Saturday, October 8, 2011

Obama, Hitler, Glee, Technology, Media Bias and Football

Anybody who follows football or politics will have heard by now Hank Williams got into hot water for something he said on a TV show. The problem is 99.9 % of people believe he compared Obama to Hitler. You can Google the story and I included the video here. You can hear his words.You can read his words.  Unfortunately it is true that perception is reality. ESPN/ABC/ Disney is there to market their shows to advertisers. Unfortunately for them perception is reality.

Why does perception become reality? Because we are subjective human beings. My boss always reminds me that my subjectivity gets in the way of my evaluations. If you think I will blog about that, you got another thing coming. It would help our discussion if you revisited the actual definitions of the two words connotation and denotation. My simplified way of defining then is denotation is the "precise" definition of a word while connotation is what is "associated" with the word.

All of you at some point have played the game "telephone" where something is said on one end and it comes out different by the time the fifth person hears it. In the old days that is all we had to contend with. Strangely enough the more technology we have and the more immediate access we have to credible sources and more varied sources the easier perception can be clouded because of that very advanced media. Case in point many of my Filipino Facebook friends circulated an Oprah quote recently lauding the Filipino entrant in Miss Universe in   NBC News when no clip or article exists. Filipinos circulated a David Letterman Top Ten List about a Pinoy in the While House and no such Letterman clip exist. Despite more and more technology that can give us better perspective and validation there are many who spread something because they wish it to be true that they don't bother checking if it is true.

Emotion clouds what little reason we have. Technology should help our reason, it instead exposes our lack of it. Headlines are not factual but subjective interpretations. In this world where we can be inundated with sound bites and headlines we are setting ourselves up for enormous misinformation by depending on other people's headlines and filling in the blanks because of subjective headlines. Like my aunt who believes that Steve Perry the singer of Journey is dead. She has been saying it for at least two years. It never occurred to her to Google how he died and in the process she can find out he hadn't died.

Let's get to Hank Williams Jr. Who many now believe:
1) He compared Obama to Hitler
2) He is a racist.

I have provided the clip twice below. Just in case Youtube is not available in some locales. At around 1:50 he blatantly declares Obama and Biden (who may I remind you all is white) as the enemy. But in a political context. The media will gladly vilify George W.Bush and people who share that opinion yet when shoe is on the other foot that becomes the bad foot. Williams then proceeds to compare top Republicans playing a round of golf with top Democrats to someone who ordered genocide to Jews playing a round of golf with the current Israeli leader. What Williams was talking about was the gulf, the divide, the chasm. Williams sees the Republicans and the Democrats as polar opposites. Is Williams partisan? Yes. Is he exaggerating ? Yes. But he is not alone. Nowhere in the transcript or the video does he compare Obama to Hitler. Yet that is the perception that cost him his spot longest running prime time show on American TV Monday Night Football.

Those of you who know me know I hate Glee. Among my many observations of the show that I "tweeted":

Ace Hardware Greenbelt, I bought two appliances from you today. How do you repay me? Making me listen to 3 GLEE songs. #Thehorror
Aug 24, '11 8:52 PM
Charlie Sheen is to sobriety as Glee is to originality. Mar 10, '11 9:22 PM
In the old days when people took good music and turned it into crap it was called Muzak. Nowadays that process is the Glee TV show. Jan 21, '11 6:47 AM
The Kids From Glee make me wish a plague came and eradicated every radio station. Jan 20, '11 6:54 AM
The difference between Glee and High School Musical: at least HSM butcher their own songs . Oct 29, '10 9:35 PM
I strongly suggest checking out the real Rocky Horror Picture Show music on Youtube before it's butchered (kiddified) by the cast of Glee. Oct 25, '10 10:03 PM

Now that you are familiar about my affinity for the show Glee. If somebody ever told you that "Ed watched the complete Season 1 of Glee three times in the space of one month". Again if somebody ever told you that and your response is " that would be like the Pope performing abortions". Are you comparing me to the Pope? Of course not. You are merely commenting on the implausibility of me watching Glee multiple times being similar to the implausibility of the Pope performing abortions or the Pope performing a gay marriage for that matter.

In the court of Ed,  Hank Williams Jr. did not compare to Obama to Hitler.

Now that I got Hank off the major charge the other charge should be easy. He is accused by many of being a racist. In that SAME video where he talks about Hitler on the links, at the 2:00 mark. Hank slightly favors among the Republican hopefuls, Herman Cain. Herman Cain who when I last looked, was black. I rest my case your honor.
Perception is reality. Sometimes your perception of reality is clouded by somebody else's clouded perception of reality. In some cases it might be mine. I read a piece not too long ago about someone who felt they really had a handle on Sarah Palin then suddenly realized how much that had to do with media bias. I wanted to do a blog about it and I still might but in the meantime read the piece. It made me think. It might make you think too. If that's OK with you.

Now that I made my case that Hank 's reality is not as bad as the perception he still loses his slot in Monday Night Football. I remember the first night he did it. That was before many of my cyberspace mates were born (September 1989) . You can see it here.  All that down the drain because most people can not understand what he said. He did not compare the people, he compared the gulf between ideologies. To paraphrase Hank's famous gig "Are You Ready For Some Bias?"

Ed (transcript) (MNF Hank intro)
Note on the videos. 2 copies each of:
1) Hank Williams Jr. on Fox and Friends and exactly what he said and how he said.
2) Hank Kingsley as Adolph Hankler on the Larry Sanders Show.
And a copy of Hank Williams performing one of the many Monday Night Football matchups he musically introduced.


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