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U.S. Department of Peace
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
It's not gone, we still have Al Jazeera.


"We" do? Who's we? What channel do I tune to?

Quote:
I Thought opinion polls showed people were generally in favour of throwing away their constitutional rights?


Since when is democracy based on opinion polls other than the ballot box? Nobody asked me if it was OK to take away those rights. I don't know anybody that was ever asked anything in any poll. Ever. Are we who were not asked to be included in the shared guilt or be assumed to acquiesce to the loss of rights? I say again, it does not take a majority.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott Stites wrote:

No, for everybody who can put a politician in his pocket, whether individual or corporation. I can't recall anybody happily voting for even higher prescription drug prices, for instance, when the same products can be bought over the border for a fraction of the cost.


Still, I believe those companies charge exactly what they believe the market will pay.

Quote:
Nor would I believe that the blowjob argument was a vote for democracy, either. How do you know people wouldn't have watched other news if it wasn't an option?


Because the average TV set here will have about two dozen channels and you can always change channels if you don't want to watch something? I haven't watched TV news in years myself, I prefer to skim online headlines, then go to Slashdot which has news that actually interests me.

US TV sets generally have many more channels, I don't see the issue.

Quote:
News is news, not what people want to be the news. And don't get into the semantics of "well, who decides what is news?". That's a BS argument that furthers and justifies the corrupt media.


Sure. And today I made ChucK segmentation fault; that's news as well. Very few people will care so I thought I'd mail Ge instead of calling the national news. If I'd find a group of twenty naked people chanting on the street that would probably make the national news if a camera crew would be there in time but it's about as relevant. It would generate more viewer ratings though.

Quote:
Look, if the Netherlands slips under water, that's news. If Bush bombs Iran, that's news. If Clinton gets a blowjob in his office after hours, how is that news?


Well, it's a celebrity's sex life so it draws viewer ratings. It's what people want to hear about. Apparently people are more excited about a single rich white girl disappearing then tens of thousands of poor black men dieing in a civil war. If the war would be found more interesting it would generate more viewers and sell more advertisements and hence be on TV more.

I'm not advocating this at all, just demonstrating how democracy fails. The Germans were rather taken with the promise of a car for everybody.... then the price turned out to be war for everybody, in retrospect they could've seen it coming but short-term benefits won out over long-term price. You can see the exact same phenomena in mortgages and credit-cards right now, it's just human nature. The people in power are just there because they used it well, you could call it unethical but I think many people would be tempted to take their place if give the chance, I fear very few could resist.


Quote:
There is a thing called integrity in news - CBS had it before big tobacco caved them, PBS still has it. I think to a large extent the BBC still has it.


Sure, and the Dutch national news used to have it, then came in commercial stations with populist news and they lost a lot of viewers and had to become populist as well.


Quote:
News, by its nature, is not an instrument of democracy to serve democracy by order of democracy. You're talking about the power of greed, not democracy, and what sells.


I didn't say this. I'm arguing that the same kind of process that determines who to vote for determines what to buy or what to watch.

Quote:
Do we democratically choose boxers over briefs?


Sure, fashion is democracy as well, good example.

Quote:
I suppose I'd be more convinced by your arguments if I wasn't living this shit day in and day out rather than esoterically observing it from a distance.


And I'm not living in it? I thought it was clear that I was talking about most of the western world as well as the US but the US is a especially good example. I also think I know more about the US then you do about the Netherlands so it's natural that the conversation gravitates to it but I'd be happy to talk about how this stuff affects my own country. Did you know Dutch soldiers (reportedly) fought in the Iraq war while the Christian leading party (big fans of Bush) told the population they weren't?

This is the second time in a short while I've been accused of being "esoteric" on this board and it bothers me a bit, especially as I was trying to bring both subjects as far down to earth as they could be taken. To me "some grand conspiracy" v.s. "people picking short-term convenience without regard for the long-term price" is rather easy to spilt using Occam's razor and my stance isn't the esoteric one of the two.

Quote:
It doesn't take a majority to put someone in power, thus stating that Bush is the "fault" of the American people is an inaccurate generalization. If you said "a great deal of the Americans" or "a segment of the American population" or even "The American People with the exception of Scott Stites", it wouldn't bother me so badly.


