September 5, 2008
And as the second chapter in the saga of the Republican convention comes to a close, all anyone can talk about was what everyone originally thought was a mire introduction to the grand closing — John McCain’s speech.
But it was instead the main figure of the entire convention, and the talking point on both the web and television, creating many side stories as well. Why? Palin’s speech was powerful. So powerful, in fact, that not only did it spark very heated initial reactions, but later provided so much aftershock that it seemed apparent to me to write about it.
Putting my strong political opinions aside, I must give Palin credit — that no matter how completely false and utter lies she used, it was hard (even for me) to shake of her speaking passion, mostly credited to how zoned in she was. And because of this, I know for a fact that many gullible Americans have fallen “victim” to her transcending speech, ignoring her factual mistakes and instead focusing intently on her valiant, confident speaking power.
And right now, no matter how many people (including me) stress the comparison between the top of each party’s ticket, because of her star power, Palin has gained the public centerpiece of not only the Republican party, but the image of politics in general. And, strangely, this is not because of the higher possibility of her being commander and chief in the near future, because — as my sister would say — John McCain is like a “dinosaur”, but rather because of her instant celebrity status and overall image that is so different.
By different, I don’t mean because of her gender, but rather her breed. She is a new breed of politician, far away from your raging and shouting, sweaty middle aged point maker, but rather someone who we have not seen yet — a setting of mind that many teachers know to loathe. She uses her stature and newly-found political ego to her advantage, acting like she knows for a fact that each and every single thing she says is true, in the most convincing way I have ever seen this done among politicians.
Simply put, she’s a giant black whole for your brain, in the form of a person who would most likely be the farthest away from that status — a small town governor of the second-least populated state in the US.
So — as a word of caution, not a political recommendation –please vote on what you believe, not what you have been convinced to know.
August 30, 2008
After a long string of politics, I took cover by way of the local AMC, but in the end, I couldn’t escape what continues to surround me as well as everyone else — politics.
No, this time it wasn’t Wolf Blitzer or a fiery Fox anchor, but a dose of something rare – an American citizen who just let it slip. It was actually the most exciting part of the movie, (Traitor), and the film hadn’t started yet.
After a quite loud tribute to the soldiers overseas wearing the red, white, and blue via song by Kid Rock (somehow with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. thrown into it) a sole man seated across from me booed.
It wasn’t a scream, but it had meaning to it. Received almost exactly to the contrary by a enraged man in the row behind, the disagreement turned into a full-fledged political debate — all we needed now was Ralph Nater to show up.
And then there was me. From the outer shell, the innocent thirteen year old sitting with a friend for the sole purpose of enjoying a movie. But then here I was — the partisan, sometimes non partisan political blogger who is regularly mistaken for someone decades older. And that person, the late twenties or early thirties political mojo would almost certainly jump in, maybe even throw in a little dose of Anderson Cooper while they were at it. But no, of course not. I’m a kid. So I sat down.
Eventually the two men were calmed down by some security and the whole thing was over with, but the buzz in the movie theater was still alive. The previews rolled on and the movie started, which was conveniently centered around terrorism, hardly a theme that suited the previous argument.
So I didn’t move a muscle. Why? Certainly a highly opinionated and politically immersed person like me would have a voice, and this was definitely a time to show it. But in the end, until I grow over 5’10, lose my braces and higher-pitched voice, I would look like your average kid, associated with anything your average stereotypical annoying thirteen-year old would be connected with. But connect me with a pen and paper, and its a different world.
Another reason by blogging is the new media.
August 8, 2008
What do you really want out of your blog? Most people would say the magic word — hits. But what are really hits? There are hundreds of websites that offer you free hits as long as you sign up, and thousands of people flock to them in hope that they will double and triple their stats. And most people will. But what shows up on your hit counter and what your visitors actually see is much different. You’ve always thought of your visitors being people who somehow found your blog, bookmarked it, and check up on it a couple times a week. Many blogs have only three or four of those people. And the rest?
In truth, the rest are people trying to earn blog hits as well. You may sign up to sites like BlogExplosion, where to get hits, you are forced to look at other people’s blogs for thirty seconds. 99% of people won’t lift an eyelid to any of the sites, all they will be looking at is the button they press to get to the next one. And when you pay off all your credits from surfing, your site goes to those pages, and people most likely won’t read a word you write. It will show up as a hit on your stats, but that hit means virtually nothing.
