Author Archive | Joseph Allen

Reality TV in the Age of Credulity

Joseph Allen writes on Confessions of a CyberCasualty:

kill your tvI recently got my foot smashed to hell while doing something stupid. Crippled and couchbound, I indulged the great American painkiller: Reality Television. That just made me more stupid.

We all know the Idiot Box is an insidious device. The TV snares your attention and lulls you into a passive stupor, polluting the subconscious with compulsive memes and corporate logos. It’s like getting blown by an android in a Wal-Mart stockroom. Yet there I was, swilling beers and letting Jersey Shore, American Idol, and truTV’s All Worked Up drown me under electromagnetic waves of human detritus.

Reverend Ron is a redneck repo man with a bleached flattop and cameras in his face. Ron cruises Lizard Lick, NC with Bobby the badass sidekick, reclaiming unpaid vehicles from ignorant white trash and whippin’ ass when necessary. That’s what All Worked Up is all about.… Read the rest

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Cybershark Feeding Frenzy

An article (largely inspired by Disinfo posts—thank you) that contextualizes recent developments in an increasingly nosey society, published by Taki’s Magazine:

BBRO1-270x192The perverse coupling of surveillance and exhibitionism forms a cornerstone of American technocracy. Most Americans, be they liberals or libertarians, are unnerved by government agents, corporate data-miners, or high-tech Peeping Toms probing their personal details. And yet invasive, weirdly intimate technologies multiply like digital cockroaches, all but devouring the expectation of privacy taken for granted only a generation ago. Progress is simply too en vogue to resist.

Reality television brings a glamorous air to perpetual surveillance. The genre has enjoyed immense popularity over the last decade—comprising nearly a fifth of new broadcast programs this season—with cameramen poking into American life’s every facet. From moneyed luxury’s heights to the working-class struggle’s dregs, everyone’s in line for their 15 minutes of fame.

Consequently, the art of living on film is continually refined.… Read the rest

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We Are Living In A Screenworld – Reality Isn’t In The Real World Anymore

storyimages_eviltvsmallMichael Ventura writes on AlterNet:

Not so long ago, I taught a graduate writing seminar in which I got caught in an argument about virtual vs. “real” experience. Two students—among the brightest in the class—insisted that they could go to Rome via a computer program through which they could view every street, turn this corner and that as they pleased, look at every ruin and work of art, and their experience would be as real, as engaged, as if they’d actually been there. n “But,” said I, “a pigeon couldn’t shit on your head.”

Granting that any experience can be called “real,” in that it is an experience, I argued that there are differences in the nature of virtual and actual reality. For one thing, on your walk through a virtual Rome, you aren’t even walking: you’re sitting. And what’s Rome without the wonderful smells of food? Even if your virtual Rome is accompanied by recorded sounds of Rome, that’s nothing like the sounds of racket, traffic, music, and language, the melodious cacophony of Italian, spoken all around you.

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Beneath the Surface: Nashville’s Flood of 2010

Almost completely ignored by the national media (eg. CNN’s big headline on May 3 was — and I cringe — “Catastrophic” Flood Being Ignored?, which was just an iReport), the flood destroyed thousands of homes and killed at least 34 people.

This is a first-hand account, posted on  “Confessions of a CyberCasualty”:

JoeBot, "Disaster Tourist" (Photo: Andrew Edman)

The rain came on May Day without mercy, drenching Middle Tennessee for nearly two days. The downpour finally let up on Sunday — May 2 — immediately drawing disaster-tourists with cameras in hand.

I join them downtown on 1st Avenue, by the Cumberland River. The water marker reads 47′, and it’s climbing fast. Gawkers gather around to document the progress.

The riverfront stage is completely submerged at this point, but that doesn’t stop the show. We all watch an endless parade of municipal trashcans, propane tanks, dock stairs, basketballs, and uprooted trees floating down the river.… Read the rest

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Alex Sanders, “King of the Witches”

Taken from the 1985 documentary "The Occult Experience," this interview with Alex Sanders is fantastic—a real gut-buster. An attentive viewer should come away with an appreciation for flame-retardant loincloths and a demented curiosity about Sanders' "second degree, which involved a third." Warlocks beware the blue-haired Id.
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My Black Eyed Apocalypse

Black Eyed ApocalypseThe JoeBot writes on Confessions of a CyberCasualty: Last year, I toured with the Black Eyed Peas on their Japan/Australia run. It was dubbed The E.N.D. World Tour, which was appropriate. The production is a dazzling metaphor for the end of civilization. As I get older, I frequently find myself forced to compromise my principles — whether ethical or aesthetic — for a higher standard of living. My job is to fly lights, sound, and video — not to judge the artists. My crew chief said this a dozen times. After all, I was paid well, enjoyed fine meals and plush hotel rooms, had fantastic adventures on the streets of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Melbourne, and Auckland, and I only had to wear a BEP t-shirt one time — when my laundry was dirty. Still, the damage is evident. I began to absorb the insidious beats and lobotomizing lyrics through constant exposure. To make matters worse, I was born with a hyperactive cerebral sequencer that will sample and loop any catchy tune within a 100' radius. You hear about nuclear lab technicians who glow green when the lights go out. Well, for months after I came home you could hear "Boom Boom Pow" playing from my head in a quiet room. Just another occupational hazard ...
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A Panorama of the Passion

Crucifix of the Sun out for siteThe JoeBot writes on Confessions of a CyberCasualty:

Pt 1: The Death Day of Jesus Christ

Millions believe that all of human history hinges on a killing that occurred outside the walls of Jerusalem, nearly two thousand years ago. Jesus of Nazareth entered the city on a donkey one day and left carrying a cross. This was an apparent victory for the Pharisees, an incomprehensible tragedy for his disciples, and a brutal spectacle for the multitudes. It was also a great disappointment to Jews clinging to conventional expectations of the Messiah. Their prophets had foretold a Son of David who would liberate the nation of Israel, restoring her to earthly supremacy. Yet there was Jesus — the supposed “King of the Jews” — hanging powerless on a blood-drenched tree.

According to the Evangelists, the wandering rabbi saw it coming. Three chapters of John’s Gospel are devoted to Jesus’ reflection upon his impending demise.… Read the rest

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