|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 10:17 am: |
A NY journalist, Mark Jacobson, and I have decided to start a blog in the form of a correspondence with the idea of building it into an internet magazine. Mark has the contacts, I have the rabid nature, and we've decided to build it slowly and hopefully it'll have more staying power that way. The fact that I;ll be out of the country for about six weeks is a drawback, but we'll either work around that or wait til after I return in Feb to start. Any ideas would be appreciated.
|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 12:10 pm: |
I guess it all depends what your intentions and goals are for this blog/magazine.
If you are trying to promote a higher awareness and psychological evolution within your country; exposing your government for what it is, and really to expose humanity for what it was, is, and could become; then I would start with a bit of humor to suck people in, and start with the smaller issues that face middle America, which people can relate with, that directly concerns their daily lives. If you start by ranting to hard, many of the people you want to affect are going to be scared off.
If you are doing this primarily to ammuse people who are already aware of these things, then I'm sure you'll do a wicked job.
Problem is your ideas are competing with years of conditioning, a country afraid of change and the unknown, and the T.V., which has a massive influence over the populace, and encourages people to be stupid.
|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 03:07 pm: |
Actually, fuck it man, don't hold back at all! You're not a politician you're a writer.
|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 05:24 pm: |
Hey Lucius, do you think you were targetted for all this spam because you spoke up?
Best, from a much too paranoid Alice.
p.s. Go get 'em.
|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 05:30 pm: |
Perhaps. Alice...but it might be the work of a surrealist.
|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 05:46 pm: |
My offer still stands. If you need some graphic design or web design give me a shout. I'd be happy to help out.
|Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 06:30 pm: |
Thanks, jeremy. I;ll keep you posted.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 02:31 pm: |
Quoting here from a piece by Jay Bookman, "Internet ships pass in the night", in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution":
"What we're seeing is what John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt call "netwar." The two analysts for the RAND think tank predict that in the modern world, competition will increasingly take the form of network pitted against network. Al-Qaida, for example, is a global network locked in struggle against the American global network. According to Arquilla and Ronfeldt, the network that establishes the narrative that most people find appealing, and that communicates its narrative most effectively, is going to win.
Politics, too, is becoming a form of netwar, a competition between dueling narratives. And one of the most important questions about that transformation is how strongly a narrative will have to be anchored in reality to be effective. The apparent impact of the Swift Boat ads argues that in some contexts, truthfulness may not matter much. When people can wrap themselves in a media environment that only reinforces what they choose to believe, facts may lose importance. The problem is compounded by media outlets that find it profitable to play to that desire, offering viewers not information but comforting affirmation of their pre-existing beliefs.
In a campaign, the result can be two competing narratives that operate in separate worlds, never intersecting with each other. That may be why people have a hard time discussing issues across party lines anymore. There's no common ground."
This addresses three problems I've thought alot about in the past few years, and don't have any answers for.
1) the increasing genrification of the media and "news", tailored to points of view, and strengthening their polarities
2) the increasing pattern of consumers to stick in the genre, to the point of bragging that they don't look at another side, or even an 'objective' view. As an illustration, a political rally in California earlier this year used the slogan "Do we read the LA Times?"
and the answer, like "flip-flop", was "NO!!!"
3) the issue of truth. I have always felt that if people actually KNEW . . . But maybe that is as old-fashioned and fairyflossy as believing in Cinderella.
Richard Halicks, in today's A-T C, has a very scary column entitled with a quote itself: "To think truth is relative is truly weird", about Michael P. Lynch's new book, "True to life: Why truth matters".
In the interview with Lynch, the New England philosopher says,
"A: I became interested in the topic of why truth matters partly because it seemed to me that the country is becoming increasingly cynical about truth. For a number of years I've been thinking about what truth is. . . . It's a question that can be considered in the ivory tower of academe. But when you come down out of the tower and look around, you begin to realize that people are very confused about not just what truth is, but why it's valuable.
