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josef k.
26-01-2009, 05:46 AM
Or, is the internet learning? Over the last ten or so years, the internet has increasingly become part of our lives, the lives of our generation. It has clearly altered our minds in a complex way; it has made more information available to us than ever before. I wonder if the effect which it is having is educational, or the opposite.

It stands to reason that as we deal with the internet more, and kinds of interactions it allows for (and the limits it imposes) we become more familiar with them and learn to navigate them better. But the internet is changing as well, and by forces with agendas other than human evolution...

zhao
26-01-2009, 06:20 AM
saw a talk on that lecture site forecasting the future of "web 3.0", and how connectivity will spread to basically every part of our lives -- and not just on screen -- as more and more things we use will have little creepy electronic brains that can talk to each other. rather scary actually... in terms of the erosion of human bonds as well as surveilance/marketing...

josef k.
26-01-2009, 07:46 AM
which lecture site? can you link to it?

zhao
26-01-2009, 08:44 AM
shit man... cant for the life of me remember that site... you know, well designed, big san serif logo... easy to remember name (ha)... has a lot of experts talking about a huge variety of subjects... ive seen some good stuff on there.

but a search revealed some articles about the future of the internet that looked interesting... people have some interesting ideas of what 3.0 might be, but i remember a point made in that lecture i can not find is that it is difficult to imagine what 3.0 is before it takes place: like most of us could not have imagined all this "social bookmarking" shit before it happened... but nonetheless he went on to postulate some kind of convergence of "virtual" and "real" realities, and everything more integrated.

josef k.
26-01-2009, 09:06 AM
ted?

Your man sounds a bit like Henry Jenkins...

zhao
26-01-2009, 09:13 AM
ted! yes.

its the first one of these 2:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jeff_bezos_on_the_next_web_innovation.html

josef k.
26-01-2009, 10:19 AM
It occurs to me that when television was first invented it must have seen as this incredible, utopian, educating thing that would lead to mass intelligence, an informed populace, a much more radical democracy, and so on. Like the internet, basically. But that this didn't really work out so well.

Sick Boy
26-01-2009, 03:35 PM
It occurs to me that when television was first invented it must have seen as this incredible, utopian, educating thing that would lead to mass intelligence, an informed populace, a much more radical democracy, and so on. Like the internet, basically. But that this didn't really work out so well.

Not quite. The internet has all but destroyed my attention span.

Agent Nucleus
26-01-2009, 04:01 PM
it probably learns or connects to itself the way a syntagmatic chain does. i kind of wonder if it is a hot or cool medium - probably cool because it demands interactivity and immediate involvement. then again should McLuhan's opinion even matter?


As the book progresses Theall becomes more and more irritated by McLuhan who has, apparently, misunderstood, misquoted, mutilated or misapplied nearly every author or idea he quotes or discusses. Moreover he also misunderstands TV and the other electric media, is incapable of a sophisticated dialectical approach, has no theory of progress, moves with the times in a superficial way, has a bankrupt sociology, is unable to appreciate the centrality of man, ignores dance and drama and merely dabbles in Freud and Jung. He is an academic huckster, a demi-clown, a poet-manque, etc.... Finally McLuhan commits the ultimate intellectual gaffe by quoting Heisenberg more frequently than Husserl. A partial explanation of these blunders and inadequacies is advanced by Theall when he points out that McLuhan is, after all, "a typical Canadian humanist of his particular point in time." (In sum, McLuhan's real problem is that he doesn't understand Theall.)

i think McLuhan may have slept with Theall's wife. i'm not making this up. it's kind of sad as i see them as the most important academics from north america in the 20th century.

Internet = merz construct???: http://www.csulb.edu/~karenk/20thcwebsite/438final/ah438fin-Info.00025.html

bassnation
26-01-2009, 04:46 PM
Not quite. The internet has all but destroyed my attention span.

its done my multi-tasking and semiotic surfing skills a world of good though. we are all changing into something new. i really don't think this is an exagerration as far as the net is concerned.

