Media Matters

I’m a black and white TV survivor. I remember the appearance of microwave ovens. They called them radar ranges. I worked in a record store when CDs first came out in those long boxes so they could stick up in an album bin.

I was a flaming youth.

I’m pretty grateful for the digital age, but I lament the millions of once potentially crazy people that are now full blown nuts. People can find purchase and solace for the most absurd shit they can possibly imagine on the internet.

Technology has lent itself to the random ability of individuals to create their own little world. Impenetrable bubbles of custom fit ideology and singular paranoia that are immune to reality. I doubt Ronald Reagan was a pedophile, but search online for “Reagan pedophile” and you may start to believe it.

It’s nothing new. It’s just more efficient. There’s all manner of seductive gossip dominating the interwebs. Used to be we had to generate all that gossip ourselves or at least maintain a group of like minded, three dimensional friends that did. And watch the same television as those friends and hate the same people.

Thanks to digital technology, there’s no need to even try anymore.  We can now fear the Sasquatch while living in rural Texas without ever discussing it with our actual neighbors.  What’s worse, we can send our neighbors links to our crap and get them sitting on the porch, armed to the teeth after midnight too.

The digital age coincides pretty much with our second guilded age but it’s not coincidental.  The last one was about a hundred years ago. Back when they had to burn a lot more calories to fool the stupid.  The stupid had to burn a lot more calories to stay stupid.  They had newspapers back then but barely any radio.  Back then people traveled for miles to be bullshitted.

Now it’s just too goddamn easy.  The alt right movement learned to make and use primitive tools.  Insipid memes and empty headed slogans. The neoliberal left barks and points but can seldom answer a serious question. All the goddamn whack jobs are way too happy and feeling way too tolerated and complacent.

The antidote is youth.  It always has been.  Nascent generations have always had the potential to inoculate the masses against our worse intentions and inclinations.  They have yet to suffer our burdens and hard earned biases. They enjoy the shortest path to objectivity.

They aren’t excited about either one of these loser candidates and it’s no wonder.  The millennials have always had the ability to extract the salient and germane from the steady flow of information that is suddenly a maelstrom.

I’ve always been anxious for the generations before mine to die off so the backward ass notions and elaborate prejudice they host are buried with them.  They’ve been drunk from the cocktail of right wing radio and cable news for decades.  Now I’m confronted with my own generation lapsing into the same twisted and archaic nonsense because that cocktail has been spiked with a search engine Mickey.  My generation’s aptitude for bigotry and hate has a new force multiplier.   The harmless and fresh faced from my high school now mean spirited and ugly.  Stupid racist, redneck hypocrites. Jackasses accusing everyone of blaming everyone while they languish and blame everyone.

They know the Google.  They don’t understand that the algorithms feed them every page they want to read when it comes to Michelle is a tranny or Obama is a communist Muslim Kenyan socialist homo.  Mine is the first generation to be humiliated by the digital age.

Because we don’t read but we like pictures with captions.

We are a cautionary tale.  The archetype of what’s wrong with instant gratification media.  Everybody else is doing it but we are the first generation to be fooled by it.  I would go as far as to posit that my generation is most culpable for pissing in the pool of online information.  We are smoking our own shit.

Someone once said that it is far easier to fool a man than it is to convince him he’s been fooled.

Drinks for my friends.

*Agnes Gooch again.  Yup.  Compare and contrast to my last blog with an acoustic song by the same band recorded and mixed in entirely different venues .  This one is all Studio C A&M Recording Studios with the power and punch of the best sounding rock and roll console I’ve ever worked on.  The little 32 input API.  The tracking room was a closet no bigger than your average apartment living room.  

My goal was the biggest goddamn wall of guitars you’ve ever heard.

We put the mix to bed on a Saturday night with the intention of putting up another mix Sunday morning.

Ordinarily if the band had any minor tweaks, they would phone them in and I’d run some alternates and they would show up late afternoon the next day for the middle of the next mix in progress. I arrived at the studio the next morning and band was already there.

They wanted it “louder”.

