August 25, 2006

Reality Hacking with Truthiness

Mark Federman, through his What is the (Next) Message? blog, puts a Mcluhanesque spin on Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, writing about the audience engagement in recent bits and the emergence or re-creation of a participative pool of cool media around The Colbert Report in a television landscape that's largely otherwise turned hot.

Reaching out beyond the confines of the cathode ray, plasma, or lcd (guess we can't just call it "the box" anymore), Colbert seems to be what I remember being called a "reality hacker". From Wikipedia (at least today)...
Reality hacking is an artistic practice that...emerges from the intersection of hacking and hacker culture, contemporary art, activism, and net culture. Reality hacking takes as its basis a broad, phenomenological point of view of the world, and considers (often unorthodox) investigations into everyday objects and situations a meaningful way of probing into the working of varied social contexts.
Sounds like a good description of what Colbert's doing.

And, after all, Colbert's personna has already hacked his own reality via truthiness. Rather than just reporting and commenting on the news like his influences/targets (O'Reilly, Scarborough, et al), extending his reach into the reality of the rest of us is an very interesting next step.

Or is it pulling us into his reality? I guess Mark's mention of convergence covers both possibilities.

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