Of course I like the new PBS iPad app. I like all of that socialist media stuff. My car radio dial doesn’t know there is a station other than WBEZ until my younger kid comes home from school and compulsively hits the scan button to drink in the nicheyness of the Chicago music radio market compared to the less specific range of options in his college town.
But about the app. The rage on the right to defund public media suggests that PBS/NPR fans are a sub-culture (that must be thwarted). We may be a “type,” it’s true, but it’s a loose type, and I think the ideal would be a collection of PBS iPad apps carving out more specific niches. Why not make several apps for different communities of interest and bake social media features right into them? I think they could be supported, just as larger radio markets can support more narrowly programed stations.
I might like PBS but I love literary adaptations. An app devoted to Masterpiece classics could allow users to watch the latest productions and talk about them with each other. (Would they be into talking? Oh yes, yes they would.) I may not care much about migration patterns of bison, but fans of Nature would love an app just for them, too.
I wouldn’t be surprised if contributions would flow in, just because people appreciate it when they have been given a space that celebrates their passions and interests and provides an opportunity to revel in their obsessions in the company of like minds. Engagement follows when it’s all about the affinity group in relation to the provider of the media—not just about the provider.
In fact, I really believe that sometime in the not-too-distant future, the “Here is all our stuff” approach will come to be perceived as an egocentric stance. TV “channels” won’t be established by their creators; they’ll be determined or defined over time based on the density of followers on a scatterplot.
This notion of increasing specialization of social media by affinity and interest has been a minor recurring theme of Gillmor Gang discussions in recent months.
It’s only a matter of time, isn’t it, until the Christian Right Wing latches onto the fact that John Maynard Keynes was gay as a talking point?
Certainly that would prove why his theories must be an anathema and in stark contradiction to ”Bible Economics.” (Cindy Jacobs says God told her another great depression would occur if church members did not fast and pray in the days running up to the midterms.)
Bye now. I’m off to read more about Dominionism and the Seven Mountains. I’m thinking my novel’s candidate character will have to be a Dominionist, but will have to deny it. Fellow travelers will understand why it all has to be kept very hush-hush.
Is it a trend to work through politics in fiction? Take Andy Borowitz, whose fake essays amplify news events in the same way SNL skits reduce the real to the ridiculous. Willie Geist’s new book, American Freak Show, takes off on “what ifs.”
Then we have Nicolle Wallace processing some of her frustrations through fiction. (I started Eighteen Acres yesterday. She’s quite a smooth writer, and the story sounds like it will be interesting. I have a problem with her cliches, i.e. “She loved him to the very fibre of her being.”)
If you include non-print writing you might even throw David Simon’s The Wire and Treme into the category of working out political angst in fiction.
I think short print fiction could make a comeback and serve as useful propaganda at the same time. It might even help magazine finances to embrace it again, if they were bold enough to try something that conventional market wisdom says is passe. Think Dickens—whose novels were serialized in magazines—and the crowds at the New York harbor panting to learn from British passengers what became of Little Nell.
Plus, we may even need a bigger helping of fiction to make sense of the craziness out there. Why couldn’t Huffington Post host Sarah Palin fan fiction? Why couldn’t The Nation publish a short story today that “what ifs” the proceedings of an inevitable committee hearing to investigate the president’s birth—because a few of those extreme right-wingers could get committee chair appointments.
It’s already stranger than fiction out there, so why not?
I heard about Nicolle Wallace’s new novel on Rachel last night and added it to my Audible cart just now. Here’s an excerpt.
I’ve been working on my own tale of a charismatic yet unprepared conservative candidate as seen through the eyes of a young blogger. I’m about 25 percent of the way through a first draft. I can’t match Nicolle for realism so I’m thinking my Sally Forth character will have to get even more bizarre, which could make the drudgery and fear of working on it more entertaining for me.
I don’t hold out any hope for wish fulfillment, but a girl can dream. I dream of a mainstream interviewer who goes like a riled-up terrier, or like Tim Russert, after a simple answer to a narrow question, brooking no generalizing or subject changing.
For today the question is about the campaign contributions maneuver which has been enabled by the Citizens United case. I would love for interviewers—who are supposed to ferret out answers to the questions citizens have on their minds—to drill down to one important question, and demand a straight answer. I want Christiane Amanpour and David Gregory and the other Sunday talk hosts to ask GOP candidates and strategists: ”Is it OK for groups to anonymously fund elections?”
