It doesn’t make any sense that I would own a couple radio stations and try to build a TV network. It doesn’t make any sense that I would tell the three or four of you all about it.
It’s a bit unconventional to tell you my strategies, my observations, the way things are playing out. Others could use knowledge of the things that I present against me.
“I’m gonna take my right boot and I’m gonna whop you on that side of your face…. And there’s not a damn thing you’re gonna be able to do about it.”
Although warned, Sheriff Posner never saw it coming. I am not suggesting that I am Billy Jack. I’m just a little old radio operator who couldn’t come up with a plan of deception if you put a gun to my head. I might as well tell you what I’m doing and I plan on doing because I couldn’t hide it if I tried.
You can see the TV at WJOBNetwork.com. You could download the HeyJED app on the Apple store and Google Play. You could read this blog. You listen to my Grateful Dead podcast. You could listen on the radio to any one of the three shows that I do. It’s all out there. There’s nowhere to hide.
I accept that there’s nowhere to hide. The more you try to hide things, in a world of Internet hackers and GPS, the more you expose yourself to the revelation of your secrets. To me, the most logical approach is to accept that anything you say or write or photograph or draw could be viewed or listened to by someone else. If someone wanted to, I mean.
The one thing that no one could take away from you is the thoughts inside your head. Not yet at least. You could be sitting in the dentist’s waiting room having the most vivid sexual daydream and the old woman next to you would never be the wiser. Unless you started moaning or something.
But the moment you log onto the Internet and type in “MILF,” then whoever wanted to follow you onto that computer would know a lot about you. The moment you walk down Indianapolis Boulevard, in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, you expose yourself to dozens of cameras. Someone could gather that footage and trace your every step.
When you drive, same thing. You might think that you’re alone on a desert highway, but a satellite somewhere or a gas station Go Pro could follow your every move. And if you’re carrying a cellphone, forget about it. You’re being tracked right now.
At first, when you come of age, this doesn’t make any sense. How can I be tracked and followed and categorized and analyzed everywhere I go? Humans have free will. We have choice.
Yes, you can choose or not choose to walk down Indianapolis Boulevard. But you cannot choose whether you are followed or not. Can you imagine if someone sat down 50 years ago and wrote that wherever you go and whatever you view or produce could be monitored by others? Everything. That person who would suggest such a thing would have wound up in what they used to call an “insane asylums.” No one wants that, not even people who get it right.
My answer to this is surrender. I write to you as it comes out of my fingers. I speak to you on the radio as it comes out of my mouth. I take pictures, do videos, podcasts, blogs, poems. stories as they come to me. There isn’t that much of a filter because even if I did censor myself, you could, if you really wanted, figure out what I held back from saying.
Eventually, everything you do or say or mutter or pray will be available to everyone else. What will we do then?
That’s not the only question. Another one is – can we protect our thoughts? Now that’s worth pondering. But if you go too far into it you might wind up in what they now call a “psychiatric hospital.”
There is software now that can recognize your face in a photo. There’s millions of people in the world, but if your photo shows up on a page on the Internet, the software says –
“Geez, there’s Milt Schmitmikan.” And the software puts your name under the photo. Your cover is blown.
You have no cover. There are no blankets or hiding places. You play hide and seek with your brothers and sisters and what’s the use? You will always be found. The computer can read your face. But can it read your mind?
That’s one of the many things that I fear on an unseasonably cool evening in late August of 2018. I fear bankruptcy, alligators, impotence and my wife falling out of love with me. I fear a thousand little cuts about my kids and nieces and nephews. I just want to get down on the carpet next to the bed and ask whatever power there is:
“Please, PLEASE, let the world be kind to them. They are good and pure and beautiful.”
Addictions, domestic abuse, viruses and fire. These things and others bring harm. Please keep them away. We are good people. We live in the middle of the country. We don’t wiggle too far out of the lines. Whenever one of us in our death bed, we hold hands in the hospital and pray. We are good people. Keep away the monsters.
I thought I was gonna sit down and write to the three or four about how we’re moving forward with mobile video. I interviewed Mike Clark, the deputy suburban sports editor for the Tribune today. He was my editor in the late 90s and early 2000s when I wrote for the Times. It was a decent conversation in front of the camera, but it was even more interesting afterwards. Mike Clark does a podcast. I would have never guessed.
Clark and I have this running conversation about the future of media. Winding through the talk is our shared and unavoidable love for newspapers. The craft. Journalism. The paper on your porch in the morning. Long columns. Pictures of the Cubs or the Sox winning the World Series. A flood. An indictment. A last-second shot. Newspapers carry us from one generation to the next. I miss them already and they’re not even gone.
I did make one rather large lapse of judgment this week. Sam Michel can’t make the East Chicago at Munster football game on Friday night. I told him that I would dust off my headset and announce the game.
It’s on Friday, August 31st. I put this in my Google calendar, so any two-bit hacker can see where I’m supposed to be on Friday night. But something seemed odd. I kept thinking that I forgot about something on Friday.
Then Alexis and I watched of “Family Man” last night on Netflix . There’s a scene in which Nicholas Cage forgets his wife’s anniversary. And then it dawned on. August 31stis my wedding anniversary. Alexis and I will have been married 27 years. How is that even possible?
She is laying next to me going through her phone. All of the lights are off so there’s a cool blue glow from our electronic devices. It can get a little annoying all the pounding on the keys, but I think it comforts her. She is not one of the three or four of you. Good night. Time to go to bed and wake up, scoop the newspaper off the front porch, make a couple eggs, ride my bike to Purdue and do a morning show. Could be worse. Certainly could be worse.