Originally Published on OpEdNewsThis is a transcript of an interview conducted on the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM, on Wednesday, July 18, 2009
Thanks to the OpEdNews.com transcription team, headed by Paula Sayles.
Rob Kall: Welcome to the Rob Kall Radio Show. Tonight we're going to have a conversation with Maggie Jackson the author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention in the Coming Dark Age. First, a little bit of recent news.-
The CIA has kept secrets from Congress and the big secret was that former Vice President Dick Cheney told the CIA to keep the secrets and the secrets were about assassination squads.- This is making big news.- Today it was the main article in The Wall Street Journal, the NY Times and the Washington Post.- My question is will Congress do anything about it?- Will Attorney General Eric Holder launch any kind of an investigation?-
This is serious stuff.- These institutions of spying are supposed to be accountable.- When they don't tell what's going on to the people that are supposed to track them, then there's something really broken.- The question is, will Obama and his Administration attempt to fix it, or will they let it rest so they can retain the power that it gives to the Executive Branch?-
Then, we have, in Congress right now, hearings.- The Senate is interviewing Judge Sonia Sotomayor.- The question is, just how ugly will the minority Republicans get in questioning a clearly qualified candidate?- How many Republicans will decide to not vote in support of her when she is probably the most qualified candidate in decades?-
And then, just on a humorous note, Nancy Wheeler goes by the handle "Empty Wheel" on Firedoglake.- She is somebody I have met many times at different progressive media events.- Nancy was on MSNBC yesterday and they were talking about the CIA secrets and Cheney's assassination squad and she pointed out how for five years, Congress talked about and investigated Bill Clinton and his blowjob.- Yes, the BJ word.- And all of a sudden, when she said that word, pointing out how they spent five years on that, and would they spend any time on investigating CIA secret death squads, what did they talk about?- Oh, those words, those two terrible words!- And of course, that was a way to distract away from the real issue which is death squads, secret death squads hidden from Congress.- And so, we get into distraction.- And, Maggie?
Rob Kall:-We're going to talk about distraction tonight.- We're going to talk about Maggie Jackson's -brilliant book that talks about how we may be entering a dark age, an age of distraction and an erosion of attention.- Boy, taking on some big stuff here.
Maggie Jackson:-Oh yes, well, it's good to look at the big picture.- We can't always keep our nose in our Blackberries, can we?-
Rob Kall:-Excuse me, what were you saying?- I was checking out an email. (laughs)
Maggie Jackson:-Aren't we all, aren't we all?- I'm sure many of your listeners are multi-tasking while we speak.-
Rob Kall:-It seems to be the way.- You know, it's interesting because I mentioned to you the other day that I call the show "The Bottom Up Radio Show" and I said I'd like to put in to this interview, if possible, some angle of bottom up to what we were talking about.- And you said that you weren't sure, but the more I read your book, the clearer it was to me that you're talking about the other side of it.-
What I've been excited about with this bottom up revolution is that we are moving into a world where people participate in a lot of different ways and they connect in different ways.- And what you're writing about is how this connection to the Internet and the tapping of the power of the Internet is diluting attention and it's eroding connection.
Maggie Jackson:-Right.- That's the flip side, exactly.- We're highly connected, and yet, are we deeply connected?- Also, how are we defining connection?- If communications and relationships are merely a matter of snippets of time with one another, asynchronous and done while doing six other different things, what kind of a connection is that?- Both, again, in terms of the message that we may be exchanging with other human beings and also the intimacy, the emotional content?- I think that we really need to stop and start to think about this.- But yet I am optimistic, despite, I believe, the real risk of entering a dark age.- I am optimistic because just in the last year, I've seen an incredible willingness to rethink use of technology lifestyle.-
It could be the depression/recession or it could be all sorts of different changes.- People seem to be kind of pulling up short and saying, wow what is the substance of my life here and am I being productive, but in what sense of the word?- There's a Buddhist idea, which I'd like to investigate further, that a form of idleness is overwork.- In other words, if you are running around, busy, busy, busy, busy, but never really thinking or confronting the really tough questions in life, you are actually considered idle.- I think that's a fascinating conception right there.-
Rob Kall:-Well, I am very interested in the news media.- And I think that so much of the media that we have is engaged in that kind of overworked idleness, where it pays attention to nothing.-