Recently, I wrote about a controversy in Nashville in which AT&T and Comcast joined forces to seek a late-inning rally to prevent Google Fiber from becoming their unwelcomed competitor in providing high-speed fiber to homes and businesses. While I’m sure that’s not how Comcast and AT&T would characterize what they did, it’s obvious to anyone who has followed the issue that neither AT&T or Comcast would have started “fibering” the city had Google not started the race.
I bring that up again because a big part of the regulatory review that will take place over the AT&T purchase of Time Warner will be about the fact that Comcast provides the competitive balance that will guarantee the merger would not be a monopoly.
However, the Nashville example (Comcast and AT&T have both vowed to fight the city in the courts) is an example of how Comcast and AT&T will cooperate when they have shared interests in crushing a common enemy.
Nosedive, the first episode of the third season of Black Mirror, pushed (shipped?) last night by Netflix, fits into an emerging science fiction genre one might call, “dystopian social media fiction.” While it’s billed as a satire, it’s not “the Onion” parody type of satire, but the Jonathan Swift stinging satire that’s uncomfortable to watch.
A well-worn science fiction genre involves an alternate or parallel universe. According to the last person to edit the article on Wikipedia, a parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one’s own–a universe where the very laws of nature are different – for example, Apple before Steve Jobs passed away.
My parallel universe point-of-reference is Bizarro World, the Superman spinoff DC comics that I read in the late 60s and 70s. Then, as now, I enjoyed satire. I especially enjoyed the self-directed satire of Bizarro World which gave the creators and fans of Superman the chance to make fun of themselves while staying true to the core story.
Of course, the core story of Superman was parallel universe fiction, as well. For example, in Superman, they have telephone booths.
There is so much about Donald Trump and the current Presidential election we are enduring that makes me think of Bizarro World. That Donald Trump is a role model for entrepreneurship is straight out of Bizarro World. Only in Bizarro World is serial bankruptcy a business model to be admired. Only in Bizarro World is using 3,500 lawsuits and countless threats of more lawsuits something that business owners do. (Supporting tort reform and fighting against nuisance lawsuits is what business owners have done in the real world for as long as I can recall.)
Last night’s second presidential debate was pure Bizarro World. I can’t even begin to list the things said and the strategy used by Trump that surpass explanation. But equally strange were the post-debate talking heads who started scoring the exchange as if there were no context to the debate — as if what was said during the debate actually matters.
The pundits who are still discussing this election as if it’s about what someone says in a debate are living in a parallel universe.
This election has nothing to do with political science. It’s now pure science fiction.
I used to complain about stuff in my head. Then someone on the Nashville Walking & Biking Email Group sent this list out and I tried calling someone up and telling them about the issue. Amazingly, it worked. P.S. Here’s the link to that email group. I’m one of the people who manages it, so contact me if you feel the need to complain about the list. Call these people to complain about everything else.
Report issues with temporarily closed sidewalks and bikeways
Please report any issues with sidewalk and bike lane closures due to construction or special events to the Metro Public Works Permit Office by calling (615) 862-8782 or emailing email@example.com
Report signs or overgrown vegetation blocking public right of way
Last night’s Presidential Debate (the first of three) will be memorable for many reasons. For one, it’s an endorsement of the concept of preparation.
I’ve been wrong so many times about Donald Trump in the past year, I’ll skip any guess of what will be memorable about his showing, other than his continuous sniffling which he today says had something to do with his microphone.
For me, there was a paragraph that when seen in transcript form is so perfect, you realize that even the grammar was rehearsed by Clinton. But when it came to establishing which of the candidates are presidential, it slammed the book on that question for me.
Here’s the quote:
Words matter when you run for president, and they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere, that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them. It is essential that America’s word be good. And so I know that this campaign has caused some questioning and some worries on the part of many leaders across the globe. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to — on behalf of myself, and I think on behalf of a majority of the American people — say that our word is good.
That’s what preparation is all about.
This clip from the debate should start with the quote a 1:29 into the video.