Musings on alienation

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JimLes, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. JimLes

    JimLes Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know this is terribly long-winded. I also know it may straddle several forums as it touches on the Jazz, on basketball in general, on politics, on music, and probably a few other things.

    What’s my basic point here? It's that for all its amazing effects, internet has also made us worse people by allowing us to create imaginary communities at the expense of real, physical ones. This has lead to a real sense of alienation of people from other people, and what I believe is a development of a virtual world where we can play whatever character we want. Our virtual lives become intertwined with our real lives, and there is a real contamination going from virtual to real.

    Internet allows us to find like-minded people at the touch of a button, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can be bad because it creates a situation that allows us to completely shield ourselves from different people, different opinions, and different views. It allows us to create a virtual community that mirrors real, totalitarian communities in some senses. Much has been said in the media the last few years about how polarized society has become, and I believe that most of it is due to our new-found ability to isolate ourselves from everything we don't agree with. It is quite possible for any one of us to only physically be present in our place of domicile, but essentially live out our intellectual life in an imagined community.

    You can live in the most right wing county in the country and discuss politics every day with people as left wing as you'd like. All you have to do is go on the internet. This creates a sense that your community is not the people who live in your immediate vicinity and who you actually share a living space with, but rather the people anywhere in the country you share your views with. This ready-made community of people who believe the exact things you do is very much an ersatz version of an actual community, as it requires no cooperation, no compromise, no consideration of criticism or differing viewpoints.

    There is no compromise on the internet, and frankly, no need for it. Anonymity and lack of physical contact allows us to both be highly caricatured versions of ourselves, as well as subconsciously pretend that our interactions are not with other humans with feelings, but with similar caricatures of other humans. It's so easy to be a jerk on the internet. Just look at this forum, and we're even one of these imagined communities. We all love the Jazz, so we're obviously all here because we agree on that, and yet it doesn't stop us from insulting one another based on whether we agree that Al should be traded or not. It's actually fortunate that this has not seeped into real life as much. It's still a little harder to be that much of a jerk in real life, because when we have face time with people, it's not as easy to hurl insults based on trivial things.

    Internet magnifies issues and magnifies differences to a shocking degree. Worse yet, internet creates its own narratives. Do you remember when the refs robbed the Kings in the 2002 Conference Finals? I do, but only because of what I've read on the internet the last 5-6 years. I watched that game, and at the time thought little of it. I mean, it's the Lakers, of course they get calls, but I didn't thinking it was the crime of the century. Thanks to people on the internet, I just about became convinced that it was. What about MJ pushing off on Bryon Russell? I watched that game, too. Crushed my 14-year old heart. But I don't remember MJ pushing off. I didn't realize he did until years later, when legions of Kobe fans on the net told me he did. That's why the Bulls won. Silly me. I thought it was because Rodman stripped Karl when we were up 1 and because the Bulls somehow managed to come up with a big play in just about every one of those 12 Finals games.

    Fringe voices are louder on the internet and able to create narratives much better than in real life. 9/11 conspiracy theories? Birthers? Sure, mainstream media gave them some publicity, but it's really the internet that drove this stuff. Worse yet, the internet works in such a way to discourage criticism and questioning. Why would you, when it's so easy to find a community of people who agree with your completely? If so many people agree with you, how could you not agree with yourself?

    Internet allows your views and interests to narrow. I grew up a Jazz fan far from Utah. I also grew up a son of middle-class, professional parents in a middle class neighbourhood in Canada's richest city. I knew very few people who even liked the NBA, let alone the Jazz. I was happy if I had someone to talk or watch NBA with, and the idea of knowing other Jazz fans seemed like science fiction. Now, with a touch of a button, I have a whole community of Jazz fans to talk to. It sometimes shocks me how much more of a Jazz fan the internet allowed me to become. And I thought myself a huge fan 15 years ago, too. Funnier yet, the border between real and imagined community gets blurrier every day. I know more about Utah as a result of this board(and the two old ones), then I have any business knowing. I think I could drive into Provo tomorrow and know exactly where to find slutty girls looking for a party.

    Same thing goes for music. I was a lanky, artsy kid with glasses. I got a guitar at 14 and really got into Nirvana. How many other kids at my school were as into them? One. We formed a band together. The drummer and the bass player? One of them liked English punk a lot, and the other one was a big GN'R fan. Yeah, those bands aren't that similar. Hell, Kurt and Axl hated each other. It's all we had, though. Grunge and hair metal are still closer than grunge and whatever else the cool kids listened to at the time. Freaking Ma$e or something like that. I was just happy to have someone I could talk about and play music with. Again, nowadays, I could just use the internet to find 4 guys who like the exact bands I do(I live in a city of a million people, after all) and I'd never have to deal with a drummer who wears eyeliner again.

