Monday, April 2, 2018

I Think Rush Might Be Wrong on This

David Hogg (Rush calls him Camera Hogg - kind of mean, but someone apt), is viewed by many as a publicity-generating prodigy. Among Rush's questions are:
Can you explain to me how a 17-year-old sounds like an experienced 40-year-old liberal activist? Forget the quality of his voice. His strategy, his techniques, the way he’s dealing with Rubio, this is the stuff that it takes 30 years of experience or 20 years of experience to learn the intricacies of what he’s doing, and yet here he is 17.
Rush is not putting Hogg down, he is actually somewhat admiring of that level of professionalism in someone so young.

So, is it truly amazing, or is there more to it than that?

I do think you have to look at his background - forget parental and teacher input - that's a relatively small part of what made Hogg so camera-ready.

The clues are:

  • Generational use of their cells and other visual technologies
  • A professional-level high school media program
  • Technical production of video, including cutting/inserting/sharpening/morphing video. It is truly a professional-level training. They learn to produce air-worthy video, with multiple levels of equipment - from the bulky cameras and sound equipment, to an iPad or cell camera. They learn to take the raw feed, and work it until it becomes a polished story.
  • Program management and production - the behind the scenes work that brings it all together.
  • Interviews - they participate, both as interview subjects (where Hogg likely gained his polished demeanor) and as those asking the questions. They learn NOT to spontaneously 'wing it', but to prepare for the short segments with meticulous planning.
  • Post-interview production, not only making the segments tell a coherent story, but a particular story. They learn which snippets further their aims, and cut & paste to achieve them. No more just setting the cameras to roll, but ruthless editing to shape the final cut to meet their agenda.

Let's take that first one. Just about every kid that has access to a cell phone knows what to do with it - heck, even toddlers have been known to use them to 'take selfies'. So, no, it would be characteristic, not the mark of a prodigy, to use one's digital technology well.

Kids - and adults who are WAY too focused on their looks - learn to 'aim themselves' at a camera, to enhance their looks through practiced posing. They learn what gestures, tones, and voice pitch will convey their message. No fear of a high-pitched or shrill voice not providing the proper aura of authority. While Teddy Roosevelt, on recorded audio, spoke in a high pitch, at that time, it was necessary to carry his voice a great distance without amplification. It was the norm until quite recently (the decibel level is composed of both the pitch and the how high the voice is - the higher, the louder).

In contrast, our artificially amplified voices 'sound better' when pitched lower. And, that's something that can be practiced - I did it, years ago, when I worked as a telephone operator and receptionist. When I used the PA system, I learned to pitch my voice low. After a while, that carried over into my off-work life. For a while, I had men stopping by the office just to see what that "sexy voice" looked like.

The second part is the school training.

Forget anything you learned about AV Club, that ran the various technologies of your youth. This is something that is a Galaxy apart from those primitive days. I had some exposure to this at a school I taught in. My first hand experience was of a single student who came with a camera and tripod, set everything up, miked me, gave me instructions on how to move and speak, and went through her series of questions with a professional attention to detail. Unlike the stiff 'new teacher' interview I expected, it was a terrific part of just ONE day's production

Today's Media Programs teach their students to do all of the following:

So, no, it's not extraordinary that Hogg has more poise and polish than the typical teen - he's been trained to that aim.

Now, to switch to someone whose expertise is NOT as complete, and who has benefited from carefully crafted stories that have given him the personal sense of himself as a wily and savvy interview subject. I'm speaking of Pope Francis, whose unfortunate interview is causing concern throughout the Christian world.

But what is reported to have happened by this atheist journalist is that the pope was asked by the journalist, what happens to fallen souls? And do they go to hell? Do they spend eternity rotting in hell?
And the pope said (paraphrasing), “No, there is no hell. Those souls just cease to exist. There is a giant nothingness. Nothing happens. They just die. That’s it. But there is no hell.” So this gets reported, and like many other things that this pope says, the Vatican then began an immediate race to correct this and to suggest the pope was not saying this officially as pope. 
There are several things to remember with this. First, this was NOT a quote. It was a reconstruction of their conversation by the journalist.
In a meeting with the journalists of the Foreign Press Association of Rome in 2013, Scalfari maintained that all his interviews have been conducted without a recording device, nor taking notes while the person is speaking.
My personal take is, if there is not audio of that supposedly 'shocking' statement, it's not true. That 'journalist put his words into the Pope's mouth. My guess is, the Pope was asked to state what an atheist might expect if he died, and the Pope's words were a statement of what that atheist would experience - IF that POV was reality.

No scandal. Just an overly confident pontiff, who really should learn to record all conversations with reporters - no matter how much he thinks of them as friends, not media.

They are NOT.


Malcolm said...

"March for Our Lives is funded by Hollywood celebs, it’s led by a Hollywood producer and its finances are routed through an obscure tax firm in [California’s San Fernando] Valley. Its treasurer and secretary are Washington D.C. pros. And a top funder of gun control agendas is also one of its directors."

Linda Fox said...

Thank you, Malcolm, I'll look at that later today. Just confirms my sense that there is more to this gun-grab than meets the eye.