Here's a thought experiment for you: Try to imagine that Donald Trump isn't the crazed, bigoted blowhard you see on TV but is instead a smart and savvy businessman who has, all his life, calculatingly managed his image and exposure for personal gain. All other facts of the 2016 Republican primary being the same, reinterpret the rise of Trump assuming he's a smart person.
It has to be granted that Trump is an impulsive egomaniac. He runs for president mostly because, financially, it's a drop in the bucket and it feeds his need to be seen and heard, which, historically has always lead Trump to more success and notoriety. Pulling the same trick in 2012 certainly panned out well for him. Being a presidential candidate forever secures your credentials as a media personality that can always be monetized ala Pat Buchanan. (Certainly that is a prime motivator for most lesser presidential candidates with no chance of winning.) There was no reason to expect that this year would be any different. Trump spends almost no money on traditional campaign advertising because his status as a celebrity means that he can call into any news show on any channel and will be put on the air immediately; He has spent exactly $0 in TV advertising.
After watching a shameful display of media "lookie-looism" last Friday, December 4, 2015, as dozens of cameramen and reporters pushed their way into the home of the San Bernardino shooters for a bit of unrestrained ogling and literal pilfering, the very worst offender of the major networks being MSNBC, I started wondering why there wasn't a published set of media guidelines for covering mass shootings that define the limits of what networks will consider resposible coverage. There are standards of journalistic integrity for all sorts of things and since mass shootings are a regular occurrence these days with a seemingly familiar pathology, and in their own right a fully-formed cultural institution, there should be an agreed upon way of covering them to prevent the media from irresposnsible journalism, like the live-broadcast rummage sale and becoming complicit in inspiring the next mass shooting.
I certainly am not a journalist or a communications expert nor am I a psychologist or sociologist of any kind. I have a degree in English and that education has taught me a lot about extracting the meaning, subtext, and recurring themes from literature, and those same methods work for art, media and history. It's clear to me these mass shootings are mostly the same, they strike the same notes, even though the motivation is varied. These shooters are not the same type of criminal as serial murders or people motivated by gain, like muggers and burglars; rather, mass shooters seem to be of the same lineage as vandals, tire slashers, and random window breakers: detached from society in such as way as to feel unconstrained by empathy or the understood societal contract which makes unrestrained aggresion in the public square a rarity. Obviously, many other things effect the eventual deadly outcome of their pathology: religion, political leanings, access to weapons, familial influence, mental health, but at the core, like the vandal, tire slasher, and the random window breaker, the aftermath, the news story is a huge part of the aim of a mass shooter: to leave something behind, to effect the world in some small way. That drive is deeper and more ingrained in ourselves than our drive to do and be good.
In the wake of today's shootings in San Bernardino, UP3 takes a look at the facts as they stand. We take another look at gun control, mental health care, political spin, religious motives and the reason why America is the only place where this seems to always happen. We talk about feeding snakes with live rats and new words added to the American Heritage Dictionary. Please like and subscribe.
UP3 Episode 5, We welcome our first female guest, Megan! We cover the things we are NOT thankful for, overstaying guests, shortened curse words, human maladies, micro-aggressions, racial assumptions of strangers, and the specter of Nazi Germany in American Politics. We talk turkey and admit to terrible TV shows we cant stop watching. Subscribe here.
I sit in on Greg Daniel's Untitled Personal Podcast Project #3 and once again am sadly without the benefit of Google's Toolbox of zany visual props, so I put on my own real beard and hat. We chat about that goddamned Starbucks cup, too early Christmas, Veteran's day, The Kardashians, Thanksgiving dinner, Matt runs a trivia game and I give my Too Late Review on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Greg forces me pick a favorite Republican Canidate. Watch below and subscribe to the channel here.
The Phone That Gave Up Being a Phone
Let me start by saying I am one of those guys that dreads upgrading my phones. I've never been impressed with gadgetry, but rather have found that what impresses me about a device is the ergonomic design and logic of menu flow and the positioning of tools and buttons to conduct the following critical concerns: make the calls I need, browse the interwebs, play my games, take and post pictures of my kids, check my e-mail, text my wife. Higher numbers on things like processors and camera resolution vaguely imply something to me about speed and quality, but really, I feel we are fast approaching the level of diminishing returns on supercharging our pocket devices.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge comes with a fine pedigree as far as phones go; I've owned the Galaxy S4 and S5 and have been impressed with them both. I didn't have any reservations about the next step, until I used the Galaxy S6 Edge for about five minutes. The Edge functionality, an extension of the touch screen surface that curves over the longitudinal sides of the phone, is a gimmick that ruins the phone. The commercial we've all seen is of a caterpillar traveling from screen to screen, metamorphosing into a butterfly as the image crawls from one device screen to the next. It's impressive that the screen can "see" what's on the next and react, because of the curved sides, or at least that's what the commercial implies; but, given all the back and forth between Samsung and Apple with accusations of design theft, that's an incriminating choice to feature on your flagship phone's debut to the world, since co-operative screenplay is a rabbit Apple pulled out of the hat in 2012, and they did it without curved screens. Either way, please take note that an image-traveling-from-screen-to-screen-across-the-multiple-devices-I'd-need-to-buy-to-pull-of-that-parlour-trick is NOT on the above list of things I need my phone to do. (Incidentally, the slogan, "It's not a phone, it's a Galaxy" is that sort of warning in plain sight you miss the first time you watch a horror movie.)
I sit in on Greg Daniels' Untitled Personal Podcast Project again as we talk about my recent jaunt to Europe, Storage Wars IRL, Left and Far Right politics, evolution, climate change, police brutality, halloween and the son-of-a-bitch who owns brianparra.com. I drink a Cucuy. Watch me struggle with technology.
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