Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Under Review

ADD: The Mainstream Media Disease

[Note: This is a test of your attention span. If you can't read all of this you may be infected by media-induced ADD. Seek professional help.]


Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind

- Eliot, Burnt Norton

The Short Attention Spans of Media Professionals Mean a Hyperactive Headline Glut for You

headtwist.jpg Recently I became acquainted with a young boy, just turned nine. He's a brilliant and happy kid, but he has a problem with cleaning up and organizing his room. It isn't that he can't do it, he simply has to be told about every five minutes to continue the process. In the course of picking things up to put away he discovers anew their potential to fascinate him.

The Gameboy? "Oh, here's where I saved that last stage of Turoc. Let's see if I can get the flame-thrower and..."

Any one of the 3,000 + Lego units? "Gee, I never did get the moon base hemi-dome set up, just let me put these 400 blocks in place and..." Books? "Sure thing and, hey, did Horton ever hatch that egg..."

On it goes until, after the sixth or seventh cajoling instruction, a path has been cleared for the vacuum cleaner. After which, he promptly begins taking everything he has put away out and strews it about the floor once again.

Today's pop psychologists, addlepated educators and the marketing departments of large drug companies are hard at work trying to convince me children who behave like this have "Attention Deficit Disorder" or ADD. But I know enough to know it is the companies who are obsessed, confused and greedy in about that order.

What this young boy suffers from is no more than being a normal, heedless and all around great nine-year-old boy. He doesn't have ADD anymore than I have an elephant chained in my back yard. (Yes, I just checked.)

The only group that I can see in the United States that, as a group, is seriously afflicted with ADD is a group of would-be adults -- the group we call collectively "The Mainstream Media." For members of this group ADD is not an option, it is a requirement. Far from being a means to informing and enlightening the public, the primary role of the MSM is to distract it. At this they are very good since they are "Distracted from distraction by distraction" by their very nature. They are "the ADD professionals." They actually get paid for doing this. Paid well for having a disease.

Let's review....

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 24, 2012 1:27 AM |  Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Building the Perfect Beast: What Is to Be Done in the Blogosphere

The power of reason, the top of the heap.
We're the ones who can kill the things we don't eat .
Sharper than a serpent's tongue,
Tighter than a bongo drum,
Quicker than a one-night stand,
Slicker than a mambo band.
And now the day is come.
Soon he will be released.
Glory hallelujah!
We're building the Perfect Beast .

        -- Don Henley

The Blog is in the Bias

An offhand comment at an online forum I sometimes frequent noted that political blogs, presenting themselves as unbiased in order to criticize the bias of the mainstream media, were actually the most biased form of media around. Blogs biased? Inconceivable! The statement elicited virtual nods all around as if the participant had discovered the spherical nature of the Earth.

This is the sort of statement that always gives me pause. Could it possibly be that an intelligent person, reading through the endless variety of political blogs available, would come to the conclusion that blogs present themselves, as a group, as an unbiased medium? I've read many thousands and I've yet to discover one. To aim a spotlight on bias in the media does not, it seems to me, wrap the handler of the spotlight in the noble robes of balanced fairness. Quite the opposite.

Indeed, the signal strength -- beyond all others -- that blogs bring to the multi-media festival of the 21st century is their clear and present bias. Show me a blog without an easily discernible bias and I'll show you a link farm formed by a Commodore 64 running untended in a basement closet since 1988 on a 300 baud dialup line with a full frontal ASCII interface. An unbiased blog? There is no such animal.

The bias makes the blog. Without bias there is no reason for a blog to exist and, if one does exist, it's readership can be counted on the digits of a one-legged three-toed sloth. The force of the blog flows from its bias.

For good or ill, blogs are a force to be reckoned with on the national and international scene. What remains to be seen is whether or not blogs, as a medium -- or better still "a multi-medium of the multitudes" -- can build upon this position, bootstrapping themselves into ever widening spheres of influence. This is, as is the manner of blogs, already happening on an ad hoc basis. It will continue to happen at an accelerating pace. But it can be accelerated through applications of capital, organization, planning, and most importantly, intent.

CamoCasters of the Airwaves and Newsstands

Before the consolidation of newspapers that took place across the last few decades of the 20th century, a signal strength of print journalism was, taken on a title by title basis, that it was neither fair nor balanced. Instead, these newspapers dealt in a specific bias and looked to readers with similar feelings to seek them out. Pro-union, anti-union; Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Communist -- all these and more made for a heady brew at newsstands in city and town.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 26, 2005 8:30 PM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Distractions

We regret that our usual prodigious output of free-association and unrestrained blather has been constrained in the last few days. We have been having issues.

Say rather that our hosting service has been having issues with us. Issues that I shall not go into just yet, but will rant upon fully at a later date.

Previous Hosting Situation

Suffice it to say that these issues were enough, when coupled with research into said late host at webmaster boards across the net, to induce me to move the site onto new, improved servers at the hallowed Hosting Matters.

New American Digest Control Room @ Hosting Matters

I'd been toying with this idea for a few months but, overcome by inertia, hadn't really pressed forward on it. Now, with the tireless help of my long suffering friend and web designer, Tom Eberle, the move has been accomplished.

About Tom, more later as well. For now, American Digest is feet dry at Hosting Matters. I must say it feels good.

In the coming week, it will be back to blather as usual here. I've got several items at the half-bake in the background and I hope to be able to put them up soon.

Among them will be:

  • "Blog-Forward:" The Next Steps Already Taken in the Evolution of this Medium.
  • "Evolutionary Creationism:" The Hidden Nexus of Two Opposing Views of the Universe
  • "Waiting for Bartlett:" Remaking the Democratic Party in It's Own Graven Image
  • "Frequently Answered Questions"
  • "Killing Children 'For the Children':" The Dutch Way of Death Coming to a Cultural War Theater Near You Soon
  • "Immigrant Mother:" The Photos Around and the Story Behind Dorthea Lange's Most Famous Depression Photograph [Illustrated]
  • "Ansel Adams, Cub Newspaper Reporter:" The Urban News Photography of America's Most Celebrated Nature Photographer [Illustrated]
  • "While Visions of Rednecks Danced In Their Heads:" Fighting Bad Blue Acid Flashbacks
  • "The Black Freighter:" The American Ship of State in the 21st Century

Plus a few Christmas presents for your all suitable for use in a last minute wrapping frenzy and sure to offend someone on your list.

And... maybe... a regular film reviewer which, lucky for you, will not be me.

For now, however, suffice it to say that spending a week or so moving two hundred megabytes of blog from California to Florida has tuckered me out. I'm taking a break for a few hours.

See you on the flip side.

[If you must, we point out that the Archives tab above now works. So dunk around if you've a mind. All told there are over 4000 entries to choose from.]

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 1, 2004 9:47 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink