Posted by: Dylan | November 22, 2008

A Blog is Born | Celebrity Politics

Modern Cro-Magnon is very much an oxymoron. But I chose it for my blog name for more than just its comedic value. I think it says something about evolution. It implies that we are a modern version of our past selves, that we are continually evolving and reinventing who we are. Not only does this evolution occur due to Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” theory, but it is simultaneously a result of the world we have created around ourselves. We do not evolve strictly in a scientific sense, but in many other ways as well. Our culture and society change in an effort to bring an increasingly better quality of life and comfort to humanity. The evolution of our society directly affects the evolution of every one of us. Technology, science, the arts, and politics change us and the way we interact with the world we live in.

This blog is my attempt to analyze and discuss the world we have created for ourselves and how it affects each and every one of us. Of course, I will deviate from this purpose often. I will not strictly focus on just this subject. My blog will evolve as well, and it may or may not retain its original purpose. But right now, I will pretty much just be writing about how technology, culture, and politics pertain to our modern life.

I started this blog because I am fascinated with the innovation and workings of human society. It is a way for me to talk about what I am interested in and share my opinion with other people. I had attempted to make a blog before, but I had rushed into the process and came up with a title and subject matter that was too narrow and too careless. I lost interest in it because I had not taken the time to create it with care. It was not worth anything to me and was a failed start. I am taking a new approach to this one. Instead of trying to update on a continuous basis, I will change my focus to coming up with quality (well, at least time-consuming) posts. If I write articles that I take the time to edit, hopefully it will differ my blog from the sludge of other halfhearted attempts (which I was part of). My goal is merely to create something of merit, something that I can be proud of. I am not guaranteeing anything to readers; I am just trying to make something that I enjoy.

The Celebrity of Politics

I know that the election is now over and Obama is our nation’s newest president-elect, but this event is still new enough for me to comment on it, and I think that it pertains to many facets of our political system, and indeed, any political system. An election is determined by popularity. Quite simply, whoever the public favors the most will win the vote. Unfortunately, the way popularity manifests itself in our system too often disregards the political platforms of the candidates and instead is determined by party affiliation and media popularity. Granted, party affiliation is not bad in and within itself, but when people choose not to actually investigate the party nominee’s plans and instead just vote for said candidate because he or she is from the same party their parents voted for or the party they first identified with, then it can be harmful to our system. If someone votes solely on the principal of party affiliation then they are essentially assuming that the candidate is a perfect representation of the party’s views, which is very much not true. No one is exactly like their party, and even the party has no definite stance on many issues.

But another major component is the aforementioned media popularity. Virtually everything we hear about the election comes from some form of media. The only way to get information not filtered by an outside is to do direct research, or hear from the candidate him or her-self. The second option has a filter as well: no candidate will present the negative aspects of their platform. Media coverage for a campaign is a good thing and it is expected that most media will at least have a slight bias. That is why it is beneficial to get information from multiple sources. But the main problem is how the media and citizens focus their attention on the candidates. There is a heavy prevalence of the “gotcha” media. Many people search for any controversial or attention-garnering sound bite and snatch it. They then capitalize on this short piece of information, which rarely represents the complete view or story. This piece of information is blown out of proportion and people hold on to these easily memorable sound bites and it influences their vote.

This is one example: (and here comes my political bias): During Obama’s campaign, there was a point at which Joe Biden said something about the distribution of wealth in regards to Obama’s tax plan.This small clip was seized by the news organizations and was taken to be a communist statement. Surely, redistribution of wealth is not aberrant to the way our government functions.  Biden said a small and stupid phrase and it was immediately taken by many to be the primary point of Obama’s whole governing strategy. This is ludicrous. Obama wanted to increase taxes on the wealthy and provide some programs to help needy people. This is not redistribution of wealth in the strictly communist sense.

But still, many people took this misrepresentation and used it as their primary reason for voting for McCain. This should not happen. Such statements should not garner such a large amount of attention. It is obviously a simple slip-up statement blown out of proportion in an attempt to make headlines. This component is part of the greater and more encompassing issue of media coverage. People have very little tolerance for in depth and informational news. Most just want to be entertained. We are addicted to sensationalist media. This type of coverage leads to the presidential race coming down to a popularity contest. Because very little in depth information is presented, most are not exposed to the actual and true stance on issues. Opinions are decide by such superficial things as Joe Biden’s slip-up comment.

Our nation’s next president is not chosen based on his or her political platform, but by whoever is the media favorite. People do not formulate their own opinions, but simply go with “the popular candidate”.

* My position on taxes: It is hard for me to form an opinion on this matter. On one hand, it hardly seems fair that those who have worked hard to earn their wealth should have to pay a much higher rate than everyone else, but we also need ways to help those of a lower class. I am unsure of how we should do this, and I find it hard to take a side.

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Responses

  1. Dylan:

    Welcome to the blogsphere. I applaud your effort and initiative.

    I agree with your comments about media coverage of the election and the herd mentality of most voters (necessarily implying, in a self-congratulatory, way that I am not “most voters”).

    I have three points/questions (in the reverse order of importance), to wit:

    1) Did you mean — “Surely, redistribution of wealth is not adherent to the way our government functions” or did you intend “inherent”, “abhorrent” or “aberrant” instead of “adherent”

    2) Whether it is good or bad for society as a whole, for portions thereof, for the “economy”, etc… –> Increasing taxes on the rich and ramping up programs for the needy IS redistribution of wealth. It has been going on in this country to an increasing degree for the last 100 years.

    3) What is your solution to the problem (which I took to be election coverage in particular and new coverage in general) you so aptly identified? How can we have better election coverage?

    Kent

  2. Dylan, the name of your blog is superb as well as the picture you used. Your comments are are thoughtful and interesting. Why do you think people are so easily swayed by the media today? Is it laziness and the inability to search for truth and real facts on their own? I have heard people regurgitate exactly what they heard on the news or on the internet as if were total fact when sometimes what they hear or read is father than the truth. Do you feel the media in our sociaty spreads propaganda to their benefit or agenda at times? I would like to see media become more accountable for what they write and what they say – but I ask myself how can that be done – when they have all the power and money? Do you believe in evolution? You don’t have to answer so we can debate but I believe man adapts to the environment but I can’t believe we just evolved. I just can’t believe the human body with all its wonderful parts and the wonderful mind – just evolved and came into being. I believe we were created by something bigger than ourselves. Think of it, the eyes are the best camera, the mind is the best computer (computers can’t creatively think like you), the fingers the best tool, the heart is an amazing amazing part and on and on. I look forward to seeing how the topics of your blog evolves and I look forward to your additional thoughts!

  3. Wow! You are thinking deeply here. Keep it up!!!
    And remember you have lots of familycaring for you and cheering you on!

  4. Hi, Dylan,
    Wow! you are really thinking there. I am quite overwhelmed but keep up the good, thoughtful work – we need good minds like yours, fresh minds like yours! You know I love you! Aunt K


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