Atomized junior- The Web log

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Atomized junior- The Web log

Thursday, 30 September, 2004
Primary Source Document.

Last week something happened which left me feeling embarrassed for several days. I was sitting in the ground floor of a classroom building (Tydings) eating lunch while reading the paper. There is a Washington Post  box in the lobby, if I get there before 2:00 I can usually get a paper from it. It was the top of the hour and the classrooms had emptied out, now the stragglers were drifting by. I saw two girls come around a corner and sweep past as I turned from one article to another. Something percolated from semi-concious apprehension to the idling forefront of my mind - which was that one of the girls was wearing a green sleevless t-shirt across the front of which a word beginning with 'Hollis' was printed. The rest of it, I couldn't see - it was round the other side. Now, I come from a small town called Holliston, it's about five hundred miles north. There are a lot of other small towns between here and there. I never run into people from Holliston down  in Maryland. Gears ground; are there other Hollis words which might lay claim to quality t-shirt real-estate? The impulse to jump up and shout, "you there, your t-shirt what does the rest of it  say?", rose then fell away. As they reached the door and paused to push the heavy wooden doors open, the girl of the t-shirt looked at the other and exclaimed "GRRR, I HATE that! At which point it dawned on me she felt I had just spent the last twenty seconds staring at her breasts. She felt that I was a bad person. They were gone out the door and I was left only with the vague recollection that they had both been young small thin dark haired girls, very pretty. But I could 'see' only the letters Hollis. For the life of me I could not remember what her breasts actually looked like.

 Life is so unfair.

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Wednesday, 29 September, 2004
Gaming the Center

I want to return to the theme of my previous post "plain unbalanced" to clear out all the scattered notes and links I collected, adding some new. Jack Shafer writing for Slate Lewis Lapham Phones It In conducted a peculiar hatchet job on the Lewis Lapham's article Tentacles of Rage: The Republican propaganda mill, a brief history in the recent Harper's. His primary assertion is that it is old hat and derived from a DNC consultant's powerpoint show. This much is true; although, I personally found it informative and interesting, tying together things I knew were not separate but did not know exactly how they fit. Shafer moves from this assertion - which presumes that if I did not already know these facts, I didn't need to - and unloads on Lapham, trying to show Liberal Philanthropy far outweighs the right's philanthropists. A contentious assertion at best. In doing so he continually labels "public" radio and television "liberal" against which, along with most of what is generally known as establishment media (ie for-profit and corporate owned), the visions of right wing can be presented as moderate and centrist. Public radio and television were born out of "good government" principles and informed and engaged civic spiritedness, and I can certainly see why some conservatives would view this as what they like to call the "hard left", but this serves only to map most clearly the land where their own feet are planted.

Then there is the apparition of Christopher Hitchens in Slate Flirting with Disaster: The vile spectacle of Democrats. Where to start (yeah I miss Molly Hatchet too, but what can you do?). He starts with a offhand quote by Theresa Heinz: "I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next month." Then spins dizzily into a sentence his thesaurus wrote for him -quote: "...words ending in "-able." Deplorable, detestable, unforgivable..." Gathering limited cohesion he continues:

The plain implication is that the Bush administration is stashing Bin Laden somewhere, or somehow keeping his arrest in reserve, for an "October surprise. This innuendo would appear, on the face of it, to go a little further than "impugning the patriotism" of the president. It argues, after all, for something like collusion on his part with a man who has murdered thousands of Americans as well as hundreds of Muslim civilians in other countries.
Her statement at least as he has quoted it says nothing of the sort. It doesn't equate to the first clause of his plain implication at all, it comes near the second - if one changes the antecedent from the Bush Administration to the Pakistani regime of General Musharraf, under all possible pressure of the United States and with all possible resources. And frankly there it is unremarkable, the Administration would love for the Pakistanis to produce Bin Laden within a fortnight of the election. the Pakistanis would love to do it for them. No one save for Hitchens, possibly, doubts this, and many are saying it. Hitchen's second assertion with which he energetically damns her, can't be honestly derived from Theresa Heinz's statement. It is pure deliberate misrepresentation. It is a magician's mis-direction. A device of deceitful hateful rhetoric produced by hitchens out of his own deranged and deeply ugly mind.

Why did he choose to do this? Take a look at this block from Google news headed "Surge protector", A picture named SURGE.GIF leading to a story in the Weekly Standard. I never know what part of Google's displays is a strict turn around of a headline or link name, and when it may be more algorithmically complicated. But if you wanted to kill the impact of media coverage of Kerry moving upward in the polls, what could be better than to plant stories now that it either means nothing or is proof of media bias. If one wanted to play down down skepticism of the Pakistani's current frantic efforts to turn up Bin Laden what better way than to shake the shame finger at the skeptical now. Call this viral: call it political gorilla marketing.