Guybrush
26-01-2009, 10:14 PM
Funny thing this thread should pop up now, what with Blissblog’s recent linking to Michelangelo Matos’ linking to Walter Kirn’s most excellent piece in the Atlantic (or possibly some other convoluted way around ...). Anyway, it’s called “The Autumn of the Multitaskers,” (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200711/multitasking) and all you ADD apologists would do well giving it a read.

Mr. Tea
26-01-2009, 11:01 PM
Anyway, it’s called “The Autumn of the Multitaskers,” (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200711/multitasking) and all you ADD apologists would do well giving it a read.

This reminds me of a (patently somewhat whimsical, but still cool) Robert Heinlein quote that seems to be about being a master of all trades and jack of none:


A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Suffice to say there's still one or two on that list for me to tick off!

nomadthethird
26-01-2009, 11:26 PM
i think mcluhan may have slept with theall's wife. I'm not making this up.

lol

bassnation
27-01-2009, 10:48 AM
This is the great irony of multitasking—that its overall goal, getting more done in less time, turns out to be chimerical. In reality, multitasking slows our thinking. It forces us to chop competing tasks into pieces, set them in different piles, then hunt for the pile we’re interested in, pick up its pieces, review the rules for putting the pieces back together, and then attempt to do so, often quite awkwardly. (Fact, and one more reason the bubble will pop: A brain attempting to perform two tasks simultaneously will, because of all the back-and-forth stress, exhibit a substantial lag in information processing.)

this is a fairly pedestrian misunderstanding of multi-tasking though. ok, we are not computers, but the metaphor of multi-threaded processing applies here. multi-tasking does not just present the illusion of more getting done quicker. frequently some tasks require period of waiting for completion (in computing this is known as blocking). the whole point of multitasking is that other things happen while this waiting goes on. its not just jumping from task to task, blithely trying to timeslice cos that doesn't work, for computers or for the human brain. when i'm working, or surfing, or whatever, i want to use my time productively. this involves managing queues of work, some of which move more quickly than others.

the author is right about the administrative overhead required to manage multiple tasks though - there's definitely a limit in the number of tasks before a slowdown.

besides, my brain has always worked that way - jumping from topic to topic. frequently things don't get completed, sure, but some of the greatest minds in information technology work like that (for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Nelson, the man who's work on the xanadu hypertext system pre-dated the web and inspired tim berners lee). their gains, for all of us, seem pretty realistic to me.

bassnation
27-01-2009, 03:35 PM
besides, my brain has always worked that way - jumping from topic to topic. frequently things don't get completed, sure, but some of the greatest minds in information technology work like that (for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Nelson, the man who's work on the xanadu hypertext system pre-dated the web and inspired tim berners lee). their gains, for all of us, seem pretty realistic to me.

oh and i'd just like to add that nelson railed against the attitudes in that article, the linearity, the conventional approach to progress and knowledge. the whole inspiration behind xanadu was to create a knowledge system that would make human failures of memory redundant, nothing would ever be forgotten again, as wired.com recounts:


Nelson's life is so full of unfinished projects that it might fairly be said to be built from them, much as lace is built from holes or Philip Johnson's glass house from windows. He has written an unfinished autobiography and produced an unfinished film. His houseboat in the San Francisco Bay is full of incomplete notes and unsigned letters. He founded a video-editing business, but has not yet seen it through to profitability. He has been at work on an overarching philosophy of everything called General Schematics, but the text remains in thousands of pieces, scattered on sheets of paper, file cards, and sticky notes.

All the children of Nelson's imagination do not have equal stature. Each is derived from the one, great, unfinished project for which he has finally achieved the fame he has pursued since his boyhood. During one of our many conversations, Nelson explained that he never succeeded as a filmmaker or businessman because "the first step to anything I ever wanted to do was Xanadu."...

As with everything else in his life, Nelson's conversation is controlled by his aversion to finishing. There are no full stops in the flow of his speech, only commas, dashes, ellipses.