:¬)

I'm sorry if that generalisation came across that way. I used a convenient short-hand. If it's at all a consolation I'd say the same about the Dutch. "The Dutch" are well and truly F*ed, I think I talked before about how we also have closed-source voting machines that are off limits even to the comity responsible for the elections, then this company went as far as to try to literally blackmail the Dutch state. About this I might say "and nobody protested" though it would of course be more correct to say "very few people protested but they weren't reported on as it's not as exciting as other news and hence sells less advertisements".

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Coriolis



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
if enough people cared about the environment there would be parties and products aiming to make a buck on them


See, I think people DO care. But if your government and your media tells it's ok to drill for oil in a national park in Alaska - it won't hurt the environment one bit - then what are you gonna do about it? How do you find out for yourself, and how do you tell everybody else about it? And will they believe you?
Now, I now I may sound like a poster boy for Noam Chomsky (but he really is a great source of info for this kind of thing). He says about the activists he has met in the US over the years, that they generally feel alone in the world about what they're doing, that it takes all of their time and sometimes ruins their relationships, friendships, employment, etc. But still there are quite a few of them - even if they don't think so themselves.

The point I'm trying to make is - one of the key elements in the whole "people need to be led" business, is to convince people they can't do it themselves, and if they don't like something, it's just tough.
What can little ol' me do? Nuthin.
But it's not true. A small group of activistst actually created enough of a stir in the media a few years back, that the US gov ceased to pour arms into the Indonesian genocide on the separatist population of East Timor.
This had been going on, with funding from US and other countries, at least since the seventies. And only relentless pressure from a small group of people over several decades made it impossible to ignore for the mainstream media (after all, they don't want to look that stupid).

So activism is possible, but it may take all of your time for years. And then, if you've internalized that you're the only one who feels a certain way about the system, and you won't be able to make a difference, then why bother? Completely understandable in my opinion, but it has to be fought. Ordinary people can make a difference, they have in the past and can again.

And if you can't find the time yourself, donate money to someone who can and will. They need it.

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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's the American experience I'm living day in and day out. I wouldn't presume to tell you what the Dutch experience is, though I'd love to find out......

Yes, the Patriot Act was so such a good idea. I could tell when I opened this morning's paper:

http://www.kansas.com/213/story/351592.html

Today the unpatriotic drug dealers, tomorrow the unpatriotic thinkers.

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott Stites wrote:

"We" do? Who's we? What channel do I tune to?


"we" in this case is the world; it's one of the largest news-stations in the world, many of the journalists that came from BBC-world went there.

You should be able to get it on your cable, if not they have a lot of extremely high-quality documentaries and features online. A good place to start would be "the control-room" a documentary you may find on a certain "bookshelf".

Quote:

Since when is democracy based on opinion polls other than the ballot box? Nobody asked me if it was OK to take away those rights. I don't know anybody that was ever asked anything in any poll. Ever. Are we who were not asked to be included in the shared guilt or be assumed to acquiesce to the loss of rights? I say again, it does not take a majority.


That's a tricky question but I would say that yes; those who told the interviewers they didn't care or saw a advantage in waving their rights are indeed co-responsible, yes. As for your other question; everywhere a minority is repressed by the majority that's a failure of democracy, IMHO. It's also the nature of democracy.

I don't know you and I can't judge you but I do feel that I as a person am partially responsible for the bad state of my country. I never protested, for example. This is because largely I don't care, at least I don't care enough to stop me from doing other things instead. I also feel it doesn't affect me. I don't even believe Iraq exists and won't until I've seen it. The only reason I pay taxes is because I prefer paying over hassle. In this sense I feel a close affinity with many US voters and less so with political activists. I whole-heartedly recommend this lifestyle, just shut-down your TV or better yet replace the cable with a gaming console and it'll all be gone. You can't affect it anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Apparently people are more excited about a single rich white girl disappearing then tens of thousands of poor black men dieing in a civil war.

The problem here is, that the media chooses for people!
They don't hold a vote everyday asking whether people would rather hear about who won the Miss Universe contest...or how Darfur is going to hell, do they?
No. They have an editorial line laid down by god-knows what ignorant jerk, and they follow that. And - I really don't wish to offend here, just putting things in perspective - why is it news that 3000 people die in the twin towers, when hundreds of thousands of people died in East Timor since ages ago, killed with American arms?
One thing is an atrocity, the other one isn't? Do you think perhaps people in every country which has ever experienced the bootheel of a western oppressor (just pick one, there are many) get very upset about 9/11?
How about 500.000 vietnamese dead or crippled from Agent Orange since that war? Probably not so much as a peep in US media about that, and not much more in danish media.

