live, adj. = "(of entertainment) thrilling"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 29 01:11:23 UTC 2010

At 7:48 PM -0500 12/28/10, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>This could be the "handcrafted" of tomorrow. At the moment it's chiefly an
>ex. of an ad technique that comes close to ye olde "bait & switch." It
>probably already has a name, though I don't know offhand what it is.
>DirecTV offers cable TV channels in flight (on, e.g., Frontier Airlines) at
>six bucks a look.  If you don't slide your credit card, the little screen
>eighteen inches from your eyes just keeps playing the ad (and a few others)
>repeatedly, making it difficult to concentrate on anything but the screen or
>sleeping with your eyes shut.
>But the point here is that the ad says, "Enjoy Live TV During Your
>Flight....It's Live TV That You Control....Imagine Live TV at 30,000 Feet.
>We did." But in fact the only reasonably "live" TV you can watch is the news
>on Fox and CNN, and certain live sporting events that may coincide with your
>flight schedule.  Nevertheless the ad also claims that you can "Access 24
>Channels of Live DirecTV and our GPS Live Mapchannel."  Yet few of those 24
>channels are "live TV," and only the two news channels are "live" most of
>the time.  (I didn't notice any little "TM" suggesting that the phrase "Live
>DirecTV" might be a service mark, and thus presumably beyond criticism.)
>Some of the TV you can watch really is "live" in the customary sense, but
>most is not.  DirecTV seems to be spotlighting the exceptional and
>trumpeting it as the typical. (See paragraph one.) But "live," in at least
>one of the quotes, must mean something like "really terrific" in addition to
>its "legitimate" TV sense.
>HDAS includes this hitherto uncommon meaning ("thrilling, exciting,
>wonderful") from 1978-80. It is nonetheless startling to see it used in an
>advertisement, in cold blood.  Unless it's far more current than I thought.
I'm guessing that's not the intended meaning.  If I had to guess,
which I am, I'd say the idea is that it has nothing to do with live
broadcasting or "thrilling, exciting" programming, but more like
deferred real-time watching in the sense that what you're getting to
watch on the plane at 8:30 is what you'd be watching on the same
cable channel in your living room at home at 8:30.  It's a taped or
pre-recorded show, but it's no *more* taped or pre-recorded than if
you were watching it at home, unlike, say, Delta's canned renditions
of five-year-old episodes of "Everyone Loves Raymond" or whatever.
And presumably you can flip from one "channel" to another, same as in
your BarcaLounger instead of your cramped seat in coach (or, I'm
told, luxury seat in first class).  Someone else can probably explain
this better than me, but I hope that's enough detail to get what I
think they're getting at.  And no, I don't know how they finesse
time-zone shift issues.


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