a perfectly valid point about the mass media companies using feel-good stories and over-relying on trends for ratings while neglecting the real issues of the day, which has always been a fine line for them to tread, lest we forget one of the greatest scenes in Broadcast News.

The only problem is that, as an example, he’s using a piece about an entire city coming together to bring some joy into the life of a FIVE-YEAR OLD WITH CANCER!

Save it for the next Sharknado, you moron.

Even though they’ve rarely got calories, and like drugs they leave you feeling worse off than better.

If the Batkid story left you with anything other than a sense of the intrinsic goodness of humanity, then you have the blackest heart in the universe, Bob Lefsetz.

You want to be famous in the Internet era, you want to get rich?

Of course. That’s why I do this column!

Then play the game. Create something that people want to spread.

So you’re saying I should shut down my syphilis farm?

Employing Batman is like using Dr. Luke.

Does Dr. Luke have his own signal?

It’s a guarantee of attention. You’re never going to go into a radio station and say this is the new Dr. Luke production, even if the artist’s a nobody, and the program director is gonna refuse to listen to it, not gonna happen.

Producers who have a good track record of making hits are going to attract the ears of the people whose job it is to play hit records. Got it.

”Somebody has got to step up and make a play!”

So what’s gonna make your music gain attention? Sure, we all know it must be good, we learned in the eighties that a great video can’t sell a mediocre song.

This may be the single dumbest piece of revisionist bullshit Bob has ever spouted.

But if it’s good, how do you gain attention?

Isn’t that what you claim to be the expert in?

This is what the major labels have focused on since day one. They’re experts on radio and traditional publicity.

But PSY and the rest of the web stars beat them to YouTube.

OK, so the way to get attention is to be on YouTube. I’ve got a bunch of videos of me playing guitar and singing up there. I think they’re pretty good. How come I’m not rich and famous yet, Mr. Know-It-All?

And now the entire government has been beaten by Batkid. There could have been a campaign that got the younger generation interested in health care, but everybody in D.C. was asleep at the wheel, the same way the music industry was at the turn of the century.


The truth is people want music. Just like they want to click through and tweet and e-mail and Facebook post about this Batkid.


The problem isn’t the Internet eviscerated the music business, but that the people in the music business won’t come to the water. They’d rather dehydrate and complain.

Yeah, music business people, get on the Internet already. I can’t find music anywhere online!

What’s gonna get people interested in your product. What’s gonna make them spread the word, do your work for you. Nothing other than a Super Bowl ad is gonna be rammed down people’s throats successfully.

I’m almost positive that in Bob’s archives you can find posts where he mentions a product that was over-hyped, including a Super Bowl ad spot, but never caught the public’s attention.

The best campaign ever can be ignored…

If it can be ignored, it’s not the ”best campaign ever.” For a guy telling us about marketing, you don’t know a thing about it.

…you need a dose of virality.

Again, a lecture on the importance of virality coming from the guy who said Twitter was ”toast. Over. Done. History. Soon to be as behind the curve as Facebook, someday completely forgotten like Friendster.”

Batkid doesn’t need to save only San Francisco, but the government and the music business. Both of them historically behind the times.

Put all the pressures of solving the world’s problems on a sick little boy. Way to go, Bob.

The problem isn’t change, that’s the exciting part. The public gloms on immediately. It’s how do you harness this change to your advantage?

As soon as you figure it out, Bob, tell your beloved Spotify, who have yet to turn a profit.

That’s the game, not complaining that the CD died, people are stealing and spreading inane fictions about Spotify payments.

The only ”inane fiction about Spotify payments” is that an artist can buy anything other than a milkshake from them. And who doesn’t like a milkshake?

Hey, did you see BitTorrent traffic is down?

Hey, did you even read the entire article you linked?

”It saw its share of total [US] internet traffic fall to 7%, a drop of 20% in the past six months. However, in Europe traffic continues to grow.”

Amazing what a little innovation will do.

The use of dark nets’ such as Tor and encrypted digital lockers is growing in popularity.”

Legal systems always triumph.

Legal systems? You mean like legislation and courts and stuff?

”In the UK about 28 sites, including many that use the BitTorrent protocol, have been blocked by ISPs following court orders from rights holders.

In the US, the government launched the US Copyright Alert in March. The system is also known as Six Strikes because it allows users six chances to stop infringing copyright.”

Once the laggards get off the couch and realize the future is here.

As if you ever get off the couch.

About the Author

Dave Lifton

The perpetually cranky Dave Lifton produces and co-hosts the Popdose Podcast and contributes an occasional column when he darn well feels like it. But mostly he eats Cheetos and yells at kids to get off his lawn, which is strange because he lives in an apartment. The guiding force behind LifStrong, he can be found on Twitter at @dslifton.

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