Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Media Abstinence

Some months ago I made a personal decision - to not consume anything that is published by "most" of our mainstream media.  My definition of "most" includes all newspapers and all Australian commercial radio and television outlets.

I do still watch and listen to selected programs on the ABC and SBS.

And of course I am very picky about what gets into my Google Reader feed - which is where my news and information comes from these days.

And I have never felt better.  I am happier because I no-longer get caught up in the faux conflict and outrage business that is the raison d'ĂȘtre of our media - all in order to capture your eyeballs and your interest and your wallet.

I read a lot more books - and spend a lot more time doing the things that I am interested in - scoping, designing and building boats and other complex composite structures.  It's major fun.  And hugely productive.

And I have clarity of thought that never seemed possible before.

You might want to try it to see if you have the same success - because the only way we will get to fix our media - is if we turn it off.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bangers and Mash

Had lunch with an old mate this week following which I had a much better understanding of why our politics and media are so broken.  And why there are so many angry old rusted-ons who are so *annoyingly* vocal.

Said mate had three things that he wanted to discuss over a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and the best bangers and mash in town;

* How the Greek crisis is a result of lazy Greek people who think - "life was meant to be easy".

* How Government debt is just very bad and it's also bad, bad and bad.

* How our economy is stuffed - all because of incompetent government.

I was gobsmacked - He was just repeating the talking points of the right wingers, the conservatives and the dingbat media who have captured our national narrative.

This is a mature man who has;

* No understanding of the role of the German banks (and their government) in the Greek (and European) crisis.

* No understanding of the austerity game that conservatives are imposing to shield and protect *big capital* and the associated dismantling of long standing social systems.

* No understanding of the effect on consumer spending of private debt related to the housing bubble.

* No understanding of the differences between the *issuer* of a currency and the *user* of that currency.

* No inclination to question the information that he is being fed.

I suspect these are the personal *qualities* of an actual Authoritarian ;-)

He is angry and upset that things seem to be so broken - but has no idea what the root cause is or how those things got to be so broken - because his information sources are also broken.

But he has no alternative sources - because he himself is an old rusted-on - someone who has led a sheltered life in a little old sheltered town in a sheltered state in a sheltered nation.  The actual world seems to have passed these folks by.

And I think that's the issue.  The world used to be easier to understand - but it's now complex and difficult and older folks seem not to have caught up - their information sources are still the free to air television and Murdoch and Fairfax franchises that were created in the 1950's.

And those information sources are feeding them bullshit.  All to manipulate their thinking and their vote.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Much better for our health to just turn it all off

I had a bit of a go at our crappy Australian media this morning.  But no-one seemed to notice.  How unusual ;-)

Basically what I was saying is that our mainstream media create fake situations of conflict and outrage - all designed to capture a few dozen extra bogan eyeballs.

Last night's QandA and this morning's newspapers prove it.  Apparently actual factual news doesn't rate these days.  Which is why our media create these fake situations.

Unfortunately there are people in our community who are easily distracted by shiny fake stuff on radio and TV and in the newspapers.  And they fall over themselves to consume it.  Our mainstream media exploit these unfortunate folk - who are mostly *low information voters*.

Many of them think that QandA is democracy in action.  If you don't know why it isn't then you should turn the page now.

And if you were a corporate advertiser then would you be interested in someone dishing bogan eyeballs up to your ads - and charging you bucketloads for the privilege?  If so then your business model needs to be re-visited because It's become the equivalent of the pokies  - designed to exploit the vulnerable.

Unless of course if your business model is already a bit suss.  In which case the regulators should close you down and lock you up.  As if.

And why is the ABC playing this game?  They are funded by the state - why do they need to manufacture fake conflict and outrage.  Can someone please ask Tony Jones.

Oh I see - they need to demonstrate that they are as *cool* and as *smart* as their cousins in the Murdoch and Fairfax media - so they play the same bogan game - because they might be looking for a job at Channel 10 one day.

Memo to Mark Scott: Fire them - you don't need them and they are making you look like a dope.

The truth is that it would be much better for our health to just turn it all off.

