Twofish's Blog

September 16, 2006

Got on Nightline

Filed under: massachusetts institute of technology, wikipedia — twofish @ 2:34 pm

I managed to find myself on Nightline as a result of Wikimania.  Some things that you should know is that they took ten seconds “sound bite” out of a twenty minute rant.  It’s a basic limitation of the television medium that they have to do that, but the limitsin broadcasting means that you have to focus in the strange, simple, and emotional, rather than complex, ordinary, and rational.  This has had bad and sometimes destructive results on political discourse, because that happens is that conversations get narrowed to dueling sound bites.

There are a couple of behind the scenes aspects of reporting that you should know about.  The first is that I had a reporter that was feeding me questions that were getting responses.  They probably had hours and hours of footage that they narrowed down to a few seconds.  The second thing was that the I mentioned challenging Harvard, and the reporter noticed that my degree was from UT Austin, and so he asked essentially how I knew anything about Harvard, at which point I pulled out my MIT undergrad.  This is interesting because I had my MIT degree, that I could pull out in a situation like this, but it was also annoying because it shows how your options and power is limited if you don’t have your “elite degree.”  If I didn’t have the MIT degree, I’d be in a much worse position to convince the reporter that I was serious.

Institutional change is always ironic, because you have to be at the edges of a system in order to have any chance of changing it, but you have to hate the system enough nevertheless.

The sound bite did a pretty good job of capturing passion, but is did a pretty bad job of capturing all of the boring mundane things that you need in order to make passion reality.

I’m really frustrated and angry right now because my employer isn’t flexible enough with time to do what I need to do, and I’m trying to figure out the best way of handling this situation.

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