The creative landscape is changing. Technologies like Pro Tools, the iPod, and peer-to-peer networks have become mainstream in the digital age, creating a wild frontier of sorts in music. Independent artists can reach mass audiences once forbidden to them. These technologies are fostering the rise of “semiotic democracy”—where more and more people are no longer passive consumers of mass media, but active participants in creating culture. Cops vs Lawyers, Issue 3

الجمعة، أيلول ٠٩، ٢٠٠٥

Hurricane Media and the Press Disaster

image AFP/Getty Images/Joe Raedle

Hurricane Katrina has been one of the most intense and tragic of all real-life dramas. Ironically, from a mass culture obsessed with "realityTV," the true realities of this disaster were largely hidden or poorly presented in the media. It's emblematic of the wider dissonance between the people and the press. Yet, there were a few shining examples of what journalism is all about that deserve some props. Here's a few:

NPR's "All Things Considered" broadcasted this hard-news gem.

Jeff Chang is right on point, and has been, calling out the politics of abandonment. It's a dead-on denouncement of the Bush administration's legacy of criminal negligence—a variation of one of the themes he articulates in his book Can't Stop Won't Stop.

Or better yet, I think a Bush speaks best of how outrageously ignorant the Bush is.

And finally, —my personal favorite: —leave it to The Onion to level this dis on what has typified the deplorable biases revealed in language usage by the news:

White Foragers Report Threat Of Black Looters
NEW ORLEANS: —Throughout the Gulf Coast, Caucasian suburbanites attempting to gather food and drink in the shattered wreckage of shopping districts have reported seeing African Americans "looting snacks and beer from damaged businesses." "I was in the abandoned Wal-Mart gathering an air mattress so I could float out the potato chips, beef jerky, and Budweiser I'd managed to find," said white survivor Lars Wrightson, who had carefully selected foodstuffs whose salt and alcohol content provide protection against contamination. "Then I look up, and I see a whole family of [African-Americans] going straight for the booze. Hell, you could see they had already looted a fortune in diapers." Radio stations still in operation are advising store owners and white people in the affected areas to locate firearms in sporting-goods stores in order to protect themselves against marauding blacks looting gun shops.

And in a parting positive note, I just got back from Red Cross training today, where I am working to get deployed to the affected areas. There, it struck me; the people in that room with me, all rarin to go and help, that is America. While our government prefers to show its true colors in the rockets red glare from bombs blazing half a world away, this true America -- the America of its people -- is found in countless rooms like these: where ever people come together to give time out of their own lives for the aid of total strangers that have lost everything. Yes, this is the worst disaster in a century; and yes, this is by far the most colossal example of a for-profit government fosaking its constituents. But there is also a great, mounting concern among Americans, of a magnitude no less potent than of the tragedy itself. That is the America I defended as a Marine, and it is that one I hope to serve through the Red Cross.