I think the cynicism about truth that you see manifests itself in a number of different ways. One, to use a current example, is that when we went to war in Iraq, we were told there were [weapons of mass destruction] there, and that turns out to be false. And it seems that many people came to the conclusion that that doesn't really matter. True, false, true, false — well, what matters is something else. Either achieving stability in the country, or access to oil, or asserting our power, or getting revenge, something like that."
What do you think of all this? There have been many "War" blogs and also magazines, full of both truth and horror about what the Bush administration has done and is likely to do in the future. How does another one reach out to go beyond? Or do you even want to? I actually don't know answers here, so am honestly asking you what you think.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 03:42 pm: |
Anna, what we are attempting to do is still being discussed, but I assume what we will try to do is to be entertaining with the style of our correspondence to draw people in, to use Mark;s many contacts to spice things up, and gradually build to a legitimate net magazine. A mixture, then, of entertainment salted with facts, at first, then evolving into a more complex deal.
The polarity of the "News" and etc. has been institutionalized to the point where it requires subversion to root out, and the only way I know to tell people the truth, to communicate what truth is, would be to teleport them all to zone 13 in Guatemala City.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:14 pm: |
Your thoughts sound great, especially the "entertainment salted with". Bleak House, it shouldn't be. And you're probably right with the teleporting comment. Thanks for sharing more of your vision for this. Count me in when you are looking for backers.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 05:06 pm: |
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 06:34 pm: |
Some thoughts by mark jacobson....
Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to
leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of
our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are
states we want to keep.
And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite?
How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic
Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you
keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they
meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault
weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first
half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt
sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead.
Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the
fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?
No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and
fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves
and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those
fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And
it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together
and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit,
so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately
"Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.
Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant?
What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so.
Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I
wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges,
All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to
you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority
electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time
Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to,
but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it,
it‚s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.
The next dickwad who says, "It‚s your money, not the government's money" is
gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal
fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That‚s
right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that
receive the least and pay the most? It‚s too easy, asshole, they‚re blue
states. It‚s not your money, assholes, it‚s fucking our money. What was that
Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this
for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.
Let‚s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern
values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you
fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you
think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can
you guess? It‚s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay
marriage universe. Yes, that‚s right, the state you love to tie around the
neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in
the fucking nation. Think that‚s just some aberration? How about this: 9 of
the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are
in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest
divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass
we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt
is doing its fucking part.
But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah?
Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards.
Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right?
Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time.
Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and
then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable
formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as
you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you
self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of
the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal
Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up
here in the North, assholes.
Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing,
federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou,
hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.
And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:03 pm: |
It's going to be a good blog.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:15 pm: |
He seems like he's angry about something.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:19 pm: |
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:24 pm: |
We think it's going to be pretty good.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 07:53 pm: |
That's not likely to convince any moderate voters, however.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 08:01 pm: |
We're just experimenting, Jeff. Playing around with styles.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 08:47 pm: |
I think a little less vitriol, a little less accusatory profanity, might be more useful. But that's just me.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 09:09 pm: |
You can't please everyone, Mastadge..
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 10:09 pm: |
Mastadge, it needs to read out aloud, quickly, in a clench-teethed whisper, like I just did to Rick Wadholm over the phone. It's really funny. Doesn't mean he doesn't mean it, but Mark _is_ a humorist. This is the guy who wrote GOJIRO, after all.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 11:27 pm: |
Er, I don't mean this in a derogatory sense, but wouldn't you first want to decide:
1)who you want to appeal to
2)what you want to achieve
Or have you thought out these things, and I've been too dim to catch them. For if this really is "War", fucking war from the trenches, in the internet sense, isn't there the problem that each flying fuck that's lobbed from each trench falls only upon the ears of those in the same trench?
