Monday, February 15, 2010

Gimme the News

A direct link to the above video is at

In my most popular blog entry of all time, Jumping Jesus, we talked about the constantly accelerating flow of information that each of us have to deal with. More recently, in entries like Monkeys Love Metallica and Placebos Becoming More Effective, we've talked about how this acceleration might be changing us. Nova Spivack calls it The Stream: and tools like the Semantic Web and Mr. Spivack's Twine are part of the ongoing efforts to provide us with tools to filter out the signal from the noise. In Connecting It All Together, I said this:

Like predictions of the end of the world, predictions that change is happening more and more quickly are really not unique to today, people have been saying such things throughout history (this is where we can cue a sound montage of parents through the ages complaining about "kids today, where do they get these crazy ideas"). This is not to say that accelerated change is not happening now, but rather to say that this has been an ongoing process of slowly accelerating growth for thousands of years which we may or may not see the culmination of within our lifetimes.
My song Gimme the News, written as a satire back in 1997, encapsulates today's 140-character Twitter world quite effectively, even though it predates that service by a decade. As the old saying goes, "the only thing that stays the same is nothing stays the same", and no matter where you are along the curve that is always more true today than it was the day before.

Gimme the News
- words and music by Rob Bryanton (SOCAN)

Gimme the news and make it real quick
Keep it simple, that's the trick
Give me a soundbyte I can call my own
And quote to my friends, show 'em I'm in the know

Gimme the news, and make it real short
Want the world's events in a two minute report
Got no time for facts that just slow me down
Already feel like I'm about to drown

In an ocean of info that I don't want to see
Got way too much input, more than I need
Everywhere I look, every place I go
It's information overload
Information overload
Information overload

Gimme the news, don't make it real deep
I've got miles to go before I sleep
Banal and superficial, that'll suit me fine
Edit it down until it fits on a sign

At the edge of the highway like a wonderful ad
That sticks in my brain, just another quick fad
A jingle to rattle round inside my head
Like "Big bomb, 200 dead
Big bomb, 200 dead
Big bomb, 200 dead"

Gimme the news
Don't give me the blues
Just gimme the news

Next: What Happens if Kurzweil's Singularity never arrives, and the Transhumanists are wrong, and Mike Judge's Idiocracy becomes a chillingly real vision of the future? We're going to look at one more Rob Bob and Roberta song from that ten-song collection next time that talks about our love-hate relationship with modern technology: My Computer is My Friend.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

PS - Don't forget, this is just one of a ten-song collection of songs, if you'd like to purchase these ten songs as high-quality mp3s it's only five dollars for the whole collection, go to the Tenth Dimension Digital Items store if you're interested. And while you're there, check out the O is for Omniverse pdf, which we've reduced to $10 as a special for the month of February.

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