Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guest Column #6 (by fPendl)

So, seeing as That Girl's penmanship has been permanently "retired" by request, I thought I might help my friend the Author out a little bit by contributing a guest column, seeing as he's run dry of material these days (not the only thing he's run dry of lately).

I've known the Author for a long time; we fought in the trenches together, built barns together, campaigned for Senate together, all that good stuff. For those of you who've been reading the Author's blog for a while, I've played a major role in many of the better stories he tells. For example:

-Some of you may remember (to be abbreviated as SOYMR) an incident in which laser tag of the non-ghetto kind was played and much shenanigans were created due to the efforts of one young lady who learned the Bambach Strategem. I was the one who taught it to her.

-SOYMR the Author's reminiscing about the joys of Sector L...I was the one who founded Sector L in 1847.

-SOYMR short films the author references....there's a reason every single one of them starts with "An Alex Fpendl joint".

-SOYMR a story about a young lady named Mary-Kate, and a dance. Guess who hooked them up? Yes, you guessed correctly, it was me.

-SOYMR a band called Suburban Rhythm, which was highly influential upon the ska scene of the early 90s. They broke up shortly after reaching the pinnacle of their success. In fact, there is a song called "S.R." by Reel Big Fish that asks, "What ever happened to Suburban Rhythm? Why did Ed and Scott quit?" The answer? They quit because I told them to.

-I was the one who made the Author quit playing Apples to Apples. FOREVER (or at least until the summer afterwards)

-Something I forgot: the stock market crash of 1987, "Black Tuesday". It ocurred because I forgot to intervene.

-The proclaiming of "IFKERR", LOLcats, rick-rolling (click on this link for the video of me at the Cyberworld Expo '05 explaining the idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0), the dance phenomenon called skanking, gravity: all are ideas I had in the past.

-I kissed a girl, and I liked it.

-That "World's Greatest C***Block" coffee mug with the picture of the rooster on the other side that the Author carries around? Yep, all me.

Anyways, I didn't mean to take up so much of your time with this biographical stuff. Basically, the Author asked me to contribute an article to the blog regarding technology and progress, so I thought I might show this little secondary-critical piece on liveness:

As I was reading Parks’ article “Satellite Spectacular: Our World and the Fantasy of Global Presence”, I was struck by one passage in which she described an irony of the “live broadcast” of “Our World”, a program in the 1960s:

“Producer’s concerns about Mexico’s ability to deliver it’s live feed [on time, without problems] meant the segment [on Mexico] had to be prerecorded…The [Mexican] performances…were continually intercut with an image of two Mexican technicians watching what was presumably the videotaped version of the segment as it moved through a reel-to-reel player and out into the world. The performances were also juxtaposed with an image of several female performers huddled around a television monitor on a city park lawn watching themselves as part of “Our World”"

Parks uses the example to highlight the irony of the producers trying to incorporate the idea of liveness as expressed through the display of live transmission equipment and broadcast…while simultaneously using a pre-recorded, non-live segment. It spurred me to think a little about of McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” idea.

McLuhan noted that the television medium, not the content of that medium, is what is shaping society; concepts like flow, which are unique to the televisual, are altering human perception (he even describes television networks as extending the human nervous system). In the case of Parks’ example, the setup is that the message (world unity through the liveness of television) is being transmitted through the content of the medium (people playing around the world and watching themselves playing on television) but also through the supposed medium itself (the image is live! Look how cool it is to watch people around the world live!). The ironic punchline is that neither the medium nor the message are live at all (being completely pre-recorded). Yet in this case, it is not the liveness itself that matters, but the *appearance* of liveness (some Debord for you).

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