strange lack of passion
October 5, 2010, 11:24 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,

A new acquaintance at a new workplace once told me it was how you present yourself, not what you know.  It turns out he didn’t know anything — really, almost nothing — and they found out and he’s paid the price.  I, on the other hand, thought it was all about knowing stuff, and, although I did ok, I missed out on chances based on not using perception and relations to advance myself into more challenging and deserved roles.

It’s no mystery that the media, the fourth estate, guardian of freedom, whatever you want to call it, often believes more in perception than content.  It’s infrequent, however, that you hear them called idiots.  Here is Jon Stewart’s reaction to the crap press corps covering the 2000 election:  unserious people.  Jon became influential beginning with this campaign, the election of G W Bush, and has made an enormous difference in the public discourse.  Can you imagine how different things would be had there been as effective a satirist beginning with the election of Ronald Regan?  Hindsight is 20:20; one thing is certain, political life rots without satire.

The road trips to Philly and to the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles reshaped The Daily Show,but not in the way Stewart had anticipated. “We were at that point merry pranksters—guys on a bus going, ‘That guy looks like Richard Gephardt!’ ” he says. “The more we got to meet people [in the media], it was—‘Oh! You’re fucking retarded! You don’t care!’ The pettiness of it, the strange lack of passion for any kind of moral or editorial authority, always struck me as weird. We felt like, we’re serious people doing an unserious thing, and they’re unserious people doing a very serious thing.”

America Is a Joke by Chris Smith

we know less than ever
June 2, 2008, 12:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , ,

This map shows the bias broadcast by the American media in February of 2007. America and Iraq are the only things worth covering apparently. America had 79% of coverage; India, China and Russia, with over 2 billion people, had 1%.  Bestest media in the world!

~Alisia Miller, head of Public Radio International

simultaneously and substantially dual


This is from an article by Arjun Appadurai.  In it, he describes how the world we accept as empirical, the spaces we see and touch and know can only be properly negotiated when we add in an intangible dimension, what we remember and imagine from other places – ones we’ve inhabited, dreamed about, seen at the movies.  By adding the new dimension, which by the way is very real, we see that we live in a much different place than commonly described.

“Because of the degree of media penetration and saturation – which frequently also means media of many kinds and media from many places, particularly television, where it’s available – people live, as it were, in layered places, which in themselves have a variety of levels of attachment, engagement and, if you like, reality … In a world of migration and mass mediation, everybody is living in a world of image flows, such that it’s not simply and straightforwardly possible to separate their everyday life from this other set of spaces that they engage with through the media, either as receivers, or as workers in call centers, or on interactive websites.  The work of the imagination allows people to inhabit either multiple localities or a kind of single and complex sense of locality, in which many different empirical spaces coexist.  So one of these call center people is simultaneously living a little bit in the United States and also living substantially in Bombay.  But Bombay itself, because of films and so on, is not merely empirical Bombay.

In this sense you have a kind of creative, spatial form which isn’t reducible to its empirical facts.  Now those empirical facts – for example, that the trains in Bombay are incredibly crowded  – must be faced at the end of the day.  Even if you’re inhabiting many localities, this one will always be present to you.  But because I do believe in the work of the imagination, I believe your engagement with this empirical world can be somewhat different depending on what translocalities you inhabit mentally, in and through the imagination.  So the train isn’t the same for everyone, not only because there’s a better part and a less good part of the train, but simply because the train is only one element of people’s localized existence.  Again I would say, remembering the urban poor, that the relationship of their experienced spaces to their imagined spaces is always at a disadvantage.  And this must be changed.  But the poor, too, negotiate a relationship between experienced spaces and imagined spaces.  They’re not only living in sheer experience while the rest of us live in the imagination.  That’s my sense of the political economy of these spaces.”

~Arjun Appadurai, The Right to Participate in the Work of the Imagination, Trans Urbanism, V2_Publishing/NAi Publishers