Asking about Media and Alt Media – and particularly ZCom

ZSplash Forums AskAlbert Asking about Media and Alt Media – and particularly ZCom

This topic contains 16 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  VeraVerochka VeraVerochka 4 months ago.

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  • #454484
    avatar
    Michael Albert
    Participant

    For media related issues, please – …

    #498462
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    Ren Huntsinger
    Participant

    Hi, Michael. I appreciate all the work you’ve done to bring about what you are now calling in a more general sense Z Communications. My first experience with your group’s work began with Z Magazine, I’m pretty sure it was the first or second issue I happened upon in an off campus book store back in ’87 when I was passing through Berkeley. I had it coming to my home shortly after that.

    To the point, I remember hoping that these Internet interactive forums would become a new and very democratic form of media. That was about ten years ago. If you want to consider something as an alternative media, I would have been inclined to add Internet forums to any list under that category. Now I’m not so sure.

    I’ve been looking at this phenomenon carefully for some time and I can’t say that I’m able to pin down with any precision reasons as to why it’s not working out the way I imagined. I could reference many others, like Chris Hedges with tomes like: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literature and the Triumph of Spectacle, tomes which could bring out a lot of thought provoking hypothesis to consider. What I see is more in the nature of a systemic, or cultural why, and any changing of how people interact as a larger cultural pattern through media does not seem to have much to do with rational solutions that would be part of a neatly pinned-down explanation.

    My naive hope was that this Internet forum form would somehow come to be a more compelling way for people to learn about what mass media markets as “the people’s” news, mainly becoming so through a process of interaction, the way people can interact in coffee shops and discuss ideas in non combative ways — if passionately so — but broaden that environment to include the world.

    So… I could rattle off a lot of thoughts. In fact I just did but I won’t burden the forum with them, at least not yet. What I’m asking for are some thoughts from others, like yourself, and others involved in developing “alternative” media, about the very notion of participatory media and whether you see it evolving in any way, as you hope to see Parecon evolve; why and how — if you see it evolving; or, perhaps, what impedes it. Would you not see see a more participatory media as a necessary component of any form of what we call, in our more hopeful moments, democracy? I certainly do. I personally don’t see how it cannot be systemically entwined with any form of participatory economics.

    #500391
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    Michael Albert
    Participant

    Hi Ren…

    Glad you have been with us so long. Hope Z has been helpful!

    Yes, I have tried, many times, going way back and right through the present, to facilitate ways for people to engage with one another, substantively, online. I have tried forums in various incarnations, online courses, even an alternative social networking set up, and now these particular forums. None of its has been worthless – but neither has any of it been resoundingly successful.

    If I knew why, well, I would try to use the knowledge to do better – but, honestly, I don’t know why. Of course some things are pretty evident – people in forums can be abusive. The people who write essays people mightly like to address, rarely participate. Forums can become a drain on time. Etc. But to me that doesn’t provide enough explanation. And a disturbing thing to notice is that in some place, venues, constituencies, there is lots of activity in forums – rarely political, even more rarely among serious leftists. I guess we will see what happens with these, though, in the next few weeks.

    #507150
    avatar
    Ren Huntsinger
    Participant

    Z has been an important grounding resource over the years, so yes, helpful. I thank all of you for all your efforts.

    People are plenty free to do democracy if they want to. Just as they are free not to pick up a gun and go to war. It’s always befuddled me that so many don’t seem to really want to.

    I’ve administered a couple of boards. Sometimes it takes longer than a few weeks for discussion to evolve. A lot more people will wait and watch than engage I could see by watching the traffic from behind the scenes.

    If the abusive types that seem to flower in these anonymous environments don’t take over, some of those watchers who come back to watch a genuine discussion working itself out may begin to feel like participating.

    Facilitating can be a kind of art form in regards to dealing with abusers. I can imagine a fine line in determining if the abuse is sociopathically intentional or the result of personalities that have evolved to adapt knee-jerk fashion to a competitive, abusive and generally violating cultural environment. In the latter case, there is often some hope they can learn a new style over time.

    It’s up to each of us taking part not to take the bait of responding to abuse, which, I’ve observed over and over, will have its own somewhat predictable consequences on the direction a discussion takes. One of the advantages of a writing environment is there is no clock counting down to the posting moment. One can take one’s own good time to respond.

