Wednesday, 08 February 2023

Opinion

Recently I submitted an article about genetic engineering to the newspaper, but the paper balked at publishing it, (nicely) insisting that I insert a paragraph assuring readers that my article represented the result of extensive research or was my own opinion. The concern was that the readers might be too easily swayed by the definitive way I express myself.


Now I’ve been subjecting the Lake County public to my opinions for more than a decade and I’ve always considered readers to be intelligent enough to understand that anything in print should be subject to skepticism and rebuttal.


So what is it that has changed? Why is it that nationally, our publishers and editors seem consumed with vetting articles and information that is, in essence, unverifiable? Our society has been overrun with “experts” – the word parts “ex” and “pert” meaning “a drip under pressure.”


I will venture my opinion for your consideration. It is because we have come so far from being able to verify the glut of information we are inundated with through our own personal experiences and perceptions – “what we know.”


We are bombarded with information we are forced to blindly accept – opinions, conjectures, statistical studies, scientific studies, news reports, etc. etc. Science has strayed so far from pure unbiased studies that even Nobel Prize winners have complained that most of today’s science is agenda driven toward verifying pre-determined results.


Journalism has strayed even further from impartial and objective news, being purposely designed to lead us toward pre-determined conclusions. What we really know is easily defined as what we personally experience in our immediate relationships and environment. Beyond that, we are primarily forced to accept a myriad of perceptions, opinions, and ideas regarding history and current events with relatively little assurance in our facts or conclusions.


What may appear to be true today may be exposed as a hoax, misunderstanding or outright lie tomorrow. Science is constantly rearranging its facts and theories, and accepted history is often shown to be a concoction of fantasy, myth, and mass delusion. Some people insist that we must “trust” experts to gain a faithful perspective of the facts that surround us, but which of our sources do we consider innately trustworthy?


I know the Holocaust happened not because I read it in a book or saw a documentary but because of anecdotal evidence (despised by scientists and historians), from people who were there, and a father that was one of the first Americans to enter Dachau after the Germans fled.


To pretend that any of us have an undeniable grasp of what is happening far from our own reality is innately foolhardy and ultimately dangerous. Those that would insist otherwise are either a part of the manipulated masses or are themselves a part of the machine that attempts to keep us distracted from what we truly “know,” replacing our true knowledge with manufactured perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. They want us to believe, inundating us with a glut of seemingly unrelated information, entertainment and distraction, that our civilization is moving forward in an orderly, progressive fashion toward a wonderful and more perfectly controlled future.


To insure a free and responsible dialogue we should not be arbitrarily pretending any authority in the opinions presented in books, newspapers and media, yet neither should anyone offering an opinion be required to be an “expert” in what they speak of. That concept of simple acceptance of expertise is inherently more dangerous than the admission of ignorance. It is the responsibility of the public, and all readers, to vigilantly compare anything we see, hear, read, or watch, to our own reality our own experiences our own histories.


The advent of writing, hailed by some as the great preserver of knowledge and intellect is also the great preserver of myth, falsehood and deception. The abandonment of constantly vetted oral histories reflects a feeble attempt to assure ourselves that the written word is always faithful to the truth when we know otherwise. The attempts of humanity to assure ourselves that what we think we know, we know, and that what we believe is incontrovertible fact, is further proof of the immaturity of our species.


Take the thoughts and assertions of the progeny and prophets that have attempted to define and clarify, through writing, the attributes and intentions of our deities. Have the results of those attempts manifested themselves in a more peaceful, prosperous, and humane world? No, disagreements between men regarding the interpretation and veracity of those documents have been the underlying source of countless tragedies, wars, and strife worldwide since they were first composed. Indeed, our world aligns itself socially, politically and even racially within the separate and divisive influences of those documents.


Adult humans and their beliefs are like petulant children, demanding the pretense of knowing the unknowable, arrogantly pointing to a page to justify our competence and existence. But if we were to ask, of all that we are so vehemently concerned with today, what will be important and remain important in 10,000 years? We will not have an answer.


The earth and our natural world will prune, cull, and quantify our experience in ways we cannot predict, so that all these so-called matters of import may be rendered meaningless. For this civilization, the pretense of knowing appears to be more important than the actuality of being.


Readers aren’t stupid they do not need assurances to remind them of the fanciful nature of words the primary element of the universe is still mystery. To pretend otherwise is simple arrogance.

 

James BlueWolf lives in Lakeport.

She captured me for life with the unforgettable first line by Molly Ivins I ever read:


"I was sitting here in my office, trimming my split ends, when the phone rang ..."

Recently, one of the members of our TV8 Public Access Advisory Committee asked me if I thought getting the manager of another PEG Channel to talk to our group would be “inspiring.” I was amused. Although we don’t have a fancy setup (yet), it is “us” that would be an inspiration for public access advocates elsewhere.


Many of the well-funded citizen media organizations, such as Santa Rosa’s, are so bureaucratic that it is only theoretically possible for a citizen to get a program broadcast on their cable system in their lifetime.


About one-third of California’s cable TV contracts have no provision for public access. It is not mandated. Typically, local government franchisers have a public access provision buried somewhere in a densely worded cable contract. But they or the cable franchisees are either indifferent or hostile about making this bandwidth available to the public.


Up until a couple of years ago, the powers of darkness in Clearlake denied the public their contractual rights. Lakeport and the county never even bothered to insert a public access clause, but they got whatever Clearlake got since it was all the same broadcast system.


This has all changed. There are no barriers for Lake County residents to put their locally produced videos on TV8. You don’t believe me? Go ahead, take a video down to Clearlake City Hall and try it.


Jack Barker, a video production company owner, who is a fan of public access, pops in once a week as TV8’s manager to enter a stack of submissions for the scrolling TV8 bulletin board, programs residents’ videos, fixes equipment, orders new equipment with greater capability, and has opened up communication with the technogeeks at Yuba College and Konocti School District. They were a resource previously snubbed by the old guard.


Unlike most single channel organizations TV8 has its own Web site, www.laketv8.com, and message phone number, 994-8201, Ext. 109.


People in Lake County don’t know how good they’ve got it. Most of the broadcast time for programs on our lone public access channel remains unused. The openness of our cable access would be envied in San Jose where I am from.


San Jose is the 10th largest city and the third richest metropolitan area in the country. But they have only one channel on paper that is open to the public, and it’s dysfunctional. It is officially managed by their cable company, which does everything in its power to make sure few people know about the channel and even fewer use it. I had to make a research project out of hunting it down.


For people who are constantly whining about there not being anything to do in Lake County I might suggest video production for cable public access.


Today, video is cheap to shoot, editing is easy to learn, and you are living in one of the few places where no one is in a position to stop you.


Pick up your submission forms and drop off your completed production for broadcast at the County’s public access point, Clearlake City Hall.


Dante DeAmicis is a videographer and member of the TV8 Public Access Advisory Committee.

 

{mos_sb_discuss:4} 

Now that I have been sworn into office as District 3 Supervisor, the culmination of a long and difficult campaign, some might think that I would be most grateful today for the outcome of all this. And I am thankful for this opportunity. Yet, gratitude means even more these days.

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