"And I remember thinking about the particles in the water, but I thought of them as places, and how they would separate around my fingers and reconnect on the other side, and how this constant separation and reconnection and perpetual change into new arrangements was - "

Suddenly, the monologue stopped, and Nelson reached into his cache of equipment. He retrieved his own cassette recorder, tested it, and turned the microphone toward himself. "OK, I'm at The Spinnaker," he continued, "talking about the old hand-in-the-water story and how the sense of the separation and reconnection of the places in the water made such an impression on me, and how all the relationships were constantly changing - and you could hardly hold onto it - you could, you could not, you couldn't really visualize or express the myriad of relationships."

Xanadu, the ultimate hypertext information system, began as Ted Nelson's quest for personal liberation. The inventor's hummingbird mind and his inability to keep track of anything left him relatively helpless. He wanted to be a writer and a filmmaker, but he needed a way to avoid getting lost in the frantic multiplication of associations his brain produced. His great inspiration was to imagine a computer program that could keep track of all the divergent paths of his thinking and writing. To this concept of branching, nonlinear writing, Nelson gave the name hypertext.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive//3.06/xanadu.html?person=ted_nelson&topic_set=wiredpeople

this man has turned his ADD and multi-tasking mania into a grand project that every single one of us here is living in, for good or for bad. leave kirn his time to think - personally i'd prefer to follow nelsons unstructured dream and see where it takes humanity. it seems so much more vital to me.

josef k.
27-01-2009, 03:54 PM
"nothing would ever be forgotten again"

This is very important - one of the main innovations of the web has to been to make forgetting much harder. People from your past contact you - or you are led by your own desires to contact them. Moving on is more difficult - or at seems to be (it is difficult to say without an index to compare against, and how could there ever be).

Everything is much closer together, more crowded, more intimate. This seems to me to make manners and politeness much more important - like on a crowded Japanese subway train where you are compelled to studiously ignore the proximity of others. The other interesting element here is "snark" - which I don't think really existed before the internet in quite the same way.

gyto
27-01-2009, 05:35 PM
its done my multi-tasking and semiotic surfing skills a world of good though. we are all changing into something new. i really don't think this is an exagerration as far as the net is concerned.

ive definately outsourced most of my memory to the internet. no need to actually retain any info when its a google search away :(

IdleRich
27-01-2009, 05:56 PM
"ive definately outsourced most of my memory to the internet. no need to actually retain any info when its a google search away"
True. And how many phone numbers do most people remember? Not many I reckon.


"Everything is much closer together, more crowded, more intimate."
I'm not so sure about "everything", I think that overall there are lots of (call them) worlds that are at different angles to each other and, as it were, slice through each other but, in the main, people that I have contact with on dissensus have no contact with, say, my next door neighboor as they live in totally different worlds which only meet at the point which is me. On the other hand, if you are in several of the same worlds as someone (maybe by that I mean that you both are the intersections of a number of worlds) then, yes, you will be more crowded up with them.


ive definately outsourced most of my memory to the internet. no need to actually retain any info when its a google search away
What's snark, I thought it was just taking the piss in an unfriendly way?

nomadthethird
27-01-2009, 07:42 PM
besides, my brain has always worked that way - jumping from topic to topic. frequently things don't get completed, sure, but some of the greatest minds in information technology work like that (for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Nelson, the man who's work on the xanadu hypertext system pre-dated the web and inspired tim berners lee). their gains, for all of us, seem pretty realistic to me.

Bassnation, there are psychiatrists who really, really hate the way ADD has been hyperpathologized, and want to change the name outright. Partially this is because they don't believe that the real "problem" underlying ADD is an attention "deficit" at all, but a surplus. People with ADD actually are able to spend three or four times as long as others either multi-tasking, or doing certain repetitive tasks that other people find too annoying or labor intensive. They're usually people who should be working with their hands/brains in some sort of combination rather than sitting at a desk checking emails all day like most people do at their jobs these days.

josef k.
28-01-2009, 05:18 AM
"What's snark, I thought it was just taking the piss in an unfriendly way?"