I don't recall saying "I don't want to hear all that misery, I want to hear about O.J." But they gave me O.J. (or whatever).
Mainstream media is just plain silly. Better her than in the US I think, but still not good enough.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Coriolis wrote:

See, I think people DO care. But if your government and your media tells it's ok to drill for oil in a national park in Alaska - it won't hurt the environment one bit - then what are you gonna do about it?


Well, that's really simple and quite obvious; don't buy that oil.


Quote:
Now, I now I may sound like a poster boy for Noam Chomsky (but he really is a great source of info for this kind of thing). He says about the activists he has met in the US over the years, that they generally feel alone in the world about what they're doing, that it takes all of their time and sometimes ruins their relationships, friendships, employment, etc. But still there are quite a few of them - even if they don't think so themselves.


I thought you might be. I myself am more of a fan of Foucault. Did you see their debate? It was very funny, I thought.

Quote:
The point I'm trying to make is - one of the key elements in the whole "people need to be led" business, is to convince people they can't do it themselves, and if they don't like something, it's just tough.
What can little ol' me do? Nuthin.
But it's not true.<snip for readability>


Yes, I feel we are almost repeating this famous Chomsky-Foucault debate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbUYsQR3Mes

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Coriolis wrote:

The problem here is, that the media chooses for people!


That's a comforting idea as it removes all responsibility from you and me.

You didn't reply (yet?) to my example about cats&dogs magazines but imagine this; say you are advertiser. Would you advertise with a magazine that had "god-knows what ignorant jerk" determine it's topics? How long would such a magazine survive in a world full of target market research?


Quote:
They don't hold a vote everyday asking whether people would rather hear about who won the Miss Universe contest...or how Darfur is going to hell, do they?
No. They have an editorial line laid down by god-knows what ignorant jerk, and they follow that. And - I really don't wish to offend here, just putting things in perspective - why is it news that 3000 people die in the twin towers, when hundreds of thousands of people died in East Timor since ages ago, killed with American arms?
One thing is an atrocity, the other one isn't?


It's more "news" and makes a larger impact because the target audience feels a closer connection to it. They see the twin towers as a symbol of their culture and Darfur is a unknown country so harder to identify with. So; the first one has more emotional impact (even a single lost girl has more impact if she's white, rich and from the US) and more emotional impact means more viewers which means more advertisers, happier share-holders and more money.

If there are millions on the line you don't leave such calls to "god-knows what ignorant jerk".

Quote:

Do you think perhaps people in every country which has ever experienced the bootheel of a western oppressor (just pick one, there are many) get very upset about 9/11?


I sense we are close to a agreement here.
:¬)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Coriolis wrote:
The problem here is, that the media chooses for people!
They don't hold a vote everyday asking whether people would rather hear about who won the Miss Universe contest...or how Darfur is going to hell, do they?


They check the ratings constantly; even by the minute.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sad fact is that the media dogs salivate at the bleeting of the wooly masses. They feed us what we as a reactionary blob tell them we want by the trash we can't help but be drawn to. Or at least such it is for the amoral majority.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Of course they check their ratings. When particular interest in a news story comes about (important in the eyes of the media) viewership spikes.

According to Wikipedia, Fox's ratings spiked during the Iraq conflict to 3.3 million daily viewers. Numbers have gone up since then - during Bush's 2004 State Of The Union address, they had 7.5 million viewers. I mention Fox, because they are the highest rated cable "News" channel here.

Though that's a number that will give you a nice juicy profit and make you wanna spew more of the same; this example shows 7.5 million people out of a country of 303 million, assuming all of the viewers were from the US to begin with. Generally, it's a lower number. My point is, I don't see a plurality of the population clamoring for Fox Brand News. They are the highest rated cable "news" channel there is, but I don't see "the American People" massed in orderly lines gulping down their Fox Farina and ordering up what's newsworthy or not. I see a very small percentage actually doing that.

That's what insanely irks me about any sweeping generalization, no matter what or who it's about.

