Thursday, March 30, 2006

57 Channels

Really, can you believe Joe put "Our House" on his hot playlist just because he heard it on some lame paint commercial? Hell, why not "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida", fer cryin' out loud. Makes me want to just rip those damn earpods out of his head. No, but, really, the "Kitty's Back" ringtone is to die for and...

Did you ever notice that the more freedom and media outlets we have available, the less we do with it? There are now, what, 500 cable/sattilite channels available and what the hell is on but a bunch of recycled junk, bad Hollywood product from the past 20 years and niche programing for the over-served (golf, cooking, funny animals). For every gem like the Daily Show/Colbert Report hour, there are thousands of hours, channels and bandwidth wasted on brainless programming designed to keep (or make) you stupid. As Springsteen sang 12 (!) years ago, "57 Channels and Nothing On". Try 500, and counting.

Now multiply that by millions on the internet. Instant publishing and distribution hasn't exactly led to open doors for new ideas. The only truly reliable sites for news are run by the major news organizations, with sites like Salon and Slate adding slightly to the national conversation, but mostly through the regular prism of the Washington Press Corps.

Blogs are given great credit for moving something somewhere, but only when they get noticed by the Mainstream Media (now known as MSM). Blogs on the right are a well-financed sub-section the Bush Surrogate program, cited by radio wing-nuts for affirmation of this or that and introducing the outrageous in order to probe the soft underbelly of the electorate for brain neuron stimulation ("Damn illegal immigrants! Why can't they speak English?").

Blogs on the left are more diverse, by nature, and tend to offer small snippits of wisdom and observation and tons of links to other places that show how right we are. Some are mentioned on the MSM -- some of the dippier bloggers even get face time on cable news -- but only for their novelty status ("Yeah, I'm a blogger...tee hee") and seldom for the substance of their writing (such as it is) or their ideas. I'm sure there are some wonders out there that I just haven't found yet (just like there are bands playing and CDs proving that rock-and-roll is not Dead), but the impact on the national discussion is: not much.

I'm going to try to get some ideas out there and try to get a serious discussion going before the 2006 election cycle gets into full gear. The bottom line is that the oppressive regime of Talk Radio will get worse and we have to find a way to counter it. More to follow.

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