Saturday, October 20, 2007

listening to kcrw's 'left, right & center' from last week, they mentioned how reactionary the blogosphere is. this reminded me of a great article i read in wired magazine, from the early nineties, by a guy named paul saffo. he mentioned that the whole idea of objectivity in the press was born from newspaper publishers. wanting to increase readership they tried to print news that would appeal to everyone without pissing off anyone. in other words, there should be no point of view. no real assertion that this is what a journalist thinks the truth is; even though things might appear differently. now, there is an objectivity that we should aspire to and that is that we should, on a personal level, aspire to remove any bias or predjudice, anything that will cloud our judgement as we look for the truth of a situation. but after doing this to the best of our ability, ultimately, we must make a call. we must put all the information together and say, "this is what i think is going on". that means not always presenting both sides of a given issue equally. i constantly hear reports that misrepresent the facts of a situation by presenting both sides. when you present both sides, it implies that the issue is split. if the headline reads, "human beings do not jump into the shark tank at sea world" then at a point in the article you bring in a representative from an organization that like to jump into shark tanks, then we will infer that some folks like to do it and some dont; like some like chocolate and others like vanilla. the vast majority of human beings might feel one way but that important fact is lost in the 'even' reporting.

so all this safe lack of opinion, lack of point of view, created a void that blogging could step in and fill. if we err on the side of having an opinion and being fuzzy on background then so be it. if you want to check the facts of a story you hear or read, you have the internet. meanwhile we are going to have a point of view. im not sure about mr. saffos take on 19th century journalism, i havent done my own fact checking. in fact this whole post may be just plain wrong. but this is what i think is going on. conversation begins with a point of view. this is the truth we need to begin. if i am wrong you will tell me. blog on.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

i want to take a moment to preach here. a moment in defense of something that has been relegated to obscurity; truth. as in telling the truth. from the interpersonal or private level to the biggest and most public level i am so tired of listening to people lie or dealing with folks that want to be lied to. on the personal level, this is epidemic in my native psycho-astrological-channeler-guru-hooey california, people that would rather hear nice news than the actual news of their life. my wife has shown me the difference between time spent telling someone what they want to hear and time spent telling someone the truth. the difference is so vast that i couldnt even begin to list differences here. the other night, i told her that i consider my ability to hear uncomfortable truths about myself to be an achievement in my life. i am a sensitive person. criticism hurt my feelings so i would react emotionally to it. i decided some years ago that i wanted to get better at hearing criticism. i made a conscious decision to do so because i knew that sometimes the truth fucking hurts and you have to accomodate yourself to it, in order for it to stop hurting long enough, to be able to decide what to do about it.

on a bigger level, and here one cant help but think of our bonnie king george II, i am tired of having to listen to folks who talk about 'values' all the time while also talking about not being able to tell the truth because it emboldens the terrorists or it is unsupportive of the troops. the latter being a particular peeve of mine. i think if someone is in the trenches, dealing with life and death on a daily basis, they are smack dab in the middle of some of the ugliest truth possible. they do not need to be coddled and told fairy tales like children, that is both condescending and cynical. give them the respect they deserve. they can handle the truth. sometimes the truth fucking hurts and you have to accomodate yourself to it, in order for it to stop hurting long enough, to be better able to decide what to do about it.

if brown did a bad job heading fema during the new orleans disaster, he doesnt need an 'attaboy', he doesnt need his buddy george telling him "nice job brownie". he needs a figuritive kick in the ass because he is fucking up and folks are dying. heavy hangs the head that wears the crown. if he cant do his job without hearing, and more importantly being able to learn from, criticism then he doesnt belong in that job. i will say it again for emphasis, sometimes the truth fucking hurts and you have to accomodate yourself to it, in order for it to stop hurting long enough, to be better able to decide what to do about it. period. end of sermon. have a nice day.