Voice in the Wire

December 16th, 2008

Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.

In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.

Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.

The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…

At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.

When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.

Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.

The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.

Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.

Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit

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Sci Fi Channel

R.I.P. Sci Fi

Well, the network execs over at the Sci Fi channel have finally gone all the way with destroying a once great network. As of yesterday Sci Fi became SyFy, which in Poland is slang for syphilis. It?s been a long slow downward decline and this is the nail in the coffin. There was the addition of wrestling, which I still haven?t figured out how that fits into a Sci Fi genre. Then there is the fake reality shows, like Scare Tactics, and Ghost Hunters. No one should ever take a group of plumbers and try turning them into Blair Witch style ghost busters. Then worst of all is the constant string of monster/horror movies that show up every Saturday. The quality of these movies make the old B movies look like works of artistic genius.

Last night?s defacing brought along with it a new show called Warehouse 13. I watched it this morning on Hulu, I refuse to actually watch the network live any more. The show drags on for much of it, almost as if they really struggled to fill the 2 hours the premiere was slotted for. The show is basically a remake of the 1980?s show Friday the 13th, with an X-Files style wrapping.

It starts off with a long slow dull opening that lays the overextended back story for the Mulder / Scully wanna be duo and sends them off to the pawn shop, I mean government warehouse, in South Dakota where the third wheel is added by way of the Warehouse curator. Once there they pair is sent on their first assignment, which is to investigate a girlfriend beating university student in Iowa. The student apparently attends a made up University of Southern Iowa, which for some odd reason, is located in North Central Iowa, based on the map location the curator circles. I guess it fits well with the made up Seever County and Seever City. 99 counties to choose from in the state of Iowa and they had to make one up? At least in the The Puppet Masters they used real town names. As an Iowa resident I almost find it insulting. Warehouse 13 feels like a ?Been there, Done That, Didn?t care for the T-Shirt,? kind of show. The over used premise, the bad script, misplaced comedy, along with an apparently geographically challenged writing staff has certainly turned me off. Warehouse 13 will not be getting added to my list of regularly watched shows.

Somewhere Asimov is rolling over in his grave, and he is angry.

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