Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Love Op-Eds III (Yet Another One About Pr0n!)

In the previous installment of my current serious I Love Op-Eds, we came across a funny Op-Ed that was pr0nographic. In today's episode, we'll explore yet another comely Op-Ed. It involves pr0n as well. I love sexed-up op-eds...
Blogs: A medium in search of a role By Koh Buck Song For The Straits Times MORE people are becoming agog about blogs. But this frenzied excitement will subside to a new equilibrium sooner than expected. For instance, last week's conviction of two bloggers in Singapore for posting racist remarks online is just the latest development to knock the wind out of the sails of the blogging euphoria. [1] This is, indeed, an age in which anyone with access to the Internet can say anything to everyone else on the planet... But the litmus test will always be: Who will listen? How to gain and sustain a big enough audience? ... I think the more important questions have to do with durability and enduring value - how long they can last, and what special service they can continue to offer. First, durability. Blogs that make it big depend on other 'content aggregators' to give them that push into fame among the less digitally active segments of the population. Without key content aggregators in the mainstream media - like this newspaper - it will always be harder to achieve a tipping point in galvanising action. [2] ... Blogs are generating such a buzz now mainly because of their novelty value. [3] But as more blogs are set up, their scarcity value will drop. Like all other modes of communication before, they become victims of their own success. Remember when websites first came upon the firmament? People thought they would revolutionise the world, so they invested money in dotcoms. We all know what happened after that... Now, what about value? ... Successful blogs today work on one of two main business models: that of Donald Trump or Annabel Chong, the Singaporean girl who moved to the United States and made headlines by breaking a world record in a pornographic act... [4] Mr Trump's approach - that 'there is no such thing as over-exposure' - succeeds because the author is already famous; that is, what is sought-after is the message, not the medium. Ms Chong's model was to throw caution, clothes and all else to the wind. But where is she now? The market for attention, like human beings, is driven by three things: money, sex and power. Mr Trump is money; Ms Chong is sex. For me, the best way blogs can contribute to society is to serve as whistle-blowers against any abuse of power... [5] ... Blogs may soon become just another marketing channel for the Donald Trumps and Annabel Chongs of this world... [6]
Now, in the first sentence, 'aGog' means excited and very interested to find out something. I didn't know this before... [1-3] are the usual things used to... uh... 'discredit' blogs. Key talking points: fame, euphoria, novelty. These are still quite OK. Things turn unbelievably weird a short while later... At [4,6], Koh thinks that successful blogs work on two business models: 'over-exposure' Trump, and 'sexed-up' Chong. Now, I've mentioned before that it's really so bizarre to equate pr0n with blogs. I mean, almost no reasonable person would do this. And here and the previous op-ed, we have two instances of a senior editor and writer doing exactly this! So my question is: why/how/where did this association come from?! My answer is simple: there's no answer, simply because there's no logic to it. It's loosely similar to classical conditioning on a totally strange scale. This is how it works. We normally have a negative reaction such as disgust when we see words that refer to pr0n. That's just natural. Now, the trick is to present 'pr0n' and 'blogs' at the same time. In a short while, every time someone sees 'blogs', he or she will subsequently have a reaction of 'disgust' (and all ancillary reactions to 'pr0n'). It's really quite a powerful effect. Does it work? Yes, I think it will work. It would be even better if the initial pairing (pr0n->disgust) was bizarre enough to prevent further inquiry for a person reading this op-ed. For example, if we equate blogs with kids' homework (for the purpose of making blogs look like amateurish enterprises), people might say, "Oh, that sounds cute, perhaps it's good for kids to blog; it'll just be like doing homework." So, 'homework->not so extreme reaction' is not bizarre enough; this will backfire because more people will then blog. On the other hand, let's associate blogs with pr0n. A person might then say, "Wow, pr0n! That's really something! Hmm... so since the newspaper is linking blogs and pr0n together, there must be some truth in it. I'll just accept this since there's no way for me to verify whether this is reasonable or not as I don't know enough about the pr0n industry. Better safe than sorry!" I find this way to 'discredit' blogs to be quite elegant. The classical conditioning stuff works, make no mistake about it. Say it enough times, and people shall believe it. In the meantime, I'm still trying to get some sort of euphoria as I end today's entry. Maybe I'll get it when [5]'s done...

5 comments:

putitthisway said...

Interesting scope on this. I guess this is just another way that bloggers being demonised after the latest bigotry comments. Well, as I just picked up blogging, I guess I shall enjoy the press time while at it.

Paddy Tan said...

Blogging is very individual.

Whether will it stand the test of time, depends very much how one wants to be affected by these tests too.

When IRC was first introduced, all directions point to it as the 'IN' thing, the Voice of the Internet...blah blah blah..

Years later, there are still survivors of the IRC. It didnt just die off but instead it gives life to other type of 'tools' that build on it overtime.

I see it the same for blogging as it will not be staying at the same place forever, it will evolve and it is evolving now rapidly into both leisure and business tools. :)

Beng said...

I feel sorry that our little froggies in the MSM are still looking up at the bloggers staring down the well and said,"Hey! We know you bloggers! You people are in the porno business right? We knew it!"

putitthisway said...

Comparing IRC with blogging...nice... I once remembered IRC as a world of its own where people meet and talk. It was spinned as the place for sexual predators of all kind.....

Kinda like bloggers being associated with pr0n and bigotry.

And yes paddy, you are right. blog can and will be a business tools in the next age and most likely the true replacement of columns at newspaper.

jeffyen said...

I actually doubt that many in the MSM (when they cross their hearts) really think blogs are like pr0n. I would even say some applaud secretly the role that bloggers play to 'balance the Force'...

But for the purposes of PR and to eliminate the undesirable possibility of the public having a good impression of bloggers, sometimes they need to take strange publicity campaigns loh... ;p