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08 December, 2010

On the Radio Now

Lucas is playing a sound quilt on KAOS:

Contemporary pow wow music, a trippy interlude, and up pops what sounds like John Lennon and Dick Cavett talking about Indians, over and then followed by a drum riff... Now a guy talking about native cultural and language loss and preservation.
The airwaves of Olympia oxygenate our local culture. People think that computers and webs can connect freedom lovers, and that the System is vulnerable to leaking into the same net damning data, inspiring even our rulers to be honest and peaceful.

Of course the web ain't that way. Some govbot is at this moment getting antsy at my mention of such things. The internet requires connection, plugging in, and for all the supposed privacy measures, you have to assume that the spies and big brother have better software than the average citizen. Are you connected to the web, or just trapped on it, waiting on the spider?

Radio lives in the air, not just in the stone's throw radius of a wireless hub. You send nothing back; the station just transmits. So yeah, you do not affect the programming of the broadcaster, but nor are they subject to denial of service attacks, viruses, or being kicked off the server. Low power stations can be mobile, off the power grid, and received by people similarly unplugged. Both ends can function without petrochemical infusions if they want, and if we ever get to the point of civil, martial, or natural disturbance on such a scale that the fragile cyber world becomes disconnected, radio is likely to survive. Mad Max's ride, the last of the V-8 Interceptors, had a radio.

The listener can turn the radio on or off. There are no packets telling NSA what she's listening to, and she has in her arm the strength to generate enough power to tune in on crank-it-up machines costing 20 bucks. The airwaves can be breathed in at will.

Democracy requires radio. TV was just about the death of freedom, and computer connectivity's ability to disperse information far and wide is more than offset by its susceptibility to secret monitoring, pinpoint location of users, data mining for phrases and patterns that mark a man as a rebel. Again, I feel Admiral Poindexter's cold gaze on these words.

The airwaves can be jammed, but not form a single location in a West Virginia bunker. Given the security industry's fetishization of technology, I'd venture to guess that they've been bored with radio broadcasts for decades now, and have grown lax in paying attention. The town I live in has pirate stations that don't even bother to hide, low power broadcasters that regularly venture into opinions and news that make the supposed liberal media look grand and old. In many areas of the country, NPR is on the left, but here they are outflanked by KAOS, who are outflanked by Radio Free Olympia, who are probably outflanked by stations I have yet to encounter.

Freedom is on the line, but it is not online. It is in the air.

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