Posts from February 2004

I’m not alone

I’m not alone
: The very sane, civilized, nice Doc (as opposed to the insane, uncivilized, nasty me) agrees with me on Stern. And he is now deprived of his right to listen to Stern because he lives in a Clear Channel market. [Permalink not working]

Death to the consumer

Death to the consumer

: I was just thinking how wrong the word “consumer” is today — especially in the world of news, information, and media. For we don’t just consume anymore; it’s not a one-way world now. We produce. We report. We write. We edit. We improve. We amend. We remix. We comment. We argue. We correct. We distribute.

And then I saw Paul Ford say:

The word “consumers” makes me sad for this world. Whenever someone tries to convince you of advertising’s nobility, remember that word — the industry looks at you and sees not a human, but a gobbling creature with money to spend.

Kottke adds:

I can’t recall where I heard this, but my favorite definition of a consumer is “a wallet with a mouth”.

And then I saw Ernie Miller at Corante riff beautifully on the matter of consumption versus whatever it is we do now:

…We aren’t at the beginning of an era where we numbly accept content. The beginning of that era was when Edison first set stylus to wax cylinder, the beginning of the era of mechanical reproduction. It was an era of unchangeable physical format that could only be produced and distributed efficiently en masse. That era is dying.

After less than a century of dominance, I believe that people are waking up from the consumerist coma induced by the era of mechanical reproduction. What we are seeing is the birth of a new era, an era of empowerment, where people are both consumers and producers of content, a wonderful bricolage of both old and new. Blogs are one example (if you are reading this, you aren’t reading only what traditional publishers put out), but so is the Grey Album, Phantom Edit, machinima, and the whole modding community (among others).

We need a new word for what we are and what we do in media. I despise the word “prosumer.” It reminds me of “proactive,” an awkward, made-up, management-meeting word I refuse to dignify with use.

I call this world of weblogs, forums, wikis, videologs and all that “citizens’ media.” But what do we call the citizens, the former members of the audience, and what do we call what we do in this new, two-way media world?

Blog the government

Blog the government
: Tom Watson, the blogging MP in the UK, [as opposed to this Tom Watson] notes that daily press briefings at No. 10 are put up online in an unreadable form, so MySociety takes this info and reformats it into a blog, making it more readable and allowing the citizens to comment.

Forcing reform online

Forcing reform online
: A good round-up story on the role of online in Iran’s real reform movement by Luke Thomas at Salon. For those who’ve been following this story here, there’s not a lot very new and it all but ignores weblogs and the strong voices that are making a difference there. Nonetheless, it’s an overview of why the net matters to this (and thus every) democracy emerging from repression:

But the real story is that by blocking free and fair elections, clerical hard-liners have driven dissent online — lighting up thousands of alternate channels of communication for the Iranian people.

In Iran, the Internet is becoming the most successful route around oppression. It gives ordinary Iranians access to real news and information. They can express their opinions freely and communicate with their countrymen residing in nations all around the world.

Indeed, the more the government cracks down, the more Web sites dedicated to changing the system spring up. There are now dozens of Web sites providing news and views in the local Farsi language.

The dog ate my ballot

The dog ate my ballot
: Australia requires voters to vote. But some make excuses:

A woman claimed she was having group sex with 30 men in Nimbin, NSW, and could not get to a polling booth in Queensland on time to vote.

That is the all-time best excuse, according to electoral commissioner Bob Longland.

Coincidence?

hammorabi2.jpgCoincidence?
: Does that image look familiar? It looks quite like a storyboard for Mel Gibson’s Passion, perhaps? Nope. It’s part of the story of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein as told by Hammorabi in a long and illuminating post. I said below that I saw eerie similarity between the blood lust of Passion (and, as a commenter points out, Christian self-flagellation) and the self-flagellation we’ve seen in religious processions in Iraq.

See also Zeyad’s story of his amazement at seeing a procession of the faithful beating themselves on their backs in perfect rhythm. “The most comic incident was that my Christian friend got a bit dizzy and almost threw up while he was witnessing the scene. He was really freaked. ‘You’d better get used to it’ I told him later that night. ‘Expect a lot of this stuff every year from now on.”

Everywhere

Everywhere
: There’s a robust free weblog service in Romania. [via Blogalization]

Stern

Stern
: More from Maher’s show this week: Maher says he no longer does Stern’s show and doesn’t much like him but defends him against Clear Channel. Speaking from his own experience being yanked off a network, Maher, says, it seems it’s the people who don’t hear you who get you yanked. Christie Todd Whitman is on the panel and says she doesn’t listen to Stern but his endorsement did make a big difference in her election victory in New Jersey and she said Clear Channel will come to regret the decision economically.