I’m trying to get ready, simultaneously, for tonight’s Watkinson forum (which will also be a live audience taping of our show and a benefit for three local nonprofits so do please think about coming), tomorrow’s full-show interview with Peter Tork (!!!) and the Nose on Friday.
For the Nose, I’m drawn to Michiko Kakutani’s attempt to limn the lives of the Boston suspects using their social media droppings.
She wanders off into other modes of speculation:
People drew analogies between the Tsarnaevs and such varied siblings as the twins in the David Cronenberg film “Dead Ringers,” the title characters in Dostoyevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov,” and the Corleones in “The Godfather.” A Twitter message posted by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hours after the marathon bombings (“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people”), prompted some amateur detectives to wonder if that reference to Jay-Z’s song “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” is a direct allusion to 9/11, since the album containing that song was released on Sept. 11, 2001.
America has processed the Boston Marathon bombings in different ways from the terror attacks of 9/11 — in part because the level of digital sophistication has grown so exponentially since then (in 2001, there was no YouTube, no Facebook, no Twitter).
This environment of Total Noise is very much the theme of James Gleick’s piece in New York magazine. Discussing the piece with MoDo, Gleick gives good quote:
“The battle lines are being drawn between the crowds and the experts. The crowds are fast and can be smart, but sometimes they’re horribly wrong, like the Internet vigilantes on Reddit who thought they could do better than the F.B.I. in looking at photographs and exposing the guilty. But crowd-sourcing was also part of the newsgathering. In a very real way, we had eyes and ears everywhere.”
I asked him about the episode on Tuesday, when Syrian hackers took over The Associated Press’s Twitter account and falsely reported that there had been two explosions at the White House and that the president was injured — a hoax that sent the Dow into a tailspin for three minutes and wiped out $136 billion from the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
“There’s no perfect trust in cyberspace,” Jim said. “There are not only millions of voices, but millions of masks. You don’t know who’s who. There was a real Twitter account for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but, instantly, there was a fake Twitter account for him, too.
The Kakutani piece references Holden Caufield, an odd coincidence, because another article today points up the difference (I think) between modern Cubist attempts to piece together a personality from tweets, etc. and a much older kind of record people left about themselves.