There was an interesting article in Online Journalism Review (OJR) last week, Balancing Act: How News Portals Serve Up Political Stories noting a tendency for searches of various politically freighted terms in Google News to return large numbers numbers of conservative dedicatedly 'on-message' web logs. Anecdotely, I've noticed this myself most recently when I did a search to try to re-find the article I had read which identified the web logger, Buckhead, to be an activist republican lawyer from Atlanta. Mostly I came up with web logs on that search and they ran right wing by a 10 to 1 margin. The one Democratic leaning web log citation was Buckhead Revealed. By one Chris Hardcore. Note especially at the end of this post the section he calls Here's what probably happened . My brother-in-law, Al, indicated that most democratic political people in Washington believe this was a set-up along the lines that Mr. Chris lays out. I have reservations, but something about that whole affair reminded me of this toy car I had as a kid - held together with springs and rubberbands it was designed to fly apart when you rolled it against something. This story, too, seemed designed to fly apart and the MacDougalds seem to have been engaged in some variety of astro-turf enterprise.

At the end of work today (cataloging dept. of an university library), one of the last books I handled seemed to be on this general topic Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. There was a phrase the author, Tiziana Terranova, used that caught my attention political subjectivities the context suggested that a massive subjectivity permeates all aspects of networked political culture. In sports, I think back to High School here - to teams and people I knew first hand, when a team got the wrong idea about its notions and abilities there would be a game. At the end of that game by the rules sports lives by there would be a score, and objectivity was reset. Objectivity is not being reset here. The question to ask is whether online communities and tailored narrow-casting and web logged amplification of 'news' sources can move one beyond the point of seeing the score at the end of the game.

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Monday, 27 September, 2004
A Program note

During the period when the browser was crashing and dragging my computer down with it. I didn't notice the comments left by Mir and Robert on earlier posts. I stopped bringing my page up at all so I didn't see them. It was when Robert asked if I had read his comments and I said no, that he alerted me to these items. When I get bored at work , which starts from the moment when I sit down in the morning. We don't even have cubicles so I listen to college radio stations and bring up their online request forms and request alternating blocks of bjork and the Streets.
11:51:53 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Saturday, 25 September, 2004
Wherein I finally give up and send iCab out to gentle green pasture.

I didn't mind when it crashed once or week or so. I only minded somewhat when it began crashing every day, sometimes even twice a day. It was that even when you brought it back up, it didn't work right: buttons wouldn't work, or would disappear entirely. Then you wouldn't be able to open links. In the end I could never set it right until I did a restart. All the more tireing because I usually had eight or so windows open in the background in advance of reading anything - confessions of 56k dial-up user. All of which then have to be re-opened. It seemed to be an artifact of servers negotiating with iCab about setting cookies and rules about pop-up window behavior. Reuters wouldn't want doubleclick to show me that same side-bar flash ad twice. iCab didn't seem to be replying fast enough, or maybe the servers didn't like what they were hearing. Hard to say. It would just wink out with not so much as a "the application iCab has quit unexpectedly" dialog box, which is usually a sign that the event wasn't a complete surprise to your machine's operating system.

So I switched to Firefox. The only real holdback was that Firefox wouldn't import iCab's bookmarks automatically. I had to sling them over by hand. Bookmarks; I must have four or five hundred of them. Most are from four or more years ago - BG - before google. I got a bookmark for the comic book Too Much Coffee Man, one for Opus Dei (not the band -go figure), the World bank, and one that documents old movie theatres, one for Edmund Husserl (heck I got three for Karl Popper), and one for Helena Bonham Carter - I loved her in Fight Club. I toyed with Mozilla's other browser for OSX Camino - which could import iCab's book marks but couldn't do much else. Well, It's still a 0.8 pre-release. Now if Camino can import iCab bookmarks why can't Firefox.

I feel bad for dumping iCab; though, it has been nice seeing what sites look like in cascading style sheet layout. MicroSoft has a whole division working on Explorer, sameways Apple on Safari, Mozilla a first rank open source project. iCab is pretty much one guy, Alexander Clauss, and the dream of a browser as a standards obeying scooting taxi-cab of the world wide virtual metropolis. I liked that dream, and a lot of things he got right, little things like being able to fine tune the contextual menu - being able to set the interval for hold-click to equal option-click. I'll be back to check out his 3.0 version when it's done, and I still use it on the machine I still run OS 8.6 on, where it doesn't crash except on which kills it every time, but I can't go on rebooting the iBook twice a night.

