The Elusive Part is All in the Context

                                       “I Withhold Judgment” (Greek)




I can see more of the world than ever before because of the Internet. However, just because I can see it does not mean I am also getting its complete context. I am only experiencing it through at most two of my senses.

Information is being sent at amazing speed now. You can take a picture and post it to a website easily. Within moments it can be viewed by many with ease too. It seems like about every other week there is a new story that goes “viral” on the Internet. It is a story but more likely now to be a video. It causes people to be “outraged”. The problem is the “emotional” reaction comes quickly. However, a couple of days later “facts” and more information come out about the video that changes the initial “reaction”. The ultimate problem is once people accept their “storyline” (usual along a political ideology) they will hold onto regardless of the new information. I am not sure if an “enraged” community is necessarily an “engaged” society trying to make any real change.  The Internet really is encouraging too much “Slackitivism”. Plus, there will be a new story coming next week to “stir the pot”. If not sooner. 

I think the Internet needs to develop two apps in order to deal with “viral videos” or “stories”. The first is the “Penicillin App”. The reason for it is that anything labeled “viral” needs some form of the “preventative medicine” that should be injected in. The second the Internet needs to bring back the Fotomat Stands. You might remember that cameras actually needed to have their images printed on film. So you had to remove the film from the camera and take it to these outlets called “Fotomat” for processing. And that took at least a week to happen. So what I am proposing there is a “Fotomat App”. This is not meant to be a form of censorship. Everything will be published however it might take a little longer to be posted. It gives people a moment to take a breath before the “hot air of rage” comes up. Some things will be published right away while others may take a day or two. And to keeping with the tradition of the “Fotomat” business plan. A few will be lost completely. And a couple will be mixed up and posted somewhere else for no reason whatsoever.



I find myself watching a lot of things via the Internet. I can see more of this world than ever before. The world might be “seen”. However, you cannot “know” the world. So you need to “check” the ego.

I like reading people’s memoir from time to time. I just have to remember the basic truth of such book. The tale is being written by “the survivors and the winners”.  After the James Frey incident a few years ago and the latest from about the Apple Factory in China (which turned out to be more “fiction” than “fact”. It all makes people a bit skeptical of this genre. However, you have to keep in mind that most of your “experience and knowledge” comes vicariously through the actions of others. Religion and politics are prime examples of that.

In my own personal reading habits I do not like getting “stuck” in one genre or one author for a long time. I also need to bounce back and forth between fiction and non-fiction. I also like to read people’s memoirs from time to time. It is a change in reading pace to read how their experiences happened upon them. I also have to remember two principals at work with this format. The first, history (even your own) is written by the “survivors and the winners”. Secondly, they tend to have a bit bias towards their “strengths” and the “weakness” of others.

I have to also admit to being a bit curious about how people’s experiences shape them to some degree. And the problem is that most of the people I know will never allow for my “inquiry”. So this genre is a way to examine someone else because they have “crack the door” a bit.

There are two author’s experiences I have read in the last couple of months when I needed to take a fiction break.

Anthony Bourdain’s memoir Kitchen Confidentialis book that has been around for many years. I do not think I could ever look at a “kitchen person” regardless of position in the same way. I enjoy his show No Reservations (available streaming on Netflix) because he uses food as a gateway into another culture. The problem with many “food shows” is that I have no “context” how the food smells and taste. There is also way to fully experience it unless I am there. It is kind of fun watching a show to see what is out there. I would like to experience different foods because the “American Diet on the Run” is beginning to lose its flavor. This show is a way I get to at least see what is out there to be explored if given the opportunity. Besides he makes a good tour guide. (Personally, I need to hand out some applications for a new “partner in crime”.)  His show also highlights other parts of the place where he is visiting in the episode. There is “Road Bowling” in Ireland or the game of “Trugo” in Australia that look completely stupid yet a lot of fun at the same time. However, trying to find someone in this country to take part is asking too much. Especially, anyone in the “parental” occupation. And whatever you do not let the politicians, lawyers and insurance agents know that you may be up to some potential “fun”.

(Additional Listening. Anthony Bourdain had some good chats on the podcasts from Marc Maron and Joe Rogan)

From time to time I like to browse the bookstore looking for titles that I might find interesting. I know you “should not judge a book by its cover”. But you have to admit a “cover” gets your attention. If a “cover” did not do that than all the supermodels would be out of work and cereal boxes would not be so colorful. I have to admit this title did a good job grabbing my attention, God’s Middle Finger by Richard Grant. This is his journal of his travels throughout the Sierra Madres region of Mexico. It also includes a history of the region and culture that exists there. I came to one conclusion. There are places on this planet that are and will always simply “Be Nuts”. I liked his approach and when I stumbled by his latest book Crazy River, I knew I had to pick it up. This time he travels the Malagarasi River in the region of Africa. And once again he found another “crazy place” that defies (for lack of better term) Western Logic.

Both of these stories made me realize something. Hopefully, it is something others may pick up on. I can use the Internet or book to get a glimpse of someone, something or someplace I may not have any direct knowledge of. Their existence exists on their terms not mine. So I need to remember that when laying out some “judgment” of my own. I may be right or I may be wrong. Neither side should be firmly set. The places described in those two books will never exist the way any other country outside the region act. You can be in the safety of a book or in front of computer witnessing these places. However, you are never going to have the “context”. We all got postcards of places at one point. And maybe one day got to those locations. Changed your “context”? Didn’t it? The way your life operates from the confines of the space of your home does not necessarily translate outside of it. And you cannot force it upon others either. And you will not always being willing to accept what others want to put into your house.

We can all see a news video report. Remember at any given point an event is happening in 360 degrees. There is not a camera that will ever give the 360 degree view.

What you do see exists in the same moment as what you do not see.

In the end, you can never know the world as a whole. You can be aware. Then accept the reality between what can influence and what you cannot. And remember the same principal is working on you from the other side.

I know it is almost impossible to “withhold judgment”. You need some degree of “judgment” to survive. If people did not have any there would be more people playing in traffic every day.

Remember how the story of this photo changed from when it was first shown last year.




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