Sunday, March 27, 2005

Technology: Broadening My Music & Views

My wife spoiled me with a terrific gift this last Christmas: a 20GB iPod from HP/Apple. (I note they're no longer available. No clue why, but other 20GB iPods are still listed on Amazon.) I've found myself rediscovering great music I'd forgotten I had, including Warren Zevon, Midnight Oil, The Call, Delbert McClinton, Desperado from the Eagles, John Hiatt, and some old Santanna among others. I'd forgotten about all these CDs gathering dust on the rack across the room. Forgotten, that is, until I got the iPod and started loading all my CDs into iTunes's library where I can easily and quickly listen to all these while working on my computer, in my car or out for my infrequent jogs. I most likely would never dug through the CD rack digging out these unless I'd gotten the iPod which can hold all the CDs I own, plus more I can download. Also, thanks to this amazing little widget I've begun to seriously broaden out the types of music I listen to. James Avery's Top 10 list for 2004 was a good asset, and he was nice enough to point me to Pitchfork, an interesting-looking source of music reviews. I'm also enjoying streaming music from alternate sources such as Energy X, Radio Paradise, DainBramage, and a couple others. I wouldn't ever had exposure to these without hooking up to this neat, new technology. On a similar but different line, technology's responsible for me broadening my views. Blogs and commentary sites have provoked me into reexamining some of my fundamental beliefs in politics and society as a whole. I won't bore the two readers of my blog with the details, but suffice it to say I've moved to a more libertarian position on many things. I wouldn't have made this change without reading sites like National Review Online, Instapundit, Daniel Drezner, Neal Boortz, and a few other political/social commentary sites/blogs. All of which brings me to what I think is a silly post by Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan says that "Americans are beginning to narrowcast their own lives. You get your news from your favorite blogs, the ones that won't challenge your own view of the world" and goes on to say much the same about music. I find this particularly ironic since Sullivan was responsible for me changing my views on homosexuality. (My views aren't easily distilled into a four word phrase which will fit on a bumper sticker, so I won't bore you with a long discourse right now. Maybe later.) Reasoning like this is exactly why I stopped reading Sullivan's site long before the last election. (I didn't find out about his 20 Feb post until weeks later through another news source.) Certainly many folks use the incredible advances in technology we're seeing to consume the same sorts of news and music that perfectly line up with their existing views. That said, I think that most folks view these exciting changes as enablers for them to expose themselves to new things. I think technology holds incredible potential for exposing consumers to a much broader, more accurate picture of the world than we're able to get now from current media. Better informed and better educated members of society are a Good Thing. Maybe I'm too optimistic and naive, but that's how I see things. So there.

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