    All this is great, but this ability to pick and choose exactly what we are exposed to makes us more intransigent, more obdurate, more rigid in our views. Internet allows us to isolate ourselves from everything we don't want to hear or consider. You look at politicians, especially younger ones, and you can see this at work. How many of them act like they represent only a certain group of people with identical views? How many acknowledge that in most elections, the other guy gets 35-45% of the vote? That you have to represent those people, too? That getting 50%+one of the vote that wins you your seat does not give you a mandate to ignore the rest of the voters? Not to make this partisan, but how the **** did we end up living in a world where congressmen sign pledges NOT to compromise once they get to Washington? Insularization of imagined communities, that's how. People feeling like they represent only those who voted for them, or worse yet, those who helped them get elected in other ways. Remember about 10 years ago when a constituent wrote to his congressman about an issue, only to get an angry letter back saying "Well, you didn't vote for me, so don't come to me to fix your problems"? How depressing is that?

    I know this is hard to fight. I find myself realizing how much negative I am about the Jazz as a result of this message board. When you read dozens of posts daily ragging on Al, it's easy to internalize it. I'm actually much more optimistic about the Jazz in real life. I don't get as mad, I don't call for everyone's head all the time, and I don't turn off games. Until I log into the board chat come game time. Then I do all those things. Why? Because of enablers. We all enable each other. I didn't think Karl Malone was terribly unclutch 16-17 years ago. I didn't think, watching those 1996 Conference Finals that he sucked. Maybe I would have, if internet was what it is today. It's so much easier to be negative when you have someone else to be negative with.
     
  2. Hartsock

    Hartsock Banned

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    I started reading this, but then my head exploded.
     
  3. UGLI baby

    UGLI baby Well-Known Member

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    I thought it said Muslims at first.

    Also,

    TLDR lol
     
  4. franklin

    franklin Well-Known Member

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    I've made a point lately of being a caricature of my e-self, and, as Thee Jazzjanz Genius, you are wrong.
     
  5. HeavenHarris

    HeavenHarris Banned

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    cool article bro but i disagree
     
  6. HeavenHarris

    HeavenHarris Banned

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    btw hows canada bro
     
  7. Bronco70

    Bronco70 world's worst Staff Member

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    People congregate with like-minded people all the time. This has been going on for much longer than the internet has been around. Likewise the ability, or leanings, to immerse yourself in what you find interesting. When I was in high school, there were the guys who would skip class, go get high and listen to RUSH all day. Same deal. The internet just provides endless avenues for whatever one fancies.

    Personally, without the internet, I believe my social politics would be much different. Chatting with a bunch of random strangers has exposed me to some perspectives I may never have encountered otherwise.
     
  8. infection

    infection Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty badass.

    [​IMG]

    [edit: this was post #1,000!]
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
    UGLI baby likes this.
  9. JimLes

    JimLes Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps it's that I grew up in Canada, but isn't this what everyone did in High School?
     
  10. HeavenHarris

    HeavenHarris Banned

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. UGLI baby

    UGLI baby Well-Known Member

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    Oh, this is what JimLes's post was about?

    I didn't read it but I thought it was something to do with immigration or something.

    cool.
     
  12. babe

    babe Well-Known Member

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    I actually realized it was my civic duty to read this OP. Not that I have, yet, but I got halfway in one sitting, and then I found this gem, which I think deserves some further discussion:


    I'm old enough to remember Walter Cronkite being the high priest on nightly TV when everyone actually watched the news more religiously than any church members or religious zealots ever looked to their leaders for direction in regard to their fundamental information about life, the universe, and some very important people in the community.

    Before the protests about the Viet Nam war, while America was still the image of virtue in the world, apple pie, little league, and pepsi. Well, that was the only dividing line there was in the community. If you preferred Coke it was a statement of social rebellion. . . . a virtual veneer of other worldliness. . . . but I digress.

    what I'm saying is that the emergence of talk radio bearing conservative, divergent views from the mainstream is not really a wild, alarming thing. . . . it's long overdue, and the first crack in the establishment armor that has railroaded America down the socialist road by keeping citizens just plain stupid and misinformed.

    That is all there is to it.

    Amen.
     
