Monday, October 12, 2009

Overheard on the Internets:

Marko: I’m certainly a big fan of modern medicine, and it makes me sad to see the anti-science attitudes that are pervasive these days.

Me: You say “these days” as though humanity being composed of a seething mass of gullible retards was some kind of new phenomenon…

Caleb: It’s just now they can communicate more efficiently.

Me: The only upside to that is that hopefully we can get everybody on the internets nattering to each other about anthropogenic young earth UFO Mayan vaccine autism, and they’ll be too busy to listen to the guy up at the big podium telling them to throw Jews in ovens and machine gun everybody who wears glasses.

Audience fragmentation exploits the pettiness and short attention span of the naked chimp and makes mass movements harder to ignite and sustain.

LabRat: Dang. That’s some high-grade stuff to waste on a comment thread.

Me: Good point.

Bobbi's comment this morning was "So you see an upside to five hundred channels and nothing on?"

"Sure," I replied, "instead of ninety percent of America listening to three guys telling them what to think every night, now we've got seventy percent of America listening to five hundred guys telling them what to think, twenty percent playing video games or watching DVDs, and ten percent chatting about what they think on internet forums. You can't get a good pre-genocide Nürnberg pep rally going if half your audience is listening to shortwave rants about flouride in the water, cheering for the opposition, or playing World of Warcraft."

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

"internets nattering to each other about anthropogenic young earth UFO Mayan vaccine autism"

What about the shadow people? And the lizard people living in underground cities in the South?

How can you leave these two foes of humanity out of OODA loop? I'll call, er, a friend of mine will call Coast to Coast to report this!

Shootin' Buddy

Joe Merchant24 said...

I just "discovered" the Snarky Tam Theory of Fractured Communications!

Doctorate, here I come!

theirritablearchitect said...

"...You can't get a good pre-genocide Nürnberg pep rally going if half your audience is listening to shortwave rants about flouride in the water, cheering for the opposition, or playing World of Warcraft."

I'm loathe to go on the specific avenue of genocide, I'd sure like to get something similar going.

Whaddaya call it when yer planning on eightysixing anyone who has a title of "Honorable" in front of it?

Just checking.

WV: waxab...freaky

Domenico said...

dude, what about them Chemtrails!?!?

TheCabinetMan said...

The only upside to that is that hopefully we can get everybody on the internets nattering to each other about anthropogenic young earth UFO Mayan vaccine autism, and they’ll be too busy to listen to the guy up at the big podium telling them to throw Jews in ovens and machine gun everybody who wears glasses.

One Nobel Peace Prize comin' up!!

TCM

Nathan said...

You missed the Bavarian Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the shape-shifting lizardoid Royal Family.

But nicely done, nonetheless :)

staghounds said...

An interesting corollary to my Furry theory...

For serious, that might actually be some original thinking there.

Fractured communications isn't it, though, and I'm sure it's more important that just a corollary.

More like multiple focus. Hmm. Tam divided focus liberty enhancement theory?

LabRat said...

Coincidentally, I just finished playing World of Warcraft before I checked my favorite internet forum and wandered over here to have Tam tell me what to think.

To schedule: AM radio.

Steve said...

One problem with that though, is that with so many channels, the few that actually might be sounding the alarm about what is actually being done to us by our beloved government won't be noticed by very many, if any, at all.

WV (and I truly didn't see it till I hit the down arrow): shams

Tam said...

"Coincidentally, I just finished playing World of Warcraft before I checked my favorite internet forum and wandered over here to have Tam tell me what to think."

You'll be late for the big "Anti-Quantum Physics/Down With Jewish Science" Pep Rally! ;)

Andy said...

Waaaaait.... has Godwin's Law actually been invoked here, or do we simply dance with the ragged leather fringe of disaster?

og said...

yep. let's all just embrace Science. Because Science brought us Thalidomide. Thorotrast. Tacoma narrows. the Tuskeegee Syphilis experiments. Love canal. Dioxin. Chernobyl. Scientists, doctors, researchers, engineers are human. They are capable of error and frailty. If you aren't at least a little suspicious of the next miracle cure, innoculation, or engineering marvel, you're a little naive.

I assume my Tylenol is going to be OK. But science gets it wrong an awful lot of the damned time, and I don't trust anyone that well. let someone else be the guinea pig, I'll wait till things are proven to work, before I give up my car in the holy name of glowebull warmening.

Andy said...

It's a good thing that Tam's bike is a pretty well proven bit of technology.

Though, a tandem with a rear facing stoker might be a good idea. Never hurts to have someone spraying zombies as you sprint away.

Oh. It's been done.

Anonymous said...

"You can't get a good pre-genocide Nürnberg pep rally going if half your audience is listening to shortwave rants about flouride in the water, cheering for the opposition, or playing World of Warcraft."

That's really freekin' profound. And I'm only one beer in. Think I'll go fetch another to celebrate: there actually may be hope for people -- and freedom -- after all.

Anonymous said...

The observation is clever, but it's nothing new,.. I think I ran across a variation of it in a certain early 90's speculative sf short story. Great minds think alike sort of thing.

However, if things get bad, I'm sure the most loathsome scumbags will attract a large audience. Angry people looking for someone to blame will glom together. Count on that..

@Og
Chernobyl wasn't science, or engineering, but politics. Chernobyl reactor was dangerous because it was dual use. And it was staffed by people who should have known better than tried to override the shutdown sequence.. but they got a command. From a party official, no doubt.

