The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Sunday, March 2, 2008


The small stuff.

Hyperlocal means taking advantage of the unique power of the internet to show us the little things that traditional media seldom or never did. Sometimes when we blog we blog about big important things, like censorship and freedom, and whether they were threatened by a recent decency rally held by the UMass Republicans over some sexually explicit safe sex posters.

I checked this morning to see if the controversial posters were still up outside the office of The Radical Student Union, but they were gone. Instead there was an enlarged copy of a letter from the UMass authorities with pink arrows pointing at it.

The letter said that if the safe sex posters were not removed, then the Radicals might lose their funding and their office space. I guess they felt they had no choice but to surrender in the face of such a severe threat, so it looks like the UMass Republicans had a total victory. When was the last time that has happened at UMass on any issue?

However, sometimes a blog can do good deeds not just by covering the big issues, which the mainstream media also does, but by covering the small stuff the rest of the media can't afford to or just ignores. In the cyberworld there is an infinitely elastic definition of how we can cover our world. For example, someone might make a psychedelic video suggesting what it might be like to take acid on the Norwottuck Bike Trail.

Of course, the hyperlocal could be about something serious, but in a way that's important to only a small number of people. Like what the hell happened to the bus shelter in front of the Post Office in downtown Amherst?

Or you could just show something of interest because, well, just because it's interesting, like this big pile of snow at the base of the big flag in the Big Y parking lot in Amherst.

Or you could show something just because it's cool, like this car in the Big Y parking lot.

Sometimes you can show hyperlocal things just because they are a little strange. This morning while waiting for my bus I was intrigued by the odd title of this sermon given this morning at the Northampton Unitarian Church.

Every day at lunchtime people who used to fly without feathers gather in the basement of the Unitarian Church. It's an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and although the meeting has some dull official name, it is universally known as "The Looney Nooner."

If you wonder why it's called that, then you don't know Northampton.

When my bus arrived it had an anti-alcohol message on the side.

My point is that in the hyperlocal we can show the little details that reveal what our communities are really like.


LarryK4 said...

The Big Flag at Big Y with a Big pile of snow around it reminds me of the epic flag raising at Iwo.

Yeah, the sex posters at Umass fiasco are fascinating for the way the bricks and mortar media cover it (or don’t as the case may be). The Collegian puts it on the front cover (the Pubbie Rally) on a Thursday. but when the posters come down the following day they don’t report it on Monday. But when the unwashed masses at Radical Student Union put the posters back up in defiance of the Umass upper echelon Vice Chancellor club they cover it like a Tiananmen Square in the making.

But now that the wimps have backed down in response to a stern letter from a, goodness!, Umass Vice Chancellor, it will be interesting to see if the Collegian or the Crusty Gazette cover it over the next few days (as I’m sure you know, they take Saturday and Sunday off and awaken Monday morning around 9:25 AM (nice gig if you can get it)

Anonymous said...

It is a very slippery slope to consider this either a free speech or a gay rights issue.

What you have are a bunch of rich spoilt brats who wanted to see just how obnoxious they could be before UMass finally told them "enough."

UMass is a campus where kids who put the Coor's Lite Girls posters up in their dorm rooms are threatened with expulsion -- the issue here is that a penis on public display is at least as much a violation of the sexual harassment policy as a babe in a bikini in your private dorm room...

Tim said...


You and I are about the same age. I really remember Rod Stewart around 71-72, as about the coolest thing in the industry. I can't think of anyone from our classic rock era that turned into such a disappointment. Christ, the guy has a voice to die for and he had Jeff Beck in his band. What the hell?

P. Mastrangelo said...

you are an inspiration!

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