And if enough of us did that then the quality of the content would improve overnight as they tried to re-capture an actual audience.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Like the Budget

I like much of the Budget.  Finally Julia and sidekick Wayne seem to *get* the main things about looking out for the people and being a *Labor* Government.  And letting the Coalition look out for big business and the white shoe brigade.  Re-purposing the corporate tax cut is gold - pure gold.

I'm less impressed by the commitment to surplus - it's sad that our people seem not to understand that a surplus is something that you "may" or "may not" end up with - following your best efforts at building and protecting the nation.

Murdoch and friends have created the erroneous perception of managing the budget for "surplus" or "deficit" - and that perception won't be altered in my lifetime.  Another reason not to read that junk and for Uncle Rupert to be moved on.

Education will fix it - but it's too late for most rusted-ons.  In the short term I would just deny them (the rusted-ons) the vote - at least until they demonstrate some understanding of truth and facts - and reality.

You may already know that I shun Australian mainstream media - it's mostly rubbish.

But this week was different - so I watched the various dances between - Mr Uhlmann and Wayne, Mr Uhlmann and Julia and Mr Uhlmann and Joe - all fascinating stuff.  My review follows.

* Wayne has found his mojo and now seems to be standing tall and looking - and sounding - good.  This is where he needs to be.

* Julia won't put up with the snide commentary anymore and she properly put the ABC man back in his box.  She is asserting herself and a good thing too.  She was so good that I thought the boy was going to cry ;-)

* And Joe is still a buffoon and a waffler - with NFI.  Nothing new there.

The polls are still showing wipe-out - but that will change after job number 2 - which is to make Abbott look like the goose that he is.

Bogan Radio Station

My local cafe owner has a bad habit of playing the local bogan radio station through his speakers - all day and half the night.

This particular bogan radio station says it caters to the 18-39 year old demographic - but in reality it's juvenile presenters, commentary and stunts indicate that is is really chasing after the 14 year old demographic.  Don't ask me why.

Anyway, my local cafe owner has been talked into advertising with said radio station and so he is determined to play it continually.  But it's an insult to his customers - none of whom are 14 years old and many of whom are older than 39.

And I hate that.  It's bad enough that this radio station exists - but to also have it assault my eardrums day and night causes my brain to explode.  I particularly dislike the fact that I am bombarded with loud bogan crap when all I am trying to do is have a coffee and read my email.

Now, local cafe owner doesn't spend a lot of time at the cafe - so there are frequent opportunities to circumvent his plan.  I do sometimes succeed in having the offensive bogan noise changed to other less offensive bogan noise - by using my wit and charm with the staff ;-)

Why do you suppose that a seemingly intelligent person would insist on *pissing off* many of his customers - all because he thinks they have been captured by his cafe?

I don't know either.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Compound Ignorance

Been reading "Looking for the Light on the Hill" by Troy Bramston.  This is one of a dozen or so books that sit in my Kindle queue until I have *some* time to read them ;-)

And it provides a good assessment of what is wrong with the Labor party and the current Government.  I won't get into the details but Troy seems to have understood the issues rather well.  You could argue with some of it - but in my view he has captured the essence of the problem.  And he has offered up solutions that deal with them.  None of it is rocket science - or difficult to understand - or even difficult to implement.

I am a bit behind with my reading - I think it was released late last year - so there is no excuse for Labor MP's to be still doing many of the dumb things that he has identified.  But unbelievably they are.

It seems clear that the real problem is "Compound Ignorance" - which is what you are labelled when "you don't know that you don't know".

The best way to fix this particular problem is to spend a decade or more in Opposition - teaching your MP's how to be effective leaders and communicators while learning what it means to represent the people and the nation.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Uncle Rupert

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has issued its report on News International and Phone-hacking.  And it's a cracker.

Paragraph 229 has this to say.

"On the basis of the facts and evidence before the Committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company".

This report has nothing to say about the misuse of cabcharges or corporate credit cards or any other petty offence.

It's all about how Uncle Rupert and his organisation and many of his family and executives did really bad stuff and then tried to cover it up.

Despite a number of strong hints, we are yet to discover whether he has also corrupted the current Tory Government and its leader - that is the subject of yet another inquiry.

But one of the first questions we should be asking here in Australia is this:

"Has he corrupted The Liberal/National Coalition and its leader"?

And if he has then what are we going to do about it?