May 26, 2024

Guest Blogger: JD Lasica

I’m happy to welcome JD Lasica, author of the new book Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation, and co-founder of OurMedia, who will be guest-blogging here this coming week. This is part of JD’s virtual book tour.

I’ll be taking the week off, but the Friday book club will go on as normal.


  1. JD,

    I haven’t read your book yet. Just in case I’m not alone, why don’t you open with a summary of your basic arguments, a nod towards your conclusion, and a list of things you’re learned (or that have happened) recently that you would have included had you not had to lock down your text many months ago?

  2. Clinton Blackmore says

    Hmm… Interesting question. I don’t know that I have anything profound to add, but I’ll throw in a couple of thoughts.

    I for one do not watch television any more, and watch far fewer movies. I’m really tired by all the drivel out there that, in my opinion, is merely a vector (ie. an organism that carries a disease) for advertising. I’m tired of all the sex and violence and glammer and glitter, all the form without substance. The mass media is all about gluing people’s eyes to the screen, and this serves a secondary purpose of making us into wage-slave automata: you work all day, and then you come home and watch TV which tells you that you are no good, you can’t do anything about major problems (so don’t even try), and, oh, by the way, life would be better if you were using product X (thus encouraging you not to get lapped in the rat race). I also have a lot of contempt for the way “news” is all about ratings, and is a tool to manipulate people by diverting their attention from important things and making mountains out of molehills.

    The causes of the problems with broadcast media, IMHO, are the end it serves — making money in the short term.

    A media revolution can go a long ways to address these problems. When someone wants to be heard, they are highly likely to give you honest opinions, and while it may not have all the form and flash, it is likely to have real substance. It is likely to be something that is worthwhile to think about.

    It is only natural that people will want to make money off this revolution — well, those who aren’t trying to stop it altogether. And this first thought is advertising. Ugh! Vile, foul advertising. Fortunately, the cost of entry is fairly low — it is not hard to write a blog; it is possible for a normal person to make a quality video. (Also fortunately, tools to block ads are getting better.) Perhaps this means it will take less advertising to support it. My (unrealistic) hope is that viral ad-campaigns will cease!

    [At this point I should interject. There is a time and a place for advertising. “Running a business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark — you know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.” However, the time and place is not all the time and everywhere! The most useful way to advertise is to offer insightful information … ex. tell me how to use component Y when I do a search on the internet, and I’ll consider buying one from you.]

    The old regimes fear that as the barriers get lower, so too will their bottoms lines. They have a vested interested in counteracting this. If they can close content — lock up the internet, slap on DRM, claim ownership of ideas (and even thought itself!), etc — then they can regain their monopolies and spoonfeed “the masses” candy once more. This, then, is the real threat. I would like to think that people will be smart enough to see what is going on and do something about it; some are and some aren’t. It is truly amazing what can be done by pounding out a message again and again — this is what has made America the nation of the overfed but undernourished, and most entertained but least informed nation on earth.

    We stand at the cusp of change. The decision to take it is ours.

  3. Thanks, Ed. I’ve got a funky Internet connection here at the Harvard Square Hotel, so not sure how effective this will be over the next 2 days. Now, if I can retrieve my log-in info from my email account, I’ll be all set.

    Meantime, would love to hear any thoughts about what you’d like to talk about in the coming days … For instance, on Tuesday I’ll be talking to a high-powered group of folks at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society about the coming wave of grassroots media outlets and the personal media revolution. Any questions or thoughts you’d like to contribute to the discussion?