The ugly side of sport

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When we hear about football celebrities doing stupid things, my roommates and I make the same joke: “You know what? I bet Jerry Jones would hire him.”

Lately, Jones has sort of become known for picking up renegade stars, such as Terrell Owens, for reasons only he can understand. Most of us believe Jones just wants as much media attention for his beloved football franchise as possible. While this view might be cynical, I’m not so certain it’s that far from the truth.

Michael Rosenberg recently posted an article on SI.com about sports celebrities and the media’s coverage of their “ugly sides.” Nothing in history can compare to the media time spent covering Tiger Woods’ multiple affairs, but Rosenberg asks a few extremely simple, yet relevant questions:

How much of this did we need to know? And if you’re going to be a sports fan in any conventional sense — because you want the escape and enjoy the games — does it help, in any way, to check the Internet for the latest embarrassing cell phone camera shots of a famous athlete?

Or would you rather just watch the games?

Why is that national news outlets, such as CNN, NPR, and others that traditionally only give the most major sports limited coverage at best feel, the need to report on the moral scandals within sports? And, more importantly, why do these outlets feel it’s necessary to report on something like the arrest of one of Woods’ mistresses?

I’m asked all the time about whether I think “news” is changing with the advent of new technologies. Although I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the views held by people who actually care about newsworthiness, I’m obligated to think that what was once considered “news” a few years ago is now resigned to the boring/negative category in the minds of most media users.

People don’t have to get their information from traditional news outlets anymore. I’m tempted to think that news about foreign affairs and other “important” (an extremely relative term) topics isn’t even considered news by a number of people in our world. If you don’t believe me, please explain why Adam Lambert is featured on CNN’s homepage talking about politics and why what he thinks matters.

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Technology overload!

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Being in the book industry, I’m around talk of Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad on a daily basis. And, I must say, the more I hear about these technologies, the crazier I’m becoming about them and the more I must have one. Or two. Or more.

I’ve already discovered that my wireless Apple keyboard should sync up with the iPad, thus eliminating one of it’s downers (lack of content “create-ability”), and I’ve become quite happy with the Kindle and its functions allowing users to mark and make notes on text, thus giving the device a more “book-like” feel.

To satiate my longing for a new piece of technology, I’ve viewed a number of video reviews, tutorials, and tours of the devices, all of which say and film basically the same things. As I started watching the latest review sent to me from my Nashville musician friend Bradley, I actually scoffed at The Wall Street Journal reviewer who claimed to have spent the past week doing nothing but playing with the iPad.

Can anyone tell me which piece of technology in the past 20 years has received the kind of mass interest the e-reader devices have in the last two? Who spends the majority of their time awake (and some of the time they should be sleeping) experimenting with a new toy? And, what kind of toy allows you to experiment all day and night and still surprises you with a handful of undiscovered features the next morning? What we have here is a generation of entirely novel technology paving the way for how we view and act toward personal communication.

All this aside, I have never witnessed the extreme number of individuals so invested in the future of a single genre of devices. And, the number is so high that the more I watch videos and read reviews, the more I feel that yearning, insatiable need to have one of these devices strangely satiated. People may talk a good game about virtual reality being the way of the future, but with so many independent bloggers and forums showing me every in and out of the newest technology, I actually feel as though I’m experiencing the features (dare I say used the device) for myself.

I love getting new backpacks and winter coats. There are new zippers, pockets, and secret compartments to be explored, and I never fail to discover a new key-holder or hood-stasher a month post-purchase. These findings keep me entertained with my purchases, but soon the excitement wanes. I wonder if the same can happen when I watch these iPad and Kindle videos.

Will the excitement of having a new technology be overcome by my viewing of commercials and detailed tutorials?

It sure seems worth an experiment.

Collecting dust

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It’s a beautiful Spring day. I opened the window allowing large swaths of sunlight into my small apartment kitchen-living-dining room. You know how letting natural light in the room reveals the dust bits present in the air? Well, it also reveals where that dust lands, and at this moment, it’s collecting on my television screen.

I also make a conscious decision to weekly dust off my computer screen.

Now, I know there’s not a real correlation here, but doesn’t it seem interesting that our most-used media tools are also the dustiest? When I think of the things I use on a daily basis, my shoes, my bicycle, my toothbrush, even my books, I’m really glad they don’t collect dust.

But, I also use my computer and television quite a bit. If the “interactive” media we use collect dust while they’re just sitting there, what does this say about those of us who use media more than eight hours per day?

Are we just collecting dust too?

Live updates from the Haitian front line

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My graduate program director forwarded us the link to a New York Times blog (The Lede), which is posting frequent video, picture, Twitter list, etc. updates about the goings-on in Haiti including a number of sources for individuals to donate to support rescue and medical crews and those who are seeking information about family.

Again, you can click here to go to the site. I assume they’ll continue updating for some time to come.