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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another July 4th

This is the first July 4th that I didn't watch "1776". In years past (at least 8) I needed to see something that represented what we were about. Though I'm not happy about watching Obama sucked into and aged already by the office, I'm still hoping that he won't be completely morphed into the puppets we've seen since Nixon ruined the Presidency. At least we had a belief that we mattered then; there's no conscious human alive now that can believe an individual matters at all to the State anymore.

Really, from my HS yearbook, when I quoted Fitzgerald, "So that old libel that we were cynics and skeptics was false from the beginning; on the contrary, we were The Great Believers.", it's been downhill. My gen did still believe that we could make a difference, and some of us still do.

In trying to report and interview my town's local election candidates, I was blackballed by the candidates because of one's paranoia. The editors of the website I was reporting for didn't support me, and so I stopped doing citizen journalism. Instead of communicating and bridging the chasm, they indulged the politicians, who weren't even drawn onto the carpet for refusing to answer.

Really, I love being a citizen journalist- it's the best thing in these days of commercially-sponsored yellow journalism non-truth in papers, TV & websites. But even "independent" websites aren't perfect. Right now all I can afford is a blog (no cost). But I'd love to start a real news website that answers to nobody, not even me. I'll promise not to change titles, rearrange/edit text, or criticize what contributors post. If there are no ads sold, there's no sucking up. God knows we need outlets without agendas. And God knows we need to get behind people who have something to say without bowing to outside interests, or fear, to protect and defend individuals who may have no other access, and to face down the powers that be. I've found too many agendas in the sites I've contributed to, to consciously give them my hard work gratis.

So this 4th has me looking, scrutinizing, at what to do next...

Independence of written expression. What a concept.


xteeth said...

I think that this indicates a rather shallow understanding of what causes the distortion of news. Sure, but extremely rarely, the person footing the bill calls up and requests that you don't publish that but you can count that sort of thing on one finger - you can guess which one. Mostly the economic pressure is, when effective, self sensorship of one kind or another. The one that bothers me most now is the inevitable corruption that comes from getting a big head. Everyone involved has what they think of as "standards" by which is meant that I get to choose what I like and want here. People being what they are, do lazy, dumb things, respond to their prejudices etc. and the result is indistinguishable from the kind where the American Conservative Union offers to sell its endorsement for two million. Your tiff with iBrat, if that is what it is, certainly doesn't come from Lise or Chris trying to distort or alter your views or reporting, it comes from your expectations that they will promote your views through their site. We have those same problems at the Forum. Someone has to decide what goes, is done, is supported etc. and it isn't me therefore I am more or less resentful. The site is not representative of my, or indeed anyone's particular views and some are excluded. All those non-grammatical diatribes. Are they rejected because they would result in legal action? Because people who can't write also can't think? Because they disagree with what other civilised people find exceptable.

No one can do this without excluding something. Why not reverse course and be amazed and thrilled that anyone does anything. I was just last night at a guy's house who has quit. He ran for this, he ran for that, he got no support, he interprets everything as hostile to him. Maybe he is right. There is only one thing that is clear and that is that he has quit. How is that good for anything? The remarkable thing is that any cooperative effort ever succeeds. This from someone in whose business life kept retreating from, renting apartments to jerks, building houses with jerks, making tools for jerks, now I know no one, do little and complain a lot. All those 60's efforts, the Diggers, Alice's Restaurant, Boston Food Coop, failed because it came down to a couple of people doing it all for a bunch of people who couldn't be bothered to put out the effort to help. Finally, the people who did the work said, screw this, I'm out of here. Go help yourself. Well, we should share the blame. I still have no solution but I don't think separation is any answer. How many people read this blog? iBrat just went over 20 million views. Is the point personal pique or getting the spiral to go up rather than the inevitable down? We all get to choose and I think our choices vary over time.

Austan said...

As usual, xteeth, you're spouting off without knowing the story. Your presumptions are wrong. Have a nice day.