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I'm finally back from Netroots Nation, which despite being a conference for bloggers is so packed that it's almost impossible to find time to write.
I had an amazing time. Highlights: going all fan boy when I met netroots success story Donna Edwards (who later showed up at one of the many parties over the event and stood on the bar to make some remarks), met some very nice folks from the Jeanne Shaheen campaign and other organizations, and was ecstactic over a very special surprise guest.
Also, some guy with funny ears sent in a message.
Anyway, a lot happened. Netroots gave me a lot to ruminate on.
The last panel I attended was "Converting Online Activism to Offline Activity" which was moderated by Future Majority's Michael Connery. Predictably the panel was made up of youth activists--leaders from the YDA, Voter Latino, The League of Young Voters and 4-5 others which escape me at the moment.
It was a great panel, Sam Dorman from the
Justice League of Young Voters talked about theballot.org, where you can make a ballot to hand out out in your community. This is such a handy tool that doesn't seem to be getting enough use. So check it out.
The comment that caught my attention though was from YDA's Tony Cani, who had an interesting, albeit slightly tongue in cheek theory about why Millenials are so progressive, or as he put it "What's the difference between GenX and the Millenials."
His abreviated answer was "1. He-Man 2. Transformers 3. GI Joes" The long version was that when Ronald Reagan deregulated TV, it meant that for the first time toy companies could air 30 minute commercials. These commercial shows, he argued led to a "savier consumer of information because everyone's trying to sell to us".
I appreciate some of Tony's point, in that there is something alluring in making an argument that a national political movement was created by The Masters of the Universe, Optimus Prime and Cobra Commander, but I think he's wrong that entertainment as advertisement is a new phenomena. Maybe it's place in TV is, but what is now the providence of TV was once the domain of Radio and Comic Books.
More over, the idea that those show trained us to resist indoctrination assumes that they didn't work--the giant boxes of ninja turtles, ghost buster and transformers in my basement suggests otherwise. Apparently I even though Pizza was gross looking until I let Michaelangelo make my food choices for me.
Sure, they tried to turn us into happy consumers, but weren't there any value to those shows besides when we resisted them? What about the PSAs? ...Nevermind.