11:33:35 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Wednesday, 22 September, 2004
The Librarian?

Robert forwarded this IMDB link to me Librarian, The (2004) (TV). This is a TV show pilot I guess. The set up is a ancient and mystical object is taken from a library, and a mild mannered librarian sets out to get it back at all cost (must have been the DVD copy of "Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!"). The listed cast includes Jane Curtin, Olympia Dukakis, Kyle MacLachlan, Bob Newhart, and Kelly Hu as a "Serpent Brotherhood Member". Allright I'll watch it. I wonder where Robert finds out about these things.
11:41:23 PM    comment [];trackback [];
Plain Unbalanced

This years election campaign has often made me think of the early work of Brian Eno. The early work of Brian Eno doesn't make me think of anything at all, but I've made a note to take Tiger Mountain, by strategy if neccesary.

A while back, June, the Pew Charitable Trust did an opinion survey looking into peoples political affiliations and convictions, cross referenced into questions on where they they obtained their news and opinions. The Pew Charitable Trusts: Informing the Public: The practice of journalism. The Newshour (pbs) who are associated with the Pew Trust did a segment on it Online NewsHour: News Consumers Follow Political Lines -- August 3, 2004 and Alternet anted up with a piece named Fox Leans Right, White, and Male AlterNet: MediaCulture. The over all message from this survey had two main parts. That the news consumption by Americans hasn't changed much in the past few years. (they note increasing reliance on online news sources and emerging technologies like RSS, among some population segments). The other more dramatic finding was the degree of polarization in news consumption and evaluation:

The public's evaluations of media credibility also are more divided along ideological and partisan lines. Republicans have become more distrustful of virtually all major media outlets over the past four years, while Democratic evaluations of news organizations' credibility have remained mostly stable. As a result, only about half as many Republicans as Democrats rate a variety of well-known news outlets as credible. pdf
I read through a good share of the full report and kept it in mind as the conventions swam by and the post labor day campaign kicked off.

During this period there was a noxious series of newspaper ads that traded on this and on the entire red state/blue state nonsense (which in the effort of creating a big picture has rendered half the electorate inconsequential to the election). Further since no state in the union is a monolithic entity: all urban, or all rural. it encourages a daft over-simplification of our socio-geography. As David Brooks has said politics is more identification than reason. Retro-Metro (which turned out to be for a "high-concept" drugstore novel) can become a reality if enough folk feel thats as much thinking as they want to do. There are tribes within the democratic party, metroscalors and sundry which while comprising non-majoritan portions of the electorate would assume sole proprietorship of the Democratic party. And that's after Ralph Nader has taken his crowd and gone home. If the democratic party is to continue to win national elections it needs to be the party of the working class and pay attention to how working people come by their wages and opinions.

Let's stop and look at a set piece of modern media-proxy political dialog : Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, truth by which they proffer a mangy grab-bag of second-hand lies half truths, and nebulously stated unsupportable falsehoods. Show of hands: how many Vietnam veterans out there would like their own tour of duty, purple hearts, friends and accomplices to be examined with the same doubt and cynicism that Mr. Kerry's has. Too late to change your mind now, As even E.J. Dionne Points out And, please, none of this nonsense about how Kerry "opened the door" to the assault on his Vietnam years by highlighting his service at the Democratic National Convention. Nothing any candidate does should ever be seen as "opening the door" to lies about his past. What Is Bush Hiding? ( But I've come neither to praise or bury these folk per se. I just wanted to point out Benjamin Ginsburg's oped in the Washington Post "Swift Boats and Double Standards" (Wed. 01 Sep 2004, A19). Mr. Ginsburg wrote out 600 words to the effect that the press is unbalanced and biased because he feels shafted that he's had to leave the Bush Campaign, while he believes he sees democratic lawyers going back and forth between the Kerry campaign and left of right non-profits. which he attempts to lay out in detail. This may be; although, I wouldn't necessarily take it on his word alone. More particularly it misses essential point: these 'dem" lawyers were not behind a vicious ad hominen ad campaign that played loose and fast (swift?) with the truth all, the more because the official presidential campaign would try to seem unconnected above it all, and made wide loud claims to that end. Coordination is hard to achieve without coordinators though, and Mr. Ginsburg was noted with his boxers in both camps.

