It seems the former Vice President from the Volunteer State, the one who did so well in the cinema business, winning awards but making little money – you know, the one who makes extravagant claims about himself – has come under criticism by scientists in England about inaccuracies in his film.[Link] What is not clear is whether the English hold their politicians or their cinematologists to a standard of accuracy. Certainly the obvious comparison, Melvyn Lord Bragg, the life peer who produces the BBC 4 wireless program “In Our Time” displays a concern for accuracy and communication consistently lacking in the efforts of the Tennessean.
Perhaps the former VP should harken to the words of one of his predecessors, Mr. Crockett, who I believe said “First make sure you’re right, and then go ahead.” Bot then one wonders is the former VP can understand either right or the basic idea of an If-Then statement?
While we are on the matter of the Volunteer State, I see that the Tennessean is experimenting with on-line reportage and reader response.[Link] Reader response to newspapers is nothing particularly new, many newspapers have had letters to the editor columns for years. These letters are, of course, selected by the editor and those that exceed his righteous outlook of what constitutes reasonable praise or criticism are sent to the recycle bin. This has a pronounced effect on letter writers who tend to moderate their language as a reality of this censorship.
Such censorship is not always practical on-line, especially with most newspapers being strapped for cash flow. As a result, the commentary is often characteristic of the worst that one may come to expect from the inherent depravity of the human mind, emboldened by the appearance of anonymity of the internet and the general ignorance, deepening daily, of the general populace for matters technical and real. One is sorely tempted to lump together these hate mongers with those who despise science, but the only thing they often share is nothing more than a more extreme delusion of reality than the mean.
Nonetheless, there are aspects of this that are to the better. Journalism has too long held itself separate from that reality, its practitioners cloaking themselves in an arrogance almost as thick as that of Congressional staffers and retired politicians, but only slightly less odious than that of evangelistic religionists and exalted cause humanists. For example, one of the television stations in Huntsville has a red-headed female news reader who daily qualifies as a nominee for a Darwin award, were there such for news reading. If reportage is held to a more exacting and timely criticism, some degree of depth and kritik must emerge at least for those who seek such. The current banal intellectual porridge, the only common food in the nation that is naturally lacking in salt, serves only the advertisers whose goal is the stupidification of the electorate to their own enrichment.
But speaking of newspapers and stupidification, there is a reasonable article in the Register [Link] on the particular question of how people end up with Windows as the OS on their computer. Despite a few who have the righteous answer that the programs they use to do their work are only available, in particular or in general, on Windows, the general response is that most are unable, incapable, and incompetent to choose, much less implement their choice, and hence are insentient on the matter.
This is the general situation. If we consider the matter in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy, we see that one is only aware and concerned of matters congruent with the level one is on. Matter of levels above are beneath consideration – like the pattern of toilet paper to a subsistence worker. But similarly, the matters of levels below are irrelevant and distasteful. If our interest is writing nasty comments to the Tennessean or shopping on eBay, then the OS on our PC is as far from our interest as is the OS of our automobile, and having left that selection to the marketplace, the selection will be made to the benefit of that marketplace.
This is characteristic of much of our society. Why do men wear ties? Why do women wear skirts? Why is all of our food so bad for us? Why can we only sell a house through a Realtor and why do we have to buy houses with mortgages? Our lives are ruled by things we are insentient of because even if we can transcend the inertia of Maslow’s hierarchy, most of our species cannot and we are overcome with the inertia of human nature.