Best Dressed

The Church shows off its epistemology. My Protestant church did too: Jesus showed his wounds to Doubting Thomas after his resurrection: see? witness!
The culture shows off its epistemology: see, the court decided; the jury decided, the judge decided …
The NYTimes shows off its epistemology, gives prizes, gives bylines, to this and that division, this and that reporter, gets called the paper of record
And so forth, add your own illustrations:
Now consider, the epistemology of the journalism of the supermarket’s check out aisle.

Dig it, there’s a huge gulf between what constitutes evidence to the physicist, to the psychologist, to the political candidate … and to the shoppers paused by the racks of People, and Teen, and the National Inquirer. Social babble. But just now I didn’t need to be fidgeting at the conveyor belt as I’m assaulted by “news” about Brad and Angela; all I had to do was initiate my first morning check of There: Entertainment has banners about Best Dressed something or other. There’s always a Mr. Black, he writes with authority, he always has a hero: the best dressed, and a goat, the worst dressed: the goat is always somebody you’ve already heard talk about who was a hero yesterday … The allegations are always based on evidence: Mr. Black attended the function, there were paparazzi … And there’s always the lowest of ceilings of awareness of why anything should be doubted, questioned, examined …

Monday, Brad Pitt was the Best Dressed, Friday Brad Pitt was the worst dressed … Excuse me: did the journalist check to see how I was dressed that day? How does he know I was dressed at all? Did he spy on you? did he spy on the worst dress from a decade ago? Billions of people in the world, and he really looked at everyone?!
How do we know he was paying equal attention when he was looking at you as when he was looking at Brad Pitt?

In 1970 I founded the Free Learning Exchange. I offered it as an opportunity for the public to establish its own new medium: an internet, a cybernetic bulletin board. Supply me with resources, whatever amount is necessary, to write the software, rent time on a mainframe, and the world could have collaborated with me on a truly free marketplace, a truly free and universal who’s who, consumer report …
I’d already been dumped on economically, academically; then I really got dumped on, with new levels of plagiarism … got put in jail, had censorship added to the ignominy of failure to be published … God biding his time, letting it all happen, accumulating evidence (on top of the infinity already in hand) …
And now I laugh: the government’s plagiarized internet, its attempt to hold onto control, rather than yield to democracy, to resist freedom, to coerce, to escalate the coercion … has degenerated to the level of the check out aisle. Once upon a time a web site like Yahoo was sort of a middle brow Times, a summary of summaries, pooling this and that news service; now its got its face smeared with People and the National Enquirer.
God, it’s like television!

My internet could have saved us, if only we had wanted salvation. Obviously, instead, we relish damnation, too dumb to see that it’s indelible, irreversible. Since before yesterday.
Or I’m to dumb to see that there was no way out, even in 1970.

It’s my fault: I should have invented the internet in 1960.
Vanity, vanity: it was too late then too.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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