Lawyers are a special case, you never know when they are being professionally disingenuous, stupid, or deliberately churlish. Politically sensitive events are polarized into separate realities, parallel worlds. Scenarios are posited to reinforce or dilute and mitigate facts. Hypothetic 'facts' are posited to explain inconvenient outcomes. Increasing some people are looking for news sources that will take them through the looking glass. One of the strangest things I've heard - I've been running across this one for at least four or five months. An argument that Weapons of Mass Destruction have been found - in mass quantities as they tell it among themselves, nearly always falling back to the the story of the artillery shell set as a roadside bomb that didn't go off, or a supposed warehouse with or more damningly not with barrels of industrial chemicals. President Bush is sitting on this overwhelming proof - taking the hit and ridicule - so that we don't have to leave Iraq (or let the UN in, so the narrative goes) and can stay and do Freedoms work. WMD and the sacred heart of G W Bush. Consider the story of George Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard Military Service: Portrait of George Bush in '72: Unanchored in Turbulent Time New York Times. That is the story, and it's existed thirty years, but aside from this and an Airforce times article Bush[base ']s Air Guard stint started well, then faded into mystery Air Force Times (which contains a URL to a report on George W Bush's service record by Gerald A. Lechliter Colonel U S Army (Ret.) the NY times web site provides: pdf, the story which has taken over the news and come to represent the primary facet of the Presidents National service are stories about amateurish and obvious forged memos from his service jacket. The coincidence that the Weblogger "Buckhead" who led the charge to prove this is actually a well-known politically active republican lawyer from Atlanta Atlanta lawyer's blog on Guard memo spurs speculation - 09/18/04, is probably not coincidence but counter-narrative. Your modern republican has done been to school.

In order to work - in order for a manufactured narrative to succeed in the marketplace of ideas - official statements must be made that lean in the direction of beliefs sought without provoking a challenge at the hands of realists. Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith strayed over that line the previous Monday in an interview on NPR's Morning edition Pentagon Hawk Feith a Magnet for War Critics. A few days later a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate gets leaked to the New York Times U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq's Future offering near complete contradiction of his characterization of the war. A report which undoubtedly he had read. President Bush himself offers up rose colored scenario, shakes off a plea by senate to come to terms with situation Yahoo! News - Senators Urge Bush to Rethink Iraq Policy", plunges on toward policy speeches dealing entirely with so far entirely elusive benefits of his policy. He must position himself outside of and skeptical of the "guesses" of the intelligence bureaucracy. If he is successful he can make the insurgency virtually disappear in the eyes of his supporters. The situation on the street. The Incident on 'Death Street' (AlterNet), is making Iraq so difficult and dangerous to cover that its true nature slowly being squeezed out of the public view allowing it room to be transformed into a fable of prevailing victory and justice. Just check over at Free-Republic.

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Friday, 17 September, 2004

For me that record jacket, black and white photo them just standing there in front of a brick wall. They signified. you dropped a needle on it. Bam! Now there's only one left.

I'm going to borrow (well steal) a sentence from the New York Times article on his passing Mr. Ramone, born John Cummings, is the third member of the Ramones to die in three years, following Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman), the singer, who died of cancer in 2001, and Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin), the bassist, who died of an apparent drug overdose the following year. Of the original band, only Tommy Ramone (Tom Erdelyi), the drummer, survives. Johnny Ramone, Signal Guitarist for the Ramones, Dies at 55, and A line from Kurt Cobain (entirely from memory) My heart is broke but I have some glue, help me inhale and mend it with you Remember now that's "Carbona not Glue".
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Wednesday, 15 September, 2004

Well, I had tried not commenting on the day to day thrashing about of this campaign. It makes it impossible to get any sort of feeling for the larger issues of the election for one thing (does this election have larger issues - do any of the candidates embody them if there are?). Having broke into the territory with that last post I might as well have at a few issues that have dug into me like so many political chiggers. A litany of minor observations:

Don Rumsfeld noted in Al Kamen's in the loop column (last item "mistaken identity") repeatedly saying 'Saddam Hussien' when he clearly meant 'Osama Bin Laden' there are a couple of possibilities here. First that he actually is confused like the bad acid wackjob he sometimes appears to be. Possibly they've never been able to tell the difference in this administration. For all they really know about the middle east the people on top of the sand are simply indistinguishable and in-the-way. Just maybe this is not really accidental but is quite deliberate. that he is going out in public and knowingly dissembling in order to actively deceive the American people, to lie further in pursuit of goals they could not attain through truth. Don Rumsfeld: opening school on Doc Goebbels. Congress has signed on House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11 even if Edwards has misgivings Edwards: Bush Implied Saddam-9/11 Link (AP)

