October 9th, 2005

Tish at Snarkaholic (also Love And Hope And Sex And Dreams) offers her low-on-the-food-chain observations of the We Media Conference in New York. Sure Tish’s words are pointed, but it’s her the-bubble-is-a-few-degrees-off- center take that makes her worth reading. While everyone else bashed Al Gore, Tish liked what he had to say:

It is not that we no longer share ideas with one another about public matters; of course we do. But the “Public Forum” in which our Founders searched for general agreement and applied the Rule of Reason has been grossly distorted and “restructured” beyond all recognition.

And here is my point: it is the destruction of that marketplace of ideas that accounts for the “strangeness” that now continually haunts our efforts to reason together about the choices we must make as a nation.

To which Tish commented:

And I got to thinking: There is no marketplace of ideas because we are constantly fed the ideas of others. We are constantly acquiring information and knowledge, but we do not process it. We have 24 hour media — if we are not seeking entertainment we are seeking information.

We do not stop for fear we will be uncool or left out of the loop. We can’t think on our own. We can’t apply the Rule of Reason because we have no time for Contemplation.

Tish on Media Gawking: I didn’t expect much from Jessica [Cohen], but got more from Jay [Rosen]. Jessica did voice an opinion that many of the people have about Public Eye (CBS’s blogging venture): that it’s a sad, sad little website. Nobody faults Vaughn Ververs though. I think a lot of us feel sorry for Ververs — and know that Larry Kramer’s inability to understand the blogosphere is part of what censors Ververs (but we figured that out on BuzzMachine some time ago.)

Tish on In Us We Trust: I got that this was a lot of academic philosophizing, that it was intentionally meant to be over the heads of everybody, but I had a bit of trouble with what seemed to be a celebration of cultural relativism and the corporation.

I’d have to read the transcripts again to see if I’m right on that one…but, personally, I’m not a big fan of cultural relativism nor of corporations. I don’t like the idea that corporations might manipulate blogs and bloggers so that we trust them more. Why should we trust corporations any more than we trust the government? All I could think of was Rollerball (the James Cann/Norman Jewison version).

Tish on We The News: Lots of talk how the people are shaping things, how the people (considered to be the 18-34 age cohort) are changing the way Big Media writes and disseminates news…yadda, yadda, yadda.

The only one on the panel who has a clue was Farai Chideya, who mentioned how the people in the caboose of media culture need to be brought to the fore. But, even Chideya missed a key point–to get from the caboose one has to go thru the Club Car.

And there are loads of us — average middle-class, bach degree’d, working-stiff non-tech, non-journalism citizens in the 35-59 age cohort who are sitting in that Club Car.

To paraphrase Ken Kesey, are you on the train or off the train? Which car are you riding in? And why don’t we have our hand on the throttle?

My Soundtrack: Goddess On A Highway by Mercury Rev on WOXY.

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