Mittwoch, Februar 27, 2008

The Closing of the Blogger Mind...

There are several kinds of web sites I never visit. Groupthink sites, largely: DailyKos, Free Republic, you know the kind. Where you have a huge community united by one or two simple themes - usually BDS and conspiracies - and where dissent is ruthlessly purged, either deliberately by censorship or haphazardly by peer abuse. While ad hominem abuse wasn't invented there, it has been refined to quite a high art by the fact that you can generate quite a bit of it on the Internet, and it apparently is something intensely enjoyed by the left in particular, albeit there are enough on the right to make it a wide-spread phenomenon.

I started using UseNet back in the mid 1980s, when I first got a PC. That PC had a NEC V20 inside, 640 Kb of memory (in 64kb chip form!), a Hercules graphic card (amber monitor...), as well as two floppies. One of the first things I bought, after a 32MB RLL drive from Seagate (which I still have...) was a 1200 baud internal modem. Ah, the hours I spent fine-tuning my modem parameter strings to get that last bit of operating efficiency...

I stopped reading UseNet in 2002. I had been fairly active on sci.econ and similar groups, but they had become so populated with wackos and one-note Johnnies - the Georgists on sci.econ were particularly absurd in their religious convictions and their ability to constantly reframe everything to show that George was the messiah and that you only needed to believe to understand the world - that the ratio of signal to noise had become so bad that noise was all you could see.

But there is this strange and perverse need I have to comment and make fun of idiots, and since I cannot become a journalist - I don't want to dumb down that much - I started to blog.

Now, I'd like to think that I've not been guilty of closing my mind: however, I do have principles that I live by, and you've got to give me a huge reason to change those, because they are a part of who I am. But that's not my real point.

Over at the Register, which I regularly read because I know many Bastard Operators From Hell and was one once myself, Andrew Orlowski has a great interview with Adam Curtis, which you can read in its entirety here.

High recommended.

Here are a few quick quotes:

We live in an age where we think we're completely individualistic, but actually, we're more conformist than we have been since the 1960s.

I mean, cry me a river about those poor people with obsessive compulsive disorders! That is such a low horizon of what human beings can achieve.

It's a time of great technical invention but it's a time of [artistic] stagnation.

TV now tells you what to feel.

It doesn't tell you what to think anymore. From EastEnders to reality format shows, you're on the emotional journey of people - and through the editing, it gently suggests to you what is the agreed form of feeling. "Hugs and Kisses", I call it.

If you look at the Soviet Union the 1980s under Brezhnev were called the years of stagnation. I would argue that we are living through our own years of stagnation.

Read it and think.

I get really annoyed by my daughters' TV habits: they love the shows that emote. I hate those shows, since they are completely and totally artificial. The girls know that they are being manipulated, but they also enjoy it too much.

Reality is so much better.

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