My point about embedded reporting was lost in this discussion anyway. During the VN conflict, the journalists pretty much went anywhere they pleased and reported on anything they saw. Read Michael Herr's "Dispatches".

Watching the war on nightly news along with the TV dinner went a long way in keying people up about that war. You can't even take a picture of flag draped coffins without getting in deep shit today. Don't you think Fox, CNN, MSNBC would kill for the kind of combat coverage CBS, NBC and ABC ran during the VN war? You can bet your ass they would - it would be a ratings bonanza for them to have live footage of the war rather than an array of talking heads. The closest they got was embedded reporting during the John Wayne Green Beret days of the initial "Liberation". Once the shit began to stink and the US was standing there with its thumb up it's ass wondering what the hell to do next, that all went away.

Will we see VN era photojournalism on a US channel ever again? Ain't gonna happen. The lesson was learned. Out of sight, out of mind, talking heads be damned.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott Stites wrote:

That's what insanely irks me about any sweeping generalization, no matter what or who it's about.


Yes, you are right and I agree, but to some extend this is unavoidable with topics like "the state", "war" and "the media"... You can even wonder if we can even talk about individual people without making generalisations; you could say "jack is a smoker" but at that moment he might not be smoking, for example.

What bothers me is that these discussions have mostly been about what's "wrong" with various things according to some observer with -in many cases at least- very little concern for why it is that way, who benefits from it and how.

"The news" doesn't show what (some) people want it to show, which is also what they feel it aught to show and that gets blamed on ignorance on the part of those "making the news". If one omits the analysis of cause and effect it becomes much harder to see how one could change it, particularly as this inherently means disregarding one's own effect on the situation.

Modern wars are only partially fought on the battlefield and are increasingly fought in terms of information and perception... So that means that "the state" has a interest in being in as much control as it can be over what information comes out. This means a loss to you as a spectator in with a interest in accurate information but in the meantime you've also turned into a sort of referee or judge. If you had no power there would be no use in treating you as a audience for all of this information.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Modern wars are only partially fought on the battlefield and are increasingly fought in terms of information and perception... So that means that "the state" has a interest in being in as much control as it can be over what information comes out. This means a loss to you as a spectator in with a interest in accurate information but in the meantime you've also turned into a sort of referee or judge. If you had no power there would be no use in treating you as a audience for all of this information.


It's not entirely dead, BTW. Did anybody catch "Bush's War" on Frontline (PBS) this week?

Go Public Broadcasting!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott Stites wrote:
Did anybody catch "Bush's War" on Frontline (PBS) this week?

Go Public Broadcasting!!!


Yes, it was a updating of a previous show, but very informative. Bush is amazingly incompetent. More than that, he is a fool and a sucker. Sorry to make generalizations.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Sorry to make generalizations.


I thought that was fairly specific, and spot on.

Anyhoo.....

The embedded reporting was nothing more than a manipulation to support the new age "kinder gentler machine gun hand" aspect of the touch-feely limited collateral damage view of war the military, with the help of the media, has perpetrated.

We don't get the Al-Jazeera footage of torn flesh and shattered souls; we get the military-provided BW image of the immaculate, humane, all knowing, all seeing smart bomb. We get the full color long shots of beautiful flame plumes illuminating an otherwise sleeping city. We get the general's or the colonel's assessment of what went down, and the alleged future benefits of what went down. The talking heads kick in with their ageeement, though they do furrow their brows and sound more concerned. The most appalling thing generally conveyed is numbers, always the American before Iraqi. Then it's back to Britney's Breakdown and Who Is Paris' Best Friend?. I for the life of me don't know who Lindsey Lohan is, but I know she's in and out of rehab on what seems to be almost a daily basis. On the very back page of the paper is a list of today's American dead. Third or fourth page in might mention the latest car bombing or IED incident, with numbers.

The war is antispetic; this we know to be true from watching television. Television shows the flash, and maybe a spot of blood, but generally, as I understand it, getting shot is much like getting knocked over the head and falling down - you generally go immediately unconcsious/dead or you sleepily impart your last words to your buddy. A gun is no louder than a sneeze, and firing one repeatedly in an enclosed parking garage has absolutely no effect on your hearing. It's not nearly as serious as being exposed to a female nipple, or the word "fuck", I can tell you that.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I certainly don't think the news are "made by ignorant people", on the contrary - but I guess I shouldn't have used the description "ignorant jerk" then... Wink

What is in the news (or not in the news) is there very much on purpose.

