Thursday October 29, 2009 | Bob Garfield & The Chaos Scenario

October 27, 2009 at 11:14 am | Posted in Coming Up | 5 Comments

We’re joined by the co-host of NPR’s On The Media, Bob Garfield. He just completed a new book titled The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business is Stark: Listen or Perish, which is the story of his round-the-world quest to discover “the answer for all institutions who wish to survive and thrive in a digitally connected, post-media age.” We’ll talk about the state of mass media today, where it’s headed and the effect it will have on us as consumers and on business around the world.
Bob Garfield
– Co-host of On The Media, Author of The Chaos Scenario

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  1. […] Thursday October 29 | Bob Garfield & The Chaos Scenario « Charlotte Blogs – view page – cached We’re joined by the co-host of NPR’s On The Media, Bob Garfield. He just completed a new book titled The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business is Stark: Listen or… (Read more)We’re joined by the co-host of NPR’s On The Media, Bob Garfield. He just completed a new book titled The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, the Choice for Business is Stark: Listen or Perish, which is the story of his round-the-world quest to discover “the answer for all institutions who wish to survive and thrive in a digitally connected, post-media age.” We’ll talk about the state of mass media today, where it’s headed and the effect it will have on us as consumers and on business around the world. (Read less) — From the page […]

  2. Burning question: is this program or Bob’s book edited by…Brooke?

  3. I’m very glad the biased national mass-media is dying; the internet along with smaller and more local forms of media will take over.

    Good riddance. The mass-media has been a mostly poisonous influence in the lives of most people anyhow, and now that it is dying a slow death we can all begin to heal.

  4. “Said the condor, to the praying mantis: We’re gonna lose this place, just like we lost Atlantis,” an ancient cryptic lyric sung by Neil Young, decades ago.

    It is impossible that the digitally connected post media age can survive the ecological collapse coming upon us. The Internet is uglier, more pointless and wasteful, more manipulative and parasitic, more mesmerizing than what came before, and dominated by increasingly centralized commercial and secretive security interests. Computers originated as an artificial mind for the synthetic entity we call “the corporation” and now our business minded courts increasing codify that condition into law, with corporations as mega-citizens and super-human.

    Corporation’s interests supercede ours because they are owned and peopled by the wealthiest people and their agents. If the current intensifying technology persists it cannot help but physically crush most of humankind and the natural systems on which life depends. The typical Earthdweller is moneyless, landless, hungry, insecure, powerless and exploited. Most people are superfluous to the system of profitmaking (except as reserve hostages) now planetarily uniform. Our dark destiny is plain if the technology that keeps secrets and spies, builds explosives and drones, conscripts killers and concocts grand scams, poisons as it produces, continues. The Internet can’t stop it because the Internet (in the present form) is its tool. How ubiquitous are banner ads and how rare is the fierce and informed activist writer. I am wearied of surfing the virus-industrial complex. The needs of “national security” (actually corporate hegemony) will forever trump any humane uses of the world wide web. It will draw in and negate and eradicate any effective alternative. Such is the global corporate market that commodifies all. That is why data mining has become the main purpose of the contemporary Internet. Boys who fantasize about sex with a sheep are easily identified, as are the resentful teachers who do not fit in to Race to the Top, and need to be terminated. We know when you’ve been sleeping; we know when you’re awake. We know who has had cancer, and who will, for business sake! So you better clam up; you better not post; your car’s on Google Earth, and your privacy’s toast. (Feel free?)

    Warning: The conversation above (Mike and Bob) is highly bounded, a golf-chat between two successful practitioners of soon eclipsed professions. See how they mourn the system of advertising that is collapsing while failing to mention that the entire populace lives in increasing jeopardy. Take what they agree about media never returning to normalcy and apply that to food, water and air; for such is the larger reality.

    The Internet is at most a fleeting and transitory configuration of metered communications technology, maybe in the chronological order less vital or enduring than ham radio (shortwave) or telegraphy. Even as the mania peaks the possibilities are about to be paved over by powerful interests, much as the reorganizational and educational forecasts of TV were in the 1950s. Mike, who can’t hook up his flat screen to Hulu, believes the hype that any 10 year old can get a camera and change the world on Youtube. We often forget that digital methods make verification impossible, and real seeming animation plentiful.

    People are creatures that sense in a fuller way than electronic media supply. We feel and smell, detect and intuit, and are demeaned by the narrowed flat pictures and sorted sounds of electronic synthesis. These things can’t help but separate and confuse us. I think it sick when commercials show operators trying to decipher a technicolor widescreen blockbuster on a touchscreen device. The movie itself is highly contrived and artificial to begin with, and the viewer resembles a six year old kid sucking a pacifier when you take a discerning look. The Internet dispenses greasy fast food biscuits and sugary cereal for the mind. How can it be our savior. Plastic shoes mass produced by slave labor have not proven our savior. Maybe the Internet is rat poison, and we are like rats to the big stakeholders. They’re already selling the cures for their poisons.

  5. Mike Collins says he can paint us pictures with words, and that is his art and craft. I found a little hope that Mike’s claims are possible in a coffee table book my stubborn wife brought on the plane ride home from Europe. In 1999 a painter named David Hockney first understood that the optic depiction prevalent in contemporary life is impaired in discernible ways. He began an alchemy using mirrors and lenses that soon unmasked centuries of optic method among revered artists as far back as ancient Egypt. It blossomed following that rake Caravaggio during the Renaissance, and produced a reductive pseudo-realism that has dominated human perception ever since. Hockney’s picture book (and the documentary, and his giant collage, and his contentions) he calls “Secret Knowledge.” He alerts us that what we take as evidence in photography and media is pronounced in its myopia, tunnel vision and flatness. Human physiology and wonder is such that we are capable of seeing in a deeper and more comprehensive mode than will ever be available using media tools.

