“I’m offering a descriptive observation, not a positive normative judgment. Truth exists. Truth matters. Even if Alex Jones’ broadcasts are dreamscapes of spleen, they have real-world effects. Some people take them literally and act accordingly, as we’ve seen as the parents of murdered children tell their harrowing stories of the harassment Jones encourages. And a society where words are unaccountable, where language is just us finger-painting with our own shit, is ungovernable and unlivable.The point is that courts are ill-equipped to deal with people like Alex Jones, and people like Alex Jones are ill-equipped to deal with courts. Jones’ catastrophic testimony in his own defense illustrates this. Jones struggled to fit his bombast within the framework of the law, within the distinction between fact and opinion. It’s a bad fit because that’s not how he uses words. If Jones had been honest — an utterly foreign concept to him — he might have said ‘I just go out there and say what I feel.’ The notion that Sandy Hook was a hoax is a word-painting, a way of conveying Jones’ bottomless rage at politics and media and modernity, and he can no more defend it factually than Magritte could defend the logical necessity of a particular brushstroke.” Mr. Pope Hat
“At a breakneck pace — and with lots of cable-news-y crosstalk — the pre-launch event unfolded at Gallup headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning. There was some interesting stuff said about trust, objectivity, profit models, and social media policies! But, inevitably, it was Carlson’s inflammatory comments that caught much of the attention. Why was Carlson invited? To those who said the invite was to build pre-launch buzz for Semafor … well, I’m writing about the fiasco now, so congratulations. But if Semafor and Knight’s stated reasons for inviting him — to have a conversation about the future of news and get answers to ‘hard questions’ — were the actual benchmark, Carlson’s presence was a miserable failure. Smith kicked off the conversation with Carlson — who was phoning in from a clothes closet decorated with Ringling Bros. Circus and ‘Roosevelt Dead!’ posters — by asking him whether he thought ‘white people were superior to other races.’” Sarah Scire
“There may be no more hilariously inspired character on television than ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Colin Robinson—a bald, bespectacled, blandly dressed dullard who’s actually an ‘energy vampire’ that drains his victims by literally boring them to death. Living in a Staten Island house with three traditional ancient bloodsuckers—Kayvan Novak’s Nandor the Relentless, Matt Berry’s Laszlo Cravensworth, and Natasia Demetriou’s Nadja of Antipaxos—Robinson is the odd man out, a new-world loser who’s the sort of tiresomely annoying drone that’s instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever worked in an office. Monumentally lackluster, he’s a unique spin on the age-old vampiric archetype, a creature of consuming weariness whose every banal utterance is apt to put one to sleep, make one roll their eyes and groan, or flee in desperate search of alternate company.” Nick Schager
“The great consideration which ought to influence us in the use of the present moment is to arise from the effect which, as well or ill applied, it must have upon the time to come; for though its actual existence be inconceivably short, yet its effects are unlimited; and there is not the smallest point of time but may extend its consequences, either to our hurt or our advantage, through all eternity, and give us reason to remember it for ever, with anguish or exaltation.” Dr. Johnson
“If it doesn’t matter in 5 years it doesn’t matter.” – Cher
Let him rave on so that men will know him mad
Now that the news cycle had turned into an all new season of Storage Wars let’s take a minute and view a couple of things that happened recently that you might have missed.
The high and/or low point of the past 30 days (depending on where you stand) was the accidental discovery of how rhetoric works in modern American involving those who should know better. Case in point – The Knight Foundation’s funding of the Carlson Tucker fiasco listed above. For those of you not in the business it is a glaring example of what’s wrong with the business. Ask anybody who cranks out words for a living and they’ll tell you that what you call “bias” is your problem. The real and very serious problem is the Capital-J journalism types (CJJTs) who run the group think. Most of them work for newspapers and the rest are their NPR toadies. As far as they’re concerned newspapers are the only real source of information while all other forms of distributing the news are little more than ouija boards and Magic 8-Balls.
And how do you enter this elite?
In addition to working at a major daily paper you also have to be fully in touch with your inner mutton chops and frock coat which is how the whole Semafor fiasco rolled out. The august gents (yes gents) of the CJJTs, the editors, publishers, op-ed stalwarts, and media pundits had the bright idea that they could get to the bottom of this Carlson Tucker business. In this room the many compatriots, stout lads one and all, would once and for all suss out what this man had to say. Certainly a room full of such men, stout lads one and all, who have stood – man and boy- before the mast for lo these many years doing yeoman like work, would be able to find out once and for all if this fellow was half the bounder the wags say he is!
The highlight was when the guest of honor let this one go –
“100 percent of the people I’m mad at are well-educated white liberals. In my mind, the archetype of the person that I don’t like is a 38-year-old female white lawyer with a barren personal life.”
At this point you’re saying, “Somebody paid for that? Dude, the guy’s on tv five nights a week. You could have stayed home and watched.”