And secondarily, what about all those people who don't want to live in the trenches? It seems that there has never been a better time to seize the moderate voter, who's been abandoned by the Republicans, like a dumped dog.
And again, sorry if these comments are irrelevant to you. I guess I'm just results-oriented in the long run more than what looks to me with this particular approach like instant-gratification-based to the writer and fans in the short, for a very limited group. And my approach wouldn't necessarily get results, either. But hell, I can't stand Moore and Coulter, yet other people think they do the world of good. And maybe they do and I'm too far away physically and mentally to be in touch enough to know.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 01:10 am: |
If you don't like Moore's satire... then I think based on the example above....
This is my take on Mark's rant. He's using a type of humour that I really enjoy, but it's not everyone's thing. This is the type of humour you don't take too seriously... but at the same time you should take it very seriously. You just sometimes need to read between the lines a little. First off, there is some truth behind what he's saying and the truth can be ugly. There is also real outrage behind it, and justified outrage at that. Thing is though, I think mark, and I could be wrong, is making use of a specific type of irony in his attack. The author is expressing his outrage that the Southern states have generalized and stereotyped the Northern states as arrogant and elite, by generalizing and stereotyping the southern states in an equaly nasty if not nastier light. I'm sure that lots from the south actually feel the same way about many of their fellow southerners.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 01:46 am: |
I agree with you about the truth in Mark's rant. And about the truth being ugly. What I mean is to ask just who he wants to get to, to read his pieces, and will they? And what, ultimately, the goal is by the style of stating his case as he is. If it is to appeal to the people whose thing it is, and that target group is linked to reaching the goals of this 'war', then well and good. As Lucius said so rightly, "you can't please everyone." I was just asking in case the style of delivery was perhaps determining the target audience rather than the other way around. And if this is to be the style, then I don't understand the goal. But as I said, I think I'm really out of things here. So I won't speak up again, as I don't think I'm being constructive now, and don't want to be destructive.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 03:28 am: |
Um...suggestion. Why don't y'all lighten up? I stated that we were just messing around, trying different stuff. One more time, we're attenpting to express ourselves in __various ways__ through correspondence, demonstrating various viewpoints, gradually adding to the mix, until the correspondence is buried in an internet magazine. This particular style may or may not be included. Actually I'm not even sure this is mark, now. He sent it to me without any comment and it sounds like Mark--but I've found out it's already on the web so he may just have sent it as an exemplar. He's out of touch for a few so i won't know till he gets back. The point is, you don't attract an audience on the net through understatement, so exaggerated emphasis of this sort, of many sorts, may be the way to go. But, I repeat, we are just experimenting at the moment. I simply thought this was funny and put it out there. We're not even sure what our intent is. The attracting of moderate voters is somethng that may be beyond the scope of this blog or it may be its target. I don't know. If we do it, and there's still some question about that, because it's a lot of work, the main goal will be to attract an audience, then once we have that core audience, to expand from there, to make it more variegated. So all this angst over whether or not its the "right way" is premature.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 03:51 am: |
I even angst over my angst.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:50 am: |
Here's something that I think you all will be interested in (if you didn't catch it on Slashdot already). It's a very interesting article about blogs and politics.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 05:18 am: |
Er, not to rain on Mark's rant, but what about Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington, all Virginia boys -- the last time I looked, VA was still below the Mason-Dixon line, unfortunately.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 05:29 am: |
Crude, rude, and perfect. The truth isn't pretty. Now can you print off fliers and drop a few million from the belly of an airplane??
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 06:23 am: |
It's a natural inclination of most people to want to comment when something's put out there. You shouldn't be surprised. Happy to wait and see how it develops, of course.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 06:31 am: |
Lucius, I say keep experimenting. People hear different things in different ways. I'm looking forward to whatever else might come forth.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 07:24 am: |
Jeff, Alice....we'll keep on keepin' on.
No problem, Anna.
