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Stephen King Criticizes Entertainment-Based News  (View post)

JeffJonez [PersonRank 1]

Monday, November 26, 2007
16 years ago4,933 views

He may be insane, but Mr. King is dead on with this particular rant.

olivier [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

The political/celebrity mix is here to stay :

Initiated by Mr. Reagan, and continued with Mr Schwarzenegger ;
California ├╝ber alles....!

Cal J [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Reagan may have been the first big-name actor to reach a high political office, but he wasn't responsible for the blurring of lines between politics and entertainment. One could argue that this began with the Kennedys; I suspect it dates back even further in terms of American history. As for people generally being more interested in the sordid details of the rich and powerful than the mundane yet important matters...well that's as old as civilization itself. It's probably more in-your-face today than any other time in history, and I suspect that without overwhelming public backlash (that'll likely never come) it won't go away.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> that's as old as civilization itself

Panem et circenses – Bread and circuses?

Mac Beach [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

I don't know if Mr. King intended this as a criticism of Google so much as modern media culture, i.e. what is being produced as opposed to what is being hosted.

Contrast with cable TV, which provided much more in the way of educational content such as History Channel etc, while at the same time producing an explosion of mindless entertainment programming. The difference is that with cable, if times get hard, they'll keep the programming that pays the bills and jettison the intellectual stuff.

I don't see Google as being in this position, unless they change significantly. They host whatever anyone wants to put out there and search for it as well. If I want news on the "DC tax scandal" I don't have to see anything else. in the process of looking for it. I don't have to visit the front page of the newspapers and magazines that might carry this story. Google has given us that and the capability is not well understood by people like Mr. King.

Also not understood by Mr. King (who after all is wealthy as a results of our entertainment oriented culture) is that parents who don't take an active part in their children's development are going to raise imbeciles (functionally, regardless of their IQ). Unfortunately in that regard the damage is done, and even if we were to reverse course now (doubtful) it would take 20 years or more to see the difference.

We've made our bed and now have to sleep in it. Google can hardly be blamed.

Brock [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Bread and circuses are a poor analogy, as they were paid for by an autocratic government to distract the masses from said government's shortcomings. The media company's King is complaining about are just profit oriented companies looking to maxmise profits.

Of course both strategies /work/ for the same reason: most people are dumbasses who actually do care more about Britney's kids or who wins the Gladiatorial games/Superbowl than what's going on in Pakistan or Guantanamo.

King is also way off base about questioning whether competing sources of news are good idea. Sure lots of crap appears to compete with People and The Enquirer, but it's also the source of Google Blogoscoped, milbloggers, and kids-on-the-scene taking videos with their cellphones and posting events-as-they-happen to YouTube. Those of us with a discerning taste for that kind of information at least now have that option. Before we didn't.

Brandon Price [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

We should care a lot more about how what we're doing now is shaping who we will be. When all we broadcast is entertainment news, that's all we'll care about. So shouldn't we broadcast things we should care about? We need to constantly ask ourselves, "How is this certain action or even shaping my thinking and my opinions." And media would do well to understand that.

I've been saying this for a while now, but the problem is that there really is no way to actually making it happen without stepping on "rights." The only way to change people is to change their hearts. And unless we actually have one standard to live by (and there is one), then we will always face these kind of problems.

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

It is all about news that make you feel good. So the channels may catch your eyeballs that pay the advertisements. Those having real impacts on our life make us feel bad.

_____ [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

> So shouldn't we broadcast things we should care about?

Who decides what we should care about?

In the U.S., PBS and NPR broadcast what I think many
would consider serious news, and more broadly,
somewhat edifying, middlebrow content. And most people
tune into the other crap.

I agree with the objective of creating an environment where
people can pursue what they consider to be higher objectives,
where they have enough rights and resources to be free of other
concerns. I think the closest we have to such a place in our
society is a university (unless you are considering a place
like a research institute or a nunnery, where the range
of choosable objectives is more tightly constrained by the
purposes of the organization).

It seems like creating smaller environments is a better strategy
because a) it's a more reasonable approach with finite resources,
and b) you don't really want to create a monoculture, as it's much
more vulnerable.

But I believe that you can only do so much.
People have to be able to make their own choices.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> They host whatever anyone wants to put
> out there and search for it as well.

Though at YouTube, you are restricted to videos of 10 minutes maximum – which already means you can't upload say a serious 1 hour documentary you made (or that is in the public domain). Of course, at this time you can still go to Google Video for such needs...

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Who the hell is Stephen King? ;-)

Ljancho [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

He is right. Soon there will be only celebrating people and no one will want to work any other job. I think a movie on that theme may come soon :)

[Signature URL removed – Tony]

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

To Ljancho

Yes. Actually such movies had been out many years ago. Don't you remember that sweet twin sister earned tons of money by performing how to spend money, shopping around the world. And the sister had almost become the role models of many girls. You 9-5 nation had become such loser in front of those celebrities.

Scott [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

While I generally agree w/King's sentiment...

More people probably know the "here's johnny" exclamation than what Shakespeare, Plato, or other notables have written or will write. They probably remember Wil Wheaton more from Stand by Me (by King) than from Wheaton's books or role on Star Trek.

Stephen King is famous and creates some of the same problems that he denigrates, he's just not as popular as a hotel mogul's relative or pop tart singer. While is books and movies are generally well received, they're not main stream by any means... thus more people probably know about Oprah Winfrey's choices and characters and such than Stephen King's.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

> thus more people probably know about Oprah
> Winfrey's choices and characters and such than
> Stephen King's.

I make a bet in e.g. Germany, a lot more people know Stephen King (and are exposed to his work as transformed to movies) than Oprah Winfrey. Not sure what the situation is world wide. For instance, I haven't seen an Oprah show in my whole life – we don't get it on local TV – but I've seen many Stephen King movies (most notably Kubrick's The Shining).

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