When I say ‘we’ I mean bloggers – I’m not really part of this, probably just passing through to soak up what I can. A few more IT-bent friends are working on filtering. In principle, I could replace my more or less daily dose of Radio4, Sky News (Terrestial morning TV ‘news-smaltz’ makes me sick), C4 News and Newsnightshite with Ambush Predator and the variety of stuff from many others from Banksidebabble, the science, economic bulletins and social science sites and planet police and newswire stuff I ‘consume’. New technology might give me all this while I clean my teeth, shower and otherwise ablute before missing breakfast, or on the train during my occasional commute – even perhaps entertaining me as I do Death By Powerpoint with classes too dull to put effort in with (why not, they ain’t participating either?). ‘Filtering’ and some kind of headset would give me much more of stuff I want or am prepared to discover I don’t than the vast media empire. I last bought the Grauniad to light the bonfire, attracted, given the purpose, by a picture of Yasmin Alibied Brown.
Caught in the filter, would be all kinds of vile creatures of no interest like Yasmin and all the F-factor harpies who do the news and weather, plus Paxman beating up some student radical worth ten of him. This would be very positive in-itself. Of course, the filter-net could be cast so much wider than that of the media-hacks. I’m a scientist, and there is almost no science on television or in the papers, so I would get much wider coverage than I already get from Daily Galaxy and others. Some decent academics even put up all their work up for free, as it should be.
In on version of this filtering, I’ve been looking into how we might set up a ‘Netuniversity’ with all the basic key-fact material in textbooks and 101 lectures (the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy is a classic) – I see no reason why universities and publishers should be making such a financial killing packaging this old material as degrees, when it should be available free in accessible hypertext.
Part of the argument in all this is to reach a point where we aren’t wasting resources making Jeremy and Kirsty into mega-paid stars, don’t have to pay Death By Powerpoint readers in our colleges and might get away from the trance-fixation we have with presentation over content.
Newsnightshite last night did something on ‘closing down Page Three’, presented by three eminently shaggable women (you are getting old, Granddad, said the boy!), all doing just what Page Three cannot for an old fool like me. They were all blissfully unaware that ‘objectivisation’ ain’t just about getting chests out. None of them were fat, ‘ugly’, in wheelchairs or speaking in a Warrington street accent. I would even go as far as to say the ‘wanker’ in this is not me. The Newsnightshite Page Three girls had no idea this is all they were, vapid bimbos (a non-gender term if you look hard enough at such presenters) unaware they are the valley girls of a particular class. They are sexist, ageist and ableist, and they have no clue why anyone would look at Page Three in the Sun. The ‘net-filter’ should enable me to get news without such crass and frankly sickening distraction. I’m not an old crank goggling at any of this – it’s all as unwelcome in my home as Page Three. Over time, what’s missing in our media is what tells you what it’s full of. I’m really not concerned, in the moment, what any of us looks like. Just after the Newsnightshite dross, with its body-fascism dummies, I caught a promo for some dire teen crap zapping to watch the Australia A game – that was sickening in an instant.
Of course, in its early days, 98% of commercial Internet traffic was porn. Much content is shabby and useless now. We lack a business model. If I’m not paid, it’s very hard to write books or teaching content. These are ‘early days’ – we may even see a ruthless copyright purge, that might insist Ambush Predator has to pay for the sow’s ear media she comments on, chews up and spits out as silk purse. I rarely read the copy she makes good use of directly and certainly never pay for any of it. Even the porn cash-cow feels blighted by free stuff, much ‘hidden’ in private access, especially where it is illegal to show in public.
There are deep questions, already in view through body-fascist BBC News (all tv news) as top how we can ever do anything about the production of a non-crap media news and current affairs. Even senior cops are now only public relations crap. What we need is a new business model and understandings of how far we can push to realistic, peaceful world democracy. In this, just what business is, is problematic. Anyone waiting, in baited breath, for my book, sweat-shirts and wrist bangles?
There’s a tiny bacteria in our oceans, so small about half-a-million can exist in a millilitre. They weigh more than the entire fish-stock and play a vital part in the carbon cycle. Blogs may be having more effect than we know, but as yet, who knows? My own fear is that we are collectively too dumb (and dumbing down) to stop the rot.