11 July 2012

O'Reilly space


Trying to watch Bill O'Reilly's The Factor on FNC is, to put it bluntly, trying.

Where to begin?

Perhaps with the sleaze part of The Factor, you know the Sleaze Factor segment.  It is the part of the show on once or twice a week to decry something objectionable seen or read about amongst the populace.  Normally it is on YouTube or one of the other video sites, but it can also be on local broadcast TV stations, or some 'personal' and 'cute' thing that someone has uploaded unknowing that their value system is very much askew from that of the general population.  Or Bill O'Reilly.

Now before the Sleaze Factor segment airs you get 'teasers' from the clip or clips involved which usually are meant to give an idea of the nature of what they are.  Pretty much SOP, that.  Save there is just one problem with the Sleaze Factor Segment: all of the objectionable material airs in the teasers.

Isn't it lovely that Mr. O'Reilly warns you to get the kids out of the room before the Sleaze Factor segment airs?  Wouldn't it be better to put that warning on before the program and its teasers?

I know, spooky idea that is both logical and consistent.

His staff could also not put the objectionable material into the teasers.

Wow and zer.

The best part is that for people who didn't know that this videos existed, they can now go searching for them not only at the main sites, but look for caches of them elsewhere.  Without any of the blurring or other editing involved.  Loofah is optional.

Then there is Bill O'Reilly doing his best Sarah Connor imitation warning about The Rise of the Machines.  Machines, you see, are EVIL.  Really!  Bill O'Reilly will tell you so and that they lead to the demise of all morals in our culture.  I blame the Waltz, personally, YMMV.  In his latest screed, seen last night, he put together the problems of using Machines to communicate with each other... I'm assuming he is exempting the fax machine, telegraph, record players, wire players, telephone, tape players, radio, television, films which are all brought to you with machines... because they lead to:

1) Social Isolation – That was the knock against TV which The Factor utilizes, so I guess he is now past that part of the blue-nose nay-sayers about how TV will rot your brain, make your eyes bug out, but give you that healthy, pallid complexion. I grew up with that stuff from our social and media elites, trying to pressure Congress to do something about it.  Really, since it wasn't being used for education, it was not living up to its expectations.  Sucks when people get ahold of technology, isn't it?

2) Loss of morals amongst the population and youth – I blame the Waltz.  Bill O'Reilly blames The Machines.  I'm pretty sure ancient Roman Senators blamed taxing decadence... no, wait, they endorsed that!  Mind you the Pool Halls were a den for gangs, thieves, and women of loose morals, back in the day less than 100 years ago.  Aren't blue-nosers just plain quaint?

3) People get caught up in a virtual world – Which means they get to lose all their inhibitions, all their morals, and act like children.  I think that was a Woodrow Wilson idea, BTW, as he had this idea that if there was no one around you (in a desert, say) then you would immediately become a barbarian and lose all civilized ways.  Geez, wasn't that a great thinker, huh?  Be that as it may, these artificial social spaces are the spawn of no good, but are supplied by hardware and software designers.  Online social spaces are, in other words, the Pool Hall on steroids.  No good will ever come of them.

4) All modern social ills – Disrespectful language, coarse politics, upsetting the digestion of the blue-nosed elites, all this is created by The Rise of the Machines.  And here I thought, from reading all the documentation, that this was a problem of human nature since it was seen at the Founding of the Nation, after the Framing, during the first election cycles featuring someone other than George Washington... and seen as far back in history as graffiti at Pompeii and the writings on the walls of the city of builders for the Pharaohs in Egypt.  I bet you the Lascaux Cave Paintings also feature such things, if only we could figure them out since they probably aren't some ceremonial set of paintings about getting a good hunt going, but pointing out that Grunt, over there, is a slacker and a poor caster of darts, and his wife is sleeping around with Lacks Sideburns, who at least sets decent snares.  Dollars to donuts, this is the State of the Human Condition which is not the cause of technology but of Humans.

So, after trudging through the rest of the show we get to the Shameless Self-Promotion Factor segment, in which Bill O'Reilly does just that.  Mind you, you are watching this on one of those dreaded Machines and not having it done in manuscript form.  And during this segment he tells you of all the wonderful things you can get by becoming a Premium Member on his website (run by Machines, and not eco-friendly squirrels) and all the loot you can score so that the profit goes to charity.