    Mike Collins is in radio, so his contentions involve sound and hearing. I think FM broadcast radio could be rich and pure. I idolize radio like Ken Burns idolizes Baseball. I expect Mike does too. My estimation is that radio has the most potential to transcend the flatness and myopia shared with other media, and is the finest means of freeing the human mind from commercial hegemony. It is our vision that has evolved as the primary means of conceptual imprisonment, so that we might expect to escape through our ears.

    In the 15th Century (thanks Hockney) Japanese metalsmiths produced accurate and easy to load guns. The shoguns in charge realized these guns would be the undoing of all they held dear, and so the technology was lost. We might recognize the paradox in nuclear energy with which America destroyed Japanese cities, and with which we continue to wrestle. But how could we have recognized that our methods of depiction would come to cripple our perception of reality. It is not surprising that we saw off the limbs of natural sustenance that cradle us by exercise of our finance and technology, when we have come to believe media above the experience of our senses.

    In the mill villages of Jack Martin’s youth, where he roamed with future financier Gary Long, a typed or printed document was unquestioned truth and law, to be read with moving lips, signed and adhered to faithfully. Gary moved on to the higher learning to be instructed how to use documents for the gain of the privileged. Jack experimented at Wake Forest, injecting clauses from the Constitution and passages from Shakespeare into the covers of the Bible. It was a rare scholar who questioned Jack’s bogus texts. He, along with pre-divinity students Jim Trent and John Perry began to preach made-up scripture they had written themselves, inventing prophets and Books, quoting chapter and verse. They learned about Mormonism and how religions originate, how holy texts are altered in content, context and purpose over time. John became a sexologist and Jim recanted to be a fundamentalist, but Jack could not resist the forbidden. Renouncing his conman skills he spent his life questioning the legitimacy of every authoritarian institution he encountered, working alone, as a rogue Japanese metalsmith might have, playing with guns.

    Jack rescued me in 2002 after I became despondent over my ruined careers and the deceptions of 9/11. He taught me the work of Steven Lukes (Power: A Radical View) insisting it was the most important political document of our time. When I had good fortune as an infiltrater in the financial stratosphere I used the proceeds for more experimentation in micro-philanthropy and media deception. We have learned from these attempts how humanity might break the spell of perceptual dominance and awaken to a higher awareness. If a vestige of gentler civilization is to be preserved new modes of thinking and lifestyle revolutions will be necessary.

    The learning institutions impart now is more impairment than education. So many business degrees help no one: People steeped in preserving the existing ways and means: crippled minds ruling the collective imagination. Guided, practical empowerment in the style of Miles Horton, John Gatto and Paulo Freire are a good starting reference for the pursuit of a better way. The way you manifest and expand upon the pictures painted via radio depends upon your situation and experience, your indoctrination and your beliefs. It is sad how Americans have been given a flawed socialization for the benefit of the power-mad and greedy.

    Don’t expect more of the same to solve the crises we face. More roads for cars and more powerlines, more crackerbox houses and cookie cutter pubs and bookstores will not do the trick. People need to make their environment with their own hands using their own ideas. Electricity need not flow 24/7 or oranges be hauled 12 thousand miles in a shipping container. So much that serves wealth accumulation is wastage and should be abandoned. Ivan Illich, a defrocked Jesuit, demonstrated the imagination we need in “Tools for Conviviality.” It took great patience and many hours for me to read and comprehend his books. Why is no alternative thinking now presented on radio? Why are realtors, medical promoters, oil marketers and religiously intolerant monsters regarded as experts? They are experts in a death-way, I suppose.

    Anyway, my friends and colleagues agree with me that FM broadcast radio should continue. It is an compatible technology when run by the community. Simple,accessible and relatively inexpensive, it is a gentle means of solidarity and information, and it is tragic how it has been abused by corporate criminals. The heyday of Pacifica (before it was attacked under Bill Clinton) demonstrates the possibilities.

    This will be my last CT post. I don’t think anyone hears what I’m saying and that I’m being misunderstood. I blame my limited ability but I also blame the current configuration and understanding of media, and WFAE’s commercial panic specifically. At a time when the discussion needs to be expansive and exploratory it is becoming narrowed. The commercial minded surviving upper middle class servants of wealth and power concentration should be enlightened and not catered to. The potential audience is vast if you can “feed their heads” (draw the into the enterprise and capture their imaginations). A Facebook data mining mentality can only drag radio down. You can’t send people elsewhere and expect to retain value. Newspaper on the web proves my point. Broadcast radio is either good right by itself or it is nothing, just like hot chocolate. A cookie cannot save bad hot chocolate because you devour the cookie and pour out the bitter brew. Mike Collins, I am one listener who is ready to pour you out of my ears if the scenes you paint with your voice become repulsive because they are flat and all too familiar. I think you can see that it doesn’t matter if you know the top lines on a Google Search are ads if you have something to talk about besides the business models of media. I think you can see how Bob Garfield is a hack and 10 years behind the times. Mike, I believe you can be in your little present day household budget existence and still be capable to realize you are partially responsible for the changes we need. Keep reading the books and looking for visionary guests and know people like me are our there, sometimes fuming; sometimes sighing. Goodbye Forbiddenlovers ! See you in person.

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