Saying the CJJTs brought, as the saying goes, a bag of marshmallows to a knife fight really doesn’t cover it, does it?
More like Carlson Tucker did a professional job – he showed up and did what he gets paid to do. What’s confusing is how the CJJTs, professionals one and all, seemed to miss that point.
What were they expecting?
Meanwhile a week or so later Judge Maya Guerra Gamble told Alex Jones, “This is not your show. Your beliefs do not make something true. You are under oath.”
In other words – don’t practice your profession in my courtroom, Mr. Jones.
Bluster has been the engine of American discourse for quite some time and in the past few weeks we’ve learned that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Like the assumed political beliefs of the voters of Kansas, bluster might not work as it’s supposed to these days. Earlier this week a study from Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Microsoft Research found this –
Finally, we found an imbalance between partisan TV news channels and the broader TV news environment. Our observations revealed that Americans are turning away from national TV news generally in substantial numbers — and crucially, this exodus is more from centrist news buckets than from left- or right-leaning ones. Within the remaining TV news audience, we found movement from broadcast news to cable news, trending toward MSNBC and Fox News. Together, these trends reveal a counterintuitive finding: Although the overall TV news audience is shrinking, the partisan TV news audience is growing. This means that the audience as a whole is in the process of being “distilled” — remaining TV viewers are growing increasingly partisan, and the partisan proportion of TV news consumers is on the rise.
So how you watch tv is like saying you are what your eat?
Hard to say, but bluster isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Rather bluster has shown up on a few doorsteps in unexpected ways as of late. Maybe nothing will come of it, but it has been interesting to see how bluster has played out in what’s normally the slow time for news.
Oh and one other point on the Jones trial regarding the texts – this from Wired:
“(Legal) Screwups are so common that there is even a special federal rule for it. Recent years have seen everyone from Apple to Facebook to federal agencies screw up high-stakes discovery disputes. When a document is accidentally handed over, you can actually ask for it back, and the other side has to pretend they never saw it. But a screwup on the scale of Alex Jones’ lawyers is a whole other matter. The memes about his lawyers’ staggering ineptitude are richly warranted. It’s one thing to hand over a text message that should have been held back—it’s another thing to hand over two years’ worth. And when lawyers screw up, they have only a limited window to fix the error. With Jones the messages are so damning that it’s unclear whether they were ever legally protected to begin with, because no matter what you see on TV, lawyers aren’t allowed to help clients lie or commit crimes. If a lawyer sends over an email where they are giving a client advice, they can often get it back, but when the email shows the client is committing a crime, like perjury, that’s a different matter.”
If Apple and Facebook can’t handle a secure transmission of digital information then we’re all screwed.
Last week in the dead of the night, a fashionista on the BBC said this was the most dreadful summer for fashion. Per her people did little more than put on their clean bucket hat when the left the house and called it good. Oddly, the next day I got an offer for a bucket hat that would have the name of my high school and mascot so that I could wear it to the fall football games. Two problem are attached to that. First, I don’t live anywhere near my hometown anymore and secondly an Unincorporated Rio Blanco County School Distrct R-5 K-12 Cattlemen is gonna take one big-ass bucket hat.
Not long there after another fixture of my teen years reared its ugly head.
Creem magazine is making a comeback.
God only knows.
I had no idea it went away and died a slow and undignified death similar to Penthouse and The National Lampoon. In my youth I avoided Creem as it always seemed to have a picture of KISS on the cover. By the time KISS arrived I found it to be little more than greasy kid stuff – Lou Reed’s Rock and Roll Animal with training wheels. The Perfesser says I let my surface impressions guide me in the wrong direction as the best reason to read Creem was Lester Bangs.
Being unaware of what he wrote I decided to spend $5 at the used book store on Lester Bang’s Greatest Hits rather than subscribe to the all-new Creem for $5/month. The books includes the review that got Bangs fired from Rolling Stone as publisher Jann Wenner thought Bangs had treated Canned Heat in an unusually cruel manner and portrayed the band in a negative light.
All packed into six tight paragraphs.
Overall Bangs comes off like an iconoclastic provocateur who went after every big name of the day save for Wet Willie. (No, Really.) In the mid-70s his take down of The Beatles, who said were little more than dried out husks only a few short years after breaking up, Bangs said, “But it’s okay. Because I would not indulge in those kind of ten-year-cycle Frank Sintra-Elvis Presley-The Beatles who’s-next-now’s theories that have been so popular lately.”
Forgot about that one didn’t you?
The every-ten-years thing was about as stupid as the classified ads in the college paper looking for people to gather signatures on a petition asking The Beatles to reform. In my teens there were no end of people looking at every new thing coming down the pike to see if The Next Beatles had arrived. By 1980 – we can only hope – they gave up.
Having said that – in our next installment I will explain how Curtis Blow was The Next Beatles.