Re Kassen's cats & dogs question:
My point is that people might not even care too much about dogs, they just read that magazine for lack of anything else - like a cat magazine.
Or maybe they think dogs are ok, but they wished there was just a bit more coverage on cats from time to time. But they don't get that, because the dog magazine folks don't want people to even know about cats.

On the other hand, I think you may be right to a degree about people wanting to consume certain things, which some would consider to be bullshit:
Just the other night, 60.000 people attended the televised finale of a talentshow called "X-factor", right here in Copenhagen. 60.000 people right in front of City Hall. I haven't seen the show, but hate it anyway, since the tabloids have been brimming with rumours, mudslinging and other crud based on this tv-show. They've had high ratings all along, and then 60.000 people show up to gawk at this 18-year old kid singing.
Like that Paul Potts figure from that show on british tv: "He sings opera! And he's just a regular guy! Wow!". Trained singers must have been fuming...
Yeah all these people thought it was a fun show to watch, but then, this is what they get in primetime, when they're bombed out from a long day at work. And perhaps they're just too tired to appreciate something a bit deeper. So I guess you are right to a degree, but so am I, I still think.

Danish national television used to be a lot more educational in the eighties.
Even if it was just a 5 minute documentary from a factory that makes raincoats, beautifully filmed and edited, it was worth watching.
That's changing fast nowadays. Even if it's still state-owned, that state now demands that it compete for ratings with supercommercial channels, who show only sitcoms and such, and do no production of their own.
They still call it public service, but there isn't too much of that anymore.
Not according to the actual public-service laws definition...

I get all sad thinking about it...

C
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

At least we have electro-music.com... Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
At least we have electro-music.com... Laughing


Ha! Yes, we do have front-line reporting, we give experts in the field all the time they want/need/can spare... and indeed people seem to have a deep desire to advertise with us.

:¬D

More seriously;

I check EM in the morning before I check my Google-news page... it somehow feels more relevant to me. I'm torn between feeling guilty about this and reasoning that it's the logical consequence of "news" turning into theatre. I just watched this long-announced "movie" by Dutch politician Geert Wilders about "the Islam" and couldn't help but think of it in terms of theatre... It's a dangerous, short-sighted message... probably it's release was the most relevant thing to happen in Dutch news today but it's also really, really mediocre cinematography.. like a teenager new to flash trying to emulate Leni Riefenstahl (sp?). It's sad, I have the idea that I should have a political opinion and all I feel is just disappointment in a bad movie.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, (WRT US TV news) bad movie, bad theater, bad TV. That's what the news has become. In fact, it's not even news. It doesn't even give the impression of news. If I wanted to hear a new broadcast, I don't know what I'd do. Once a day, I listen to the BBC Global News Podcast. It's about 25 minutes. Not really all that great, but the best thing I can find.
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Kassen
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Joined: Jul 06, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's good though.... Now everybody from the Muslim community to political parties that would normally be closest to mr. Wilders's perspective is like "oh, was that all?".

Anyway, I'll write you a news report;
Quote:
Last night this reporter took Rob's latest noise/music toy to the front-line (well, at least a nicely packed pub with a big PA). This one was 99% production-ready and I've had it on test for two days. Worked very well. With the new structure, higher stability and the more clear lay-out this reporter found it surprisingly easy to integrate this new and largely unknown instrument (which has no sync input options) with his sequencer (which has no sync out). Not only was it remarkably easy to integrate, the possibility of using a theremin antenna as a controller and thus use larger gestures made it easier to convey this manual integration to the audience. Some video was made, stay tuned for possible later updates


See? A news-report! A scoop, even, I think, and nobody died. ;¬)

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
See? A news-report! A scoop, even, I think, and nobody died. ;¬)


I think it was shown at the frankfurter messe already ... but noone died there either.

Did you see this fitna thingy? should I see it?

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:

I think it was shown at the frankfurter messe already ... but noone died there either.


Oh, well, at least it was a scoop on it's behaviour when trying to use it with a sequencer on stage at least?

Quote:
Did you see this fitna thingy? should I see it?


I saw it (review above). If I were you I'd spend the 15 minutes staring out the window, the cinematography is bound to be better.

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