Tag Archives: Iran

You are making Perez Hilton a Martyr! Stop it!

It pains me that I should comment on something like this, but the insanity of this story is going unchecked. Perez Hilton was allegedly punched by Will.I.Am’s manager and within minutes the internet lost its mind. Men who don’t even read Perez Hilton’s site were jumping to the fore with “GOOD, HE DESERVED IT!” What the hell? Then you have this other gallery of hypocrites pulling their pants up to their chests and saying “Weellll, I don’t think Perez should’ve been punched, but he is trash and a provocateur, etc. etc.” Bull-tweet. They all subscribe to the same baffling brand of mob justice that makes people go ape-spazz over cartoons of Mohammed. And for what? How many people do you know, Mr. Digg Commentor, or Reddit/Mixx/wasteoftime.com commentor, that have been made fun of by Perez Hilton? Answer? Zero. None. Nai. Nada. Sorry to drag you back to the real world where people work hard and pay taxes, buddy. Will.I.Am just had his best sales week ever, and his biggest problem is this twit with a netbook? He should be so lucky. If you want to call Perez names for crying his eyes out on youtube, that man (for lack of a better word) is crying his way to the bank with the extra traffic and ad revenue from his site.

For all the rants on the ubiquity of celebrity news, I’ve been able to avoid all the specific causes of what happened and what Perez said about the Black-Eyed Peas. I still don’t care about it. The only celebrity news that I care about is the kind that’ll lead to the Marvel Avengers movies. If I have any questions, I go ask my wife. That’s it. What I am angry about is the hypocrisy surrounding the idea that he should be silenced when we as a society have decided that we want to read what’s on his site and give him a ton of ad money to update every day.

Perez doesn’t deserve to get punched in the face. He doesn’t deserve to have his website taken down either. All the verbal abuse that the internet can dish out won’t affect him, he’ll just throw on a crown of thorns and dance around for your amusment. Look, I know it’s horrible that celebrity news has taken up such mental space in our society, but it seems like the more we fight it, the more we feed the beast. In fact, I don’t know why we have this demarcation line between “Important Stuff” and Celebrities. Haven’t we already voted with our attention and our dollars that it’s just as important as Iranian Revolutions and Shuttle launches? We can’t innoculate ourselves from tragic heroes and comic villains, it’s practically in our DNA. Instead of just complaining about it, we need to understand what void people fill up when they log on to TMZ or Access Hollywood. The answer will be just as important as an electric car or fusion power.

Iran and the Death of Mass Media

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The wording of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s speech last Friday was so earnest that I almost believed it myself. He really believed that the election was a divine assessment. He also believed that he could blame the recent troubles on Iran’s enemies, who were all living a higher standard of living despite never having heard of such things as a secret morality police. From the hard-liner’s perspective, the regime still seems to be doing all the right things. They are manufacturing reports on state television, throwing out dissenting foreign journalists, confiscating cameras, and applying truncheons to anyone who gets in their way. The methods may seem harsh, but it’s all in a day’s work for defending the Islamic Republic. The only problem is that they are trying to fight an information war in 2009 with techniques that belong in 1979.

Back when the Islamic Revolution was young, print was still the primary source of information. Radio and Television were transmitted through massive antennae using machinery that would fill a small room. Media was still thought of as infrastructure back then. If you had control of it, legitimacy came by default. Today, that sort of centralization of media power doesn’t exist. Your average Best Buy has at least enough media creation equipment to start a revolution. All it took was the video from a single camcorder to set an entire city on fire in the 1992 LA riots. The Iranian Revolutionary regime now faces devices 1/10th the size, with 1000 times the storage capacity, and the ability to connect to a global network that not even President Ahmadinejad’s nuclear ambitions could threaten.

Iran Expert Afshin Molavi claims that if Khamenei were to call for another election, it would be an extreme blow to the regime’s credibility. In my opinion, all hope of the regime’s credibility was dashed in Friday’s speech. He didn’t realize that he had brought a knife to a gun convention. In days passed, his was the only channel on TV. Now he is but a single voice among millions. One of the great myths of the 20th century was that if the footage going through the camera or the sound coming through the microphone didn’t lie, then anyone that had such equipment wouldn’t lie either. Even if the imagery was obviously false, individuals couldn’t come up with something vivid enough to compete with the propaganda. When that kind of power is the hands of all instead of the hands of the few, we begin to see that reality is once again decided by the agreement of people, not by an appeal to any authority, divine or otherwise. So now, along with the Divine Right of Kings before it, the myth of ultimate truth through mass media has been dashed, hopefully forever.