Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Michael Richards Incident

I could talk about rascism and its effects and causes in our modern American society...
I could talk about Richards' lack of stand-up acumen and the loss of discipline that comes with it...
I could talk about his apology on Letterman and whether it was sincere or not...
But I learned a different lesson during this media brouhaha:

America is worse than George Orwell could dare envision. In his novel 1984, Orwell warned us of a fascist British regime (IngSoc) that, through video and radio technology and the manipulation of language, could watch and judge every move, every action, every thought that a person had, and hence brainwashing their populace in fear. It was the perfect police state.
Welcome to 2006 America where the government is too damn stupid to watch itself much less any backsliding citizen. We have a worse enemy than the government, a worse enemy than terrorists, we have ourselves.
Everyone has a camera. Everyone has a microphone. Everyone has a playback device. As fast as news is made, thousands of people have commented on it, and made their own videos lampooning it or defending it.
Does anyone believe for a nanosecond that if the Michael Richards incident at the Laugh Factory wasn't on video that this fallout would still have been on everyone's tongue, on everyone's mind? Would I stoop to blog it?
Or let me put it this way: If Mel Gibson was caught on police car camera screaming antisemitic epithets at those officers, would you be seeing trailers of Apocalypto right now?
For those who disbelieve I offer another piece of evidence: The LA riots of 1991.
And this works well when it uncovers injustices such as the beating of Rodney King and the rascist rant of a B-list actor who longs to be a stand-up comic. But allow me to make this slope rather slick...
Suppose a neighbor three houses down is videotaping out his window and catches you squirting some East Indian kids with a water hose in the summertime. It's all in fun. But on the video it looks like riot control. And it doesn't help that you're white. This gets put on YouTube, and various other internet video outlets and voila! Instant life failure. A well-meaning person's life is wrecked beyond repair. Videobites, soundbites, gossip. It's all the same. Half-ass information passed as gospel dooming the lives of many.
It's a world of our own design.
What need is there for religion in a society like this? Who needs a floating eye to watch over us and to judge us. We have that here and now. Your neighbor's cameraphone, the judgment of the media, and the punishment of the state. It's all there. We need no afterlife to await this justice.
I am not in the least defending Michael Richards' actions.
I am saying - if this trend continues, it may not always be for the good. Beware!


Blogger Coldfoot said...

Is the problem the proliferation of the video camera, or the proliferation of media outlets?

There are several hundred television stations, and internet sites that are all competing for viewers. The "Cramer" incident was great to boost viewers for a short time. The usual suspects rode the wave for as long as they could for no reason other than to get their face on TV.

When we had 3 stations to choose from an incident like that would have been reported and been off the air in one day. Why? Because it really wasn't important.

1:53 AM  

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