Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bad Bubble! Bad Bad Bad!

If you're finding lately that people are giving you a hard time for your interest in role-playing games, or if you worry about how socially leprous they are, or whether or not you feel free to comment about them in the public space where you work or play, then you should have a close look at this:

This is a screenshot from a pro-anorexia website, in which people with eating disorders join together to share tips, give support and discuss their day-to-day activities in order to jointly pursue the practice of remaining true to their disorder.  Please take note, this is not for people who want to stop being anorexic.  This is for people who love it, who don't want to stop doing it, and who want to talk to others about that.  The general discussions forum on the website that I took the above image from lists 821,176 replies at the time of this writing.  3 replies came in over the time it took to write this paragraph.

What must be recognized is how this differs powerfully from the liberal sensibilities message that permeates the society, which rails that people must not take part in any sort of destructive activity, including self-destructive.  These people do not care.  They do not care about your opinion nor mine regarding activities they embrace.

I wish I could find an online group of role-players who were that dedicated about their passion.

Because I'm not a journalist, but a blogger, and I have no institution to which I must genuflect in order to write this post, I don't have to now provide a packaged sort of phrase about the morality of the above.  I have been a journalist.  I may again be a journalist, if a job ever materialized again for me in this paper-dead culture.  But I don't consider myself a journalist right now, and thank you, I don't want to be one.  That is because, partly for reasons I gave last Wednesday, journalism is a corrupt, institutionalized information-delivery system whose cracks have begun to show.

I do not know about the reader, but recently I have begun to notice how mythological the depiction of journalism is of late.  Here I am thinking of journalists as they appear in shows like Kevin Spacey's House of Cards or Antoine Fuqua's collapsed vehicle Boss ... in which journalists are still depicted as though this were the 1970s All the President's Men and not the modern ridiculousness of the New York Times, the lately corrupt and dead News of the World, or television's Fox News or CNN, where speculation and idiocy have replaced investigative journalism.  No one, anywhere, has the budget or the time or even the inclination for investigative journalism, which is more than evident in the total lack of useful foreign news that can be gotten from a North American vendor (I am including the Canadian press and media in this).  It is terribly convenient for drama to still imagine an editor who can throw on a coat and rush out to talk to a source, but it is silly in the extreme.  No one does this any more, and anyone who tried would quickly be fired.

I include Aaron Sorkin here with his completely out-of-date The Newsroom, which is a sometimes painful so-called political drama show where everyone ACTS like the world still works like it did in 1965, while simultaneously LAMENTING that the world does not work like it did in 1965.  It is a bizarre mix of cognitive dissonance, both of the writer and anyone who is apparently funding the show, to an audience clearly out of touch with the internet - but then, I said yesterday that television hates the internet.

Because I am not a journalist, I don't have to justify any of the above except to say, 'my opinion.'  The only value my opinion has is that it strikes a chord with people, who presumably are nodding their heads as they read along.  I am, therefore, preaching to the choir ... but there are worse places to preach.

One thing that the media really, really hates is the 'bubble.'  That is, the one you live in, where you only read the things that interest you, or that you agree with.  This is bad for you, very bad.  Mostly because it means you won't be listening to the advertising that funds the media, because the very WORST thing about the bubble is that you're not interested in buying things you don't like, either.  Basically, the media can't reach you, they can't preach to you, they can't program you and they can't put a bug in your ear to waste your money on their products.

This is bad for them, very bad.

It does mean, however, that you'll spend your morning, or your evening, floating around a lot of free content on the net that has been written today about D&D and other things that fascinate you, instead of watching a lot of bad programming and reading a lot of bad journalism that doesn't fascinate you.  Oh, the bad, bad bubble.

When someone tells you that something is bad for you, the first thing you should wonder is what are they selling?


Stuart Lloyd said...

I find the news depressing. Instead, I stick to podcasts and journals I find pertinent. They are far more informative and less sensationalist.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sorry, Clovis; a defense of the National Enquirer is going to require more evidence than your say-so; I did not want to delete the comment, but as it contained no actual content beyond your assertion, I had no choice.

At any rate, my post was not so much an attack against journalism per se, as an attack against Hollywood's piss-poor portrayal against journalism. Of course there is journalism going on right now, only I dispute that it serves any worthy purpose. The fact that the National Enquirer, or any other journalistic entity, produces a news story is irrelevant, since all news in this day and age is heavily biased against the poor, heavily biased in favor of the present corrupt system never, ever changing, and heavily biased in supporting the agenda which uses the media to place people in power who are approved of by the media (try to get elected without the media's support).

This reality, which we are all aware of, is NOT depicted in Hollywood or elsewhere, because that is the media, owned and operated by the same persons who own and operate the news. This is why the intellectual community has escaped into the computer, where information is immediate and uncensored, as well as unrestricted (the mpa website at the top being an example) in its morality.

As a culture, we've already stopped thinking of 'news' in terms of stories and articles interpreted by institutions, and started viewing it in terms of immediate events that we share instantly between ourselves and those we know. This is something the traditional media doesn't want us to think is true ... like Oz telling us not to look at the man behind the curtain.

Alexis Smolensk said...

This needs to be viewed in terms of modern journalism.

Clovis Cithog said...

You are correct about the state of cultural and political reporting; my favorite news source is Asia Times.

The National Enquirer (NE) does celebrity reporting,
They are excellent at discovering affairs and divorce details months before the main stream media

Monica Lewinski*
John Edwards
Garth Brooks + Tricia Yearwood
Kim Kardasian + Kanye
Tim McCraw and Faith Hill

They also reported extensively about the drug use of Witney Houston as well as Farrah Fawcet’s cancer

Their sources* are paid, their journalists are well compensated and their material is cross checked

*usually celebrity’s maids, gardeners , chauffer, siblings and ‘friends’

Do not confuse the National Enquirer with People, Globe and other tabloids; a years subscription of the NE will clearly show the NE is right more than wrong.

In the extremely litigious USA, printing known slander is deserving of compen$ation, while (in theory) “the truth is an absolute defense.”

The last celebrity who successfully sued the NE was Carol Burnett.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Thank you, Clovis. I still want to take the entire editorial staff and owners of NE out into a Taco Bell parking lot somewhere and shoot them, but you're also correct. If Aaron Sorkin wants to do a modern show about journalism, it ought to be about a bunch of callous, inciteful, money-grubbing opportunists, without morality or scruples ... just in keeping with the modern institutional journalistic climate.