zeitgeist archives

July 2, 2004

Finding their religion

Steve Waldman, who has written a really interesting book about the formation of AmeriCorps, writes an interesting article in Slate today about the religion gap - more specifically about Kerry's religion quandry. When I saw the article this morning, I told Nicole that "Waldman wrote my article." I've been thinking a lot lately about the "religion gap" in the election, but the urban church is a huge fishbone stuck in throat of that idea. This article touches on it a bit.

The religion gap, as defined by USA Today is tied more to periodicity of service attendance - the more you attend, the more conservative you vote. In the Slate article, Waldman rightly points out that such a measure, though many want it to, does not relegate wacky zealots or level-headed faithful to one side of the aisle.

Oh, but how we do grasp and grasp for ways to force a brother to take sides. Don't get me wrong, taking sides is an important art, but why does it always seem that the lines drawn in the national sand are always running the wrong direction.

The President's campaign is also in the news today with regards religion. Not a very clever move on the campaign's part.

Posted by Owen at 10:58 AM | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

Fair or not 9/11

I was away for the last two weeks getting married out in Ojai, California. If you've never been there, I would recommend packing your bags and getting a jetBlue flight out there right away.

When I stepped back into the office the other day in NYC, the newsroom was all ablaze with anticipation of Michael Moore's new film. I haven't yet seen the flick, but I'm starting to really look forward to it.

Of all the ink spilled over the release, I enjoyed Slate's the most. Here and here.

A lot of folks are calling it the Passion of the left. That's really interesting. We'll have to do an entry in the near future about the two movies, the passions they represent, and whether or not a majority of Americans can be put into one camp or the other.

Posted by Owen at 5:02 PM | TrackBack

March 8, 2004

Dissentors be praised

One reason I enjoy reading blogs is that you can see a dissenting opinion, in all it's splendor, right up there with the original author's opinion. That's the beauty of the two way publishing thing.

What's even more interesting is the way that bloggers who follow current event are beginning to show up the relative ivory towers that are major news networks. Working in a big news room myself, I see the way that a major news story can get handed around from paper to paper and airwave to airwave and become a major phenomena. It can be a real mess.

Take two recent examples. Howard Dean screams in Iowa after an empassioned speech. What's the big deal? Nothing until CNN plays it 600 times in four days and then every major paper must keep up with the coverage. And how about the more recent Bush 9/11 campaign ads. There were three days of gangbuster, front-page coverage on the main news outlets about the rage of the victim's families. Turns out they were talking about 6 families while more than a dozen had come out in support of the ads.

This kind of stuff really shapes public opinion. Yet it's missing any sort of peer review or any other vetting process outside the ethos of a particular newsroom.

It's a lot different with blogs. Somebody writes a story or a bit of coverage and anyone can comment in real time. The author can see the feedback right away. It's a vulnerability and accountability which makes it more likely that folks will end up with a better shaped look at the world. Sort of keeps one's personal opinions in check.

Take a look at how bloggers are becoming that peer review for ivory tower journalists here, here*, and here. These are just three that come to recent memory.

PEW for People and the Press released some survey results last month saying that folks are trending away from the major networks to get their news. Could be interesting if we (non-professional journalists) become the news anchors of tomorrow.

Posted by Owen at 3:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 6, 2004

They ain't been shootin' straight

There is an article in the Times today about all of the confusion over the quiet decline in the teenage birthrate. It's a long piece, but interesting reading.

The analysis in the story is confusing and never really does anything useful, but the stories about the kids, and the questions that the author asks are the good stuff.

I think that kids are figuring out that sexual "freedom" is not all it's cracked up to be. It's such a product of the fast-fading modern mind that anyone would think about sex outside of a more substantive relationship. Yet that's exactly the public discussion - whether in the sex-ed classes, at the lockers, on the silver screen or in the ghettoblaster - that has been taking place ever since I was a wee-tyke. Most of the kids in the story sound like they have been worn out by life and the sexual misconduct of their friends and families. They're all saying "maybe we should take a look at why we are so burdened in our early teens."

There are some really amazing and powerful quotes from these kids who are just looking for real love and realizing they've been lied to.

"No one loves me, I'm going to have a child who will love me"

"They want to get away from the clinical aspect of sexuality," she said. "They all want to learn more about relationships, intimacy, talking to your partners, love."

"I think there's something very profound going on. I don't think anybody understands in depth this change in teen culture"

"Every other movie on that channel is, like, a teenage mother crying or a woman getting beat," he explained. "And my older sister, who is sexually active, we'd just be watching TV and she'd be, like, `You do know how that happens, don't you?'"

Yet it is still amazing to me that nobody is talking about families. It is almost a taboo - why can't folks just say that people need each other and that blood is thicker than water. Are they scared of something? What's up?

Posted by Owen at 3:24 PM | TrackBack

February 6, 2004

Hear no evil, see evil

Frank Rich wrote a piece for the New York Times the other day about what he sees as the state of marriage in America. I think I have seen a better side of marriage than he has in my life, but generally agree that what we see in front of us on our many one-way devices (tvs, movies, radios) is rather disturbing. What's more distubing is watching these things unfold with an audio track that says "sanctity of marriage." It always does wierd things to people when they are hearing words that they know have nothing to do with what they are seeing. We know we're being lied to, but working out who the liar is presents the real challenge. And beating them down is even harder.

Here's the conclusion to that article:

Yet neither the $1 million cash nor the $4 million ceremony that sealed their marital contract were mentioned when Trista and Ryan were interviewed by Ms. Sawyer on "Good Morning America." While the Deans were treated like freaks, the stars of "The Bachelorette" were treated as a perfectly normal all-American couple. And perhaps these days they are. Trista and Ryan's wedding broadcast was the top-rated show in virtually every major television market, the one exception being Washington, where it was beaten by a rerun of "Law and Order." If only more of our politicians had tuned in, maybe someone would have figured out that it could be harder to restore the sanctity of marriage than to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Posted by Owen at 2:57 PM | TrackBack

February 4, 2004

Whoa there big hoss

I came across and interesting site today while I was tracing down a story I saw on Wonkette. The story was about the reaction of a Washington Post journalist to a blogger/UC Berkley Professor/former Clinton advisor who had criticised a story that appeared in the post.

The site is called the Blogging of the President and it is looking at how America is reflected in the way it chooses its commander in chief. Interesting stuff. But I was there chasing down this story which looks at the Wash Post incident as an indicator of the tension between the old guard media outlets and the new. Check it out won't ya?

Posted by Owen at 7:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Whoa there big hoss

I came across and interesting site today while I was tracing down a story I saw on Wonkette. The story was about the reaction of a Washington Post journalist to a blogger/UC Berkley Professor/former Clinton advisor who had criticised a story that appeared in the post.

The site is called the Blogging of the President and it is looking at how America is reflected in the way it chooses its commander in chief. Interesting stuff. But I was there chasing down this story which looks at the Wash Post incident as an indicator of the tension between the old guard media outlets and the new. Check it out won't ya?

Posted by Owen at 7:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack