“Ohio really did go to president Obama last night, and he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately president of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad–Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing. And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody’s taking away anyone’s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.”
- Rachel Maddow
I found this Bloomberg piece to be very enlightening.
If you’ve ever tweeted about how bad Apple is, blogged about the evils of Foxconn’s sweatshops, or “Liked” a Facebook post excoriating how iPads are made, then you should listen. Don’t take the word of the dozens of bloggers and news outlets who’ve tried to summarize the whole saga into bite-sized morsels—go listen for yourself.
I’ve gone through another period of not listening to music on the radio. Like, a few years. It used to be that I did this simply because all music stations in the Milwaukee area were completely unlistenable. But that’s not so anymore.
So recently I’ve been listening and loving it. And I’ve been wondering why I haven’t been tuning in more over the last, oh, four years since the station launched its current format.
Whatever the reason, I’m so diggin’ it right now that if Milwaukee public radio doesn’t have something really compelling on during my commute, I go right for 88.9. Also, I’m going to send them a donation next time I get a few bucks in hand.
I’m of two minds about NewsCorp’s new iPad thing, The Daily.
I really want someone to succeed at this. I hope they are the first to do so. We’ll see.
I’ve been thinking more and more about magazines. There are at least a couple that I know I’d enjoy, but I’m in a quandary about it. Getting dead trees in the mailbox strikes me as kind of backward in this day and age–like going to a video rental store. And paying for content on the web strikes me as contrary to the ethos of the internet.
Which leaves me without Cook’s Illustrated and the New Yorker and Consumer Reports and Scientific American and…
Should I just suffer the anachronistic print subscription? Pony up for the web site memberships? Hold out for iPad versions?
And another thing. I’m so sick of media reports about the dangers of the internet, computers and the digital age. They tell us our attention spans are shot, multitasking is frying our brains, the internet is isolating us and polluting our precious bodily fluids.
I’m sick of the hyperventilating. I’m sick of the alarmism. How much do you want to bet that the exact same level of fear was present at the advent of the telephone or the automobile or the television? Of course there are risks, downsides and drawbacks. But to listen to this shit you’d think it was the fucking downfall of civilization. Christ, get a grip!
I just heard an “expert” on the radio the other day telling us that we needed to be “extremely cautious” about how wired we are today. She didn’t know how or whether it was harmful, but extreme caution was warranted. You know what I’d like to exercise extreme caution about? Going off half-cocked about how the latest technology is going to destroy Our Way of Life.
And that’s not even getting into the benefits that the internet age brings us. Oh, it’s awful that some of us let our Blackberrys increase our stress level. But does anyone stop to marvel at the fact that an almost unlimited source of information is in our pockets? We’re living in the goddamned future! Surely we can find something positive about that.
You know what, fuck you. Give me your cell phone and your computer. If you think it’s all that terrible, give it up–or shut up.
I hope it’s all right with fake Steve that I quote him this extensively, but I know that some of you aren’t going to click through to read his blog in person, even though you should. Dig this:
There is no point in moving to digital readers if we’re just going to do what we did on paper. That’s why Kindle is such a piece of shit. All they did was pave the cowpath. And that’s why we’ve held back on our Tablet — not because the technology wasn’t ready, but because the content guys are such fucktards that they still can’t create anything that makes it worth putting the Tablet into the world.
It’s stunning how few of the big guys in publishing actually understand this. We’ve invited them in for meetings, and while we’re talking we sort of give them a little quiz, in the form of a very simple question: Where do you think publishing is going? Most of them can’t see anything other than what they’ve done in the past. To them this is all just another blip, a little shift in their business, like going from black-and-white newspapers to color, or going from broadsheet to tabloid.
But that’s not it at all. We’re talking about an entirely new way to convey information, one that incorporates dynamic elements (audio, video) with static elements (text, photos) plus the ability for the “audience” to become content creators, not just content consumers.
The funny thing is that the publishing guys still consider themselves the “creative” side of the business, even though they’re the ones with no vision. In their minds, we techies are just a pack of drones. And they wonder why, in this new digital age, we’re reaping most of the financial rewards.
My guess is that the truly revolutionary content is not going to come from the old-guard publishers. It’s going to come from new guys, kids who have grown up digital. This notion of mashing together elements comes naturally to them. And somewhere out there, a genius is waiting to be discovered — the Orson Welles of digital media, someone who will create an entirely new language for storytelling. If you’re reading this, Orson Jr., please get in touch. I’ve got something I want to show you. Okay? Peace.
The health care debate is making me about as afraid for our country as I have ever been.
Though the issue is grave and solutions are everywhere, we seemingly cannot agree on the most basic facts of the problem. Even proposing modest solutions prompt Nazi comparisons and near-riotous behavior. We seem to have lost all ability to deal with our problems honestly. Even the obvious ones. It just isn’t working. And I don’t know why.
Sometimes I think it’s the undue influence of money on our political system. Sometimes I think it’s the American people’s willful ignorance and robust anti-intellectual streak. Other times I think perhaps the corporate media is simply failing to do its job of educating citizens and holding the powerful accountable. Maybe it’s all of these things.
Whatever the reason, when we talk about problems like health care, facts no longer carry any weight. Ridiculousness becomes seriousness. Paranoia becomes thoughtfulness. Somehow we spend all our effort deciding whether government-run death panels are a good idea, and subsequently have nothing left to devote to real issues.
In this environment, the simplest and most achievable things have become near impossible. It makes me profoundly sad, and genuinely afraid for our country’s future.
A year ago or so my dad expressed concern for Barack Obama, fearing that some extremist would try to assassinate him. “Nonsense, dad!” I said. “This isn’t the 60s. He’s the most protected man on the planet.” And, I might have added, I don’t believe people are quite as fucked up today as they were then. At least about issues of race.
But I’m wondering if I wasn’t just being naive. It wouldn’t be the first time. Once, I thought that if the president said that there was immanent danger but he couldn’t say exactly what it was, then we should trust him. That gave us the Iraq war. I learned my lesson.
Now, I’m looking at the protests in the media and in Democratic town hall meetings and wondering if the pot isn’t about to boil over after all.
At district meetings Democrats are being shouted down by angry mobs inflamed by corporate interests spewing lies about healthcare reform — Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hung in effigy. Rep. Tim Bishop needed a police escort to his car, Rep. Brad Miller reports death threats, while Republican Todd Akin of Missouri joked — to cheers from his GOP audience — that his Democratic colleagues “almost got lynched” by the “town hell” rowdies. Glenn Beck is joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine — but it’s the Democrats who are Nazis, fascists and brownshirts. Got it.
It was just a few years ago that MoveOn was pilloried — by the mainstream media, not just the right — when a couple of filmmakers used Bush-as-Hitler imagery in a video contest. MoveOn quickly took the videos down and apologized, but the controversy boiled for days. Sure, some on the left continued to refer to the administration as fascists or as Nazis, but they were mostly marginalized. Now two of the biggest right-wing pundits, with huge megaphones on the radio and Fox News, call Obama Hitler, and the media mostly shrug.
All this about health care. Health care! Someone is proposing that we take a quarter step in the direction of all the other free, industrialized nations of the world and we get this. Hitler. Burning in effigy. Rhetoric that you know, you just know, is going to put another crazy over the top.
Like the guy who shot the guard at the Holocaust museum. Like the guy who shot George Tiller. Like Tim McVeigh, for that matter.
If you boil the pot hard enough, eventually one stray bubble is going to splat on the stove. I’m hoping against hope that my dad was wrong. I’m hoping that we have the sense to turn down the overheated rhetoric before something awful happens. But frankly, I just might be too cynical to believe it anymore.