    I happen to like to develop essays. And yes, it can take some time. But maybe it’s time worth taking. Too many media are slave to the clock these days.

    Writing longer posts will also open one up to abuse, and I’ve had to learn to deal with that. The whole culture is programmed for sound bites now. Which takes me back to my Hedges’ reference in my previous post about the end of ‘literature’ (should have been ‘literacy’) and the triumph of spectacle. Despite those who try to stomp out efforts at literacy, I do find many people who are truly thirsting for literate writing, and I try to imagine they are my audience, even if they aren’t always the ones responding — not that anything I write could be considered literate.

    #521276
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    Michael Albert
    Participant

    As to people not wanting to participate in democracy – seems like it is a simple though narrow calculation. Is it going to be worth my time and serve me well – or even anyone else – for me to participate. Many decide not – and I don’t think, in our society, they are necessarily wrong.

    I heard a stat, once, that said for an active board you need about 600 people watching it, then a small subset will post enough to keep it active. Don’t know what it was based on…

    Indeed, short, shorter, shortest seems to be a guideline infecting communications – largely owing, I think, to facebook, twitter, and other such vehicles, as well as instant messaging.

    #525223
    avatar
    Ren Huntsinger
    Participant

    Maybe if we do a little back and forth on this topic a few more people will get the urge. Also I kind of want to see how this software works.

    As to people not wanting to participate in democracy – seems like it is a simple though narrow calculation. Is it going to be worth my time and serve me well – or even anyone else – for me to participate. Many decide not – and I don’t think, in our society, they are necessarily wrong.

    I can see that.

    Just to expand a little, I would say that’s also a derivative of what we have as a neoliberal economic-based institutionalized culture in this homogenously globalizing version of human society. What I’m trying to say is the very notion that time is money comes out of a narrowly contrived form of human potential to create culture, where participation tends to be filtered through ever narrowing options for varied individual participation, that, as you noticed, is a “simple though narrow calculation” based on what serves the individual. I’m speaking from the point of view of someone who’s spent considerable time and effort to study the range of human cultures through the lens of cultural anthropology.

    In modern institutional settings the individual no longer needs to consider the survival imperatives of the larger whole, all that is taken care of by the impenetrable, behind the scenes ontology of institutional systems. But because the options are so narrowed by these vertically integrated systems, the majority of individualists end up doing pretty much the same as everyone else. Meanwhile the marketing media assures them they are making individual choices in their individually remarkable lives, and cajoles them into buying products that will enhance their unnoticed herd-like individuality.

    Rational solutions, like “how do I most profit from where I spend my time” within that context are not necessarily subject to individual moral judgements of right and wrong. In fact, bothering to think morally can be a big waste of one’s precious time and can make one very unhappily anxious. Who needs that!? It’s almost like an addiction to drugs and alcohol not to bother. Meanwhile the whole of all of this appears to be destroying the biosphere of the planet.

    If institutions were actual human beings, with the same human rights as we supposedly agree we have with our constitutions, as SCOTUS here in the U.S. has decided they have, they, by their amoral, unfeeling, purpose-driven destructive behavior, could be deemed sociopaths. The people who work within the constraints of institutions need not be sociopathic for the sociopathology of institutions to work their purposes on the world. But to recognize that requires a certain individual action, a moral judgement. Passivity does not lend itself to making moral judgements.

    Personally, as one who threw a Louisville Slugger through my television set back in 1970, just after I got back from Vietnam (I had a little PTSD at the time, I suppose, and I saw Nixon’s face filling the screen, lying, and I couldn’t just stand there and take it), I think decades of radio and television contributed by providing an addictive authoritarian form (active authorities speaking, passive listeners listening) that an increasingly consumerized society found too alluring to reject — especially after a long hard day at the office, or putting nuts on bolts on an assembly line. Facebook, twitter and such are a result of that. An opportunity for active participation turned into sound bite entertainment with vestigial feeling of social engagement to go with it. I’ve watched friends leave their frustrations behind on message boards and go to that venue.

    I never got another television by the way. I’ve missed out on cable and all that important cultural activity in my home. Nevertheless, deprived as I am, I do manage to survive in a somewhat truncated form of modern reality. It may not be a sensible choice to the average modern citizen, but it is possible.

