First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office in Washington. Jordan meeting with JC, who has agreed to get storylines about causes of the Revenge Revolution for Greenie, a mutual friend.  Greenie is recovering from short-term illness.  Conversation started #191.

Jordan:  “OK, JC, you’ve had your break?  Feeling better?”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “Much better, thanks.  By the way, do you have any chocolate in the office?”

Jordan:  “I think Gelly has a stash somewhere.”

Gelly:  “Did I hear my name called?”

JC:  “Yes.  Do you have any chocolate, please?  I’m dying for something sweet.”

Gelly:  “Been talking too long to Mr. Sourpuss here?”

Jordan:  “Why do you guys always pick on me?”

JC:  “You’re such an easy target.  And it’s fun.”

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “I’ll get the chocolate.  You want some coffee?”

JC and Jordan (in unison):  “Yes, please.  Thanks.”

Jordan:  “OK, back to work.  We need a few more topics for Greenie’s articles.”

JC:  “Before the beak you said tax policy contributed to the decline in such cities as Flint.  And the decline was a factor in the Revenge Revolution.”

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgJordan:  “Yes.  Now have you got a topic for Greenie?”

JC:  “Yep, the internet.”

Jordan:  “Why the internet?”

JC:  “The internet is a great tool for certain things, such as ordering certain products, checking out restaurant menus, getting answers to trivia questions…and a bunch of other stuff.”

Jordan:  “So what’s the problem with the internet?”

JC:  “Like a lot of things, sometimes what is good in one situation turns out to be bad in another situation.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “You need to be more specific, please.”

JC:  “While the internet is great for looking up…whatever, the internet is awful for providing the entire picture.”

Jordan:  “Why do you say that?  You have a lot more information at your fingertips than ever before.”

JC:  “True, but, like I said, most people don’t take time to get the entire picture.  For example, some news websites allow viewers…really encourage viewers to tailor information to suit their tastes.  Tailoring eliminates some or all of the story.”

Jordan:  “So, your concern is people are not getting exposed to an array of info, but rather  just what they want to see, or read.  Call it ‘internet myopia’.  It’s as if people are looking at the world through a telescope.”

newspaper_bwJC:  “Everything is magnified but the field of vision is narrow.  Without tailoring, the news websites would be more like newspapers.  Think about looking at a hard-copy newspaper.  You might not read an article but you read the headline to decide whether to read the article.  Just by reading the headline, you got some information, whether or not you want additional info.”

Jordan:  “I guess the same logic applies to newscasts.  Viewers or listeners are exposed to an array of stories, whether or not they would have selected the stories.”

JC:  “People using the internet as a primary source for news and then tailoring the Telescope-clip-art-14-300x300stories really narrows what they are exposed to — just like the telescope.  On the website, many viewers just get information that reinforces their opinion or perception. Many of the internet-only news folks are not exposed to few new ideas and not exposed to opposing views.”

Jordan:  “Back to your hard-copy newspaper or newscast — do you think anyone actually changed their opinion?”

JC:  “Far more likely than anyone in the internet-only group changing their opinion.”

Jordan:  “The internet seems to have created a paradox.  Although information is more accessible, with tailoring many people are being exposed to less information and have less understanding.”

JC:  “And a lot of people seem to be thinking less.  Sounds crazy but it’s as if the internet and the smart-phone didn’t make people smarter, but made them dumber.”

Jordan:  “I like calling it ‘internet myopia’ but aren’t you stretching the idea of the internet as contributing to the Revenge Revolution?”

JC:  “The problem with internet info is unless one accesses a highly credible website, there is no way of knowing how good the info is.”

librarianJordan:  “I agree a large portion of the younger population has never been taught how to research information properly, how to read a newspaper, or how to listen to two sides of an argument.”

JC:  “And a lot of older folks seem to have forgotten, or just become lazy.  Some people will chastise me but the internet seems to have diminished society’s ability to think critically.  People seem to react without thinking.”

Jordan:  “Interesting comment and I think you’re on to something.”

JC:  “When one stops thinking critically, it’s easy to fall for slogans and other BS.  I know it’s a few years ago, but look at what happened in the 2016 presidential race.

Jordan:  “During that campaign a very smart guy and long-time friend asked me when the US economy was going to come out of the 2008 recession.  Somehow he didn’t know, or maybe want to know, the economy had been expanding for 7 years with no recession in site.”

JC:  “He must have some reason for his claim.  Did he have his head in the wrong part of his anatomy?”

Jordan:  “I think foremost, he’s a Republican who can’t stand Obama.  But his argument about the economy was based on median income not increasing…which is true.  But what he failed to understand is where the income went.  He failed to understand how tax cuts and other policies had shifted income to upper quintiles.”

JC:  “How’d he react when you filled him in?”

Egg on FaceJordan:  “He was surprised and said he felt as if he had egg on his face.  He knew I spent a lot of time studying economic data.  But my frustration is this guy is not alone.  He’s typical of many people, and it seems especially true of right-wing Republicans.”

JC:  “Maybe you should rephrase that to former right-wing Republicans.  A lot of those empty-wallet-clipart-former Republicans became part of the Revenge Revolution.”

Jordan:  “What’s your take why the participated.”

JC:  “Something easy to understand.  Lack of cash.  A whole bunch of middle-class people kept working but few of them got ahead.  They kept hearing promises from Republicans that tax cuts were the answer but those tax cuts never helped the little guy.”

Jordan:  “And the little guy kept looking in his wallet and rather than dollars, he saw moths flying out.  The middle-class family was out of cash and wanted a change…and Trumpthey nominated The Donald.”

JC:  “Then a few years later they started the Revolution.  OK, but how does Greenie weave together, or maybe link together the internet, less critical thinking and economic inequality?”

Jordan:  “My view?  If a person tailors information received they are very likely not to understand what is really happening…and why.  For many people, especially younger, the internet replaced traditional media forms.  As a result, there was less exposure to differing view and certainly less critical thinking.  That continued until…”

Screwed-GuyJC:  “…people got tired of moths in the wallet instead of dollars.  They felt screwed.  Then many people, including a high percentage of lower-income Republicans, got jolted into reality.”

Jordan:  “And voila, the Revenge Revolution.”