  13. JimLes

    JimLes Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes. Rush Limbaugh, of all people, will save America. With his righteous brand of half-assed, Wikipedia-fueled views on economics and politics, combined with a hefty dose of conspiracy theories and hyperbole, sprinkled with a dash of just plain lunacy.

    Divergent views are great. They really are. But you gotta agree on some things in order to run a frat rush committee, let alone a country.
     
  14. franklin

    franklin Well-Known Member

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    I would like to respond to this with some musings of mine:


    Yes, I know this is terribly long-winded. I also know it may straddle several forums as it touches on the Jazz, on basketball in general, on politics, on music, and probably a few other things.

    What’s my basic point here? It's that for all its amazing effects, internet has also made us worse people by allowing us to create imaginary communities at the expense of real, physical ones. This has lead to a real sense of alienation of people from other people, and what I believe is a development of a virtual world where we can play whatever character we want. Our virtual lives become intertwined with our real lives, and there is a real contamination going from virtual to real.

    Internet allows us to find like-minded people at the touch of a button, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can be bad because it creates a situation that allows us to completely shield ourselves from different people, different opinions, and different views. It allows us to create a virtual community that mirrors real, totalitarian communities in some senses. Much has been said in the media the last few years about how polarized society has become, and I believe that most of it is due to our new-found ability to isolate ourselves from everything we don't agree with. It is quite possible for any one of us to only physically be present in our place of domicile, but essentially live out our intellectual life in an imagined community.

    You can live in the most right wing county in the country and discuss politics every day with people as left wing as you'd like. All you have to do is go on the internet. This creates a sense that your community is not the people who live in your immediate vicinity and who you actually share a living space with, but rather the people anywhere in the country you share your views with. This ready-made community of people who believe the exact things you do is very much an ersatz version of an actual community, as it requires no cooperation, no compromise, no consideration of criticism or differing viewpoints.

    There is no compromise on the internet, and frankly, no need for it. Anonymity and lack of physical contact allows us to both be highly caricatured versions of ourselves, as well as subconsciously pretend that our interactions are not with other humans with feelings, but with similar caricatures of other humans. It's so easy to be a jerk on the internet. Just look at this forum, and we're even one of these imagined communities. We all love the Jazz, so we're obviously all here because we agree on that, and yet it doesn't stop us from insulting one another based on whether we agree that Al should be traded or not. It's actually fortunate that this has not seeped into real life as much. It's still a little harder to be that much of a jerk in real life, because when we have face time with people, it's not as easy to hurl insults based on trivial things.

    Internet magnifies issues and magnifies differences to a shocking degree. Worse yet, internet creates its own narratives. Do you remember when the refs robbed the Kings in the 2002 Conference Finals? I do, but only because of what I've read on the internet the last 5-6 years. I watched that game, and at the time thought little of it. I mean, it's the Lakers, of course they get calls, but I didn't thinking it was the crime of the century. Thanks to people on the internet, I just about became convinced that it was. What about MJ pushing off on Bryon Russell? I watched that game, too. Crushed my 14-year old heart. But I don't remember MJ pushing off. I didn't realize he did until years later, when legions of Kobe fans on the net told me he did. That's why the Bulls won. Silly me. I thought it was because Rodman stripped Karl when we were up 1 and because the Bulls somehow managed to come up with a big play in just about every one of those 12 Finals games.

    Fringe voices are louder on the internet and able to create narratives much better than in real life. 9/11 conspiracy theories? Birthers? Sure, mainstream media gave them some publicity, but it's really the internet that drove this stuff. Worse yet, the internet works in such a way to discourage criticism and questioning. Why would you, when it's so easy to find a community of people who agree with your completely? If so many people agree with you, how could you not agree with yourself?

    Internet allows your views and interests to narrow. I grew up a Jazz fan far from Utah. I also grew up a son of middle-class, professional parents in a middle class neighbourhood in Canada's richest city. I knew very few people who even liked the NBA, let alone the Jazz. I was happy if I had someone to talk or watch NBA with, and the idea of knowing other Jazz fans seemed like science fiction. Now, with a touch of a button, I have a whole community of Jazz fans to talk to. It sometimes shocks me how much more of a Jazz fan the internet allowed me to become. And I thought myself a huge fan 15 years ago, too. Funnier yet, the border between real and imagined community gets blurrier every day. I know more about Utah as a result of this board(and the two old ones), then I have any business knowing. I think I could drive into Provo tomorrow and know exactly where to find slutty girls looking for a party.

