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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wrong About Everything

Good lord; it's snowing again. This will give The Oregonian free range (it thinks) to print more letters from jackasses that have "Thanks a lot, Al Gore," as their punchline, failing epically to either be funny or accurate.
It's the kind of thing that makes a person want to hop in their car and go for an educational spin around the block, but probably I won't. Not when there's Chex Mix to be made.

I seem to have a full schedule of Seattle-being-in next week. A physical, to determine whether or not I'm able to actually work (which, if the last test was any indication, will consist of someone asking me if I'm ready to get "physical, physical...You wanna get physical? Let's get into physical..."), then an Orientation...God knows what that'll be. Then, on Friday, a real live gig at the Convention Center.
I'm almost never asked what department I'd like to work for, but I was in this case and said, "Video." We'll see.

Thursday of this week marks the return of the Jeopardy! online test. I've utterly failed to qualify these last two years: maybe this is it. I was in the running for Teen Jeopardy! back in high school, and I think two things were working against me: instead of picking one contestant from each city, they did it by region, and I'm also pretty sure that they didn't put boys with hair down to their ass on the show back then.
One of the other finalists that day was a little guy who came up to my hip. Blue blazer, I knew the type; he'd been forced to compete by his parents, even though he was twelve or something. I asked him, "When you didn't know the answer, what'd you put down?"
"'Green', " he said.
"Mine was 'fish'."


Of course, the snow was almost immediately melted by falling rain, circa noon yesterday. So I go over to The Provost's house to pick him up. After some mediocre sandwiches at the Red Bicycle, we get some errands out of the way and set to talkin' about history, media, things that matter.

This caused me to think yet again about my own sentimental reasons for not wanting to see the "old" forms of media disappear completely. Silly though it might sound, newspapers and network television provide a common context for discussion and human experience. Maybe you haven't paid attention to YouTube or Hulu enough lately to see some clip of some jackass bein' a jackass, but I bet we can all sit around and talk about "Cheers," say. The newspaper too is a place where we can all get together, if perhaps only in shared scorn. It serves a larger purpose; and if the big chains go away (chiefly due to their need to diversify into "new" media, I might add), the small ones will still be around because people need local news, and they won't get it anywhere else.

In short, the 'democratization of information' might actually kinda suck, in some ways. I think it's given lies and babytalk way more cultural cache than they ever had before. Nowadays, you need to apologize for not being a dumb shit.

And the age where a president could say, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost the country," may be more or less behind us, but I don't know. When World Wrestling Entertainment unveiled the character John Bradshaw Layfield (or 'JBL'), who more or less was a vicious parody of George W. Bush, I said, "If the Republicans have lost WWE, they've lost the country." This was 2004, and while history may suggest otherwise, I still feel that I was right in a larger sense.

It's this overarching theme of how connectedness both makes things quicker and (sometimes) more convenient, but it also makes the possibility of cascade failure more likely. We'll call it the Battlestar Galactica Rule (because one of the first things they noted was that wireless technology is very easy to track, and so returned to dial phones and non-networked computers -sorry, I won't do that again). It's obvious to anyone who's ever observed the basic interaction of bodies in nature, or how bad ideas spread quickly in crowds. Oh, the examples go on and on.

And the easy spread of information (or more accurately, that which could be described as 'information') hasn't made us less partisan, more community-minded. It's caused this enclave mentality that effects me just as much as anyone. I keep noting that I don't necessarily have a realistic take on what the city I live in thinks anymore, as I'm likely to be given a biased impression by what 'information' on the subject is made available, since it's generally made available by interested parties.

There's that 'media bias' argument, again. On one hand, I still say that talking about "the media" is like talking about "society", or "the Native Americans believed...": you're automatically going to be wrong about a great deal due to how simply you're viewing it. Your generalization makes you wrong.
Where from there? Okay, this too: the media is about as liberal as the conservative interests that own it. Bumper sticker. Pretty true, too, but even more so; it will appear whatever way it needs to appear in order to sell the greatest amount of advertising, and only sometimes is a direct expression of the political views of its ownership. Like FOX News, or Conservapedia.

Oh? And does not Wikipedia also censor? Uh, no...They barely do so when ordered to do so by some court of law. Furthermore, they don't tell you what to think, like Conservapedia: they open up the debate to any swingin' dick that wanders in. Truly democratic, in many of the best and a lot of the worst ways.

Brzz. I'm wandering here. I'll tell you how I did at Jeopardy! tonight.

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2 Comments:

Blogger rich bachelor said...

Oh, and at #103 of the 105 comments on that Wonkette article, there I am with my stylized Dean Martin avatar, saying,

"It’s equally worthwhile to hate the fat fuck because he so routinely points out that he’s just trying to be entertaining.

Great; so you spread disinformation, hatred and ignorance not even out of some sort of deeply-held ideological bent, but because you’re an overgrown frat boy with a taste for the easy joke. Wonderful.

On the other hand, say hello and goodbye to the first and last time that John Boehner is used as an example of competent leadership."

Ah, that's some funny Me, there...

7:04 PM  
Blogger reid said...

Holee- that was hilarious. Technology will advance but peoples' need to talk topics and politics will remain because of the media's slant, we need to have arguments to keep things straight. The section 8 was pretty good. So was the WWE analogy. Not sure if fans of Batista would get it but that's ok.

8:56 AM  

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