October 30, 2004

Digital Media 2004

by Nick Montfort · , 2:24 am

I guess it shouldn’t amaze me, but it does. The Bush campaign’s use of digital media and the “Internets” seems to have so far involved digitally cloning supporters, sending emails to coordinate the suppression of the minority vote, and of course blocking the world from reading its website. They also have a new game, as I’ve mentioned on here already, which is accessible globally thanks to Water Cooler Games.

Meanwhile, those who favor Kerry (or just want any president who hasn’t already led the country into a war based on a lie) seem to be using digital media, and urging others to use it, in quite different ways. Michael Moore is recruiting a “video army” to document attempts at election fraud. The previously apolitical Eminem offers for free download a video that is not to be missed, “Mosh,” calling for an army as well. (Daily Kos has a great writeup on the politics of “Mosh” and its relationship to games like Grand Theft Auto and movies like Fight Club, by the way.) It heartens me that some people are rising to the occasion of the election, even as others attempt to keep 23,000 citizens from voting and (in my own city) try to move the polling places of black voters out from under them:

Race played a role in at least five of the requests, according to Matt Robb, the Republican leader of the 48th ward in South Philadelphia. Robb said he allowed his name to be used because those polling places are in neighborhoods he doesn’t wish to visit.

“It’s predominantly, 100 percent black,” said Robb, who is white. “I’m just not going in there to get a knife in my back.”

It’s a crazy world when Michael Moore and Eminem are what I need to restore my faith in humanity, but I’m grateful for whoever provides just enough spark that we need to proceed.

3 Responses to “Digital Media 2004”

  1. Joe Mason Says:

    Eminem wasn’t “previously apolitical” at all, though. At least, not for a few albums now. I never really paid much attention to him until 8 Mile (whose soundtrack was, what, 3 albums ago now?) and that had his brilliant verse on _Rap Game_:

    Think for a minute cause the hype had died down,
    That I wont go up in the oval office right now,
    And flip whatever ainít tied down upside down,

  2. nick Says:

    All right, “apolitical” wasn’t the best term there. It’s just that I’m more surprised at Eminem’s involvement in the election and his speaking out about Bush than I am by, say, Bruce Springsteen’s.

  3. mark Says:

    I’m vaguely surprised by the involvement of the “counterculture” in this election as well, although I think it’s really just motivated by an utter disdain for Bush. Notably absent in any of the media coming out is any pro-Kerry message, which is interesting–the message seems to be, “let’s get Bush out of office, and then we can go back to being anti-government in the usual manner”. There’s an odd feeling that Bush is dangerous, while Kerry is just evil in the more conventional sense, a la Bush Sr. and Clinton. Even Anti-Flag, a Pittsburgh punk band who politically are Chomskian anarchists, are biting the bullet and participating in a “Rock Against Bush” sort of thing.

    It may be successful: There’s a disaffected segment of the population that normally has little interest in deciding between two politicians, but when the focus is put on attacking one of them, could get behind that: Anti-Flag will never go around stumping for Kerry’s health plan, but they can certainly yell “fuck Bush”. Unlike Gore in 2000, here there’s a widespread feeling that Bush is somehow a lot worse than the normal bunch of crooks in power.

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