Paul, TJeff was a slave-owner, right. Virginia is for racists. Seriously, hunor ought to be allowed a little leeway and the "Buy your own stop signs" line is worth the price of admission, IMO. I come from VA. as you know, and once you get away from the Wash, Suburbs, it was one backward place....
T, there's a thought!
Jeremy, I wouldn;t expect any different from an ex-CBS operative.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:02 am: |
Mark's rant is superb - not least because it's funny, but also because it gets useful facts out and circulating.
I must have read close on a dozen American political commentators who explain the enduring failure of the democrats to make headway against the neocon right as an issue of "getting the message out". Basically (they all argue), the neocons have created a coherent mythology of buzz-words and slogans, such that the epithet "liberal" has become a dirty word. They have built a structure called "Values" with which they bulldoze any opposition - "It's your money, big government, welfare mothers, in God we trust, good old boys, down on the farm, etc etc..." The end result is that Bush was put back into power by exactly the people who have most to lose from his continuing Presidency. Kerry, it appears, lost because he was not perceived by them as sharing these bullshit "Values". He's a snotty liberal suit, Bush is a good old boy. But the fact that this whole structure is built on utterly fictitious premises is ignored - and that fact needs to be brought into focus if there's ever going to be a credible left/liberal opposition in the US. The facts Mark cites need to be widely known and quoted such that any neocon who actually gives a shit can't avoid banging into them regularly. (To a very large extent this "getting the message - or at least the facts - out" is what Michael Moore's work has been about too.)
As far as Anna's points go about alienating the people you're trying to reach, I think this is placing rather too much faith in the intelligence of the average neocon. These people, as we've just seen, aren't amenable to reason - they voted - and act generally - on gut-felt instincts,and they aren't going to read or respond to anything that could be labelled liberal or even balanced. But what you can do with this stuff is disseminate detail such that the liberal left finally get to assemble their own toolbox of counterpoints to the bullshit neocon line. The final impact on your neocon targets is indirect, but ultimately no less (possibly more) valuable.
Plus it gives us all a good hard laugh, which right now is about all we've got to keep us on our political feet.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:17 am: |
Richard, yeah that was more-or-less my feeling. Given that approximately 40% of the electorate believe that God created the world in six days, this probably won't penetrate many neocon skulls.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:35 am: |
Jeez, I really like that Mark J. rant. Screw Jon Stewart, maybe we should get this guy his own show. A guy who says what lots of us have been thinking but no one has dared to voice...
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:40 am: |
Granted, Mark's "screw you" tone might not be ideally suited for persuasion, but this is what we've been talking about: reclaiming "values" for the liberals whose platform embodies moral values. By convincing people that, yes, we understand your concerns, IN FACT, WE'VE BEEN ACTING ON THEM ALL ALONG, we can help break the GOP trance and reposition the liberal wing of American politics where it should be in the good graces of "values" voters.
That's precisely the tack to take.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 10:24 am: |
I've had enough of this "attempting to persuade" approach from the Dems already. Bush didn't attempt to persuade. He simply lied, lied and lied some more. Screw sounding reasonable. Make 'em laugh. Tell 'em like it is. Slip in the juicy soundbites that are based in fact. And if you feel the need to be salty, salt away.
You go BOY!
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 11:14 am: |
There's a diff between LYING to the voters whose votes you want and INSULTING them. The former is intended to get them in your camp; the latter is going to push them farther away.
I think you can be humorous in a way that points out the flaws in the "real Americans" logic without necessarily hardening the red-state voters against Dem. candidates. That's all I'm saying. Make the GOP spinmeisters the bad guys, not Joe Lunchbox in Mississippi, who may have been duped and be as much a victim as blue-staters.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 02:15 pm: |
I probably should have mentioned that I found the rant pretty damn funny anyway.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 04:59 pm: |
someone sent me the f*ckthesouth.com link and i read it last night at about the time you were apparently posting. funny coincidence.
to me, the tone works perfectly as a "yeah, you stomped me but i aint dead yet" voice. which is a voice i think the left needs to hear before it starts listening to the DNC's plan to retool as red-state-lite, yet again.
here's another article with a similar tone, chock full of sweet, lovely hostility.