    #525593
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    Michael Albert
    Participant

    I am afraid I don’t see a question and while I agree with much of your view here – but don’t agree with some aspects of it – I just don’t have time to go into such large issues – so broadly and generally – he he – just now. You have gone from talking about the forum system, and such – to making broad claims about all of modern culture and society. Perhaps you should write an essay…

    One thing I would suggest. You don’t need the academic words and phrases that have crept in. They don’t add anything and for many will be completely off putting and obscure. You can write plain language, clearly, so why not do it? As examples:

    “that’s also a derivative of what we have as a neoliberal economic-based institutionalized culture in this homogenously globalizing version of human society.”

    “behind the scenes ontology of institutional systems.”

    #527424
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    Ren Huntsinger
    Participant

    I understand how busy you must be, Michael. I’d love to hear more about what you don’t agree with, but I also think you’ve exemplified the conundrum I am still addressing as a question in my first post about whether message boards can be a form of democratic media. How do we bring a little more depth to our message board interactions when we don’t have or want to take the time?

    One aspect of depth would seem to me to be context, so how do we bring our individual contexts to the discussion without writing mini essays from our point of view? How can democratic action evolve without including those depth aspects?

    If everyone thinks pretty much the same within the same context, then of course sound bites will do.

    I apologize for the academic jargon, I don’t try to write academically, but I really don’t know if I have a brief way to refer to what so many are now calling neoliberal economics without writing a whole lot more than I did. In a way, though, resorting to that form is along the same lines as resorting to sound bites, a kind of cop out, so yes, I agree we don’t need to do it. I’ll continue to keep it in mind. As one friend of mine used to say, I’d have written a lot less but I just don’t have the time. I’ll try to take more time.

    Ontology, though, became an important summarizing concept for me once I grasped it. I’d hate to have to give it up. I think it’s worth understanding how the nature of something like institutional systems can bring a personally dis-empowering logical imperative to our lives that we don’t really pay much heed to. I don’t believe that invisible background force is something people notice because so much of what takes place involves taking what is in place for granted. It’s troublesome and time consuming to examine everything, and I do wish I had the poetic ability to say what I see briefly in “common” language.

    Sometimes if I can throw in something a little odd I’ll at least get a question started. But then there’s also the danger of putting people off. I see that. And thank you for letting me know it does. That helps me to see better.

    #529157
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    Michael Albert
    Participant

    Without getting into a big excahnge about it – I would say the main difference might be merely in how one talks about your observations, though maybe there is more. I don’t think people are for the most part tricked or manipulated. I think they make sensible choices in horrible contexts – which are set by institutions. Consumerism is sensible, most things people do are sensible – because there are not better alternatives other than, arguably, resistance, and resistance seems to most to be futile.

    If you were put in prison for life tomorrow, it would make sense, after acclimiating a bit, to try to make the best of the bad situation. This would mean making many choices that, were you outside, you would find absurd. You weren’t tricked, or manipulated. You were pout ina setting that limits options and makes ones that would otherwise be poor, desirable.

    It depends what you are discussing, how you best do it. If it is values, that is one thing, if facts of a situation, that is another thing, if program, still another thing, if vision, another, and so on. I think in all cases trying to be clear, use accessible language, etc., makes sense. Sometimes more context is needed, other times not.

    The choice isn’t sound bites or academic language. One can be long, full, contextual, and avoid jargon. Sound bites are rarely worth much – except in a crowded restaurant that is on fire….

    It isn’t a question of giving up a concept – or context, when needed. It is a question of explaining what you mean in clear language, rather than using a short hand label that might as well be Greek…

    Poetry. Okay: cntology, proctology – who knows the difference? The shadow knows. But not me.

    #529900
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    Ren Huntsinger
    Participant

    I don’t have any disagreements with anything you’ve said.

    I think a discussion has to begin before most of what you say will come into play. I have a give and take discussion style for message boards I’ve developed that works pretty well for me, and makes it very difficult for trollish individuals to use their tactics to derail any threads I start. I’d like to see more people involved, and I’m confident you would to. It would be easy for me to get more deeply into what you’ve proposed, but I’ll refrain for now.

    When you develop the idea that consumerism is sensible, and people do what’s sensible to adapt to an institutional setting, like prison, what you are referring to is adapting to what I meant by the ontology of institutions. I could also say the inherent logic. Would that be more poetic? Certainly resistance does seem futile in the face of that inherent logic. Of course depending on how one goes about imagining resistance.

