Monday, April 28, 2008

The Internet of the Mysteries

Because all information -- fact, fiction, comedy, tragedy and parody -- is delivered over the Internet through the same user interface, the content appears to be indistinguishable and the distinction between them tends to blur. "I saw it on the Internet" is the 21st century equivalent of "I watched it on TV". Therefore it must be true.

The Internet has consequently acquired the immense power, among unsophisticated (and even savvy) users of being able to annihilate time, distance and most especially reality. Some years ago a very famous British opinion writer was taken in by one of those Nigerian email scams, which are themselves a testament to the triumph of fantasy over fiction. Recently my son wryly reported an important question that had baffled some kids in the playground. Who was the more powerful superhero? Batman, Chuck Norris or Abraham Lincoln? The three you see, were characters on some Internet drama and they simultaneously exist in some modern electronic space, battling the Kodan Armada for the American Way.

The power of the modern electronic communications to garble messages was never more starkly displayed than on Bulgarian TV.

I'll bet you don't know the lyrics to that hit single, "Ken Lee".

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Blogger RWE said...

I recall someone saying back in the mid-70’s that they went into a bar in Thailand and heard the girl performer there singing that popular song, “Limestone Cowboy.”

That was the time period when I went to Mountain Home AFB, ID, and lacking anything but an AM radio for evening entertainment, found that I could listen to “Rhinestone Cowboy” all night long just by tuning around the dial. That and a show on how they disposed of garbage at the Kennedy Space Center.

But the problem that some people regard the Internet as the Gospel Delivered Straight From the Mount is a real one. An old friend of mine became so convinced that various Internet sites delivered the Real News on things like the coming apocalypse or what really happened to TWA Flight 800 that we finally quit communicating – it was becoming too embarrassing for him. And there are real howlers Out There, too, like the guy that claims that the buildings hit on 9/11/01 could not have been struck by airliners because they did not have the correct runway markings that airplanes need to “hit” runways.

And Batman versus Chuck Norris versus Abraham Lincoln? Pleeese! The correct question is Batman versus Spiderman or Superman versus The Hulk. What has happened to the younger generation?

4/28/2008 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger vanderleun said...

I think Bulgaria is largely supported by donations from the viewers of this video.

4/28/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I came across Saša Lendero - Glory Hallelujah at you tube a few days back. From her alblum "Ne Grem Na Kolena." I found it interesting that a popular Slovenia artist would sing about "John Brown's lies a mouldering in the grave." She actually does a good job -- sort of the inverse of the Bulgarian talent. Still, I wonder how the historical reference resonates in the former Yugoslavia. Maybe it's "The Southern Slavs."

4/28/2008 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

It's his body the moulders, of course.

rwe, when I was in Thailand the song was "Ring my Bell," which played constantly. We just called in RMB.

4/28/2008 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Ahhh, finally, the Medium IS the Message, as McLuhan so confidently predicted.

Q.: What the much more moving, immediate and undeniable Medium of TV has failed to do, you are saying the mushy Medium of the Web has accomplished?

That's more a Weakness of the Audience than a Virality of the Medium.

If an Internet Kid in the great richness of access to Truth via Web libraries - can't distinguish True from False, reliable from bullshit - THAT is the problem.

The Medium is not causing the Problem.

They should call YouTube McLuhTube, that's where the Medium IS the Message.

The Truth is still Out There, and even though nobody promotes it, the Truth is not diminished.

4/28/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

This little Philippine cutie version's much easier on the ears, and the eyes.

Ken Lee

4/28/2008 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

The undertoad is out to get you.

4/28/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

When British school-kids report that Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street was a historical figure, while Winston Churchill is a literary figment (whose-- Dickens', Dostoevsky's?), laughter seems the best if not the only medicine.

A "mondegreen" is a phrase transmogrified by similar sound from its original meaning to another: "Laid him on the green" becomes "Lady Mondegreen". My favorite is from the hymn's "A consecrated Cross I'd bear", which becomes "A consecrated cross-eyed bear."

Pop-cult today is "running with a bear behind." Cross-eyed indeed, but consecrated? Not on your Spoonerism (whereby "Our dear old Queen" becomes "Our queer old Dean")!

Anyone notice what happened to Roget's Thesaurus at A civilizational PCBS assault on language-as-communication. Alas, we ramble, by no means for the first time.

4/28/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I heard that as "CONSTIPATED cross-eyed bear" when I was a little kid.


4/29/2008 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

Ken Lee, v'lo lach?

4/29/2008 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

If Ken dumps her, she'll always have Benny Lava.

4/29/2008 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

Heh, I've seen the Benny Lava thing. Quite entertaining. . .if a bit bizaare.

I recall living in Germany for a few months back in '92, and spending an evening at a dance club where they sang along with the Joan Jett classic "I love rocky road" at the top of their lungs.

4/29/2008 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger PeolesDru said...

"I Love Rocky Road" is actually Weird Al's version of that song. Literally. His version is about ice cream.

4/29/2008 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Hey Asher Abrams!

Thanks for the link to Benny Lava. I used to enjoy the music videos broadcast on the Hindi channels in the Bay Area. I would swear, by the way, that the video you linked to was shot in the hills just east of Fremont, California. Sure looked familiar.

4/29/2008 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger gdude said...

rwe -

I was a kid on MHAFB as a pre-teen '69 - '73. AM reception up there at night WAS amazing. Don't think I've heard it that good anywhere else I've lived.

Loved watching the night launches of, first, F-4s, and later the FB-111s. Coolest thing ever (for a boy) was a night max-performance takeoff: big ol' flame out the back disappearing with a roar straight up into the night sky!

I also remember staying up all night there to watch some guys in white suits bounce around on the moon for the first time. Or, was that really just a movie . . . ?

4/29/2008 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Newt Gingrich, who is also a professor of History, now writes historical fiction because, he says, they communicate the truth and lessons of history without making readers memorize boring names and dates.

An author on muslim history says his books don't sell in the West because all the names of the people mentioned don't stick in Western memories. Was that Muhamed ibn Salil or Mohamad bin Ilsaal?

4/30/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger geoffb said...

A site about mondegreens

5/01/2008 07:44:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger