Nobody cares what I think about the Kegs and Eggs “riot.”
That may be the sort of blasphemy that gets my blogging license revoked, but what can I say that doesn’t overstate the obvious? So I won’t bore you.
No, this is not about what we think, but why we think what we think.
Simply put, the Saturday morning trouble in Albany would not be a news story without the video. There would be no parade of blog posts, endless ranting on talk radio, outraged public officials holding press conferences, or breathless local TV news hype.
It’s all about the video.
Consider the example of fires.
Houses catch on fire all the time. Even if nobody gets hurt, it’s one of the worst things you can experience. But is it news? Not really — unless there’s video. If there are pictures of your house burning down, that’s when news producers consider it a story.
Twenty years ago — hell, TEN years ago — the Kegs and Eggs thing would have been confined to a routine newspaper story and a brief item on your newscast. Technology has changed us.
From Marshall McCluhan scholar Mark Federman:
Whenever we create a new innovation – be it an invention or a new idea – many of its properties are fairly obvious to us. We generally know what it will nominally do, or at least what it is intended to do, and what it might replace. We often know what its advantages and disadvantages might be. But it is also often the case that, after a long period of time and experience with the new innovation, we look backward and realize that there were some effects of which we were entirely unaware at the outset.
I’d say McLuhan is out there in the cosmos somewhere having a good laugh right about now.