It is worth noting that in this post I took the scenic route to the point as opposed to the expressway. That having been said I am pleased with what I have written.
And so long as the media serves as a spotlight, our attention will be drawn to cretins and fools who attempt to poison our minds and limit our perspective. And so long as Americans continue to trust in the glowing box in front of their couch, those cretins will be rewarded with noteriety and respect. And called back into the spotlight for ratings.
Television, and mass media in general, are dangerous things. As media conglomorates expand their enterprises, and conquer more of our attention, the capacity for diverse expression is strangled. And it isn't about right versus left. It never was. It is about money, and those with the cameras will allways point them at the bigger wallets.
There used to be five major newspapers in Boston. Now there are two. One is owned by the New York Times (whose journalistic practices have been questionable of late) and the other a schill for the entrenched right wing minority, which editorializes in its flaglines, whitewashes all Paramount films in its movie reviews, and is written at a 6th grade reading level.
Things are only going to get worse for print and broadcast media, especially given the FCC's recent agenda.
Enter the internet, which is only now beginning to realize its potential as a medium. Which, if you think about it, is understandable. The advent of easy net access led to the dotcom boom, which like the gold rush was not focused on the long-term potential of the territory being explored, but rather how one might quickly and easily extract wealth from said territory. They ended in very nearly the same way. But the survivors of this collapse have begun to do extrordinary things.
They have introduced a concept of advertising that needen't be intrusive or annoying.
They have established a free encyclopedia, by the people, for the people, of often astonishing breadth and depth.
They have begun to build an infastructure that may one day soon allow recording artists the freedom to produce and distribute as they see fit and still make a living off their arts.
To that tune, comic artists are learning that they need not dance for the syndicates and submit to their numbing controls of content and expression in order to get paid.
Writers... well, they're more bound to print for the forseeable future, which is a shame because there's a serious environmental issue there. But there is some hope for Ebooks. And of course the web is an excellent outlet for short stories, poetry, and the like (which I promise I'll exploit more often, more to myself than anyone else). And of course, journalism has established a foothold here. The conglomerates are here too, of course, but they don't hold the keys, and that is significant.
Which is a matter, some of you may remember, I spoke of this ad nauseum in my earlier blogging days.
I still more or less hold to the positions I held there, including both that a blogger can be a journalist and that I am not one (I expect no arguement there). I may try my hand at it at some point in the future, but for now I am content to at times offer up a window into my world, at times be poignant, at times be relevant, at times be entertaining, and hopefully do so in a way that is intelligent, articulate, and worth reading.
Which is what brings me back to why we are here, or why I am, and perhaps why you are if you are still reading. (yeah, I did a couple of laps before I got to my point. It's kind of what I do) I saw this and felt the immedeate need to say something about it, and I stopped to think about it. If I met anyone who said those things on the street I would not deem them worthy to converse with, let alone about. I'd just walk away. (Well, more accurately I would declare them to be complete fuckwits and then walk away. And yet I see these thoughts expressed by people and on media outlets that I recognize and I feel the dire need to respond.
It is of course a matter of status. The fact that people listen to Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson (I'm constantly surprised that people can hear him over that bowtie) and Sean Hannity, (and Jack Thompson for that matter) and take their opinions seriously, and the fact that they are constantly asked to share those opinions by people with cameras and microphones means that we, the sound of mind, cannot in good conscience ignore them as they are a threat to intelligent discourse. And by extension, the media conglomerates out of whose funds these people are paid are a threat to intelligent discourse, and, when one takes into account the larger part of the broadcast media, intelligence at large, and media diversity.
Those with status; the cretins, the conglamorates, have made it so that when one goes about activating that box in their living room, one must do so with caution. Approach the thing with a Kevlar vest and an entry shotgun and an attitude that lets it know what the deal is, and who exactly is holding the remote. On the other hand, the extremely low barrier to entry provided by the internet means that one must sneak in under cover of darkness, equipped with nightvision and the skills of a fucking ninja to avoid being maimed by hundreds of thousands of complete idiots while looking for the quality commentary that for one reason or another escaped the spotlight of mass media. As Alice often points out, the situation in Darfur is an issue that has been buried both by mass media and the masses of the web.
The way I see it, there are two reasons for this. One is the extreme difficulty involved in supporting oneself with online journalism. There at this moment exists no reliable way, but it is more than possible for one to be found. Another is somewhat linked, in that it is hard to gain status on the web. Until that problem is solved, it's back to the shadows, but it is a winnable situation. There is yet hope that in the search for information we may one day not have to suffer fools.