Computer-Generated News

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I’m old enough to vaguely remember Walter Cronkite forty years ago showing us hand painted “NASA Simulation” video of the Apollo spacecraft maneuvering in space. There simply was no way to position a news camera outside the Lunar and Command Modules to get the shot.

Now we have computer generated movies and commercials. I’ve seen computer simulations of plane crashes and of presidential candidates. But yesterday morning was the first time I’d seen computer-generated pictures of human participants in breaking news. I’m not sure I approve of the concept altogether, but given it’s existence I do like the editorial decision to render the named humans in untextured solid red.

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“Prosperity Church” or “Criminal Enterprise”? Senator Grassley wants to know

By way of the great “religion watch” blog Wittenburg Door I come upon this story about Senator Chuck Grassley’s investigation into megachurches :

Senator Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican whose middle name is “Mr. Accountability,” concluded a two-year investigation of big “prosperity church” ministries with a few suspicions about whether the spirit of the tax code might be in peril. So he sent out letters requesting full voluntary financial disclosure to six of those organizations–three big ones and three not so big.

The story begins with a lede that is, dare I say it, nearly Feldian?

Yes, that was the sound of 148 televangelists all trying to get through to their lawyers at the same time yesterday morning as the faxes from the Senate Finance Committee sputtered into their headquarters.

Amusingly enough, the story was written by one John Bloom, better known to some as Joe Bob Briggs. Bloom is a fascinating guy, and if you can track down the profile of him by Calvin Trillen that appeared in the New Yorker in 1986 (summarized here), you should do so. I have always cherished one line attributed to Bloom in that article: “Never start a fight with an anarchist. He do not care. He flat out do not care.” Bloom writes for Wittenburg Door under both names– commentary as Joe Bob, reporting as John. And clearly he do care, in this case.

John of Wetmachine says check it out.