    Same thing goes for music. I was a lanky, artsy kid with glasses. I got a guitar at 14 and really got into Nirvana. How many other kids at my school were as into them? One. We formed a band together. The drummer and the bass player? One of them liked English punk a lot, and the other one was a big GN'R fan. Yeah, those bands aren't that similar. Hell, Kurt and Axl hated each other. It's all we had, though. Grunge and hair metal are still closer than grunge and whatever else the cool kids listened to at the time. Freaking Ma$e or something like that. I was just happy to have someone I could talk about and play music with. Again, nowadays, I could just use the internet to find 4 guys who like the exact bands I do(I live in a city of a million people, after all) and I'd never have to deal with a drummer who wears eyeliner again.

    All this is great, but this ability to pick and choose exactly what we are exposed to makes us more intransigent, more obdurate, more rigid in our views. Internet allows us to isolate ourselves from everything we don't want to hear or consider. You look at politicians, especially younger ones, and you can see this at work. How many of them act like they represent only a certain group of people with identical views? How many acknowledge that in most elections, the other guy gets 35-45% of the vote? That you have to represent those people, too? That getting 50%+one of the vote that wins you your seat does not give you a mandate to ignore the rest of the voters? Not to make this partisan, but how the **** did we end up living in a world where congressmen sign pledges NOT to compromise once they get to Washington? Insularization of imagined communities, that's how. People feeling like they represent only those who voted for them, or worse yet, those who helped them get elected in other ways. Remember about 10 years ago when a constituent wrote to his congressman about an issue, only to get an angry letter back saying "Well, you didn't vote for me, so don't come to me to fix your problems"? How depressing is that?

    I know this is hard to fight. I find myself realizing how much negative I am about the Jazz as a result of this message board. When you read dozens of posts daily ragging on Al, it's easy to internalize it. I'm actually much more optimistic about the Jazz in real life. I don't get as mad, I don't call for everyone's head all the time, and I don't turn off games. Until I log into the board chat come game time. Then I do all those things. Why? Because of enablers. We all enable each other. I didn't think Karl Malone was terribly unclutch 16-17 years ago. I didn't think, watching those 1996 Conference Finals that he sucked. Maybe I would have, if internet was what it is today. It's so much easier to be negative when you have someone else to be negative with.
     
  15. babe

    babe Well-Known Member

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    I like Rush. I don't think he will save America. Let's put it this way, he has made it an act to out-intellectualize the pseudo-intellects that do the spin for the left, the socialists, the progressives, the "mainstream" media ad nauseum that persistently spins a narrative that a lot of Americans just don't like. Being the only one with the guts to do that way back when. . . . was it the eighties. . . . during Reagan years for land's sake. . . . just really tells the story of how wacked out the "mainstream media" and the whole statist agenda pack of pushers has been for decades before that.

    My wife told me about when she met Rush almost twenty years ago, she was just so grateful somebody was standing up to talk like that, he planted a big kiss on his pug face. She still says he's smarter than I am. . . . so I'm not your regular joe Rush fan. I see clearly that he has since jointed the Council on Foreign Relations which just makes him meaningless so far as reality goes. Well, I'll have to fact check that, won't I. Anywhoooo. . . .. he is a partisan for the Republicans which he was not in the beginning, and his early-on aide from Sacramento days Wyatt Cox says he's a sell-out and that's why he left off working with him. . . .

    I've liked a few actual marxists I've known in my day, who would jump all over the statist commies of China, Russia, and Cuba as sell-outs, too. I took their gist as being somewhat oriented towards actually caring about the "people" unlike all of the twentieth-century mass murdering thugs the statist brand of "commie" has put out, and unlike our elitists like the Rockefellers and Bushes who don't care one bit about ideology as long as it serves the ends of efficient----think fascist----world governance.

    I might like you, to, JL, if you can push your discussion a little deeper than name-calling jingoism.

    The sad thing about most of us is that we just won't do that. I don't really have an answer for what is happening to America. All I know is we had something once, and we're flushing it down the drain like a sloppy brain-sucked fetus in one of our slick modern hospitals.

    We used to care about what is right and wrong. We use to talk to our neighbors, and had a pretty decent sense of community, and we weren't about to let America go down that drain.

    you surmise that maybe it's the internet. I surmise you'd be on board, perhaps, with letting the government "quiet the traffic" on the "net" just like Agenda 21 community planners have been "quieting traffic" in our streets with fewer lanes, less parking, and more mass transit, and a lot of silly speed bumps and deliberately engineered clog points on the roads. . . . along with millions of electronic eyes which are putting us all on film everywhere we go, particularly at the fewer roads "out" of our urban conglomerate "community"/"prison planet human concentration mazes".

