Monday, October 19, 2009

Sick Societies, Stossel, Fox, Harkness, and Newsmax

•I very rarely plug a book I haven’t actually read, but there is one that I was planning to read as a counterpoint to the “Month of Utopia” entries I’ve been doing that I didn’t get around to: Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony by Robert B. Edgerton.

•My understanding, though, is that it makes a point similar to the one made in the final hour of TV I worked on in 2001 with correspondent John Stossel, which was a special called Tampering with Nature, which argued among other things that much-mythologized primitive, ancient lifestyles — and the cultures today that approximate them — are in fact pretty brutal and awful.

Today is the official start, I believe, of Stossel’s work at his new home, Fox News, so follow him there and thrill to his more-unfettered-than-ever utterances, which we sorely need (as I will explain in tomorrow’s entry, about the book Socialism Is Great! — and if you are a socialist yourself, please e-mail me per the Contact info in my right margin and volunteer to defend Che, Castro, and Chavez at our Nov. 4 Debate at Lolita Bar about them, if you would be so kind).

•Having worked on that Tampering show, with its endorsement of modern science and industry — including biotech — helped get me my next gig, at the American Council on Science and Health, where I’ve now been for an astonishing almost-eight-years, which went by like three and a half. In between the two gigs, I took a few months off, wrote an article about cloning, worried about 9/11, and among other things went to a joint Spiked/Reason conference on science and politics here in NYC where I met Timandra Harkness, who has gone on to be a bigtime, government-paid “science communicator” for the UK, I see, so attend all her thought-provoking events if you’re over there.

•And speaking of media — and White House-reviled Fox News and the like — I think you’ll find my first monthly column about political broadcasting on stands any day now in the November issue of Newsmax (and the second one in their December issue if I finish writing it tonight). By all means send me political broadcasting news tidbits and gossip, especially the verifiable kind — as opposed to stuff faked by the leftist pranksters the Yes Men, unless reality gets dull, which is always possible, much as I like science.

P.S. On a media note decidedly more local than talk radio and cable news, my apartment building seems especially prone to female opera singer and cabaret performer residents, if I’m hearing correctly, and as I type this, one is practicing Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” to piano accompaniment. Oops, voice cracked a bit — but Axl is challenging.


Gerard said...

That was an interesting segment from what I recall. I generally agree with Stossel’s point. The ignorant, nostalgic hippies and leftists who cling to the discredited myth of the “noble savage” annoy me to no end.

I don’t think we should go out of our way to civilize the Kayapo, and I deplore the efforts by so-called preservationists to ethnically cleanse tribes like the Congolese pygmies or Kalahari Bushmen in furtherance of their dubious goals. That being said, I roll my eyes whenever someone suggests that we need to adapt the civilization of a group that still effectively lives in the Bronze Age.

BTW, your colleague was very disappointed that he was bumped from a cable TV interview-I don’t remember if it was FNC or CNN-as the fake news story of ‘bubble boy’ unraveled. At least, that’s what I gathered from his tweets that day.

I’m not sure if he was being sarcastic, or if he really believed that the producer a cable news channel was not going to cut into regular programming in order to follow the unfolding drama of a completely dysfunctional family filled with crackpot UFO-chasers.

Todd Seavey said...

He’s blogged before about that sort of development, and I think his attitude is: Well, that’s the business, and I defer to the market in this as in all things, but I don’t have to pretend I enjoy it when I’m on the losing end.