"Snark" is the thing that New Yorker film critic David Denby thinks is destroying our conversation, way of life, etc... He wrote a recent book on this theme. I haven't read the book, so can't comment on the validity of his thesis. But it is quite an interesting idea - the notion that a certain way of speaking, grown in the digital hothouse, can spread to epidemic proportions, and become a real menace.

nomadthethird
28-01-2009, 07:56 AM
Americans were sarcastic long before the internet came around.

I do agree with the whole bit about anonymous people being able to speak from the imaginary "center", though...

This can have disastrous results e.g. that woman who logged onto AIM anonymously and goaded a teen girl into hanging herself.

But tragedy strikes without the internet, too. In the past three months two teen girls in the town I'm in have hanged themselves from trees. One had an infant daughter.

I get annoyed with the cottage industry that's formed around blaming the internet for all the world's problems, too.

IdleRich
28-01-2009, 12:06 PM
"Snark" is the thing that New Yorker film critic David Denby thinks is destroying our conversation, way of life, etc... He wrote a recent book on this theme. I haven't read the book, so can't comment on the validity of his thesis. But it is quite an interesting idea - the notion that a certain way of speaking, grown in the digital hothouse, can spread to epidemic proportions, and become a real menace.
I still don't get what it is though. Or at least what differentiates it from what I said before and how it is specific to the internet. Seems I'm not alone in being confused as well, I looked up the book on Amazon and this is from the first reader review:


About halfway through David Denby's Snark, I realized that I still didn't know exactly what Denby meant by snark. Before I started the book, I was confident that I understood what snark was: a sarcastic, possibly clever, comment, a smart aleck remark. But after reading Denby's numerous examples on what is and isn't snark, I realized that he thought it was something more than that. But what?
Denby gives many examples of what snark is and what it is not. This should be helpful, but he contradicts himself time after time.

josef k.
28-01-2009, 12:14 PM
"Or at least what differentiates it from what I said before and how it is specific to the internet. Seems I'm not alone in being confused as well, I looked up the book on Amazon and this is from the first reader review:"

What you said before was right - I think. But Denby (UB-) basically thinks that it is out of control. It has swelled to monstrous proportions. It is unleashed. On the loose. Rampant. Because of the internet. Essentially.

Whether or not this is true, I think it is fair to say that different mediums change the way that people communicate. Another example - the soundbite. Or a negative one, the very long, erudite speech. It strikes me that - maybe - people are not as good at talking as they used to be. Not as good as listening. Not as good as conversing generally. Possibly. The lost art of conversation?

Grievous Angel
28-01-2009, 02:06 PM
You can't cook, plant trees or make love on the internet.

IdleRich
28-01-2009, 02:14 PM
"What you said before was right - I think. But Denby (UB-) basically thinks that it is out of control. It has swelled to monstrous proportions. It is unleashed. On the loose. Rampant. Because of the internet. Essentially."
OK, I understand the idea now. I find it hard to say whether it's true or not. It's so difficult to step back and take a view of a big picture over time when you are part of that society and of that time.


"Whether or not this is true, I think it is fair to say that different mediums change the way that people communicate. Another example - the soundbite."
Of course. But I also think that some people are resistant to any change and see the changes that the internet brings as definitely for the worse.


"You can't cook, plant trees or make love on the internet."
Yet.

Mr. Tea
28-01-2009, 02:16 PM
You can't cook, plant trees or make love on the internet.

But you can use it to watch videos of other people doing those things. Probably all at once, if you know where to look.

bassnation
28-01-2009, 02:26 PM
You can't cook, plant trees or make love on the internet.

sure, but my current girlfriend found me on facebook after not seeing each other for 15 years or more.

i can whet my appetite for learning to cook on the many excellent resources on the net.

and as for making love... erm, well i suppose its good for solo performances.

i don't understand why people view it in such binary terms - real life OR internet, thats a false dichotomy in my opinion. a significant chunk of my life has been spent communicating with people on the net. i don't view it as time wasted at all.

bassnation
28-01-2009, 02:30 PM
"Or at least what differentiates it from what I said before and how it is specific to the internet. Seems I'm not alone in being confused as well, I looked up the book on Amazon and this is from the first reader review:"

What you said before was right - I think. But Denby (UB-) basically thinks that it is out of control. It has swelled to monstrous proportions. It is unleashed. On the loose. Rampant. Because of the internet. Essentially.

