Saturday, November 13, 2010

Excerpts of the Media's Failings [According to World War Z]

Okay, so I get that World War Z is not real, but there are some pretty good points about the way the media works (especially in a crisis). I get it. Part of the problem in World War Z was that the United States didn't really have any cases of the dead coming back to life during the beginning of the outbreak. So it really, really seemed like someone else's problem. You know. Like certain earthquakes, floods, or genocides that are occurring right now.

Or even when certain things are occurring on our shores:

Yeah. Five months ago would have put that..... right around June. Great.

In World War Z,  fictional previous chief of staff defends the administration for not acting more decisively against the outbreak, saying (pg 59):

"Can you imagine what America would have been like if the federal government slammed on the brakes every time some paranoid crackpot cried 'wolf' or 'global warming' or 'living dead'? Please. What we did, what every president since Washington has done, was provide a measured, appropriate response, in direct relation to a realistic threat assessment."
 And really, don't expect the media to do...much of anything (pg 62):
"The 'media'? You mean those networks that are owned by some of the largest corporations in the world, corporations that would have taken a nosedive if another panic hit the stock market? That media?.....
[on alternative news sources] Oh sure, and you know who listens to them? Pansy, overeducated know-it-alls, and you know who listens to them? Nobody! Who's going to care about some PBS-NPR fringe minority that's out of touch with the mainstream? The more those elitist eggheads shouted, 'The Dead Are Walking,' the more most real Americans tuned them out."
This definitely would have been the attitude of the Bush administration. 

Later, a woman recounts what it was like when the outbreak reached America and the Panic started (pg 122):
"You couldn't find a channel with anything but zombie news, either live images or recorded footage from Yonkers. Looking back, I still can't believe how unprofessional the news media was. So much spin, so few hard facts. All those digestible sound bites from an army of 'experts' all contradicting one another, all trying to seem more 'shocking' and 'in depth' than the lats one. It was all so confusing, nobody seemed to know what to do."
  Does that sound like any news media you know? Maybe the one leading up to the Iraq War, maybe the one on September 11, 2001? Or maybe Hurricane Katrina in 2005?

Honestly, if there's one thing that unites all Americans, it that we all think that the news media sucks. We just disagree on why it sucks.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Frak It Friday: Sunset Rubdown - "Idiot Heart"

A song about having to "move around" and wander no matter what the cost, even though it makes no sense:
If I found you in this city called Paradise,

I'd say, "I love you, but I hate this city, and I'm no prize."
Even after finding the paradise, he's got to move on. He acknowledges that his heart is being an idiot ("You know your heart, but its an idiot heart"), but he's got to keep "moving around," until an embittered female singer sings:
I hope that you died in a decent pair of shoes,
You've got a lot of long walking to do,

Where you going to?
So even when he dies, he still can't be at rest. And he still doesn't know where he's going!

I had been saving Sunset Rubdown for a rainy day, and apparently "rainy day" means "eight hour stretch of time when I'm procrastinating on my NaNoWriMo Novel." 

And I'd spent even more time, procrastinating on said novel, planning out this post. Yeah, this song got under my skin. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old 97's Live On Leno - Champaign, Illinois

I might be burying the lede a little here, but did the members of the Old 97's JUST SHAKE HANDS WITH CHRISTINE O'DONNELL?

Nice to see Champaign, IL getting some cred. After all, it wasn't really named-checked on Sufjan Steven's Illinois.

[Lyrics and explanation to the song, Champaign, Illinois]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Unsettling thoughts on your Sunday Morning....[Daisy, In The Sun]

"They don't even know what memory is. They think maybe it isn't even in the brain cells. That its in the atoms somewhere, and even if we're blown apart, that memory stays. What if we do get burned by the sun and we still remember? What if we go on burning and burning and remembering and remembering forever?"
From Connie Willis' short story collection Fire Watch, the story "Daisy, in the Sun," page 200.

"Daisy, in the Sun" is probably one of the most enjoyable short stories I have ever read, combining an impending Armageddon with a coming of age story. 

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