Love Canal, well, don't blame science for corporations externalizing costs. If pollution is not strongly discouraged through heavy fines and prosecution, are we to blame them for not giving a shit about it.
I'm sure you believe the only responsibility of business is to make money.. therefore, society ought to make the fuckers pay attention to dumping toxic chemicals..

-Orc

Tam said...

Og,

Way to miss my point.

og said...

I didn't, really, I was just making another, I thought related point. Not all the things that science brings us are good things. And yes, properly, it's not science itself but it's misuse, or misrepresentation. Science loads the gun; human behavior pulls the trigger.(al gore, come to the white courtesy phone) Sorry if my comments hijacked the thread, I'm just saying.

Ed Foster said...

Aren't we missing something here? I was picking somebody up at JFK a few days ago, and running up the Saw Mill Parkway because it's such a pretty drive (trying to score points for esthetics), when said someone decided she was hungry.

Then it happened. We went into downtown Yonkers looking for food. OMFG!

Every Post-Apocalypto flick you have ever seen times two, with a major touch of third world sloth and sleaze to flavor the Tzimmis, including a large parade of religious loonies dressed in purple robes, folks who find God by rolling on the floor, urinating, defecating, and making strange choking sounds while presumably orgasming. I was looking for zombies in every alley.

They're REAL, people. The world actually is coming to an end, and we're playing video games instead of practicing weapons drill.

Some reductio ad absurdum humor in there, but, at a gut level, it was the first time I'd ever really thought like a full time (I won't say committed) survivalist.

As tax revenues drop and the government printing presses run overtime (the dollar has depreciated 40% in the last year against gold), it will get harder and harder to pay these denizens of the dark their welfare, and also afford the police coverage that keeps them on their urban "reservations".

Getting back on theme, which is dilletantes fiddling while Rome burns, it was a pretty normal thing in any decadent, slowly failing society for the elites to while away their time in frivolities.

But technology now makes it easy for most of us to avoid having a life and interacting with other human beings.

More and more folks are becoming techno-voyuers who would rather watch porn than go out and get some, worry more about point standing in an online than if the fence gets fixed, need to twitter their most innane thoughts 15 times a day to other twitter tweets. Ever read Caves of Steel by Asimov?

Blogging also bonds some people together, helping people of like minds to join together and realize the entire world hasn't slipped it's trolley. That's a good thing.

But, while we may be an extended family, we don't live in close proximity, so we're not a community. We have very little leverage.

We do share some common sense and humor, increasingly rare things in our increasingly precarious world, and I know that's a needed bright spot for all of us.

But Oliver Wendell Holmes's very humorous and humanizing "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" newspaper column reached reached virtually everyone in the country who could read and think.

Take the top twenty blogs we all enjoy (starting with Tam, of course), add them up, and what fraction of a percent of the population do they reach?

We precious few indeed.

Anonymous said...

Eric Hoffer, 1951 – “The True Believer – Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements”
P.11
“When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors , shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the actions that follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
And p.12
“People who see their lives as irremediably spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement...Their innermost craving is for a new life – a rebirth – or failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause. An active mass movement offers them opportunities for both...”
and P. 13
“ It is true that in the early adherents of a mass movement there are also adventurers who join in the hope that that the movement will give a spin to their wheel of fortune and whirl them to fame and power.”
And

Eric Hoffer, 1979 – “Before the Sabbath”
p. 7
“ I am curious about Pechorin, a Russian intellectual of the mid-nineteenth century who wrote a poem on “How sweet it is to hate one’s native land and eagerly await its annihilation.”

Anonymous said...

You are (probably a reflection of your good character) totally forgetting about the (reportedly) number one internet attraction - porn.

DirtCrashr said...

Ed, (and Anon) that's why I don't like to go over to the East Bay.
The thing of it is, there WILL be another earthquake, and 80% of the damage that subsequently results, results from fire.

Ed Foster said...

Anon, porn used to be fun, sometimes titilating (I know, bad pun), sometimes hilariously lame, but fun.

Now it's something creepy, more about abuse, domination, contempt, and the need to savage every percieved taboo. If what is done to the women in those things was done to a dog or cat, the porn side of the net would have been shut down three hours ago.

I never thought I would become a prude, and my basic political beliefs are 30% conservative and 70% small "l" libertarian, call it minarchist for lack of a better label.

I can't stomach the thought of any kind of censorship, but if some otherworldly plague struck the money people behind the porn industry, I might start believing in God again. And give the old boy a serious thank you.

Joanna said...

Interesting note: Thalidomide is in tests as a cancer treatment because the same mechanism that causes birth defects -- stoppage of blood vessel production -- also keeps tumors from growing. So don't hold it up as science gone wrong, hold it up as science misapplied.

Anonymous said...

@Ed Foster...

Depends on what porn. There is nasty stuff, but no one is forcing you to look at it..

disclaimer: I've never paid for porn(lots of pretty good naughty stories & pictures available for free), though I've used borrowed credentials on a few ocassions.

-Orc

Ed foster said...

Point conceded, or never made. They have the right to put it there, but I think someone would have to be broken to want it.

And I'm really not a prude. No real religious beliefs, and much of my life has been a hormonal trainwreck of glandular excess.

But I like women, the smarter ones anyway, and the less bright ones aren't any worse to be around then men of the same intellectual disaccomplishment. I don't think it's chauvanist to feel a bit protective.

I have to accept it, but I don't have to like it.