This one’s for my wife

My wife really hates limousines. I don’t know why, but she really really does. Sometimes we’re in the car and she makes this horrible sound and mutters something about how “ugly” something is, and I snap my head around…to find a big white limo. Cada loca con su tema, mi amor, pero mira este pedaso de mierda:

FUH2 limo

Which means I’m now a participant in this, which I mentioned yesterday…

UPDATE: Just to clarify (because not even my wife understood what was going on here) – the Hummer Limo you see was parked at one of the main open plazas at SJSU, and that is my hand, and my finger. She did appreciate the picture more after I explained it.

Term Paper Wrap Up

Well, now that I’ve emailed the presentation in and printed out the paper (still looking for a powerful stapler), here’s a slide and an excerpt from the exciting and ornery beast now offically known as:

    Interpersonal Communication and the Formation of Public Opinion in the Internet Age:
    An Analysis of the Movement and Influence of Opinion in Newspapers and Web Logs

Yes, that is a mouthful, thanks for asking. I call it “Term Paper” most of the time to save my breath.

long tail of the blogosphere
Yes, it’s obviously ripped off re-mixed from Chris Anderson’s original article on The Long Tail from Wired Magazine. I do cite Chris’ article in my term paper when I get to the juicy bits at the end about the disintermediation and democratization of human communication. I also mention Dave Sifry, Steve Gillmor, Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays, Paul Lazarsfeld, and really quite a few others (I think I ended up with 30 references in all).

The jist of the paper? Let’s take a look at theories of influence, authority, and social networking as it relates to how opinion is disseminated in different ways by different media: specifically, how opinion about the Iraqi legislative elections in January of 2005 was shared/pushed around/linked to by two different opinion leaders: Kofi Annan and Powerline.

Odd couple, yes.

This isn’t really a publishable paper yet, what with all the actual “research” that sort of thing “requires,” but I hear there’s a future in this sot of thing…you get the general idea in the following little taste:

“In contrast to these fears of group polarization, technological optimists anticipate the “global village�? which McLuhan famously predicted (1964). Frances Cairncross wrote in The Death of Distance about “Communities of Practice�? which she predicted would form “among people performing the same job or speaking the same language in different parts of the world�? (Cairncross, 1997/2005). This is the idea of horizontal bonds. Horizontal communication allows citizens who were formerly only consumers of mass media to create media for themselves, interacting with each other as they publish their own ideas and opinions. Geographical borders are no longer a limiting factor to the networking of individuals with similar ideas, professions, or interests.

Although users who exclusively visit the sites of like-minded individuals might be participating in an echo chamber, never before have they had so wide a range of choices of which media to consume. This is the horizontal nature of the Web; the vertical style of a mass medium like a newspaper is a top-down model, where a lecture is the dominant form of communication: the sender of the message speaks, and the receivers listen from a distance. On the Web, ideas can travel horizontally, user to user, edge to center, creating a previously unavailable mobility of ideas: the dominant model of communication online has become the conversation.”***

Yeah, still needs work, but I pretty much hit a wall the 29,000th time I had to look up some tiny obscure little conservative blog preaching about how Glenn Reynolds was ruling the world now.

School is rough.

***this is the sort of stuff that REALLY needs to get attributed to me if it’s reprinted anywhere

Yankees Beat Putz, Extend Win Streak To Nine

Shedding all illusions of objectivity, and getting under the skin of friends and family who root for that other team in the AL East, let me just say: WHOO-HOO!! NINE IN A ROW!! YEAH!! TAKE THAT!!

bernie williamsphoto by John Froschauer, AP

And yes, you read that headline correctly: hapless Seattle reliever J.J. Putz gave up his second game-losing grand slam of the week.

Putz via AP, on how this pitch to Bernie Williams differed from the one he threw to Trot Nixon on Saturday: “He described the pitch to Williams as nearly identical, except slightly off the plate. Nixon’s was over the middle.

And yes, I did spit when I typed the name of the hated Boston right-fielder (it’s so hard not sing the “horse’s ass” song sometimes…)

Check out Pinstripe Alley, the Yankee fan blog.

Seasonal Disclaimer

So I’ve noticed a bit of profanity here and there in my posts and quotes and things I link to lately, which means it’s time for a Seasonal Disclaimer: This blog in no way necessarily expresses the opinion of anyone but me, Ryan D. Sholin. It’s got nothing to do with San Jose State University, the Journalism & Mass Communications department, any Professor who I mention, or pretty much anyone else on the planet, unless, of course, I’m quoting them, in which case, all bets are off.

If you’re easily offended by words which aren’t welcome on television, here are several links to very very fun things which are totally clean and pleasant and not nasty at all even a little bit:

The Sesame Street Lyrics Archive doesn’t just have songs – it has the scripts to whole sketches. My personal favorite so far? Grover the Baker.
It’s Yoda season, so let’s give Frank Oz some love for all those years doing Grover for us. In this bit, Grover is running a bakery when the Blue Guy (a familiar customer from the restaurant where Grover also works, remember?) comes in and Grover makes him take a number…even though he’s the only one there. Hilarity ensues.

If you’re into that, you’ll definitely love The Muppet Movie Lyric ArchiveGreat Muppet Caper which runs along the same lines.

Personally, I’m a Movin’ Right Along kind of guy:
“Kermit: Opportunity just knocked, let’s reach out and grab it,
Together we’ll nab it.
Fozzie: Ya! We’ll hitch-hike, bus, or yellow cab it.
Kermit (spoken): Cab it?”

Existence Preceeds Essence: Afghanistan in the Spotlight

Afghanistan, Car burning, May 11, 2005

photo of Afghanistan May 11th protests via AP

From Norbizness: Well, At Least We’re Reminded That Afghanistan Exists.

Uh, no, I don’t remember how I found a blog called “Happy Furry Puppy Story Time With Norbizness,” but who am I to argue with my aggregator.

Norbiz on the Newsweek schlamozzle (and what is the difference between a kerfuffle and a schlamozzle?):

“It’s strange when I feel like I’m explaining the absolutely insane actions of people who would start shooting up a place based on book-desecration, but not extraordinary rendition or torture/deaths. Then again, it’s not like we have any idea what’s really going on in that recently liberated narcocracy with strong fundamentalist undercurrents. What’s even more disturbing, given Newsweek’s retraction, is the epistemology of the reactionary lickspittle blogger:

(1) This is the first time I’ve heard of it…
(2) Therefore, this marks the first time it has been reported…
(3) And if the initial reporter is backtracking on the story…
(4) Then it didn’t happen…
(5) And I get carte blanche to say a bunch of stupid, revisionist shit for the next year.
(6) Like I wouldn’t have anyway.
(7) I had an accountability moment, and it was called getting Time Magazine’s “Blog of the Year.””

Heh. I turn in an 18 page term paper tomorrow for my grad class that was heavy on Powerline, so I appreciate the dig at them.

Anyway, yeah: the right side of the polibloggosphero has been all over Newsweek for their journalistic snafu (Um, they’re not really liberals over there, guys).
Meanwhile, the left side has been snarkily pointing out the irony of the Preznit’s underlings complaining about how Newsweek distorted “facts” and it caused people to “die.”

Never heard of that happening before.

Oh wait – now I see what got my attention: THIS POST.

Paging Walter Lippmann

Walter LippmannReading Uncle Walt’s 1922 opus Public Opinion in between term papers and studying for finals…

Here’s a morsel from Chapter 3: Contact and Opportunity

“There are portions of the sovereign people who spend most of their spare time and spare money on motoring and comparing motor cars, on bridge-whist and post-mortems, on moving-pictures and potboilers, talking always to the same people with minute variations on the same old themes.

They cannot really be said to suffer from censorship, or secrecy, the high cost or the difficulty of communication. They suffer from anemia, from lack of appetite and curiosity for the human scene. Theirs is no problem of access to the world outside. Worlds of interest are waiting for them to explore, and they do not enter.”

How do we instill in a citzenry the “appetite and curiosity for the human scene”?

Is this the responsibility of educators or the media? Or is a lack of curiosity just a function of a consumerist society based upon spectacle? We seem to be far more curious about the spectacle than we are about reality.

Check out Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle (here’s a new translation) and/or Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (Google Print version here).

Dan Gillmor’s Big Unveiling

In case you’ve been living under a rock…or a term paper…or if you have, y’know, like, things to do on the weekend: Dan Gillmor‘s long (okay – January 1st seems like a long time ago right now) talked about community/citizen/distributed/grassroots journalism project is off and running.

It’s called Bayosphere.

As he told me last month, it’s more like a Daily Kos goes local sort of thing.

Check it out, sign up, and we’ll all talk. Hoping this becomes more horizontal bonds than echo chamber, but again, that could be the term paper talking.

Good luck, Dan.