Whether or not this is true, I think it is fair to say that different mediums change the way that people communicate. Another example - the soundbite. Or a negative one, the very long, erudite speech. It strikes me that - maybe - people are not as good at talking as they used to be. Not as good as listening. Not as good as conversing generally. Possibly. The lost art of conversation?

denby's view is completely at odds with the british sense of humour imo. dry and drier still, designed to puncture pomposity. the idea that this somehow prevents creativity is utter nonsense. yet another proponent of old media whining about their loss of mindshare.

Mr. Tea
28-01-2009, 02:36 PM
i don't understand why people view it in such binary terms - real life OR internet, thats a false dichotomy in my opinion. a significant chunk of my life has been spent communicating with people on the net. i don't view it as time wasted at all.

There was an utterly retarded anti-FaceBook rant in the Guardian a while ago, by some guy who obviously spends EVERY WAKING MINUTE doing something important, profitable or pleasurable that those other poor saps are too busy wasting their lives on social networking sites to ever get round to. Because clearly, it's solely the fact that I'm posting on an internet forum that's preventing me from skiing in the French Alps, having a deep'n'meaningful conversation with a relative or discovering a cure for Aids right now.

bassnation
28-01-2009, 02:41 PM
There was an utterly retarded anti-FaceBook rant in the Guardian a while ago, by some guy who obviously spends EVERY WAKING MINUTE doing something important, profitable or pleasurable that those other poor saps are too busy wasting their lives on social networking sites to ever get round to. Because clearly, it's solely the fact that I'm posting on an internet forum that's preventing me from skiing in the French Alps, having a deep'n'meaningful conversation with a relative or discovering a cure for Aids right now.

it IS real life. all of it, every waking moment, on the net or not. my currency is ideas and empathy, the fact i can have this by connecting to a global network that touches most of humanity i think is the most wonderful thing. it only serves to enhance the time i am away from the computer by allowing me to build many real world relationships that have stood the test of time.

as you point out, its just utterly fucking lazy journalism that makes me yawn and fire up my browser instead.

josef k.
28-01-2009, 04:30 PM
But I also think that some people are resistant to any change and see the changes that the internet brings as definitely for the worse.

This is definitely right - I mean, it isn't really the kind of thing you could judge as "good" or "bad" since, well, the outcome I guess isn't clear yet. But I think its important to try and figure out what some of the emerging trends on the internet are, because some of these might be harmful, and some of them might be beneficial, and it would be useful to figure out which are which.


denby's view is completely at odds with the british sense of humour imo. dry and drier still, designed to puncture pomposity. the idea that this somehow prevents creativity is utter nonsense. yet another proponent of old media whining about their loss of mindshare.

Denby doesn't really mean this kind of humor, I think. He is more talking about the more mean-spirited, less rapier-like stuff, such as you sometimes come across on Gawker in its darker moments, or the board "b". i refer interested parties to this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html

Incidentally, as a side - as a New Yorker critic, Denby is relatively safe from the digital flood. The elite, specialist publications are generally okay - its the middle men like the newspapers who are being squeezed.

nomadthethird
28-01-2009, 07:56 PM
I still don't get what it is though. Or at least what differentiates it from what I said before and how it is specific to the internet. Seems I'm not alone in being confused as well, I looked up the book on Amazon and this is from the first reader review:

If you want to know what snark is, it's basically defined by Gawker and blogs like that.

Agent Nucleus
28-01-2009, 08:31 PM
"What's snark, I thought it was just taking the piss in an unfriendly way?"

