Is All News Fake?

Updated May 24, 2020

Is all news fake? In one sense, yes, because all accounts of what happened are incomplete and biased. ” In  Marshall McLuhan’s words, news is fake “because it has to be made, then selected, and the very, very tiny bits that are actually written up and reported and presented to the public are fictions in every sense of the word. . . . They [news stories/accounts] are fictions in the sense that they do not correspond to actually what is going on, but they are made, literally created.” (pp. 169-70.) What’s really going on, he continues, is a “happening” and “[a] happening is not a point of view. A happening is all sides at once with everybody involved in it.” (p. 234)

The news, in other words, cannot capture what’s actually happening, the constant flux, interconnectedness, and interdependencies of the real world. The news is always an abstraction of the real world. Failure to recognize the distinction between what’s an abstraction and what’s real/concrete is to commit what’s called, the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Don’t commit the fallacy of misplaced concreteness! Remember, as soon as anyone documents an event it becomes tainted by what is, of necessity, omitted and also skewed by the interest/perspective of the documenter that determines what is included in the story. The news is always other than what actually happened and, in that sense, always fake.

 

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Only Mothers Love, And They Love Only Their Children

“Love,” as many have mentioned, is a tremendously overused word. People say they love movies, books, dogs, cats, handbags, food, weather, cars, bicycles, shirts, skirts, vacations, . . . . you name it and, odds are, it’s loved (or hated). But actually, only mothers love, and they love only their children. Only mothers have essentially unconditional care and regard for their children who, without it, would die and the species would not continue. All other relationships are something else: lust and like come to mind.

 

 

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Hate–Don’t Do It!

We should follow Liu Xiaobo and have “no hatred.” We shouldn’t hate anything or anybody. Hatred debilitates and does nothing to improve the situation. Expend your time and energy on being FOR rather than AGAINST. As the old song has it: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.

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Online Is Real, Drop Virtual

Updated May 19, 2020 

Online is real. What’s online is not virtual reality or almost real. What’s online is actually, completely, real. What’s online is different than what’s offline but it’s just as real as offline. Consider your online banking and the money you put into and take out of your online bank. Both your online bank and your online money are real. Your online money is different than the offline money in your pocket, purse, or wallet, but both types/forms of money are real.

The best way to talk about online and offline is to talk about, . . . well, talk about online and offline. Drop “virtual.”

Laurence Lessig (p. 298) also asserts that online is real: “People live there [online]. They experience all the sorts of things that they experience in real space there [offline], and some experience more. They experience this, not as isolated individuals playing some high-tech computer game, but as part of groups, in communities, among strangers, and among people they come to know and sometimes like–or love [sic].”

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Review: Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, by Douglas Rushkoff

This book is an excellent statement of the overriding importance of programming/coding. In Rushkoff’s words, programming/coding is “the steering wheel of our civilization.” Either you learn to program/code and thereby help steer your life according to your interests, or you relegate the programming/coding/steering of your life to others who will decide what your life will be like. Simply put, program or be programmed.

Rushkoff also presents guidelines for optimal living in the Digital Age. But the major contribution of the book is the discussion of the role and effects of programming/coding and, consequently, the need–now at least partially met by a plethora of workshops, apps, and programs–to learn how to program/code.

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Work-Life Division– and Many Other Boundaries/Distinctions–Disappearing

Internet+ is obsolescing traditional separations; for example, the division between work and the rest of life.  In Marshal McLuhan’s words: “When everyone is more and more involved in the information environment and in the . . . process of discovery and innovation, [that is, when everyone is online] the old [offline] divisions of work, play, and idleness disappear.” (p. 5)  In addition, “boundaries between subjects and teachers and students don’t hold up very well at the speed of light.” (p. 221)

As Jonathan Crary recently put it: The Internet and attendant hard- and software “h[ave] made irrelevant distinctions between work and non-work time, between public and private, between everyday life and organized institutional milieus.” (p.74) “[S]eparation,” he continues, “between the personal and professional, between entertainment and information . . . dissolves, all overridden by a compulsory functionality of communication that is inherently and inescapably 24/7.” (pp. 75-76.)

“Don’t even try for work-life balance” says the title of a Chicago Tribune article about today’s professionals.  It’s not “realistic” because work-life balance “preaches separation.”  Instead, “break work into sessions, make a weekly hierarchy list,establish daily work themes,” and take other actions that “start to achieve harmony and integration of your work and life in which it will become one entity instead of separate pieces.”

To be sure, this integration can be hindered by work requirements dictated by higher-ups, family obligations and crises, and so on.  Even so, an integrated life–or even an approximation to it–is a better, more satisfying, life the a life of separate pieces.  When life–say, a two-week vacation–is separate from work and it rains those two weeks, the whole year is shot.  Better to integrate work and life and increase the possibility of more satisfaction throughout the whole year.

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Middle East Not Complicated

Here’s my review of AngloArabia:Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain, that I’ve also posted on Amazon.  In this review and other blog posts and reviews (noted below) I point out that oil–rather than religion, democracy, or anything else–is the driver of US policy in the region.

AngloArabia:Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain is a detailed yet eminently readable account of British sustenance of Gulf state monarchies in order to ensure the stability of global production and price of oil (and gas).  Although these brutal dictatorial regimes remain “reliant on the UK,” they depend “to a far greater extent on the US for their defense, even ultimately for their survival.” AngloArabia helps us understand that from the time of the British Empire to the present Middle East policies of Whitehall and Washington have always been “oil-centric.”  The Middle East is not complicated; it’s simple, it’s about oil (and gas).  It never has been, nor is it now, about Islam, democracy, or anything other than oil (and gas).

See also:

Dying to Forget and my Amazon review: “Oil, US’s Principle Goal in Middle East”

Addition to Blog Post “Religion, Oil, and the Middle East”

Religion, Oil, and the Middle East

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