Up is louder.  I made it louder.*



5 Responses to “Media Matters”

  • G.a. Underwood:

    So THAT’S why cds came in that oversized packaging. At the time, it just seemed like a big waste of materials to compensate for the smaller size of the product.

    You said, “I’ve always been anxious for the generations before mine to die off so the backward ass notions and elaborate prejudice they host are buried with them.” Those are my thoughts as well every time an aging Republican congressman or a Pat Robertson-type (or a combo of these) who’s made a career from parasitizing off the public for as long as possible is in the news.

    Younger Fox-mocking folks had me filled with hope for the future for a while, which was supplemented by their increasing distrust of the major media.

    But —

    Watching videos of Donald Trump’s hate rallies and numerous interviews with attendees (whose average age appears to be around 40-ish) has shattered my hope. Their demographics and traits reveal that:

    * They’re male. (a given)
    * They’re white. (another given)
    * They’re poor.
    * They didn’t go to college.
    * They don’t think they have a political voice.
    * They want to wage an interior war against outsiders. (“The best predictor of Trump support isn’t income, education, or age… In SC, it was “authoritarianism … [and] a personal fear of terrorism” that best predicted Trump’s support across the state.” — from linked reference.)
    * They live in parts of the country with racial resentment.

    So they’re usually computer-literate and better prepared to seek additional information sources online. But they’re victims of some of the more pathetic school systems usually situated in our poorer areas. Most of their families, local friends and neighbors hold Trumpian values. If they’re following politics at all, they’re seeking a hero who will actually represent them without the political BS – a rarity within the DC beltway – but something they mistakenly believe they’ve found in Trump. They can find an infinite number of Breitbart-y websites to back up any wacko theories they’ve heard, and with their often poor grammar skills, they don’t recognize that sites with misspelled and misused words aren’t legitimate. They use social media, but are likely to accept memes at their face values. References take too much time and effort to search, compare and contrast. With minute attention spans that result from an instant gratification era, a good dose of narcissism, a disregard of the importance of facts and truth, and many who are recently disgusted by politics in general (and rightfully so), I’m worried.

    Thanks for that, Donald.

    He could’ve used his remarkable draw for wonderful purposes – gun sense, education, real government reform. Instead, it’s only utilized for his own greedy needs. Trump can’t possibly corrupt the thinking of millions, but he’s the ideal solution for those who want easy fixes that require no thinking. He’s the answer to the frustrated poor who’ve heard years of politicians’ empty promises and threats, their telling people to be afraid because terrorists are hiding under every rock, to be resentful of anyone darker than themselves and to cling tightly to their precious guns because Obama’s coming. Republicans built them.

    But I’m glad you’ve kept hope, Michael, I truly am. Maybe you’ve got enough for both of us.

  • Lacie Harmon:

    OMG, this is the best piece you’ve written yet. This is thoroughly, profoundly true (except for the part about Hillary’s being a “loser”, but, even there, I understand why you and much of the younger generation feel that way). Telegraph this instantaneously to every major publication. Nail this notice to every tree . . . oh, wait . . .

  • Cathy Rouse Page:

    Excellent article, Michael. I was about 4 or 5, when my parents bought their first TV. A large black & white console. I can remember looking for the door that the little people used to get in and out.

    Technology is beneficial, but, it will only take us so far. Mainstream media, the press, what used to be called the forth estate of government, barely exists anymore. We are easily distracted by meaningless chatter, and the results is that no one in a position of power and authority is speaking out about the seriousness of multiple issues we are facing.

    I don’t know who to credit as having written this, but, we didn’t inherited the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children and grandchildren.

  • Wow … more food for thought … imagine that … you rock, my friend, and you are opening up my eyes in a big way … thanks for sticking with me …

  • Jim Callahan:

    Good to see you again, Michael. I must REPEAT the condensed version of your monograph 20 times a day. Your argument is why I don’t usually want to even look at memes or videos-I want to read it through the lens of who, what, where, why, and when-analytical tools I learned in HS, and honed through law school, and after. Lately, I’ve thought about your dying-off mantra as applied to OUR generation-boomers-because I see such hope and inclusiveness in my daughter and her personal and professional friends. They may truly be the first post-racial, post-Trumpinsanity generation-THANK GOD!

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