My point here? In my quest for blogging, I want hits too. But my definition for a hit is something more different than the dictionary may claim. I want people to actually read my work, like you are doing today. And I have gotten many of those kind of visits. How? By participating in other blogs. Not just commenting with “good post”, and then leaving a link, but actually reading their article, and telling them what I think about it. This is something a lot of bloggers don’t do, and for obvious reasons. They only care about nourishing their own blog, when the truth is that no one will read it. Its a simple give and take, and it is widely misused.
There are many things that participating in other blogs can do for you, and that’s why I think they are the key for getting a popular blog that many people will enjoy.
August 5, 2008
A brilliant speech by Alisa Miller from the Ted conference this year covered something that I noticed I didn’t cover in my one of my favorite posts “Good Press, Bad Press.” This is a post commenting on her interesting speech, and what I think about this problem our press has obtained.
The first picture above is something I have been yearning to obtain for a long time — proof that America’s press is greatly biased towards ourselves and the one topic that every American paper is aware of and keeps covering valiantly — Iraq. I am not on a mission to prove America has a great amount of vanity for itself, that is for the world to decide. Staying strictly non-partisan on this post, I am more or less pointing out American media needs to keep an open mind on what is going on in the world. Sure, the American people love to sit and watch the carnage in the middle east, but if you feed a dog its favorite treat forever, its going to forget there are other good foods out there to sniff at. And in a sense, the American press has been serving that dog two types of food for years and only giving it periodic sniffs outside its realm to the surrounding world, so it barely has a chance to be curious.
Miller’s speech was in a sense an outlet that helps people like me make a point about our media, and one of the many facts that made her speech so great was about a popular entertainment story that no one really thought was as big and as covered on the news as it was. In fact, the death of Anna Nicole Smith “eclipsed” news coverage of every country and got ten times more coverage than the IPCC report. So this single story of the death of a US entertainment star was obviously more important for an entire month. And this wasn’t just any month in news — this was a month when North Korea dismantled their nuclear weapons, global warming was confirmed in Paris, and there was massive flooding in Indonesia. Instead of a fluffy, long article in the New York Times’s obituary, this story deserved to outdo all other events that happened in the world that month, grazing the cover of virtually every major American newspaper out there. And to put this into more of a perspective, in that month — Russia, India, and China — only amounted to about 1% of news. No one cry goose on me, but I think we have a problem.
And in, fact, a problem well on its way to being solved. I love to praise blogging for really showing the meaning of free press, where anyone who wants to can call the shots on their own newspaper. Blogging to me is like the cast on top of the broken arm of the media, but it still is yet to get its recognition. It lets everyone from a Saudi Arabian blogger to someone like me, an American driving through the Uruguayan countryside to connect and share our experiences and ideas. But sadly, still considerably more people read the newspaper and magazines then people who read blogs, and I think it will take many years for this statistic to even itself out. And it seems like until then, it will require more people to be woken up from the news that to many is deceiving and be given more or less speech like Miller gave to point them in the right direction.
So if we all had our way, what would be the perfect media? Even if our craze for celebrity and entertainment news is extinguished, we wouldn’t still have the perfect news. What about the war in the middle east? What is the right amount of coverage there?
I think the perfect media should have news outlets in every country in the world, and spend more money getting quality news instead of covering the cheap stuff inside America. The USA is in a rare time where most countries are opening up to each other — not too ago Eastern Europe was locked up. Now we have to chance to explore there. They say 90% of Americans have trouble locating basic countries on a map. Why not use this opportunity to provide news about countries that either seem far away to the average American or don’t even exist to them? Did Anna Nicole Smith pass away? Oh, too bad. Lets write something nice in the back of the paper for her. But look, people are starving over in India and a new tribe was found in the Amazon. Maybe we should even provide some insight on other parts of the world that people have no information about, even if something tragic isn’t happening there. Maybe we should write something about the Inuit tribes in Northern Canada and Qaanaaq, Greenland? Or maybe a piece about like in Turkmenistan? My point here? There’s a lot to know about this Earth, and its not all happening here in the US.
So the problem here is merely our media not opening their eyes to the world and for once laying off the entertainment and leaving it for the teen gossip magazines. Our press isn’t so simple, and the internet and blogging is only getting stronger, so the light at the end of the tunnel may take long crawl to get to, but at least its there.