accountabilitybloke (old blog)

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Mediated….

Mediated by Thomas De Zengotita can only be described as one of the more interesting and bizarre books I’ve read in quite awhile. The only way to describe it is to say that in places it was like reading a Lewis Black rant — although he doesn’t quite have Black’s comedic presentation skills when he does take the stage.

The book and his work are hyped as picking up where Marshall McLuhan left off, and he does bow in the direction of McLuhan as well as others. (Although he avoids citations or other scholarly trappings, he does note how much he owes to McLuhan “Ong, Lasch, Boorstin, Postman, Harvey, Sennett, Lapham, Gitlin, Rifkin, Rushkof, Gabler…” et al.). He clearly comes to the project with many misgivings about the postmodern “mediation” process that we are all subject to — and he hints at times that in earlier forms the book was pure Luddite “rage against the [mediating] machine”. But as it stands, the book emerges as observational, insightful and filled with resignation — this is the way it is, he implies, and in some respects it is bad but in some respects it is okay….

September 26th, 2007 Posted by | Marshall McLuhan, media, media studies, postmodernism, Thomas De Zengotita | 2 comments

The indirect way to reform health care insurance….

I have been multitasking again, trying to fit in as many tasks as possible on any particular day at any time. Blog posting has obviously been pushed aside, although there are certainly enough things to blog about.

One subject worth blogging about is health care insurance and the various ways the issue has come into our lives. Obviously there is Sicko the movie and “Hillarycare” — two notable and noticed efforts to directly confront the problems. But as important are two other news items — the battle over S-CHIPS in Washington and the role that health care is playing in the world of corporate America.

The S-CHIPS battle is interesting as a case study in contemporary US politics — not that driven by the so-called Culture Wars of Red/Blue states, but rather the politics driven by our political culture’s urge to take care of widows, children and especially orphans. Theda Skocpol (see here) and others have established that urge (in the form of a social consensus) as a foundation for US social policy since the late 1800s, and it still seems to trump the wave of more divisive politics in the long run. This can be seen in the bipartisan nature of the S-CHIPS debate as well as the overall parameters of the choices. It is not a matter of whether children ought to have access to health care insurance — that is accept as a given, and the ten year history of S-CHIPS has proven a quiet success in that regard. Rather, the issue is one of funding levels and the discretion given states in their implementation of income eligibility criteria. Thus, it is not that we shouldn’t extend the program (which is clearly a form of national health insurance), but rather at what level and to whom….

September 26th, 2007 Posted by | corporate welfare, health care, politics | no comments