Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Test-screening Al Queda videos

One of the top stories from today's USA Today was the release of a video starring Al Queda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri. Oddly, the video was dated November 2005. The story went on: "It was not clear why the video was not released soon after the date it was allegedly filmed."

I know why. They were test-screening it. Focus grouping it. Sending it back to the editing room. It's all about marketing.

Here are some of the viewer responses that they filled in on their "Comment" cards:

Mr. al-Zawahri should wear a white turban.

Mr al-Zawahri should wear a black turban.

The background is white in one shot and red in another. Continuity!

He should threaten terror attacks in Lichtenstein. It would be a total surprise.

Lose the beard.

You had me at "Zionist enemies."

What's got Hollywood afraid is not terror attacks, but Al Queda's iconoclastic business model. Not only do they give the product away, but there's no advertising! There are no Variety grosses for "Death to the Great Satan, Volume 38." There is no festival circuit for jihad videos, no awards show. The people involved do it not for money, but hatred. It's an attitude we should see exemplified more in our own entertainment industry.

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