    I have cattle. I know the methods it takes to herd animals. I don't think humans should be managed the same way.

    I'm on the outside of "normal" today.

    It's not the internet doing this, it's our government. Some people aren't going to like it. Some people see it as necessity to "manage" the earth and all that's in it, some people like freedom. Yes, we are polarized. The internet is our last chance to hash out our collective future on civil terms.

    BTW, the internet is going to be "managed" soon, and sales over the net will be the last great glory hole of new government revenue. . . . . and some folks will mock others for complaining about "change" like this.
     
  16. Duck Rodgers

    Duck Rodgers Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't today's shooting news ties into this topic a bit? This story is big, maybe you should hear about, but in Salt Lake City it doesn't really matter. So do you spend hours and hours reading/immersing yourself in a negative event and take on similar characteristics and bring that negativity into your daily mental life? It's decent day outside....a little overcast....but not bad weather. Christmas season. Friday. Most people you met will probably seem normally cheerful as they head into the weekend. But now we've got 10's of thousands among us that are probably feeling a bit worse after immersing themselves in that bad news. Again, just an event brought on by the Internet, nothing actually going inside their own local world. That's alienation from self, isn't it? Bottom line, discernment and the ability to not care about many things are very important skills now. I think something like this shooting should be acknowledged, but at the same time if it's not a situation that you can help much, I think you are better off taking yourself away from it.
     
  17. Stoked

    Stoked Modstapo Staff Member

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    I am not so sure that I agree Duck. I do not think people here should be wailing in the streets by any means but knowing about it and having empathy and expressing our prayers and condolences is a good thing.

    If we start taking ourselves away from anything that does not affect our personal lives then we further degrade the fabric of our society. America is America because across all 50 states there is a general desire to pull together and get things done. To handle a crises such as money, people, expertise, resources...for disasters. Once we start to pull away and stop pulling together is when America is really in trouble.

    I see your point but I just think that is a very slippery slope to be on.
     
  18. Duck Rodgers

    Duck Rodgers Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say ignore it. I said acknowledge it, evaluate if there is anything you can contribute to helping the situation, and then move on.

    So what did you gain by reading hours upon hours about the destruction of Hurricane Sandy? Don't get me wrong, I was on Jazzfanz posting about the night it hit New York City with my TV blaring in the background out of curiosity. Guilty as charged. But there's no ultimate benefit from it, and It certainly dragged on me a bit as I thought of a few heads I know back there, wondering what they were doing. I did what I could, I gave a little money, but let's say I spent 6 hours total immersed in that negative news event? What did I get? A few factoids to ramble off in a few years while looking back at it? Humans can only take so much before it starts seeping into their lives.
     
    PearlWatson likes this.
  19. JimLes

    JimLes Well-Known Member

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    But we're not doing it, and that's my point. We're just drifting further apart. And not because of internet itself. Don't get me wrong. This isn't the fault of the internet, this is our fault. I mean, I guess it's human nature. We'd all rather be agreed than disagreed with. I think mass media have made us more stubborn and more intransigent. You just need to look at the presidential election and the accusations against both candidates. Intransigence is now a civic virtue. How dare someone change their mind.

    That said, one of the great things about this message board is that we were all brought together here by a mundane love for a basketball team. Other than that, we really have little in common. Most of us do get along just fine, however, and that makes it a very different situation for airing opposing views. It's easy for me to dismiss what Rush Limbaugh thinks on gun control because I think he's a nutcase. It's impossible to do that when it comes from people on this board whom I know to be reasonable and whom I've come to respect.
     
    babe likes this.
  20. JimLes

    JimLes Well-Known Member

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    Not to trivialize disasters by comparing them to sports, but this goes with one of the things I was talking about. I love the Jazz and I love watching the Jazz, but when I have lots of free time as I do now, I also read everything I can about the Jazz. This forum, Deseret News, SLT, ESPN, whatever I can. And what goes does it do, especially after losses? When the Jazz blow a close game against the Clippers, what does reading 50 different opinions on it actually do, except make me angrier, more frustrated, and more negative? There's no way for it to affect anything positively. I can't control how the team play, I can't tell Ty what to do, and I can't make anything better. All it does is turn me, an almost 20-year Jazz fan, into a guy who after a loss hates every player on his favourite team. What the hell is that?
     

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