Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » November 2004 » "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...."

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11/18/2004: "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...."

Memphis News Diva Peggy Philip points us to an interesting article about the seeming power of "astro-turfing" in matters of media "indecency":

BuzzMachine, by blogger Jeff Jarvis, is reporting the basis for the recent 1.2M dollar indecency hit suffered by Fox Network for its airing of "Married by America" back in April 2003 (10/13/04 TVBR Daily Epaper #200). Using the Freedom of Information Act, Jarvis asked "...to see all of the 159 complaints the FCC cited in its complaint against Fox."

Jarvis found out first that there were in fact only 90 complaints, and that thanks to photocopying and email copying technology, the number of US citizens who actually took the time to express themselves originally on the topic was far less than that.

"So in the end, that means that a grand total of three citizens bothered to take the time to sit down and actually write a letter of complaint to the FCC," wrote Jarvis. "Millions of people watched the show. Three wrote letters of complaint."

TVBR has argued that there needs to be a new metric, or at least the application of a pillar of salt, when measuring the true impact of complaints and comments in the Internet age in light of the common tactic of getting website constituents to mass email a designated target. Given that, we should point out that 90 is a remarkably low total in this day and age.
As for myself, in the rare cases that I'm actually moved by a website appeal to write my congresscritter and senators, I actually take the time to replace the suggested letter/email with something of my own composition, in the probably overly-optimistic delusion that such a letter will be taken seriously. Nope, make that definitely overly-optimistic. Alas, the fact of the matter is that I'm far enough to the left of center that Ford, Frist and Alexander can't possibly be intimidated by any threat of mine, express or implied, never to vote for them as long as I live. Hell, they can ignore with impunity all the voters in Tennessee who share my views, considering that all three of us probably live hundreds of miles apart and are never likely to even meet for beers sometime....

Len on 11.18.04 @ 08:14 AM CST

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