Monday, September 17, 2007

My man Al brings one home for a worthy cause...

I didn't watch the Emmy's last night, law school supplies as much self- congratulation as I can take, but I understand that my boy Al Gore won an award for creative achievement in interactive television for Current TV, his youth- oriented television channel.

Current TV is only available in 40 million homes, so chances are that most are oblivious to its existence, let alone its mission. Gore designed the channel to merge the television and internet mediums- combining the interactivity of the net with the streaming nature of TV. Current's content is user- based and youth focused, the idea is to make television an interactive, thought provoking experience, in contrast to its current MO: sit, stare at and be dulled by flickering images. Think youtube, but streamlined.

The aim of Current TV is nothing short of the salvation of democracy: to extract the corporate influence from news, combat the celeb/reality culture, and provoke fresh thought and debate in society. It's the principle that inspired this blog, as you can tell by reading SAM's mission to your right.

The priorities and discourse in our country are staggeringly out of whack. And television, by its very nature and also its content, is a driving force in our culture's downturn.

Gore and his partners have seen the power and value of the internet: it is the largest possible town hall, where citizens can communicate directly and instantaneously. The idea starts with transparency-- encourage citizen-debate about problems facing the nation, and understand that the more voices are heard about the decisions that face the country, the better off we'll all be. Encourage debate and dissent, because the best decision will emerge from consensus.

It's all very Thomas Jefferson.

So Al now has an Oscar and an Emmy, and may soon be walking away with an even larger piece of hardware on Oct. 8: The Nobel Peace Prize, for which he is also nominated. Of course, people will ask about intent for the White House, but the attention should be less on the horse- race of the election and sexiness of the presidency, and more about the issues for which Gore is a voice: transparency in democracy and climate change.

That said, I'll still put up this political cartoon about Al running, because I think it's funny.

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