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Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Happy Halloween

In Dispatches from the Wild Wild East on October 31, 2011 at 2:17 am

My fellow Reagan babies may remember this from elementary school:

I Gotta Fever, and the Only Prescription is More Post

In Dispatches from the Wild Wild East on October 24, 2011 at 2:52 am

I’ve been absent of late due to the fulmination of various forces in my life, but I gotta post. I worked for sixteen hours today, I have a meeting tomorrow, classes Tuesday, work Wednesday, and I have a problem set and midterm Thursday; so it’s not looking like this week will see my triumphant return to blogging, although I can promise that my next substantial post will be very good.

It all goes to show, I think, that blogging is a luxury for the rich. I’ve tried to blog unemployment over at LoOG, but I’ve felt wraithlike doing it, overextended, drawn out, like being pulled in all directions with no end in sight. I can’t devote the amount of time I want to to really examining phenomena like the Occupy movement, because doing so cuts way from time I could be spending working, now that after so many long months of searching, work – even work undesireable in normal circumstances – is available. So, it’s official: I’ve progressed from the ranks of the unemployed to the employed. I’ll have more details on this; but for now let’s just say that I’m too tired to feel anything about it, and I’m deathly afraid of hubris.

Things are starting to settle down and become a little more regular, but I still have reservations, and there is of course a huge lag between starting a job and feeling the comforts of regular employment (I have trust issues, which I’ll expand on in a later post.), and I’m super risk-averse now, and my experience in Japan has put a fire inside me that will drive me until my own death.

The Continual Reinvention of the Wheel

In Empires of the Mind on October 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I haven’t really been watching TV for some time now. The few things I actually desire to watch have become quite available on a computer. But, today I was put in front of the “boob tube” because it was the only venue where I could observe my beloved St. Louis Cardinals in a playoff game, and this got me thinking. I was glad to be able to watch without having to go to a sports bar or buy the game on my satellite service and pay a veritable fortune; given the current state of my pocketbook, this just wouldn’t be acceptable.

So I surrendered to the inevitable exposure to the device that for so long has given us only something to be told and see but not an ability to inquire. I watched my ball game, and – besides the loss I observed – I was glad for what I witnessed. But what kept hitting me was the continual advertisements for the release of old DVDs in new “Blue Ray” technology. What got in my head was how information – TV-wise – is being made “better” for our consumption through continuing advancements in visual technology. Now, I’m very cool with that, as long as it’s on a device that lets you ask a question in response to the tripe of the light-lit screen that comes into your house every night.

I’ve been here for the advancement of this technology, and it is pretty awesome; but I’m thinking that it is advancing to some point that many folks might consider close to Woody Allen’s Orgasmatron in his famous work Sleeper: having an advanced piece of technology – no matter how advanced – such as a high-definition television will never replace actual, physical experience of any event it may be designed to mimic, especially if there is no way to “talk back”. Yet, sales must continue, money must be made.

When is it that we will come to the realization that the flat screen in front of us, and whatever color content is being played on it, will never be three-dimensional no matter what name that technology has hung on it? Maybe it’s just me: I welcome the advent of technology when it enhances learning or makes learning easier, but I’m not sure I come away any different after experiencing the History Channel on a “Liquid Crystal” screen than I do after watching it on my nine-year-old RCA, cathode ray tube-powered television.

What I’m trying to get at with this whole High-Definition, Blue Ray, end-of-the-rainbow musing is that we are constantly being resold the same ideas in “New and Improved” packaging. This trend includes how we get our information, how this information is poured out to the multitudes, and how it often manipulates our thought to the point where we honestly believe we are in the possession of some newer, more-improved truth! This is called propaganda.

Granted, we’re just talking about TVs, but the mechanism is universal. Were we to apply our TV analogy to some more important things like foreign affairs or our country’s very intricate politics and economy, we’d expect that we citizens would be comfortable with whatever we are being told without questioning the truth-value of what we are hearing. On the contrary, and as the last ten years has decidedly demonstrated, it is vital that we remain skeptical. If we combine such vital skepticism with the development of new, advanced technologies, then we have tools that allow us to artfully get to the truth instead of just barfing out the dogma we’ve been force-fed. We can engage politically with pride and debate at a much higher intellectual capacity than currently prevails.

Daily, we are confronted with “High Def” political “knowledge” that masks a contrived, monochrome polity. More-and-more, day-by-day this style-over-substance mentality sickens me; and this is the pudding proof of what’s wrong with our country and the elected officials we put in office based on the golden faux-knowledge spewed at us from that beautiful high def, blue ray television that almost seems real. It’s no wonder a great deal of folks vote for something so important with so much crap jammed into their refused-to-open minds. It’s disheartening to say the least. Here’s an idea: stop watching and listening to Fox News and CNN in some feeble attempt to become aware of what actually is going on around you. If you really want to learn, use that device in your lap or on your desk and do some real research, ask questions, find answers, and quit squawking about how your version of the Truth™ is the real one just because you heard it from the most physically-attractive person on your favorite news station. You’re capable of so much more. In case you don’t have new, knowledge-fostering technology, go to a library. I’m quite sure there’s one near you.