Sunday, May 09, 2010

Don't Bogart That Narrative

So our president is a Luddite?

US President Barack Obama lamented Sunday that in the iPad and Xbox era, information had become a diversion that was imposing new strains on democracy, in his latest critique of modern media.

Obama, who often chides journalists and cable news outlets for obsessing with political horse race coverage rather than serious issues, told a class of graduating university students that education was the key to progress.

"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.
Pardon me for working blue on this, but my goodness, where to begin with this pile of caca? It raises a lot of questions:
  • I grew up in the 1970s. We had four television stations in our market and a handful of radio stations to choose from. Outside of the lessons I received from teachers and my parents, my worldview emerged from a miasma of Top 40 radio, Walter Cronkite and whatever I could find from the public library. My kids can use the Internet to find out things that I never could have seen, or even known about, in my childhood. How is that not empowering?
  • Does anyone really believe that the President doesn't know how to work an iPod? Perhaps there's a problem with the truth meter, but we were told repeatedly how much then-Senator Obama loved his BlackBerry and how much he fought having to give it up. If you can work a BlackBerry, it's almost certain you can figure out an iPod. And if an iPod isn't a tool of empowerment, why would the President have given one to the Queen?
  • Why on earth should we not have information as entertainment? Is not information baked in to all forms of entertainment? Or all forms of communication, for that matter?
  • How can information undermine democracy? Do we not need an informed citizenry, with access to varying viewpoints? Or should all just rely on a single, approved viewpoint? I'm sure someone could come up with a viewpoint that we all could live with, right? That would make our lives easier, no doubt.

What to make of this? I think the President is whining because he feels as though he's lost control of the narrative. And I also think it's unseemly. What do you think?


Gino said...

i dont think. i just absorb the information piped into me.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

I think there's a certain 'pining for the fjords' element here. Obama would love to have just a few news sources that people considered credible: Cronkite, New York Times. It would make his job of reshaping America so much easier.

Night Writer said...

The stones themselves cry out.

R.A. Crankbait said...

Rooooollll, another lie. Just like, the other lie. You've been holding on to it. And I think you're full of