Sunday, August 06, 2006

Where Are We Going? What Am I Doing In This Hand-basket?

Two links from Boingboing to get my depression on today.

It shouldn't be a surprise at all that the head of the Girls Gone Wild franchise is sickening beyond words, but anyone who reads this LA Times article about him and doesn't feel the bile rising in their throat has to be dead to the world. I have to admit that I'm not completely convinced that there isn't enough blame and shame to spread around to many people involved in those productions.
The thing is though, even if the moral line in the sand is very different for people who have grown up being photographed and presented as images their entire lives, even if the MySpace generation takes voyeurism as a right and exposure as agency, in my opinion, that still doesn't make his any less despicable.
I don't think that technology has fundamentally altered the moral nature of people. I do think that perhaps in the past, someone who looses their mind and wants to take it out on the world would have less impact with a sword or knife than might be possible today with a handgun or anthrax canister. In the same way, a man like this guy is able to leverage a personal baseness into something with much more impact thanks to technology.
I'm no luddite. I think technology brings benefits that easily outweigh the dangers of exponential spread of things I don't like. I'm not even opposed to most pornography, but this guy... This guy makes me sick.

The second link was to David Byrne's reaction to a screening of a new move called Jesus Camp. I think the lock-quote is this one:
I kept saying to myself, “O.K., these are the Christian version of the Madrassas (those Islamic religious instructional schools in Pakistan and elsewhere, often financed by Saudi oil money) both sides are pretty much equally sick, there’s a balance." (Although it must be said the Madrassas provide some regular education and literacy where no other option is available, they do community work that is non-religious...and they take in aimless troubled youth.)
I can't comment in too much depth, because I don't know the details of the situation, but the idea of creating Christian Madrassas fits very snugly with what I remember of many of the people I knew growing up in the buckle of the Bible Belt.
In so many ways, we become as intolerant as the Saudi princes, under the banners of not just Christianity, but Capitalism, Democracy, Free Trade and perhaps the worst battle cry, because, being so vague, it can mean anything to anyone: 'freedom.'
We're bringing those other people 'freedom.' Freedom to choose to be Christian. And now, it seems that in North Dakota, we're training the soldiers in the war to bring that freedom into the government of the United States.

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