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 05:28 pm: |
Yeah, I agree....
|Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:16 pm: |
I want to start out by saying that I can just imagine Lewis Black delivering the Mark Jacobson rant. And certainly if every post were as vitriolic and vulgarity filled as that rant things would get tired in a hurry. However, some crudeness and vulgarity can certainly mix things up and keep things lively. Even John Stewert drops the f-bomb on occassion.
I think that the trick to having a successful blog/magazine is figuring out how to get readers that are outside of the pissed-off Democrat demographic. Perhaps you could enlist an army of bloggers to post on other blogs or discussion boards and link back to your stuff.
Anyways, here's a little humor for everyone. Enjoy.
|Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 08:10 am: |
Obviously, the whole thing can't be like Jacobson's rant; there should be the serious, the sublime, the funny, all of it centered about delivering the message in a way that entertains. (And this Jacobson piece should be framed as being intended to be humorous--angry, but humorous.)
|Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 09:07 am: |
That''s more or less what we've got in mind, an underpinining of humor.....
|Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 04:48 pm: |
I came across this the other day, and Marc Jacobson's rant reminded me of it:
"If what made America great was its ingenious openness to different cultures, then the small triangle of land at the southern tip of Manhattan Island is the New World birthplace of that idea, the spot where it first took shape. . .[B]eneath the level of myth and politics and high ideals, down where real people live and interact, Manhattan is where America began. . . When the time came to memorialize national origins, the English Pilgrims and Puritans of New England provided a better model. The Pilgrims' story was simpler, less messy, and had fewer pirates and prostitutes to explain away. It was easy enough to overlook the fact that the Puritans' flight to American shores to escape religious persecution led them, once established, to institute a brutally intolerant regime, a grim theocratic monoculture about as far removed as one can imagine from what the country was to become."
From The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America by Russel Shorto, p. 3.
I'd hate to see history come round, full circle.
|Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 04:50 pm: |
Uh... that was supposed to be "Mark Jacobson".
|Posted on Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 08:57 pm: |
I guess the only questions are when do you think the blog will be up and where will we be going to read it?
|Posted on Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 09:09 pm: |
I told you this is still in the talking stages. We want to be sure that we both have time and energy to do it--i have committments that will put me on the road for some time, and we want to do it right, so it make take a couple or months. Then it may be quicker...I don;t know.
|Posted on Monday, November 15, 2004 - 03:36 pm: |
I think you should have a In the Garden With Lucius Shepard section. You know, kind of a "Farmer's Almanac meets Balzac's bastard, jazz playing love child" sort of thing. Could you get on that, Lucius?
Oh, and when's this thing starting up again....
|Posted on Monday, November 15, 2004 - 03:42 pm: |
Yes I could do that...and will.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:36 am: |
Oh, the blog will come out
You can bet your bottom IP that
there'll be rants.
we hate you,
You always bring Bush
|Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:40 am: |
Show tune, Minz?
|Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:50 am: |
Wow, Minz. Just...wow.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:54 am: |
Sometimes, the muse just strikes . . . particularly on no sleep and no coffee.
|Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:56 am: |
You go, Muse!
|Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 07:05 am: |
It's always been my experience that the Muse goes on strike without sleep and coffee and sometimes a long back rub and then there's the time she made me tickle her ass with a whole chicken. But that's just me. Results may vary.
|Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 08:43 am: |
Well, someone just sent me the link by way of The Stranger site. And I do think it's a great rant and since I'm in rant mode myself these days I wouldn't change a word.
|Posted on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 09:58 am: |
Lucius already posted this as the work of his future blog collaborator, I believe...Thanks for letting us know it found print, tho.