Sentence of the year
Dion is the Antichrist of the indie sensibility, an overemoting schmaltz-bot who has somehow managed to convert the ethos of Wal-Mart into sine waves and broadcast them, at kidney-rupturingly high volume, directly into our internal soulPods.
This is one of the finest sentences I've read this year. But embracing the bile, there are some fine theoretical points to be made:
For the hearing-impaired, web’s multimedia revolution represents an old battle that shouldn’t have to be fought again
. . .Why does this matter? Ideally, it wouldn’t if web media were merely a new platform for distributing the same content found elsewhere. However, more and more of this audio and video is being provided as web-only content: “webisodes” of popular programs, exclusive webcasts of news broadcasts and reports, even traditional newspapers are getting into the multi-media game on-line. There is also new media and citizen journalism sites such as The Daily Mole, TheUpTake, and even YouTube, which promise to cover stories and perspectives that have been neglected or ignored by traditional media outlets in the past.
While the frustration of not being provided similar options to participate in and enjoy the same entertainment and cultural opportunities is significant, it is the potential lack of accessibility to the expanding news and information sources that concerns me the most, as that impacts the ability of the deaf and hard of hearing to be informed citizens on an equal footing with others. This a problem that I fear will only get worse if, as often predicted, we are in the midst of a paradigm shift away from traditional print and broadcast to the internet.
*It is shameful that the hearing impaired are denied the pleasure of the Daily Mole's weatherman:
Ted Nugent -- rock guitarist, walking phallus and self-parodying right-winger -- turns 59 today. He shares his birthday with the legendary Alvin York, who led a devastating attack on a nest of German machine-gunners during the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne in 1918; on more than one occasion, Nugent has expressed hope that Sgt. York might be "cloned," in spirit if not in fact.
Ted Nugent also shares a birthday with Mary Todd Lincoln, who was gibbering mad.
. . . As perhaps the greatest chickenhawk in modern rock history, Nugent received a student deferment for enrolling in Oakland Community College; in 1977, however, he told High Times that he stopped bathing, soiled his pants deliberately, and took crystal meth in the weeks leading up to his physical. Given the opportunity to atone for his self-confessed cowardice, Nugent has traveled with the USO to Fallujah and to Afghanistan, where he was allowed to play with automatic weapons and defacate in one of Saddam Hussein's toilets. He later offered his uninformed assessment that the United States' difficulties in Iraq have resulted from an unwillingness to "Nagasaki them."
Axis of Evil Knievel
The end of the beginning
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the problem of storytelling, particularly about the way that technology impacts the way that we tell stories. There’s a lot to say about it, but it seems like some throat-clearing is in order.
Over the last few days, a couple of rhetoricians have weighed in on Doris Lessing’s Nobel prize acceptance speech—seemingly without bothering to read it first. This tactic reminds me of the sort of snap judgments that first-year composition students make—they accept the consensus of their peers without question. I suppose it’s one of the hazards of the rapid-fire atmosphere of electronic discourse—it’s easier to twit than to perform any sort of analytic work.
Lessing's speech is also a wonderful example of the classic solitary originary proprietary model of writing, which might provide an interesting contrast to the newly emergent models of distributed collaborative authorship if more close reading were applied. But there isn't space or time for that at this moment; I'll press on with the reactive component, hoping I can return at a later date to the analytic problem.
Dennis Jerz and Clay Spinnuzi are not stupid people. I wouldn’t normally expect this sort of knee-jerk. I remember months ago, rr linked to a video of Lessing being ambushed by journalists when she won the prize. She couldn’t think of anything to say, apparently, and ended up asking the reporters to tell her what to say so that she could repeat it back to them—a tactic first suggested by Andy Warhol in one of his books as I recall. Jerz and Spinuzi didn’t misread the speech as far as I know, they simply parroted back the critique of Techcrunch and Ars Techica—which read Lessing as claiming that the internet makes you dumb or that it was the cause of our fragmented culture. Really? That’s not what I read. Here is the pertinent section, as printed by the Guardian: