An (absurdist) lesson in the lightning multi-platform flow of information these days:
It is worth noting that the same day that I cited the election results as being exemplars of the pervasive and still growing influence of the web and New Media … comes this example of a confluence of all manner of instant information flows. This incident is a valuable case study in the way that the cameras-are-everywhere ethos of reality TV ran headlong into instant wireless communication, all to be regurgitated as streaming video on the web, and, of course, immediately tagged and put up on YouTube.
What earth-shaking event could bring such powerful forces to bear?
Britney Spears filing for divorce from Kevin Federline, of course.
It seems only logical that Britney, who is immersed in media overexposure – no, strike that – she’s been floating like Neo in the pre-awakening Matrix pod in a thick funky slimestew of pervasive media hyper-exposure since she played the Naughty Catholic Big-Boob Schoolgirl … (erm, ahem) … it seems only logical that since every other goddam move in her life is
instantly observed, uploaded to the celebrity media cloud, tagged, blogged, cross-referenced, Dugg!, Tailranked, Newsvined and then translated into Urdu …
…it seems only logical, I say, that her divorce is also created, pervaded by, exploited and tut-tutted by the very media that has spawned, tormented and controlled Britney’s very existence.
A brief chronology is in order:
1. Britney’s ne’er-do-even-average-let-alone-well husband Kevin Federline (aka K-Fed, Federleezy, or the most pathetic no-talent rapper since Vanilla Ice) was being followed around by a camera crew hoping to do a reality-TV show about his new album. Why anyone would waster perfectly good electrons to capture this is beyond me. But whatever.
2. K-Fed was being his normal embarassing self – and for those of you who have not caught his act, the very act of observing his act is to be an unwilling dupe, a victim, kind of like volunteering for the traveling hypnotist act back in college, and awakening to find yourself naked, on-stage in a mass circle jerk, regressed to the age of 8, with a stack of Legos crammed up your butt. Or was that just me? Anyway – K-Fed was going off about how great his career was, how Britney was his biggest fan, pushing him to do his genius music, blah blah, transparent desperate stupid lie, blah.
3. At dinner, the camera crew caught K-Fed scrolling through his Sidekick mobile device. No big deal, yeah, yeah, his bored expression said. And then –
5. The next one deserves a number all its own, even though it is just one word. That word is:
7. So now comes the fun part – Brit dumped him – via an instant email messaging system – that was picked up by reality-TV everpresent cameras – and the whole thing was uploaded and put on YouTube within A DAY. And now the web has the papers detailing the two sides starting to battle over money and the kids.
8. And of course, then along come I, to blog about the whole sordid mess.
Now then. I used to work in the celeb scandal mining biz. But it used to be that meltdowns like this took days, weeks or months to happen. This one happened in HOURS.
From top to bottom, the news – you know, that word really doesn’t even fit anymore, but "information" just seems so squishy – business has changed. Blogs are the instant watchdogs of the electoral process. They drum up support for candidates, they extract campaign contributions, they suggest policy, hell, they are all over the process.
And now the New Media – by which I include 3rd-tier reality-TV cable outlets, streaming web video, instant messaging, blogs, etc. – are all over the celeb scandal niche? Folks, the war is over. The world has moved on.