Monday, June 18, 2007

Open Thread

NPR related comments welcomed.


Porter Melmoth said...

Tuesday morn and another Gwen Thompkins item. I'll try to be brief. Her 'notebook' story's premise: her passport was kept for a long time in a small town in Sudan, and jazz music from New Orleans saved the day. Why I find her reports troubling: Gwen herself perfectly embodies the NPR target audience. Educated, with grad degrees, comfortable income, plus, a well-cultivated Amero-centric point of view. That last bit is the real problem, and it's so glaring in her reports. Thing is, listeners are supposed to 'identify' with her, and in the process, objective journalism is abandoned. Colloquializing the world at large for this specific audience is not only imprudent, it is a recipe for disaster. This approach also fits well with the neo-con vision of the world, the sinister elements of which seek to take advantage of these supposedly 'informed' listeners. Subject for a thesis, I guess, but when I hear reports such as Thompkins makes from such a troubled area of the world, its frighteningly easy to identify trouble in the making.

Porter Melmoth said...

Just another observation about Gwen Thompkins' Amero-centric expectations. She seemed incredulous that no one in a small town in Sudan (that she talked to) was familiar with jazz music.

Hell, I was talking to an all-American 20 year-old student the other day, and I happened to mention Jerry Lewis (the still-active comedian, not the congressman). 'Who's that?' they replied. I also heard of a survey that was taken in the UK in which it was found that more young people were familiar with Sinatra than they were with Mick Jagger. The Info Age has its quirks!

Naive Amero-centrics are always blown away when they find their much-vaunted culture isn't quite as widespread as they thought it was. That aside, there is a subtext that I get from Thompkins' reports. It creaks of neo-con colonialism. These benighted people do not have jazz. We will bring it to them. They do not have democracy. We will bring it to them. Whether they want it or not, because we know best.

Additionally, there is another factor regarding Sudan. I read in Robert Young Pelton's 'The World's Most Dangerous Places' that Sudan is sitting on a vast reserve of oil. If that's true, get set for another neo-con petri dish to be opened up.

jules said...

Call the Jazz Police!

Anonymous said...

Insightful and well said. Personally, I thought the report was stupid, arrogant and offensive, and turned it off without much reflection. Which is my default NPR reaction these days.