Sunday, January 12, 2014

MetaDiscussion: Grantland's Sports Guy Talks about Talking About It

Link to Grantland article 

Bill Simmons talks about the differences in public and private discussions on performance enhancing drugs.  This is a great example of MetaDiscussion even if he doesn't quite try to realign the 'old' distinctions between public and private dialogue with digital media:

If you're a public figure who says something offensive, we're going to rake you over the coals until you apologize … but if you make that same offensive comment under the protection of anonymity, whether it's on YouTube's comment section, Reddit, a message board or whatever, that's totally acceptable. What are we? Where are we?  ... Anyone with a public forum should feel a certain responsibility to the greater good, whether you have a blog, a column, a podcast, a radio show or a steady TV gig. 

People will naturally be more responsible for opinions given under their name but 'anonymous graffiti' posting has its place too.  Some common morality will coagulate in a society, through the high pronouncements of authorities as well as through back-door finger wagging gossip and sniping.

Chaning modes of communication such as those we are living through today will tend to shake up social foundations and 'loosen' morality in some cases.  McLuhan has anecdotes about these things, such as when radio was introduced to Bedouin tribes and nobody seemed to mind that the broadcasters told stories that would be inappropriate in mixed company.

Ultimately, though, a common morality serves a purpose so it will be there again in the digital age.  If we start talking about the discussion itself, as Grantland has done, then that's a first step to understanding what is happening to us IMO.

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