Today begins my 35th year in newspapering. When I got into the business, a relatively new industry was growing in strength into its zenith years of mid 80s to early 90s. The product was called ‘alternative newsweekly’ , the reference being that it was an alternative voice to mainstream daily newspapers and traditional network news.
Most alt-weeklies were independently owned and operated by men and women who cared to tell interesting stories in a truthful way, not beholden to corporate sponsorship pressures.
I still believe in the mission of these newspapers endeavor to do every day, but admit that the term ‘alternative’ can no longer be used for this industry.
The term has now swirls from lifestyle choices to what the New York Times yesterday mentioned as far right wing agitators. John Herrman’s piece speaks to how such people and groups have co-opted the term and space that once was the domain of progressives.
It made me think of the differences between the two sets: the former chanting the mantra of peace and love in an effort to stop and unjustified war; the latter co-opting the words hate and fear to divide the country.
I’ll take the former, please…
It seems to be a natural human trait to avoid difficult discussions. Especially when it comes to the ultimate discussion, about death and dying. In the LA Times today was an interesting piece about how doctors, who face death and dying every day, we’re given very little training on how to properly communicate that to patients and their families.
The old saying of it’s not what you say but how you say it applies in this case. In my mind, it’s a combination of both things…
Remember ‘Gary from Chicago’, who along with his fiancé walked off a tour bus and into the front row seats at Sunday’s Academy Awards show Sunday night? Now get to know his unexpected past in a story from the LA Times. Never say never…
The front page article in this morning is Los Angeles Times speaks to the fear that has run rampant in communities like Santa Paula. Although ICE did conduct raids in neighboring cities, none occurred in SP. still, fear and rumors abound…
When I was a young lad I went with some friends to see Woody Allen’s film Bananas. But it was the short film that played before that left the larger impression on my brain. Titled De Duva, this 13 minutes send up of Ingmar Bergman’s filmmaking left me in stitches. I recently found it on YouTube and want to share it with you here.
Never mind that you don’t know Swedish. The language used in this film is completely made up but more English than anything else. And if you watch carefully you’ll see a famous actress who was in another black-and-white film classic, Young Frankenstein.
We live in strange times. Having been involved in reporting the news for nearly 35 years, I think that we’re in an era where facts are less valued than at any other time in my life. Two points here:
And article in the Los Angeles Times points to a soon to be published UCLA study that indicaties that conservative Americans believe false news more readily than liberals,especially when the news is negative.
And a New York Times piece explains why the President of the United States can continue to misinform seemingly with impunity. While news organizations continue to point out these falsehoods, too many people are either believers of these ‘alternative facts’ or are not concerned enough to take action. This is dangerous in the long run. Taken to the extreme, such thinking can erase from society’s collective memory the true facts regarding important issues such as climate change, racial issues and even the Haulocost. Dangerous indeed…
A while back, Harry Shearer – the radio personality, did a piece on the somewhat common use of the word ‘so’ at the beginning of sentences. Like him, I am annoyed that the use of this adverb to begin speaking.
Yet it seems that the millennial generation uses it often…
But that’s not what today’s comment is about. An interesting piece from Atlas Obscura defines the term Filled Pause as those words that we use in between thoughts while speaking. One example of this is President Obama who used the word ‘and’ to give himself time for his thoughts to catch up with what he was saying next. Other commonly used words in English are uh and um. But this have it is not just an English – it occurs in many other languages with different words being used.
The spoken word is different then the written word. When we use such word usage in the written form, it is an intentional inclusion. When we do it while speaking, often times it is ah subliminal.
I know that Toastmasters group’s ring a bell when you say such words while speaking in effort to have you become more conscious of using them in an effort make your spoken words clear and concise. In this age of 140 characters, wouldn’t that be nice…
The threat of nuclear war has been a reality for four generations now. It’s influence ebbs and flows with the tensions between hostile nations worldwide. Some decades are more dangerous than others.
It appears that we are entering one of the more dangerous periods, with North Korea, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Irael and the Trump administration all ratcheting up interest in arming themselves further and saber rattling.
Whether real or imagined, this threat has driven some people to take very serious invasive actions.
An article in the New Yorker explains how the very wealthy are preparing themselves for what could happen in the future. Buying executive style housing underground at former bunkers in far away places of heartland America is one example.
This very long but very interesting article gives you a glimpse into the thinking of some billionaires from Silicon Valley, New York and elsewhere and the fear that wrestles in their brain.
Read the piece here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich Read the rest of this entry
A quick book review of Mara Einstein’s book entitled Black Opps Advertising in today’s New York Times, discusses how modern techniques use many methods to fool consumers into believing that they are not being manipulated. Oh but we are: so many things now contain messaging that it’s even hard for seasoned pros to tell if they are being sold. Sponsored content, native advertising and content marketing are a few of the terms explored, and now with website traffic companies like Google and Facebook know what you’re doing or about to do so interrupt your visual life online with suggestions on what to buy, wear, eat or go.
If this were a friend, you’d tell them to get lost after a while. But in this, you can’t, and that’s the scary part.
As much as we want to, avoiding these marketing ploys is very difficult verging on impossible.
Hayden, who died yesterday after a long illness, was one of the last meaningful 1960s era anti-war, anti-fascistic, anti-pollution crusaders in America.
His marriage to Jane Fonda raised his profile but cast him into an unnatural light of Hollywood shallowness that obscured the hard-working, passionate risk taker that he truly was.
For nearly six decades, he pushed for causes that varied but held true to the principles that he believed in, amounting to a number of important and lasting ideals.
Never shy, he embraced the role that one person could make a difference and so he did. Arrested, beaten, insulted, criticized, he was never out for the count until the very end. He worked hard at trying to persuade others to feel as strongly as he did about social justice and to act on those feelings.
Perhaps J Edgar Hoover summed it up best when he wrote: “One of your prime objectives is to neutralize him in the New Left Movement.” The paranoid Hoover hated what he did not understand.
Nice obit in the New York Times here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/25/us/tom-haydendead.html?_r=0