Sunday, February 7, 2010

Social mediapolitainment

Our politics, entertainment, and media have become inextricably entwined. It may have happened about the time that we realized they could all be prefaced by "social." So here we stand, at the intersection of social mediapolitiainment.

It came to a head with the advance whisperings of the Tebow/Focus on the Family ad. The left was enraged, as I understand it, that a "pro-life" spot would be aired in a prime spot with extensive viewership. Regardless of your personal feelings on the subject, the prohibition of such "advertisements" sets a dangerous precedent and puts at risk our Constitutional freedoms and our economic foundation.

Encroaching on the first amendment rights of an organization is the first step to more prohibition on individual's freedoms of speech and expression. The American story is one of increased individual freedom. As citizens, many of us take to heart Voltaire's alleged statement that "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

In addition to Constitutional rights, the very principle of our economy is capitalism. As a system it is not without flaws; however, it is a system which creates and enhances personal freedoms. Telling a business, any business--including a media network--no, especially a media network how to go about their business is counterproductive. Authoritarianism is diametrically opposed to republicanism (yes, lowercase "r") and undermines the principles on which it is founded. Which segues directly to the second social mediapolitiainment point: the "green" Audi ad. The end does not always justify the means.

We could debate, and probably will, the truth of global warming and environmentalism (in it's many incarnations) the ad hit too close to home. The most frightening aspect was not, in fact, the authoritarian regulation of "being green." The most frightening aspect was that it did not seem all that implausible or far-fetched. Having not been in the room during the conception of this ad, I do not know whether it was in fact meant as a satire, tongue-in-cheek, SNL incarnation or whether it was meant to draw attention to how many personal liberties we are willing to sacrifice in the name of what is "good for us" or "right." Perhaps that is really only a footnote to the discussion anyway. But it certainly draws attention to all the right topics.

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