Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Myspace says I have 1 friends

If you go to my bare-bones profie (here) you will see that I have "1 friends." (sic) Boy, the sentence isn't even gramatically correct (plural v. singular).

You get a point about the social networking sites. At least this one purports, by a computer script, to tell you how well connected you are socially. Even Dear Abby has problems with this. Kids, she says, can spend too much time ontine, especially kids with problems of social interaction or success in school. The Net can interfere with family communication and cohesion at the dinner table. (But so does television and any media; we have heard this for years.) Cyberspace is a good place to hide out. It is a good place for non-competitive people who don't make the football team.

Okay, I am being a little cynical. But you can see a deeper problem. If blogs and profiles are really a way to carry on conversations in a public space, their substance may not be respected the way a literary piece in hardcopy is. Self-created web content says a lot about the speaker, as well as about the subject matter spoken about. Employers know that, and they are getting very concerned about what they find on these profiles, especially "self-defamation", even with good political intentions.

The COPA trial going on in Philadephia right now is mostly about the objective legality of content, so says the government defending the law. But the notion of "implicit content" has come up, and this concept refers to the meaning that people give to things because of metaphor and circumstance, something that scientists say reflects the holographic processing of "mirror neurons" or circuits in our brains.

On self-defamation, mentioned a couple times in this blog, it's interesting that O. J. Simpson is coming out with a book, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened", which Fox News will showcase with an interview later this month. That refers to that whole case in the 1990s (remember Kato Kaehlin?) where O.J. was acquitted of the murder but held responsible in a civil trial. This sould sound like the same kind of self-incrimination, which may be all right since you can't be tried twice for the same offense, and because it is already litigated. The speaker is setting himself as the "actor" in a crime, however make-believe. Just pretend. Notice the supposition conjunction, "If." "Hypothetically speaking," a quote from Ashton Kutcher one time on Jay Leno. Still, lawyers say, if the protagonist is identifiable, it's defamation. All very interesting.

On Monday, Nov 20, 2006, major news media outlets announced that Fox and Rupert Murdoch had canceled the Simpson project because of public outrage over the public attention OJ would get from bragging about his purported (if unproven) crimes. On Saturday Night Live Nov. 18, an imitation of John Mark Karr said of the Simpson crime, "no, I did it," sure, because what he has to give is his pain. Sorry, the imitation was not "thmooth."

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