Saturday, May 21, 2011
  Heart of Gramscian darkness

Britain's Chief Justice is getting his fine satin panties in a big wad about the existence of a free press.
He argued that, in applying privacy law, the courts should treat newspapers and broadcast media differently from new media because the public knew that "modern technology is totally out of control and everybody can put anything on it". The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, who led the committee on super-injunctions, described reports on "the web" as being "often very inaccurate indeed". The internet, he said, was "not a reliable place".

Hey, I've got an idea. How about understanding that people know the Web is not a reliable place, and thus don't put much credence in lies? How about treating us like adults for a couple of milliseconds?
The comments of the judges provoked concerns over the judiciary's understanding of modern media. Padraig Reidy of Index on Censorship said: "Lord Judge's comments merely highlight the false dichotomy drawn between 'mainstream' media and online social networks."

Well, the dichotomy is real.

Plain fact: Lies spread by TV are far more effective than lies spread via the Net, because TV has NO FACTS AVAILABLE. When you hear something egregiously and maliciously false on CNN or Fox (i.e. when you hear something on CNN or Fox), you can't click to some other channel to hear the truth, because there is no truth available on TV at all.**

On the Net you can instantly find a different take on anything. A citizen who wants to be informed will either (1) remain uncertain, WHICH IS A GOOD THING, or (2) will gradually get closer to the truth, which is an even better thing.
Steven Barnett, professor of communications at the University of Westminster, said the judges would be criticised for their use of language but agreed that something needed to be done to tackle those who "maliciously" break the law online. "Those who deliberately and systematically attempt to undermine the decisions of the courts should be sought out and brought to justice," he said. "But the judges should avoid notions like clamping down and other Soviet language which doesn't do them any favours."

Gramsci on parade. Comrade Barnett is saying we must use Soviet methods to exterminate free speech, but we must not use Soviet terminology to describe our Soviet methods. We must murder truth with a highly polished rapier, not a sledgehammer.


= = = = =

** Okay, that's a slight overstatement. Every now and then, at random moments, truth will accidentally appear on TV.

A more precise statement would be: After you hear a lie on TV, you have no way to locate a different opinion or treatment of the same subject. On the Web you can always do that.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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