Personal Politics

my take on the shilpa shetty/big brother controversy

Yup, reality TV is a contrived and unnatural setting. On occasion it can stumble its way into insight. Everyday moments, that would ordinarily go unnoticed, get magnified and bring scrutiny, focus, and debate. Probably not enough to redeem the genre, but useful all the same.

The story of Shilpa Shetty and the reality TV show, “Big Brother,” might be one such case. Reality TV amplifies the normal range of emotion and experience—in this case the maliciousness of hatred. The actual intent of Shetty’s harassers are only

Business Politics Technology

how the Internet will rid the world of all evil…

The Internet will banish evil the world over. Slowly, but surely, it will march along and destroy the evil behaviors of corporations, organizations, governments and even individuals. The Internet saves all.

What am I babbling about? Connection & Emotion. At its most basic level, the Internet connects– connects you to news, weather, reference articles and most importantly, people. We connect through e-mail, myspace, instant messenger, google, flickr, blogs, etc. Connections matter because they have meaning. We care about the things that make us happy and love the most. The reason we care about them is because they have some real connection to our lives. That connection equals emotion.

But today we are without. Today, we’re stuck with facts and black & white. Today, the primary method of good-doing (and ergo, evil-ridding) happens through simple education. Education happens through TV, magazines, newspapers, and now the Internet. So here’s an article that made the rounds a few weeks back. A 41 square mile ice shelf broke off in the Canadian Arctic. That’s not a typo, a chunk of ice bigger than Manhattan. This story captivated public interest and spurred climate-change discussion. So, yeah, you see how it works today…people read this, get educated and than maybe actually change something. Yawn, right?

But the Internet will actually change the world because it will bring human emotion and value to life. That news article was very educational and interesting. But it was cold. Sterile. Detached. Now imagine if you could hear directly from someone who has visited that area a number of times. Who maybe lives close by– someone who has an emotional connection. Would reading the blog entry of someone who is actually harmed by the ice shelf breaking, move you more? Would it change this from a discussion about numbers, possibility and politics and make it a human discussion? If other people posted their personal pictures that really struck/shocked them: of bears drowning or cherry blossoms in NY blooming in winter, etc on Flickr– would that connect with you more?

Now, let’s take it up a notch:

A soldier dies in war. After Vietnam, our government learned that there is nothing that will so quickly turn the tide of public sentiment against a military action as the sight of dead and wounded American soldiers. Now imagine a myspace page of a fallen solider that is kept alive with comments by friends and family about his/her life. Think this keeps the very real human cost of war front and center in Americans’ minds? Imagine if a deeply unhappy solider in Iraq stationed in Iraq was so distraught he committed suicide. We’ve become desensitized to this, right? It might be just another page 10 article in the newspaper to us. But what if he posted his suicide note on MySpace first. Do you think that might strike a chord with the American people more