"Snark" is the thing that New Yorker film critic David Denby thinks is destroying our conversation, way of life, etc... He wrote a recent book on this theme. I haven't read the book, so can't comment on the validity of his thesis. But it is quite an interesting idea - the notion that a certain way of speaking, grown in the digital hothouse, can spread to epidemic proportions, and become a real menace.

i've never heard of this but it seems intuitively true. most advertising/media does have a cynical or smug tone to it. everything is automatically parodied, etc.

the internet raises the question of whether all social interaction is automatically mediated. it doesn't seem accurate to say the internet is real, or has anything to do with reality. it is a bad representation of reality on a different scale, and filtered through artificial code. but i agree that p2p networking is a form of social interaction, even if it is unnatural in a manner of speaking.

i think it's growing. maybe not learning but definitely growing, and getting more complex: http://books.google.com/books?id=lZcSpRJz0dgC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0

nomadthethird
28-01-2009, 08:43 PM
You can't cook, plant trees or make love on the internet.


Yet.

I suppose it's only us Media Studies students who have heard of teledildonics (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/276063/teledildonics_sex_toys_ipods_and_cell.html?cat=15) .

bassnation
28-01-2009, 09:13 PM
Denby doesn't really mean this kind of humor, I think. He is more talking about the more mean-spirited, less rapier-like stuff, such as you sometimes come across on Gawker in its darker moments, or the board "b". i refer interested parties to this article:

conversely though, trolling can serve a purpose and it can be funny. not to defend /b/ whos actions were reprehensible - i'm thinking more of the saga with that guy from skins writing vacuous shite about his gap year travels in thailand and then getting savaged in a ludicrously over the top and very funny way on the guardian comment boards. that is a good example of pisstaking in a positive way - puncturing the bubble of moneyed-media people woefully out of touch with the world at large and the privileged their class and money gives them.

i've even trolled myself, sometimes playing devils advocate, sometimes just to highlight peoples credulousness or venality. so i'd still take issue with what denby has to say. it strikes me much as those laughable guardian articles from the likes of toynbee berating the people who contribute comments under her articles, and then committing the cardinal sin of not deeming to actually join the discussion - if you want to talk at people, don't be surprised when they turn nasty on you.

maybe this is all about shifting power.

vimothy
29-01-2009, 01:32 AM
"nothing would ever be forgotten again".

And yet the internet also promises anonymity. It seems to me there is a crucial tension here between the promise of anonymity and the crush of memory (the past) and identity (the present). The issues of pretentious crap and trolling are probably closely related.

vimothy
29-01-2009, 01:37 AM
denby's view is completely at odds with the british sense of humour imo. dry and drier still, designed to puncture pomposity. the idea that this somehow prevents creativity is utter nonsense. yet another proponent of old media whining about their loss of mindshare.

Agree re humour, but everyone is very opinionated on the internet, don't you think?

bassnation
29-01-2009, 01:41 AM
Agree re humour, but everyone is very opinionated on the internet, don't you think?

people are opinionated full stop, the internet just gives them the means to broadcast it much more widely. whats so great about objectivity, unless your the BBC anyway?

vimothy
29-01-2009, 01:46 AM
Not great, just different. It seems to me that the social costs of discord are less on the internet. If you're a dick to someone on the bus, for instance, you still have to sit there next to them, or try to get a different seat. On the internet, you just navigate to another page.

vimothy
29-01-2009, 01:49 AM
not to defend /b/ whos actions were reprehensible

/b/ is mostly spam (occasionally pure id), in my limited experience, but ED is much crueller and much funnier.

Mr. Tea
29-01-2009, 03:29 AM
I suppose it's only us Media Studies students who have heard of teledildonics (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/276063/teledildonics_sex_toys_ipods_and_cell.html?cat=15) .

No, I've heard of it too. Quite a lot of people watched late-night Channel 4 documentaries twelve years ago, after all.

josef k.
29-01-2009, 07:15 AM
it strikes me much as those laughable guardian articles from the likes of toynbee berating the people who contribute comments under her articles, and then committing the cardinal sin of not deeming to actually join the discussion - if you want to talk at people, don't be surprised when they turn nasty on you.

The relationship between the Guardian and their comment boxes is fascinating. I mean the depths of hatred for the Guardian which people - including their own readers - feel. I feel it too, often. But then I've also been known to shout at TV sets.