Here are the answers the hosts should view as a dodge and a signal to ask again, even if it eats into the time they have allotted for the next question:
- “The Disclose Act isn’t as simple as just requiring disclosure.” Host, you interrupt and say, “I didn’t ask about the Disclose Act; I just want to know if you think secret funding is alright.”
- “Look, the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t support foreign governments, that’s ridiculous.” Host, you interrupt and say, “We are not talking about foreign sources or the Chamber right now. All I want to know is do you think secret funding is alright.”
- “Karl Rove is being vilified by desperate Democrats trying to change the subject.” Host, you say, “Sounds like you are changing the subject. The question was, ‘Do you think it’s alright for campaign contributions to be secret?‘“
Eureka. Armor All is the only thing I’ve found that keeps my rubbery iPad case from looking all nasty. I’m hoping it also may prevent the attraction of all the gunk it seems to invite to its surface. A few people in a Mac forum thread recommend it but advise using it sparingly.
I’m still happy with my iPad. I bit the bullet and decided against taking a netbook along on a trip last week. The iPad was a champ. My son and I used Google maps on it for navigation and 3G coverage held up in probably 99 percent of every spot from Brooklyn to Woodstock. I’d heard AT&T’s 3G is not as reliable outside the Chicago area, but no problem. It’s nice having a screen larger than a phone’s screen so the navigator can zoom in on a map section and quick give the driver a visual idea of what’s coming up. I’m not sure it would be a safe substitute for a real GPS device if you were driving alone in unfamiliar territory—no voice cues and too much fingerpainting needed.
No problems at all with our all-Apple devices except one that must have been caused by the airline’s wifi restrictions. My son missed most of the Bear’s game, having found a radio station’s .pl streaming file that worked until we got on the plane. He had to settle for ESPN’s live web coverage, which is pretty cool. It gives text updates and illustrates the current field position.
I peer into FreeRepublic.com every other week or so to get a feel for right-wing sensibilities for some fiction I’m working on. After seeing the Newsmax clip of Sarah Palin fretting about Iran on Morning Joe this morning, I looked in. A freeper suggested Sarah Palin’s remarks about armageddon would cause liberals to believe she is peddling end-of-days rhetoric. Well, yes. That is the first thing I thought of.
Of course I worry that she may believe Jesus will come sooner if we attack Iran, or if we indicate we wouldn’t mind if Israel did, just as I worry about evangelicals in the Pentagon.
Whether she believes it or not, this kind of talk plays to her base. A Pew poll published this summer said 58% of white evangelicals believe Jesus Christ will return to earth by 2050.
Drill down to her even more devoted base—the undereducated, whether or not they identify as evangelicals:
In addition, those with no college experience (59%) are much more likely than those with some college experience (35%) and college graduates (19%) to expect Jesus Christ’s return. By region, those in the South (52%) are the most likely to predict a Second Coming by 2050.
Palin isn’t just a joke. She’s dangerous because she would put her faith in dominionists while putting her trust in neocons who have a complimentary world agenda. Imagine Randy Scheunemann calling the shots for the world.
Harvard Business School prof Michael Norton talked about a new study of American opinions on income inequality and wealth equality on NPR this morning.
“What we find is really two things. One is that people really underestimate what the actual level of wealth inequality is in the United States right now. And then in addition to that, when we asked them how unequal would you like it to be, they want things to be even more equal than they think they are, which is really more equal than they actually are,” Norton said.
But here’s the crazy thing: most of the respondents, no matter what their political persuasion, thought things should be more equal. So what’s that about? Is it that when you don’t talk about this stuff in a political context people leave their ideology out of it? Or if it’s not coming from Fox News, conservatives don’t know how they are supposed to respond except with an answer that seems fair? I really don’t know.
I like ABC’s Jake Tapper, and thought he was terrific as the interim This Week host. He understands new media so it makes sense he’s doing a new online show, Political Punch, on the ABC site.
Too bad, though, that it’s just videos embedded in the very vanilla ABC News web page template. They must have one of those “It’s about our branding” people over there—one of that breed who is actually listened to. I’d say ABC should take a page from MSNBC where the primetime hosts each have their own branding under the network umbrella. Maddow’s site, for example, is cool, it matches her on-air set, while still fitting in with the overall site’s look.