Thursday, January 17

Who Could Have Predicted That The Big Problem With Technology Is That It Works?

SO I happened to turn on MSNBC this AM--I'd bother to explain I had no reason for doing so, but what reason could there possibly be?--and Slimy Joe "More Time With My Family" Scarborough and his co-host, or assistant, or colorist, Blowsy the Talking Hair Dye Bottle, who is apparently the end result of a twenty-five year breeding program optimizing the ratings-grabbing qualities of morning zoo "personalities"--Vocal Screech, Obnoxiousness, Plug Ignorance, and the genetically-transplanted laugh of a demented jenny mule--were talking to Jonah Goldberg about the respective party's Presidential races, having, mercifully, dispensed with that book of his before I got there (both Congressman Dead Intern and Screechy the Wonder Badger would later shriek their delight with its amusing cover).

Goldberg is a moron, something you may have heard suggested before, but Scarborough may be a bigger one. The Pantload dropped a Kumbaya-laden assessment of Barack Obama which included, yes, "Kumbaya," and a reference to "climbing a mountain and giving everyone a Coke™" which had Scarborough rolling on the fucking floor before reclaiming enough breath to praise Goldberg as the only man in punditry who could have hocked up a reference to "a commercial from 1978". Seriously. Jonah Goldberg, a man who gives every indication of never having learned anything that wasn't on teevee, and precious little that was, brings up one of the most famous commercials of all time, one which was running continuously from his eighth through his twelfth birthdays, in the course of spewing out an already clich├ęd description of Senator Obama which, odds are, wasn't his originally, and Scarborough acts like he's pulled off an obscure double pun on The Rape of the Lock without taking the Meerschaum out of his mouth.

This is the party which has been telling us what's wrong with Education for the last thirty years. Goldberg pitched manure-forkloads of retread Newsweek campaign analysis: Fred Thompson's the only "true conservative" in the race, but his campaign lacks excitement (what a curious requirement this is for "true conservatism"!), McCain's a "great guy personally" but one who once disagreed with George W. Bush (who, as I recall it, was ejected from the True Conservative club at least eighteen months ago), Hillary was "like a Soviet Politburo chief" (more clucking admiration from Joe for Goldberg's choice of decade of permanent lodging), and Obama, of course, Mr. Kumbaya, but not before the obligatory back-handing ("Democrats want their party to change", as if they still want it to follow the highly-successful Republican model) and a brief note how "the charges of racism flew" the minute he was challenged in New Hampshire, which "raises the question" of how he'll deal with it in the general election. "Y'know, when he's running against real racists" was, sadly, left unsaid. I'd have loved to hear Joe laugh that one off.

Yesterday I downloaded Steve Jobs' keynote address at Macworld, which--excuse me for a moment--the Technology Guy on Channel 8, who is also the non-snuggly Weather Forecast Reader and who got the Tech job--which consists of touting recently released electronic gizmos once or twice a month, more frequently for the holidays--apparently because he's the only one on staff who knows the difference between the USB and Firewire symbols, twice called "The Mac Convention", which was also displayed as a graphic. I do not mean to sound like a Mac cultist version of a Star Trek conventioneer ("It was episode 29, and they were on Antares 7, moron.") but it's been Macworld for nearly twenty-five years, and it's been noted for Jobs' keynote since his return to Apple, and it's not like it generally occurs in a busy news month, or like "busy news month" affects the ninety minutes of weather radar, church social bulletins and celebrity gossip these people husk for a living. Was there some problem saying "Macworld", like we daren't give any free advertising to a mostly unknown publication ? This, in a city which has sold the naming rights to everything but the World War Memorial, and I sure hope that doesn't give anyone in the Accidental Mayor's office ideas.

Anyway, I shuffled through the thing--Apple seems to be allowing QuickTime to moulder, probably on the grounds that it will have to fall to dust before it's as bad as Windows™ Media--and I thought, y'know, this country can produce a laptop that fits in an envelope ("style over substance" sniffs Slate, as though the
American business model of the last five decades had changed back overnight, and Jobs was the only one who didn't get the memo); we can produce crappy movies by the boxcarload, and constantly find new and better ways to force someone to hear about them, and we can even find something for Randy Newman to do twenty years past his sell-by date, but we can't manage a sensible political process or find candidates to staff it. And then today I'm reminded that in the course of two generations we've gone from Edward R. Murrow relayed to the seven-inch screen in the living room to a privileged know-nothing beamed directly into your pants. Maybe we're going about this the wrong way.


billy pilgrim said...

Even FDR knew half a century ago that corporate control was the wrong way to go.

The Republicans big success wasn't the Southern Strategy, but the inarguability of Corporate Rule being synonymous with Democracy, and The Way America Works.

heydave said...

Makes one think about brushing up on survival skills.

And I don't mean that ass-stupid show of "annoying people deserving of life on an uncharted island," I mean in "the revolution will not be televised" sort of way.

Prof. George Edward Challenger said...

That made my day.

D. Sidhe said...

I adore you.

Hey, when's the surgery? If you'd like, I could send you a box of origami cranes.

Poicephalus said...

I have video on my gas pump and radio on my coke machine.
No wonder we get candidates that are, ummmmmmm, less than top-notch. We don't have a second to sit around and think through squat.
I think I will avoid the multi-media drawers, and those that wear them.

Steve said...

Hey, Randy Newman is a genius, so leave him alone. But then, I'm about the same age as he is, so maybe my opinion is irrelevant too. Get the fuck off my lawn!

Anonymous said...

You know, anyone who makes a reference to A Pope and a pipe in one sentence is "aces" in my book.

doghouse riley said...

Dude, I'm a huge Randy Newman fan. It's just that it's a long way from Political Science to the Toy Story VIII soundtrack.