Posts Tagged ‘news media’

I’m tethered to the logic of homo sapiens
Can’t take my eyes from the great salvation
Of bullshit faith

David Bowie, “Quicksand”

This piece continues the argument begun in “The Griefing of America

Perhaps the most distressing aspect of this fiasco of a US election season is that when it is over it still won’t be over.  If Trump wins, there are some pretty likely outcomes: attempts to lock up his political rival, trade wars, economic chaos disproportionately impacting–in a dreadful irony that will probably escape them, as has every other empirical fact up to this point–many of Trump’s “little guy” supporters.  If Clinton wins on Tuesday (or Wednesday, or Thursday, or however long it takes for all the votes to be counted) there’s a better than even chance that Trump won’t accept the result.  Or that his brainwashed supporters won’t accept the result.  And some Republicans in Congress are already vowing to attempt to impeach Clinton as soon as she takes office, to block all her nominees, to take to an entirely new level the Politics of No that have already made the US a laughingstock worldwide.

But here’s the important part: even if  the Trumpet loses this election, he has already won.

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Fairytale?

There are three great lies that underpin the US electoral process.  I’m not sure many politicians really believe these things, but in the BOE (Before Orange Era) they had to pretend to believe each of these things, at least when the microphone was on:

  1. The US voter is rational;
  2. The US voter is smart and well-informed;
  3. The news media secures the rationality and information quality of the system by playing an engaged watchdog role.

The Trumpet has called bullshit on all of these.  Let’s look at them in reverse order.

(more…)

Advertisements
Rage

Rage this way, Flikr image by Anne. Creative Commons License.

The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything.

George Orwell, 1984

Recently I’ve turned my attention again to the question of the connection between games and what we often refer to, in all seriousness, as real life, more specifically, to the potential for games to intervene in reality and transform it in some way, hopefully for the better.  The is the concept of Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG) popularized by Jane McGonigal (although not originating with her) which is distinct from the co-opted cluelessness of “gamification” (whose only purpose is to sell you stuff).  It is also different from the concept of Augmented Reality Games where reality serves as a platform for the game, but the purpose is more traditionally one of entertainment and diversion only (think–gah–of Pokemon Go).

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is, not surprisingly, as a response to the horror of the current US presidential election season, which feels as if it has been going on since about three weeks after the last election was decided.  Many conservatives and liberals in the US, who can’t even agree on what to put on their toast in the mornings, seem united in their belief that the current election season has not simply plumbed new depths but has in fact powered up a giant drilling rig (drill, baby, drill!) and is boring straight for the center of the planet.

Before we can talk about how games might improve the US electoral process in a couple of small but significant ways, however, we have to look squarely at the nature of the problem.

(more…)

Some of the discussion around the leaked video of the incident in Baghdad in 2007 where helicopter gunships killed two Reuters journalists and 10 Iraqis has focused upon comparisons between that incident and war games.  The comparison has, in part, been motivated by the obvious similarities between the camera view in the video and the eye-of-god view provided by many modern video games.  The feedback loop here is pretty complex, however: the overall design and sometimes the specific moments of some games that simulate modern warfare are both heavily influenced not only by the actual technology employed by the military but by video-footage of the weapons in action (the “weapons-eye” view that became so popular with news networks during Gulf War I, for example).  Yet the military is increasingly taking a leaf out of the same playbook that game designers are using in the designs of their interfaces because the basic design challenge is in both cases the same: to give an operator effective control over a weapons system in a high-stress, high-stakes, information-overloaded environment.

(more…)