The Daily Show, South Park and Society

by bicyclemark 0 Comments
The Daily Show, South Park and Society

photo courtesy of the Berghs School of Communication

The Daily Show and South Park, along with The Colbert Report, are the 1-2 (3) punch of socio-political satire in America and have been for well over a decade. Some dismiss them as childish clowns with limited significance while in fact, they are among the most trusted sources of news and entertainment wielding tremendous power from the reputation they have built as uncompromising provacateurs.

Brian Dunphy is a lecturer at Brooklyn College, a citizen of the world, and a keen observer of satire in all its forms in the United States.  He starts each day with a bowl of cereal and Jon Stewart, and his in-depth research and analysis reveals that there is a lot more happening here than just a bunch of funny impressions and the occasional fart joke.  There is real speaking of truth to power and challenging people to think and look carefully at the actions of the powerful decision makers of this world.  Today on the podcast, Brian gives us a taste of this topic that he has been bringing to audiences in North America and Northern Europe over the past year.

Walking the Tight Rope of the Caucasus

by bicyclemark 0 Comments
Walking the Tight Rope of the Caucasus

OlafKIf you search for adventures in the Caucasus, it is his picture that should pop up first. From the loud taverns of Tblisi, to the shiny new streets of Gonzy and eventually to the  future Olympic village of Sochi, he has seen it all and shared many of his adventures with anyone that cares to know.  Now he has taken his greatest hits from the Caucasus and assembled them in book form (in Dutch).  The result is a hilarious, insightful, and often exciting journey in a region with so much diversity and such a rich history.

On today’s podcast I’m joined by none other than Olaf Koens, as we sit along the Amstel river in a windy afternoon, we talk about some of those adventures in that magical region of the world.

His book, (.nl) Koorddansen in de Kaukasus

Value Can Be Found Beyond the Blue Boxes

by bicyclemark 2 Comments

Photo by Vik407 /flickr

If you’re involved in any kind of project these days chances are you make use of Facebook in some way or another. If you don’t, a few clicks on the internet or a few pages in your local newspaper, and you’ll probably get hit with an article about how “you should” in order to reach “the people”.  In the publishing world it is the same story multiplied by 1000, as the world’s largest social network site is considered the be all end all of doing anything online. If you’re not making full use of facebook, you’re somehow a failure or a fool.  Why? Because in the publishing world it is all about the numbers, and if there’s one thing we’re told over and over again, facebook has the numbers.

But what real value do these numbers have? The truth that few want to admit, is that we don’t know. What proof is there that all those likes, and all the times your post gets shared on facebook, that these things amount to anything beyond a brief 2 sentences that are constantly being buried under the feeds of the insatiable scrolling machines we have all become.  Companies pay a full time staff to control their social media presence, to keep an eye on the social networks and make sure they’re “talking about us.”  Somewhere along the line of all of us going online, “talking about” something stopped meaning real conversations of any substance, and became the act of copy pasting without having to read or remember anything.  Entire books and traveling guru’s (even more irritating versions of me) are dedicated and revered because they give institutions advice as to what they “should” be doing if they really want to be down with the social media thing.

We have lost and are now at risk of losing even more when it comes to real content, genuine thought, and meaningful understanding. When it is more important that you have a facebook page than it is to actually researching and writing articles; when its more important you go viral than actually capture the war criminal your video was about; when its more of a priority that your facebook page have lots of likes instead of real debate and discussion; that is the point where the world of journalism and media is proudly wrapped in a fog of stupidity.  One where trends and expert tips are given way more credence than they deserve, and where original content  is left in the dust.  Somewhere along the line we stopped being original and authentic, and we became apostles of that iconic blue masthead that says “this is what matters, not your hard work or your unique individual creations, but your ability to do exactly as we say you should. Why? Because we have the numbers. And in today’s publishing/business world, numbers trump humanity. Over and over again.

(yes I realize you’re likely reading this from within facebook, but I look forward to after the rebellion, when even less of us will)

News Cycles Turned Social Media Trends

by bicyclemark 6 Comments

Photo by NS Newsflash / Flickr

When social media rose up from what were thought to be the ashes of traditional media, there were high hopes for the new world that was to come. And as world events continue to unfold and these seemingly open forums continue to grow in importance, alot of old habits and trends continue to appear. What once was known as the 24 news cycle has not disappeared, but rather, it has spawned the world of trending topics and viral media.

What has this new media ecology meant for independent voices bringing original content about topics that have a significant influence on human well being around the world? Today on the podcast I lay down the framework for how the news cycle of the 80’s and 90’s, translates to the trending topics of 2012.

I’ll be speaking on this topic at Campus Party Berlin on August 25th.