FOX it is and FOX is it
September 21, 2007
I went to bed last night exhausted, relieved and resolute. I had survived one week in the media limelight and it was over, ending on a mid-note with my mediocre performance on CNN (see youtube.com/mediapraxisme). At last I could return to my life as teacher, scholar, and documentary-maker, speaking in a language I know to people who talk as I do and who really want to be having this conversation. I was glad enough it had happened because it was a really great learning experience about both SCALE and YouTube. Living it confirmed much I already knew, although of course until the lived experience I knew this only theoretically: for me, it is preferable to speak to people I can see and who can reply, people I know share a discourse and values about American and media culture, and in a context where ideas can be exchanged and knowledge and feeling can grow. While I am certain that there is real value in amping SCALE through numbers, exposure, reaching out, simplifying while staying honest, and speaking to people who are not yet exposed to one’s concerns or approaches, I learned last week that I am not the person to do that. The attention makes me feel self-conscious and self-critical; not to mention I spent a significant portion of last week with my stomach-clenched (not pleasant); I was distracted from the things that really matter to me (my teaching, friends, family, and intellectual and political work); and I refused reducing my thoughts to pre-orchestrated but effective sound-bites. I just don’t want to talk that way (note rambling and repetition here!), so in the end, I’m just not that good at it.
And then FOX emailed this morning. And I decided quickly… no. No more fear; no more second-guessing myself; no more wasting my time on something that proves at once inconsequential and stressful to me. But then, of course, finally… yes. I started this thing: it’s my responsibility; if I won’t stand up to say why I’m attending critically if playfully to YouTube, who will? My students? The blogisphere? That’s not fair. So, I must play the media professor, maker and scholar who wants to think about using this sudden expansion of access to media production and distribution to do better what media has always done: to try to enrich and change the lives of individuals and community, self and world. And this I will say, as best I can, and as me, when they ask me to speak, and I hope I can stay focused, and I hope I can keep on mark. I can only do my best, but I shouldn’t run away. And that’s my last post on celebrity and YouTube even if I continue to have to play this game for the time being.