But wait, there's more!

In addition to that great stuff you can take part in a townhall hosted on-line by Bill O'Reilly about the state of the Presidential race.

*blink* *blink*

Now that will be hosted on Machines.

Which are EVIL.

They will rot your mind.

And will create a virtual meeting place, which is the source of all modern ills.

Such meeting places will decay your morals.

They will socially isolate you.

*blink* *blink*

*taps screen*


You can have it one way – that these Machines are EVIL and the source of all ills in society and are to be shunned!  (Just like he said that your cellphone or pager was a hand-grenade during his brand new and extra-asinine Tip of the Day micro-segment full of tooth rotting ideas about using lemon juice in water before a meal and eating gluten free pretzels by a named company (did he get product placement cash for that?) which might be good for the gluten-intolerant but might not be so good for those who can tolerate it.  Put the phone away for the Love of Pete!  You'll kill yourself with it!!)  Or you can say that these are just tools with no inherent moral bias to them one way or another, and that they serve many purposes and that it is up to YOU to put them to good use as you see fit to do so.

What cannot be done is to decry modern computer based telecoms with modern software that creates virtual spaces as the source of all moral turpitude, and then turn around and create a virtual space and meeting place and claim it is good.  The incitement against technology (da MACHINES!!!) by Bill O'Reilly has been categorical for years: No Good Shall Come Of It... but please go to my website and sign up to show you understand this...

Yeah, hand calculators of the digital and glowing red LED form became a bane of teachers and schools when I was growing up to the point they banned them from the chemistry and physics exams.  My handy-dandy log-log-duplex-decitrig slide rule, on the other hand, was fine.  I got many evil looks from those who did not have nor were versed in the old technology that was not deemed a 'calculator'.  But the technology, itself, is neutral and if any of my fellow classmates had bothered to learn for a few weeks even the basics of using the simplest of slide rules, then they would have been prepared for the exams, as well.  The simplistic notion that the technology is to blame for the ills of society instead of not keeping to a set of moral standards which are taught no matter what the medium, is one that is misplaced, and Luddite at its core.  Also Progressive, as Woodrow Wilson saw it, since he preferred an Elite Class to tell what was good and what was not to the uneducated simpletons called the General Public.

Sort of like Bill O'Reilly and his 'there ought to be a law/regulation' for everything, even when all previous laws and/or regulations have failed to solve the problems they set out to solve.  That might tend to indicate that the value of such laws and/or regulations is not only limited, but that they are misplaced entirely and something other than laws and/or regulations might be required as the coercion of authority isn't stopping the problem.  Make no mistake about it, Bill O'Reilly sees himself as a Culture Warrior, but one has to ask oneself:  just what form of culture is it that he is pushing that is more regulated, castigates people for using modern technology, and attributes all social ills to that technology and that people are using it in an unregulated fashion?

While decrying all the problems of society, the solutions he proposes are already being done in the way he suggests (although their form may be not what he likes) and he can learn no lesson from this, save to push the same, tired attitude that isn't working.  If bad bankers and predatory lenders are a problem, putting regulations in place begins a process of shielding those same bankers and lenders from legal proceedings by their customers and puts in place a kinder, gentler, more authoritarian and lenient government in the place of people who feel wronged.  This isn't working.  You can have all the censorship software in the world, the best stuff available, and ideas you want to quash still not only arrive to those who are suffering under such tyranny, but they arrive because they are being stifled since they offer a way out from tyranny... just ask China about that.  Or Saudi Arabia.

At this point in time there is very little of The Factor that I enjoy, save those times Bill gets a sex and hair color change, and changes his name to Laura Ingraham.  Too bad the format of the program is starting to suck like an Electrolux.

And Bill still has only a 1 in 15 chance of getting a tie that matches his suit on any given night.  For all the people at FNC, can't anyone actually tell which colors go together as an outfit?  Or ask Bill if he can do the Einstein Solution for Outfits which is seven of the same outfits, worn once per week?  Yes, they do go to charity or some such, but the show should not be painful to watch even with the sound off.  Please?

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