Friday, July 25, 2008

Context, revisited

You may or may not recall that on July 14, I posted a piece entitled "Context." Here's part of what I said:

So there are probably two things that we all need to realize:

  • Some people are going to look at things out of context.

  • Some people are going to take things at face value.
I also linked to Loren Feldman's defense of TechNigga. Although I didn't quote it at the time, this is part of what Feldman said:

TechNigga was part of a weeklong project that reflected on numerous issues in our culture. Across the series I make fun of jews, psychologists, scientologists, celebrity rehab, nerds, nazis, tech culture, 70s movies and, yes, black people.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Dave Winer was having a really bad day. He's had off and on issues with Comcast for some time now, and lost his service yesterday. For him, this was the final straw; he closed his account.

Later in the day, he took the opportunity to vent and wrote a four paragraph post entitled "A word about Comcast." But, like most everyone else, I'm going to ignore the first, second, and fourth paragraphs. (Language warning.)

Comcast is going to get sued some day for what they do, and they're going to lose billions because of it. I tend to be an outlier on the leading edge. If they're shitting on me today, you can bet they'll be shitting on hundreds of people next year, and thousands the year after that. One of those shittings is going to cause an oil spill or a nuclear accident, or some horrible thing we haven't imagined yet. Maybe soldiers will die because of their deliberate outages. Maybe children. You just don't fuck around with some things, the kinds of things Comcast is fucking with. If you're going to turn a paying customer off deliberately, it seems you should do it slowly and carefully and covering every part of your anatomy while you do it, not the roughshod way they do it now. (And what would be so hard about slowing down the connection so it's impossible for someone to use too much bandwidth?)

So, who proceeded to ignore the months of context, or the day of context, or even the paragraphs of context, and zoomed in on a statement in the middle of the third paragraph? Guess:

This a great read, best part is how Comcast will kill children, that damn truck is never leaving now.

I entered the FriendFeed conversation:

Ah, but Loren, you should know not to treat a single item as an isolated incident, outside of its context. :) If I had been through a bad experience with a company for months, and if something bad had happened earlier that day, I'd probably be predicting death and destruction also.

Loren responded to the effect that he would refrain from nominating Dave Winer for the Nobel Peace Prize. Or something like that. Actually, I think he phrased his thoughts by referring to "fat naked chick vids." (Hey, when I think of Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, I think of fat naked chick vids. Or perhaps that's just me.)

Well, needless to say, Loren didn't end with a FriendFeed comment. Oh, no.

I'll confess that I laughed out loud (luckily most of my co-workers were at lunch), but it's still not as good as the kayak. (Remember?)

By the way, I found a transcript of the unmashed interview.

KING: Joining us now is an old and dear friend, Celine Dion, the musical superstar. She's in her dressing room at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. She will go on stage in about a half hour. She and the director of her wonderful show, a show I've seen, Franco Dragone, have donated by the way, pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross.

What has been your response, Celine, to this? I especially ask this because you're French Canadian from Montreal and New Orleans is a mostly French city.

CELINE DION, SINGER: Correct and I've been there a few times. We've stayed there. I've, you know, filmed videos there and so Rene and I, we've been to New Orleans. And, I have to say, Larry, that and state it as the rest of the world if I may I was watching you behind, there's a television right now, I'm watching and I'm especially waiting like the rest of the world.

I'm waking up in the morning. I'm having a coffee. I barely can swallow it. I come here at Caesar's Palace every night to perform. I barely can sing. But for respect the people who come I am still singing. When I come home at night, my son is waiting for me. I watch television.

Yes, we gave $1 million but what we expect, what I want to look like the rest of the world, I open the television there's people still there waiting to be rescued and for me it's not acceptable. I know there's reasons for it. I'm sorry to say I'm being rude but I don't want to hear those reasons.

You know, some people are stealing and they're making a big deal out of it. Oh, they're stealing 20 pair of jeans or they're stealing television sets. Who cares? They're not going to go too far with it. Maybe those people are so poor, some of the people who do that they're so poor they've never touched anything in their lives. Let them touch those things for once.

The main thing right now it's not the people who are stealing. It's the people who are left there and they're watching helicopters flying over their heads and they're praying. How come it's so easy to send planes in another country to kill everyone in a second, to destroy lives?

We need to serve our country and for me to serve our country is to be there right now to rescue the rest of the people. We need the cash. We need the blood. We need the support. Right now we need the prayers.

You know when I was hearing a couple of days ago that these things are not reachable it's too full of water, maybe I'm too much like my -- I'm not thinking with my head. I'm talking with my heart. Nobody can open any roofs? The helicopters flying in take two people at a time, take a kayak. Go into those walls.

There's kids being raped at night. They hear gunshots, big guns, what's that? Those people are praying. They're walking. They're like this, hello, do you see us? We're still alive but we're dying. It's terrible.

And yes, after some further conversation, King did ask Dion to sing.

KING: Your check will turn into something. I know you got to go on soon but we couldn't spend any time with you without asking you, do you have any kind of thing you would like to sing that fits this moment? Is there any song?

DION: Oh, my gosh.

KING: Even if you did a little of it. I don't want to...

DION: Well, the only song that comes to my mind right now is definitely a prayer. I did sing that song a few weeks -- a few years back with Andrea Bocelli.

KING: Ah, yes.

DION: And I cannot think -- I cannot think about a song but a prayer. I will do my very best and I'll do my best.


DION: God bless them all.

KING: Thank you, Celine. Celine Dion, she'll go on stage in 20 minutes. There's a trooper.

We'll be right back. Don't go away.


Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus