Monday, November 14, 2005
An article addressing many of the same issues as this but in much more detail is currently on http://www.americanchronicle.com. That one is a lot longer, but very interesting to read. It actually reminded me that I can write more than opinion. In it, I actually debate myself.... and didn't do a bad job at it, either!
Media evolution is a remarkably fascinating phenomenon that has been a vital, yet often unappreciated catalyst in the development of the world as we know it. Beginning with the use of hieroglyphics by ancient Egyptian Priests and progressing to present day high speed internet and satellite communications, the fundamental benefits and drawbacks of each age of media progression have had remarkably similar characteristics.
The use of symbols to communicate with the masses was gradually replaced by persons of a region learning to orally interpret the words of others. This development facilitated trade and the spread of information from one location to another. When the first books were authored, most people did not have access to them because the original was used simply to hand scribe copies and then placed into libraries for posterity. This wasn’t a problem because only a select few extremely privileged members of a society were able to read. Consequently, they had the power to reign over all others because they controlled the flow of information.
Johannes Gutenburg invented the first movable type printing process in 1450, which marked the beginning of mass media. With Gutenberg’s invention he mass produced copies of The Holy Bible, and more people began to have access to the written word and realize the importance of the information that accompanied it. This advance eventually led to society understanding and discussing events that affected them and eventually gave rise to an affordable and effective way to question authority.
During the reign of Charles I of England, pamphlets were mass produced and used to inform great numbers of people of dissenting opinions regarding the way the crown was being worn. This eventually led to the English Revolution followed by the onset of an industrial revolution. Societies became an increasingly knowledgeable and opinionated force to be reckoned with. In an attempt to quiet the voices, censorship and selective taxation were born. Throughout history, the use of these tactics will prove to be ineffective in quieting the voices of dissention.
Pamphlets were once again used in early America to communicate political and theological ideologies to the masses and were met with the same attempts at censorship, but to no avail. Printing presses were few and far between in the Colonies, but the masses did have a medium to inform them.
As America grew, railroads ventured into the west and along with them went the telegraph line. By this time, there was no stopping the information snowball that was avalanching into political reform and accountability. This was followed by the invention of the telephone, soon to be followed by the transmission of radio waves, and once again, a government that didn’t appreciate the public having a voice.
Federal regulations were enacted that gave the Government an upper hand in controlling what could be and what couldn’t be done with this technology. Although the First Amendment had been in place for nearly 130 years, the Sedition Act in 1918 stomped all over the rights of the public to speak freely and the press to print what they deemed worthy. Society was threatened with prosecution if they publicly opined negatively about the powers that were. With the onset of television, this was once again repeated in the form of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Today we live in a world with high speed internet access, satellite imagery and fiber optic networks spanning the globe. These advances allow the world to see the world as it is happening. If the people in power could be trusted to be honest and sensible to the people they are responsible to, the media and society would flourish. To society, much of this technology has contributed to living a life of increasing ease. Unfortunately, this same technology contributes greatly to what many would refer to as the social degradation of American culture. Americans are lazier and fatter than ever and expect instant gratification of their wants and needs. The ethical standards of journalists and political figures are constantly challenged by the ease with which they can manipulate the public view of the worlds’ situation. And where will it all end?
The media has evolved into a potential bridge to a future filled with promise, or an instrument of propaganda that could be wielded by the arms of politics and corporate America to benefit the few. History has shown us that the words of the constitution have often been slanted to benefit the people of influence and power. The public must be the element that propels advances in technology toward a respectable future rooted in integrity. They need to cut through the rhetoric and decide what is acceptable and what is not in media development and behavior. If society doesn’t demand their rights as written in The U.S. Constitution and insist on total honesty and integrity from governing bodies, I fear that all of this magnificent progress in the media will have been irrelevant.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I crashed my computer about three days ago because I was doing things I shouldn’t have, trying to repair a problem. The more I tried to fix my problem, the deeper in the hole I went. I know that I don’t know anything about computer programming and I had no business trying to diagnose and repair a problem. When the customer service person asked me to describe the problem, all I could muster was, “Okay, I started by trying to figure out why I couldn’t hear anything from my speakers…….” That sounds simple enough. Unless you had to spend the next 20 minutes listening to me try to sound like I knew what I was talking about and then concluding with……, “So then I decided to try a complete system recovery.”
Needless to say, the last few days have been stressful. I have grown quite dependent on my PC and all the marvels associated with it. Although the event has been traumatic, it has also been enlightening and educational; Thinking I was going to lose all the content I had stored on about 300 gigabytes of hard drive, caused me to realize that technology is a cruel friend. I had nearly 4 years worth of college work on it, many records of correspondence and receipts between myself and my family, friends and even enemies. My PC held my resumes, my manuscript and all kinds of digital memories displayed in photographs and videos. I was ready to call Dr. Kevorkian and ask him to put me out of my terminal excruciating misery.
But tonight, I began getting everything back. Just as I was ready to surrender to the cyber gods, I started locating my files that I thought were gone forever. And I found some things that I forgot I even had. The only problem now is that nothing is where it used to be, so I’m still going to be able to enjoy my lesson in humility for days, weeks and months to come, as I try to locate everything.
One satisfying aspect of my misery was unexpected, but welcome at the same time. I’m finding things that I forgot existed. One of these items is a piece I wrote the day after the 2nd Inauguration of our current president, George W. Bush. I was extremely bewildered by the fact that Americans wanted him to continue being our leader. I was afraid for our future as a democracy and I was angry! And I tried to make sense of it all by writing, but as is evidenced by the article, I only grew angrier as I linked word to word.
Well it was kind of like opening a time capsule, except the words I wrote are still felt today, only I think more American’s are agreeing with me now, 9 months later. So look over my shoulder here and see if you agree.
The day after inauguration – 2005
Originally written January 20th, 2005
Robert Barr of the Associated Press reported that Philippine anti-Bush protesters accused George W. Bush of “being a war monger who violates human rights.” From London, Barr reported that many around the world refer to the President as a man who is “cocky, shallow and dangerous.” In fact, a BBC World Service opinion poll documented majorities in seven important countries think less of Americans because of the man who is our “leader.” Those countries included Turkey, France, Brazil and Germany. Many of those who were once our European allies have begun to take offense to what they term a “unilateralist approach – carried out with a perceived cowboy swagger and accompanied by an overt religious fervor.” A Croatian commentator for the newspaper Novi List quipped that as Bush was being sworn in with the words “So Help Me God,” the rest of the world might “look up in the sky and say: ‘God help us.’” As George W. Bush begins his second attempt at destroying global harmony, I felt the headline over Barr’s article described a way that we shouldn’t have to endure. “World looks toward new Bush term with anxiety.” Is that the way the World should see us?
I am humbly forced to ask myself, “How can Americans allow one man to do so much damage to a world, without being disgusted with ourselves. There are currently 150,000 men and women deployed to Iraq at the cost of $1 billion a week. To add to that cost, over 1,360 Americans (now well over 2,000) have been killed since President Bush decided we should go on a wild weapons of mass destruction chase that turned into pulling one gopher out of a hole.
The chase then became a commitment to stop terrorism, followed by helping to rebuild the infrastructure we destroyed, to assisting Iraqis in making a smooth transition to a democratic form of Government. Now it has come down to, as Mr. Bush said in his inaugural speech, “Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill and would be dishonorable to abandon.” “Our objective as a country is now to pursue the great objective of ending tyranny.”
Well I must take offense to his words and his actions. We are a country that was formed on the basis of brave men and women who wanted the freedom to worship and speak out as they pleased. Where do we now get off on telling other countries, other societies and other cultures that our way is right and we’re going to insist that the whole world adapts to our rules. They have the freedom to do it our way, or by the powers bestowed upon George W. Bush, we will bomb them into submission.
In the recent election held to select the President of the United States of America, it’s been widely reported that 52 percent of American’s are pleased with the direction George W. Bush is taking our country. As a cynic, I submit that approximately 10 percent of those votes were cast based on name recognition alone and another 5 percent of those votes were cast based on fear that has been so masterfully instilled by propaganda into the American psyche. There’s no poll backing my suspicions, or scientifically conducted surveys to concur with my hypotheses. If each American would just consider the possibility that those numbers are accurate for one minute… and then ask me what I based them on, I’m going to share with them my feelings of angst. Perhaps someone will agree with my thoughts and validate my sanity.
I don’t believe for a minute that over half of American voters are stupid enough to re-elect a man with a marginal level of intelligence, less than excellent reading abilities, and an inability to pronounce many common words. I don’t think my fellow countrymen are apathetic enough to not care that the person acting as Commander in Chief of our armed forces has not accounted for a significant period of time he supposedly served in the Air National Guard… and evidence has been submitted that he was AWOL, and that his records had been tampered with.
I pray to my higher power, that we are not going to leave this nation to the next generation without electing a President who is mature enough to mend the world wide gash gouged into the torso of global relations by George W. Bush. It has recently occurred to me that under his lack of leadership abilities and sophomoric need to prove his is bigger, he has put our nation on the brink of WW III, simply because he’s too immature and childish to admit fault. The S.O.B. has directly lied to the American public to justify a war that increasingly resembles one fought in South East Asia about 40 years ago. Even today, nobody can say it wasn’t our own damn fault that we traumatized an era. Viet Nam was a battle we had no business being involved in, no one really knew why we were there, and we suffered three Presidential Administrations that wouldn’t say we screwed up and deceived our fellow Americans. They lied to us as more of our children died.
Having no partisan loyalty whatsoever, I can’t begin to understand how even a staunch Republican from Texas could re-elect this miserable excuse for a leader. As always, I admit that I could be wrong about these observations. The ignorant believers in this form of political flamboyance would surely have me labeled an unpatriotic traitor in the world of yes men that must surround this idiot.
Contrarily, I love my country and I would love to see it flourish in eternity. I may be more of a Patriot than that beady eyed moron that some people insist 52 percent of Americans voted for. And because of the laws that protect my rights as an American, I have the Constitutional privilege of calling the guy that everyone else calls President… a jackass!