    I also think that wanting to be outside the present set of institutions is not something that just comes into everyone’s head. It came into my head in a very riveting way the day I got off a bus in boot camp. A few come to it, maybe, generally from the experience of dire straits. But without that idea, trying to talk with people about the inherent logic of the institutions themselves can be simply nonsense to them. It’s a bit like the Ancient Mariner talking to the frog being slowly brought to a boil in water. Why get out? the frog wonders.

    #723348

    griereeby griereeby
    Participant

    Да проследите, чтобы в них было масло. Это ктото другой сказал ему. А приятель мой возьми да и проглоти костыль. , Будто воскрес Семенов после того разговора, будто, погибая от жажды, воды вдоволь напился. Маккулум резким окриком остановил цейлонцев, направившихся было в облюбованный ими уголок на баке. В столицу ехать надо, челобитную царице отвезти. Это был случайный выбор, который Драммонд не мог предугадать. Долго он будет ходить и канючить, судьбу свою кляня.
    По звуку выстрелов экипажи тотчас вышли из цепи и рассыпались по ближайшим боковым улицам. Во всем мире я ни разу не встретил таких необычных, таких пленительных глаз. Анжелика решила воспользоваться ее отсутствием и надеть в это время шелковые чулки. Как после той пилюли, которую я вам велел принимать каждое воскресенье? Нужно послать за священником и побеседовать с ним. С разгону даже выскакивает из воды. Сдается мне, что этот помощник прокурора более низкий негодяй, чем можно предположить. форекс – презентация ppt ymp генератор вариантов по русскому языку sfc , Какова же должна быть сила, чтобы сплющить таким образом плотное бревно! Мне и был нужен именно такой господин.
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    #723588

    griereeby griereeby
    Participant

    http://i.i.ua/photo/images/pic/5/8/3913285_9e7c3f34.jpg</img&gt;
    И не я, сказала акушерка. Избыточная откровенность вот ваше основное качество, и я поистине рад отметить это. Ты что, хочешь, чтобы я тебя изничтожил? Страшная трагедия свершилась под покровом ночи. , Я вас не знаю, сударь, отвечал он. Ранним солнечным утром командующий Добровольческой армией генерал Ковалевский прибыл в Екатеринодар. Медведь все еще не обнаружил запаха подруги, когда услышал лай собак, напавших на его след. И никто не узнает, что добросовестно, целых полтора часа он размышлял о своем завещании. Перистые листья какогото комнатного растения бросали на его лицо причудливые тени.
    Вам следует запомнить это для будущей экспедиции. И вот наконец пришел долгожданный день. Мне кажется, что таких, как он, с ружьем наизготове, у нас на пути встретится еще огого сколько! Лучше подождем врача, холодно ответил охотник. Корнев к пустякам не придирается. Дождавшись ночи, из города Углича ускакал в Москву князь Андрей Иванович Шуйский. красная шапочка фильм wly клипы pan , Ильин спросил у него, будут они работать или нет. Слушаюсь, господин капитан, официально вытянулся Чиж.
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    #724057

    evenietle evenietle
    Participant

    And I dreamed of a girl very similar to Aishwarya Rai Perhaps it’s fate …. And then I woke up :)
    http://funcats.by/uploads/pictures/funcats2/thumbs/th_20081121_011_funcats2.jpg</img&gt;

    #724196

    griereeby griereeby
    Participant

    Его прозвали Путтенемским Лесовиком. Затем молниеносным движением наложил стрелу. Последний, скрестив руки на груди, сделал несколько шагов по направлению к нему. У него за поясом торчала ракетница, она придавала учителю вид боевого разведчика. , Совсем близко на черной скале стоял большой серый крест. Я не знаю Гледа, но знаю Фейта. Дядюшку Джейкоба аж перекосило от презрения к умнику с Восточного побережья. Они скоро придут, я уверен в их аккуратности. Порывистый ветер торопливо подстегивал обрывки белых невесомых облаков. Если бы я мог в это поверить, эта мысль меня отчасти утешила бы!
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    Почему вы вышли без моего позволения? Не мог контролировать своих людей. , , Марк повернулся к ней и держит ее за руку, как бы удостоверяя перед алтарем ее наличие. И когда синева небес стала повесеннему яркой и глубокой, степь зазеленела.

    #728722

    Ищу спутника для похода в кино :)
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