Saturday, February 6, 2010

you are here

Now that I've settled into my own, into a new apartment in a new city, I finally have the time to do more than simply post photos with a caption as I've done with my last couple of blog postings.

(Btw, this is my desk, overlooking the city lights at night. I've always yearned for an apartment with this kind of view. Hopefully I'll be able to afford this place long enough to someday take it for granted.)

I intended to write this post about a rare thing for the poetman -- poetry. However, I had to comment upon something I heard on the radio before I get around to doing that.

I now reside in San Francisco and work for a in Mountain View 40 miles south on the Peninsula. Due to my commute, I've found myself listening to NPR in the mornings. If there is any benefit to an hour-long drive to work everyday, it's listening to National Public Radio's broadcasting.

After having worked for major network's news station in Pittsburgh, I appreciate the quality of NPR's news reporting all the more. Not only is it not sensationalized to a nauseating degree (as is all of mainstream news media reporting) but it is legitimately intelligent. They broadcast news the way it should be. You step out of the car and something you've heard during their news broadcast remains with you afterward. Unlike mainstream media that attempts to replicate an action/adventure cinematic experience in its newscast (thus the emphasis of "live" or "action" or "breaking" news) NPR gives something so rare in media today -- a perspective that is conducive to philosophical thought. You're left thinking about where you stand personally, on one issue or another, in relation to society, culture and/or the world at large.

Immediately a few news reports come to mind:

There was an insightful interview with a North Korean national who escaped that fucked-up part of the world. What I found most interesting in the interview is that the individual did not bemoan the squalid and repressive conditions of his homeland, but rather the shattering of the illusion under which he had lived for so long and taken for granted. He believed -- BELIEVED -- that the North Korean standard of living was superlative to the rest of the world's, especially the decadent West's. Only upon leaving did he realize he had lived his life under the guise of propaganda and saw, for the first time in his life, what he had taken to be true had all along been false. It's a perspective you don't get from a mainstream broadcast. It was authentically emotional. Shakespearean. Human.

There was a NPR reporter covering the catastrophe in Haiti who, in mid-newscast, lapsed and showed something so rare in news reporting -- a fissure in his objective reporting demeanor and (gasp) an genuine emotional reaction to the sheer magnitude of the suffering and despair there, epitomized in the sight of a bandaged girl whose broken body waited in a long queue of wounded outside a medical facility. Listening to Jason Beaubien's report, I felt moved in a way no other reporter's reporting has ever been able to.

This particular blog post, though, was inspired by something else -- something that hit closer to home than North Korea or Haiti, personally. It was a report on a survey taken of young people in America; its findings supplemented previous studies that had established reading and writing is on the decline among our young people (17 and under).

This latest survey focused specifically upon blog reading; the results of the survey showed even this type of reading and writing has fallen out of favor with young people. Respondents to the survey complained that blogs not only took too much to write but also took too much time to read. Overwhelmingly, our young people prefer to express themselves -- and read the expressions of others -- through social networking sites and through texts between their cell phones.

If this is the case, really ... how much less dire are our straits than any third-world country's?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh f* ck NPR and its smooth-talking jive bullsh* t