I think The Guardian has this problem especially because they're always talking down to people. They have a very smug, self-righteous tone, and this provokes fury. The interesting question is whether this fury will persuade them to try and modulate their condescenion. Which would be an interesting adaptation, an example of learning, and a sort of political shift.

bassnation
29-01-2009, 10:25 AM
The relationship between the Guardian and their comment boxes is fascinating. I mean the depths of hatred for the Guardian which people - including their own readers - feel. I feel it too, often. But then I've also been known to shout at TV sets.

I think The Guardian has this problem especially because they're always talking down to people. They have a very smug, self-righteous tone, and this provokes fury. The interesting question is whether this fury will persuade them to try and modulate their condescenion. Which would be an interesting adaptation, an example of learning, and a sort of political shift.

i've got a love / hate relationship with the paper too. the thing that most irks me about it is the barely veiled fear and hatred for the working class, exhibited in their articles about the people protesting against the lack of a publicly open paedophile register in portsmouth. i don't agree with the protestors cause to be honest, but the way the guardian wrote about them (snarky observations about council estate life) made me feel sick to the stomach. for a supposedly left-leaning paper that "cares" about the poor, they don't know much about them even though they want to save them. as in politics, newspapers may be right or left, but they are two sides of the same elite coin as far as i'm concerned. where is the real authentic voice of the working class to be found these days? don't even think about suggesting the morning star / socialist workers paper or the now defunct joke of a paper, class war!

the presumption that all their readers are from the same background as them also sticks in my throat. but i keep coming back to it because i agree with their bias, most of the time.

josef k.
29-01-2009, 11:04 AM
where is the real authentic voice of the working class to be found these days?

Is there such a voice? Was there ever one?

bassnation
29-01-2009, 11:44 AM
Is there such a voice? Was there ever one?

yes, in the form of organised labour - unions, and even the early beginnings of the labour party when they still represented those communities. now though - i don't think so, which is one of the reasons why that vacuum was filled by the far right. not too sure about media though.

vimothy
29-01-2009, 11:48 AM
Hmm -- I'm rather skeptical. Isn't there a political economy of labour unions? And how are labour unions more authentic than whatever we've got now?

bassnation
29-01-2009, 01:10 PM
Hmm -- I'm rather skeptical. Isn't there a political economy of labour unions? And how are labour unions more authentic than whatever we've got now?

wandering way off topic now lol, but whatever unions have become, historically they've been the only way for working communities to avoid exploitation. and a union is just that - a collective of workers. what is more authentic than people speaking for themselves? if you can think of something more representative than that, i'd be very interested!

of course wherever there is money there will be corruption - but if unions weren't representative, or a danger to the status quo as corporations would like, situations such as assassinations of workers attempting to start unions in the likes of coca cola plants in guatemala by death squads wouldn't have happened.

we had / are having to literally fight and die to for the right and i don't take that lightly at all.

josef k.
29-01-2009, 04:50 PM
Three points:

1) Unions often don't include the most exploited workers - i.e. immigrants - and sometimes they are very hostile to them.

2) Whenever unions actually do form, they entrench, bureaucratize, and begin pursuing their own interests. This happens on a larger scale as well - for instance, in the Soviet Union, where the high-ranking officials had their own special shops, privileges, and so on, in the name of the authentic voice of the proletariat.

3) Workers in a factory have a common interest, and the idea of a union is to express that interest. But this idea of authenticity seems a bit tricky, since it suggests, as its reverse, inauthenticity, and so seem to involve someone out of it somehow deciding? I suspect that you only get "authentic" voices once they've stopped being authentic. Like, nobody is as Italian in Italy as they are in Little Italy New York...

Ness Rowlah
29-01-2009, 08:32 PM
yes, in the form of organised labour - unions, and even the early beginnings of the labour party when they still represented those communities. now though - i don't think so, which is one of the reasons why that vacuum was filled by the far right. not too sure about media though.

Maybe Frank Field?
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5561728.ece

nomadthethird
29-01-2009, 11:03 PM
No, I've heard of it too. Quite a lot of people watched late-night Channel 4 documentaries twelve years ago, after all.

Never really took off, did it?

What the hell kind of weird TV do you guys get over there?

Channel 4 had something about teledildonics 12 years ago? That's the sort of thing that would be on like channel 668 at 4AM on a Saturday here and probably never seen by anyone.

vimothy
30-01-2009, 11:26 AM
Whatever it was, it can hardly be worse than Hollyoaks.

Mr. Tea
30-01-2009, 12:28 PM
Whatever it was, it can hardly be worse than Hollyoaks.

Hehehe.

Nomad, I couldn't swear it was twelve years ago, but it was certainly a while back. As far as I remember I was still in high school. It was probably on a programme with some geek breathlessly talking about how it was going to "revolutionise the way we have sex" or something like that (presumably to enable people like him to actually get some, I would imagine). It chimes in quite nicely with the legendary 'Imipolex G' plastic in Gravity's Rainbow.

bassnation
30-01-2009, 03:28 PM
Three points:

1) Unions often don't include the most exploited workers - i.e. immigrants - and sometimes they are very hostile to them.

yes, accepted. but this raises much larger questions (that i suspect are addressed in another thread discussing the protests this week) over globalisation, nationalism and capitalism as a whole. my question to you is why shouldn't unions protest cheap labour being shipped in by companies who won't be cutting directors salaries or shareholders dividends?


2) Whenever unions actually do form, they entrench, bureaucratize, and begin pursuing their own interests. This happens on a larger scale as well - for instance, in the Soviet Union, where the high-ranking officials had their own special shops, privileges, and so on, in the name of the authentic voice of the proletariat.

power corrupts, basically.


3) Workers in a factory have a common interest, and the idea of a union is to express that interest. But this idea of authenticity seems a bit tricky, since it suggests, as its reverse, inauthenticity, and so seem to involve someone out of it somehow deciding? I suspect that you only get "authentic" voices once they've stopped being authentic. Like, nobody is as Italian in Italy as they are in Little Italy New York...

i'm not sure i get this one!

however valid all these points are, the alternatives are much, much worse. look at walmart, look at those places where its illegal to start a union. its a pity there isn't more class conciousness, not less.

scottdisco
30-01-2009, 03:32 PM
yes, accepted. but this raises much larger questions (that i suspect are addressed in another thread discussing the protests this week) over globalisation, nationalism and capitalism as a whole. my question to you is why shouldn't unions protest cheap labour being shipped in by companies who won't be cutting directors salaries or shareholders dividends?

a fair point.

it would be a laudably supple union that could do that and also publicize among their members and the wider community a message of worker solidarity with non-citizen economic migrants.

vimothy
30-01-2009, 03:40 PM
My girlfriend watches Hollyoaks every fucking day.

scottdisco
30-01-2009, 03:45 PM
tell your mrs my oldest friend got to interview Sarah Jayne Dunn the other day. well he said Mandy from Hollyoaks.

(i googled her. apparently she was in the last Batman for three seconds - non-speaking - screen-time, as a moll. i know who Sarah Jayne Dunn is, just not that she was called Mandy whilst in Hollyoaks! i watched it the first year or two.)

bassnation
30-01-2009, 03:48 PM
a fair point.

it would be a laudably supple union that could do that and also publicize among their members and the wider community a message of worker solidarity with non-citizen economic migrants.

this is something that has torn the left asunder basically. international socialism was about supporting the oppressed, wherever they may be. but what happens when local issues conflict with international aims?

some say that this is another contributory reason of the collapse of the left in working class communities. people perceive, rightly or wrongly, that the left cares more for the oppressed in other countries and has abandoned them accordingly.

droid
30-01-2009, 04:41 PM
My girlfriend watches Hollyoaks every fucking day.

Probably the only time Ill ever say this to you - but you have my deepest sympathies... :cool:

vimothy
30-01-2009, 04:43 PM
:cool:

vimothy
30-01-2009, 04:44 PM
The problem with the left is exactly the same as the problem with the right -- non of this is reducible to such a simple dichotomy.