Sunday, February 20, 2011

Episode 26 - Social Media Revolutionaries

We had to talk Egypt and the mideast in this recent episode, hell it is on everyone's mind. We are somewhat optimistic about the future, though Ken and I are more optimistic than Robin and Isabelle, who sat in and drew us during the recording.

There have, of course, been other revolutions, the colour revolutions and the others that brought down communism in the late 80s and early 90s and of course the ill fated Tiananmen Square protests.

We were somewhat taken aback by the lack of peaceful revolutions in science fiction, and mused on that for a bit.



We hope you enjoy episode 26.

12 comments:

merelyjim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
merelyjim said...

The beer I was drinking while listening to the podcast was Shiner Double Wheat 102. Highly recommended if you can get ahold of it.

My first thought upon hearing any mention to the new and improved Star Trek movie is looking at the new and improved Romulan ship and asking, "what's with the sharp-pointy-things? I know it's moving through vacuum in space, but engineers don't randomly add sharp-pointy-things unless there's a reason for them."

My first thought upon hearing Star Trek TNG is "Die, Ensign Wesley Crusher, Die, Die, Die!"

That little bbs event was fairly easy to organize, because with the exception of Wil Wheaton who played the character, everybody hated Crusher. In the same way, you can usually find a lot of different voices that are more than ready to denounce, protest, or scream "no" to almost anything. The problem is that later on, you have to find a majority that's willing to say, "yes" to something different.

I'm sure there were a lot of very well intentioned people, as well as a lot of "useful idiots," who stepped into the Russian revolution with the real and genuine hope that things were going to get better after a badly run monarchy. If they survived the purges over the years and survived to see what the USSR eventually became, these people would have been bitterly disappointed.

As I write this, the BBC Newspod is questioning if the UN should send Peacekeepers into Libya. Egypt is still a wild-card held by their military. Iraq and Israel are both kind of pissed-off at the United States - imagine that, they finally found something in common. And Iran really hates... well, it seems like just about everybody who isn't Iran.

I hope to God (we'll call him Odin for the sake of giving the big X variable a name) whoever does end up in charge has studied a bit of history. It's be a damn shame to repeat some of the mistakes.

-jim

Rachel said...

I have deep doubts about the Egyptian military actually turning over power, most largely because they have an immense economic incentive not to do so. (See this article at the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/world/middleeast/18military.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=egyptian%20military&st=cse

This is not an encouraging thing.


And the Prime Directive? Well, it was a statement against cultural imperialism, which was a hot political topic at the time TOS was filmed. It was also logically indefensible (as TNG pointed out in several episodes) and was such a major obstacle to interesting plots that TOS generally mentioned only to say why Kirk was about to ignore it. (Did Kirk EVER not act because of the Prime Directive? Ever?)


And about civil disobedience--Ken, I see your point about the hacking being a non-governmental alternative. But it still lacks the core qualities of civil disobedience--standing up and actively wanting to take public responsibility for a "destructive" act in order to gain public support by showing why that act is in fact, not destructive at all. Hacking the websites was pretty much the exact opposite of that, I'd say.

Rachel said...

Well, rats! I left a long(ish) comment and it seems to have disappeared. I'll have to try again later, when I have more time to reconstruct....

mony said...

Well, Episode was really great and I like it.


Watch TV Shows Online

coffeecode.net said...

Great show!

As far as the gap in SF novels that you were talking about goes, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (published in 2008 and available at bookstores / libraries / HTTP sites near you under a CC BY-NC-SA license) hit a number of the points in your discussion: the use of social media and related technology (like public key encryption, smart phones, XBoxes hacked to run a secure Linux distro) to overturn an oppressive regime. The oppressive regime happens to be the US Department of Homeland Security, which makes it all the more fun.

Rebecca said...

Really? Science fiction doesn't do politics well? The only reason Robert Heinlein (who was also in the military) ever wrote was to demonstrate why he should be in charge of running the country. If you want to read about a successful revolution, try "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" about how the colonists on the Moon overthrew their penal masters.

Rebecca said...

And! Because I forgot about this link:

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2011/02/expelling-the-quakers-from-plymouth.html

It just goes to reinforce Robin's arguement about how actual democracy is what the majority wants, and that we in the west have realized this and injected it with liberalism.

Ken Hernden said...

Dan and Rebecca -- I concede! I certainly overlooked both Heinlein's and Doctorow's tackling of dissent (and revolt) using Science Fiction. I'm kicking myself because I actually own the edition that combines "Revolt in 2100" and "Methuselah's Children". That's right REVOLT! There's not a bad starting point for politics in Science Fiction at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_ideas_in_science_fiction

Ken Hernden said...

Parag Khanna on the Current on CBC this morning touched on a bunch of ideas that we've bounced about the last couple of podcasts. He echoes Robin's comment that the main thing about revolutions in North Africa is that the armies didn't pull the trigger (although Facebook and Twitter were wonderful tools too!).

http://www.paragkhanna.com/

merelyjim said...

Has anyone seen a url for Robin's blog yet?

robin said...

The blog is coming. Slowly. The problem is I don't really know what to put on it.