Saturday, July 17, 2010

A connection between Rupert Murdoch and Nancy Grace?

In the course of working on a blog post that will tangentially mention Nancy Grace, I ran across this summary of her broadcasting work. Now I am no fan of Nancy Grace, but the beginning of the post was too much, even for me:

Her fans

Bored, overweight CSI watchers who live their lives in their mobile homes fascinated with murder and crime and imagining themselves to be crime-solving geniuses. I guarantee that all of these people have a Myspace page, live in a rural area, and are used to being the smartest person in their little group of friends, maybe even in the whole trailer park. They all want to write a book and have sent several hundred short-story manuscripts to every magazine in their 3 year-old copy of Writer's Market. They have limited experience with violence, limited grasp of how murder investigations work, and so have romanticized it in their little imaginations. Basically murder is for them the equivalent of a soap opera, something they can involve themselves in vicariously and forget how narrow and empty their lives and their futures are.

Now the funny part about this is that Nancy Grace, part of the CNN empire, is linked with MySpace, owned by Rupert Murdoch - who also owns Fox News Channel, a CNN competitor.

And the sad part of this is the perception of MySpace users as white rural uncool trailer trash. Now I happen to have a MySpace page - and I do NOT live in a rural area.

Ironically, part of this perception is diametrically opposed to something that I read in a Broadstuff post today, which I previuously cited for another reason. The Broadstuff post quotes from GigaOM:

In 2007, [Danah] Boyd wrote an essay that said her research showed Facebook users were primarily white and from middle-class or more affluent households and neighborhoods, while MySpace users were more likely to be from immigrant or working-class families and households....

Boyd has since expanded her thoughts into a book chapter, slated to be published at some future time. The draft includes a quote from a self-conscious teen at a multi-racial school outside of Boston:

It’s not really racist, but I guess you could say that. I’m not really into racism, but I think that MySpace is now more like ghetto or whatever.

And it's not just Boyd. The noted scientific publication Stuff White People Like has also documented this:

For a brief period of time, MySpace was the site where everyone kept their profile and managed their friendships. But soon, the service began to attract fake profiles, the wrong kind of white people, and struggling musicians. In real world terms, these three developments would be equivalent to a check cashing store, a TGIFridays, and a housing project. All which strike fear in the hearts of white people.

White people were nervous but had nowhere else to go. Then Facebook came along and offered advanced privacy settings, closed networks, and a clean interface. In respective real world terms, these features are analogous to an apartment or house with a security system/doorman, an alumni dinner, and a homeowners association that protects the aesthetics of the neighborhood. In spite of these advances, some white people still clung to their old MySpace accounts. That was until they learned that Facebook started, like so many things beloved by white people, at Harvard.

Within a matter of months, MySpace had gone from a virtual utopia to Digital Detroit, where only minorities and indie bands remain.

So who do you believe? Is MySpace a hangout for uncool white trailer trash, or is MySpace a hangout for uncool brown ghetto trash?

Frankly, I don't believe either of these theories. Why not? I have my reasons.
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