Friday, July 24, 2009

To David Simon

Dear David Simon,

You have gone from the penetrating world of The Wire to the impermeably inelastic world of Build the Wall.

Instead of talking supplicatingly to two publishers as you do in your piece in the Columbia Journalism Review, consider what you, we, and they are dealing with.

The money is in the pipes. The pipes are sucking it all into their nether regions. The money for content is there, but it's been abducted.

The quandary of viable content on the Net is not unlike the quandary of viable healthcare in a world of corporate greed. Consider the parallels; they are legion.

There's much more to be said on this. For now, what I'm saying to you - whose work I have deeply admired - is this: where's your imagination? Where are your investigative instincts? Where is your ability to follow the almighty $ from the streets to the vultures to their insect lords?

Dude. No fucking walls.

More to come.


Some of the More: {still in progress}

The hegemonic control over the finite, "hard assets" of the Internet has displaced the power of an infinity of content providers from making anything like real money from end users, who have already paid their fair share to access the Internet - where "Internet" takes the pipes and all the content as one unified entity. Even though it's not literally (as in, legally incorporated as a single entity) unified, it obeys the logic of a single system for the end user. We pay for the Internet and we get the dialtone and we get the content. Only, the dialtone providers keep all the money - not for any logical or legitimate reason, solely because they occupy a certain gatekeeping position on the "superhighway."

Just as corporate control of news organizations has eviscerated the very idea of what news is, as Greenwald so eloquently notes here, so the health insurance industry has so polluted our notion of sociality that it does not seem self-evident to many US citizens, including Max Baucis and roughly 40 Republican Senators, that healthcare is a right that must be available to all.

So too Adam Arvidsson in The Ethical Economy is making the case that branding has changed the nature of the economy, from one of production to one of finance. The moment you move from the product to the financing of the product, you have the desire for HUGE BRAND. Only, hugebrandness, like Lehman Brothers' credibility, is mere rumor of value, distinct from all use. If you have Huge Brand as a journalist, say Greenwald and Lewis Lapham, you are probably as corrupt as the day is long.

The point is, it is our health, and our Internet, that should be at the center - not the financing of healthcare, or the financing of content. The corporate infrastructure makes miching mallecho of the argument's inherent logic before it can begin, because the corporate structure of media and the corporate structure of healthcare are entirely alike (indistinguishable plasmids?). Both are wealth creation centers that, like Ron Suskind's famously anonymous worldbeater, create their own reality -- which the reality-based rest of us are permitted to report on, consume, and bewail.

Study for Raft of the Medusa*

*h/t for image to Juke aka Informant38 aka dirty beloved.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Juke said...

In case no one caught this before now, I'm pretty much what gets called a "hippie", though accuracy would demand recognition that whatever that really was was there before that word reduced whatever that was that was there to a cartoon of ridicule-worthy ineffectuality etc.
So as a card-misplacing member of whatever that is or was I'ma suggest we get a long view take on what it is we're trying to reconfigure viz. this "Death of Print Media" business or lack thereof.
What is that?
Surely its antecedents predate Hearst or even Samuel Johnson, or even Gutenberg. How far back does it go?
And surely some of the answer to that is way the fuck back.
Back to sitting around a fire talking about what it was like two valleys over last year. How male mastodons are more easily tricked into a blind charge when they're in rut, the Clovis point and how to make it, etc.
The transmission of possibly useful info between and among members of "us".
And maybe that's where things start to get sideways on this. Maybe the "us" participating in the debate is far more parochial and tightly, even covertly defined. Maybe it's a collection of still-fragmenting affinities. Because anybody with a firm take on the big inclusive "us" of everybody who can read plus their dependents plus any potential offspring plus the whole open-ended vault of humanity toward the starry wonder of limitless future existing - anybody with that working is going to say "Well obviously you want open and unrestricted access to information esp. current events information."
Point there is not to answer "How the hell do we get people to write and otherwise create valuable coherent and responsible reportage without some kind of revenue stream?"
Point there is we need to start from "It has to be non-plutocratic or it's evil."
This will be objected to strenuously by plutocrats, and then without something wondrous if not miraculous to mollify all concerned we'll be back as Matrullo suggests, in the same "Raft of The Medusa" agony as we are now in viz. health "care".
As a member of whatever that is that still gets derisively and dismissively called "hippies" I have no problem saying that health care as a business first and foremost is itself a disease. This may well and probably does extend to such essential human activities as information transfer, especially information as vital as that generated from current events and local environments.

7/24/2009 3:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Juke, you may well be right. I agree the way USians conceive healthcare, it's their own plague.

8/02/2009 7:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

I hadn't seen Dave Winer's post about the Simon article - it's here, and I responded to it in a comment:

8/02/2009 7:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home