Sunday, September 19, 2010

Words on Words


Click above for more pictures of the Mosque Rallys from last Saturday; it was interesting to cover but I don't have anything important to say about it that hasn't already been said. I felt a little guilty shooting pictures and being part of the group of media that was recording such a silly debate and perpetuating it and making it into news. So instead of talking about that I will just show you some of the pretty pictures interspersed with some words about news and media.


This post is going to have a lot of words; throwing up jumbled notes taken on a class reading here:

Functionalist interpretations of the purpose of the news as being anything people need to know in order to function as citizens in a society are always going to be a bit iffy due to varying definitions of what it means to "function".

I feel like knowledge of huge things - disasters, political elections, wars - only bears on a small portion of my functioning in society. Important, granted, but still small.

Lonely Opinions

Most of the actual day-to-day functioning as a citizen I do relies on a massive intake of largely irrelevant "small" information. In my particular case it is webcomics, blog posts (Steve, Alia, Warren Ellis, Coilhouse, Zo, etc..), some news sources, photo blogs and a few other oddball things.

Focus on these things is not at the exclusion of "important" news that deals with more "serious" things mentioned above. The massive quotes used on those two words are there because we have to spend some amount of time sorting through all media deciding what is and isn't relevant based on our interests.

Often in Journalism classes a teacher will be surprised that people do not know what is going on with X STORY. They will be shocked and disappointed. People do this to other people too; they're shocked when other people do not share their interests.

Spreading Revolution

I'd like to think that one of the goals of journalism, or maybe more generally the goal of anyone creating media (that is, everyone) is to work towards getting rid of that shock.

Everyone has a THING or set of THINGS that they believe are relevant to them. Mine are above - comics, blogs of interesting people, some news sites. I will occasionally venture outside that set, but the primary hunk of media I consume will be relevant to that set of THINGS.

The shift in mindset that is happening right now is a departure from "This is THE important thing that is relevant to YOU right NOW" to the more personal statement of "This is what I think is really important and relevant to you and here is why I think that".

We are all becoming niche consumers of media, and the conversations we are having with Strangers (that is, people not intimate with the same THINGS as us) are less about the context we all share and more about sharing our own context with them.

Tea Party Santa

I'm mostly done. If the above was interesting to you, feel free to comment. If the above was interesting to you and you're single and female, we should get dinner some time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Changing Spaces

Kittin & Muffin Loved Each Other Here

It's been over a year since I first posted here, and after a long absence I'm returning to some old subject matter: graffiti.

It's interesting the things that are written to people anonymously. Notes about life, a written history of love on a street pole. These bits and bytes are being written by someone and will be viewed by thousands who pass by, whether the author knows it or not. Now that I'm here sharing it with you, even people who didn't pass by Union Square will know that this was the place that Kittin and Muffin loved each other.


There's something attractive about the fact that someone writing a note on a bathroom wall, which seems like a really small act, will be viewed by everyone who goes into the bathroom at this cafe. Now, because I took a picture of it, the already public piece will be viewed by people who might never visit this cafe or even New York City.

Subway Philosophy

This is an exchange that was written on one of the subway ads for philosophy classes at the 169th St. stop on the F train. You can click through to read it more clearly.

We pass by complex thoughts every day without knowing it. There are people who talk on walls, who discuss and debate and put forth ideas that you might never see because you weren't looking at that phone booth or at that street sign. There is a character to the world around you that's defined in part by these anonymous messengers. They're speaking their mind and not censoring themselves because of outside pressures. There is honesty there.

Define Space

I had a part in writing this today on the board at the Honor's Commons, and I have a connection to all of the words there that is different from the connection that anyone else will have. Specifically, the words remind me of two very important people who left New York City at the end of this summer and the memories I had with them over the past few months. On looking at this I can't help but think of their faces and all the words we shared.

There is beauty in how those words on that blackboard relate to me, but there is also beauty in thinking about it the opposite way. All the other pieces of graffiti in this post have a story or a thought process behind them that is greater than what you see written on the wall.

Think about the stories that are behind the wall.