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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Today's Chautauqua Topics:
Google vs. Free Speech, Creative Resistance, Beyond Google

I: Link of The Day:

Adbusters: Journal of the Mental Environment Spoof Advertisements
Adbusters challeges the nature of advertising and our relationship to commercial products. Thier spoof ads are both provocative and hilarious. Check 'em out.

II: Google vs. Free Speech:

Online search engine leader Google has banned the ads of an environmental group protesting a major cruise line’s sewage treatment methods, casting a spotlight on the policies — and power — of the popular Web site’s lucrative marketing program.Oceana, a 2½-year-old nonprofit group, said Google dropped the text-based ads displayed in shaded boxes along the right side of its Web page because they were critical of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines....The ad, which said “Help us protect the world’s oceans,” appeared for two days last week before Google pulled it from its page.

When Oceana challenged the ban, Mountain View, Calif.-based Google responded with an e-mail advising the group that it doesn’t accept ads with “language that advocates against Royal Caribbean.”

Read the MSNBC Article

What do you think? Does this article bother you?

Each and every day, the corporate media sources you read censor the information you receive--even on the internet. It's only natural for them to do so, after all, if you were G.E., one of the world's largest weapons manufacturers, would you want to air anti-war commercials? Naturally, this restricts the subject matter for our political, ethical, moral, and social dialogue, doesn't it?

The fact is, if I owned the airwaves, the programs I would air would reflect my own values and principles; my fantasies and dreams.

Every time we watch television or read a newspaper of any sort, we're ingesting the values, beliefs, hopes, and dreams of others and synthesizing a "new self"; transforming who we are--that unique mix of nature and nurture.

The corporate media, as many have noted, censors us and limits our access, but it also broadens our consciousness in directions it otherwise would not go. The broadening of our consciousness that a consolidated media brings about is a consciousness that is increasingly homogenous and centered around the accquisition of material possessions. Essentially, we're learning, through the media to think alike and to desire similar things.

Not I'm not saying you should feel guilty about watching the "Simpsons" or that "everything you hear on CNN is a lie", but that we should be skeptical about the biases superimposed upon our psyches. In order not to be reduced to our lowest common denominator, we need to look at the media with a critical eye and discuss its content. We need to pursue and foster diversity and broaden our worldview. One way to do that is to subvert the flow of information. Use technology to broaden your perspective.

III: Beyond Google: How to Transcend the Search Engine Monopoly

My colleague Aaron has put together an excellent web tutorial and valuable websearch resource. For those of us who are still roadkill on the information superhighway, it's pretty enlightening.

Aaron's Web Tutorial

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