I saw something - an oped type of thing the other day, part of the spate of articles in reaction to Kerry's new stump speeches. I caught a sentence where the writer challenged Kerry to come up with his own strategy to secure availability to middle east oil. [I just re-discovered where I read this: David Broders column Sunday Middle East Reality (] Are we all ready to finally admit that this really is about oil, to a large degree - in the interest of moving the national debate forward. Not about oil as it is today, cheap and relatively plentiful, but oil in 20 years when competition for it will mean the stability and wealth of the nations of the developed world, and the necks, literally, of leaders. The same leaders who, now, will not focus us on the choices that need to be made to move away from locked dependence on oil as our primary source of energy. The policies that allow/encourage the inroads of the 12 mpg SUV people-mover into the american automobile-fleet. Carry on campers, no comprehensive change need be made. Some stories like this NYT oped are willing to take Kerry head-on and look at the role energy concerns are playing in this election New York Times > The Big Issues: Looking for Energy in the Campaign. The administration will still hide behind implausibles that wouldn't get past a sixth grader:

Anybody who would suggest that we'd be there for the oil, I think doesn't understand the basic fundamental decision that the President had to make... If we were interested, for example, in oil, we would have stayed in Saudi Arabia. We didn't. Vice President and Mrs. Cheney's Remarks and Q&A in Sheboygan Falls
It's not that we didn't, it is that we realized we couldn't with Al Qeada ascendant in the region. Paul Wolfowitz said this much and more over a year ago in Vanity Fair. The Saudis' indicated we had to leave, we needed to install what was considered necessary US military presence somewhere else in the region. Iraq as weakest of the problematic states, and contained by a failed, (or failing) policy of sanctions was the candidate. The Washington Post which has not really come to terms with this war and its own advocacy of it, can write on this subject and not mention oil once. Mr. Kerry and Iraq.  It's about regional quiescence, oil priced as we want it, pumped into our tankers, and the eradication of resistance. No real debate on whether it was right or truly necessary to our legitimate strategic interests was ever held.

Also on Monday I see this artifact on the Google News page "Where is Kerry's North Korea Policy." The link leads to this William Kristol article in the Weekly Standard: Kerry's North Korea Non-policy. Kerrys' North Korea policy? And on the heels of a week-end when most of the international press were chasing a story on whether North Korea had just set off a nuclear bomb, how - poignantly ironic.

Over the week-end President Bush dropped by the Russian Embassy to sign a book of condolence Bush makes condolence call at Russian Embassy I have seen an equal measure of stories and opinion on how Mr. Putin is fighting the good fight, or how his struggle is like or is the same as ours BBC NEWS | 9/11 'twinned' with Beslan horror, and one telling how the Russians are pursuing a disastrous policy in Chechnya, a policy that he is using in the margins to escape from any excess of democracy or free press Russian terrorism prompts power grab. yet here no one seems to see his struggle as being at one with ours BBC NEWS | US 'concern' over Putin measures. Nor does it occur to us how others might see both these struggles.

Lastly, moving on to the purely ridiculous: Robert Novak Believes in Revealing Confidential Sources, After All (Editor & Publisher) Novak's thinking on these matters lacks clarity.
1:41:29 AM    comment [];trackback [];

IBM Selectric i: typewriter of the arsenal of democracy

About half a week ago my referrer log page was full of odd searches, because I had written a post months ago where I talked about typewriters and typefaces. This was now a hot topic on the web and the vortex was gathering all things. I didn't understand at the time. I don't think I had a full appreciation until today when the local newspaper finally printed a facsimile of the purported Texas Air National Guard Memos Expert Cited by CBS Says He Didn't Authenticate Papers ( and sidebar Differences in Documents I had been as dubious of the claim that these memos had to be fakes as I was of mystery memos appearing in the first place. I thought they were labeled fakes a little quickly. When I saw the example the Post ran, I understood. Not likely to have been produced by anything available to a line military unit in 1973. Or anyone typing such a document then. I spent plenty of time on Navy selectric i's and ii's, a little later on. With enough of the spinning type-golfballs you could get untypewriter results out of them, still. I didn't encounter my first word processor until I got stationed in the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence plot in the Pentagon. How many copies of The Mac Is Not A Typewriter had to be sent out into the world throughout the eighties and nineties (just nineties - 1rst ed seems to have been 1990) before people stopped doggedly formating documents exactly as they might have in the fifties. Dan Rather and CBS need to start backing away slowly from this one.
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Monday, 13 September, 2004
Reflecting puddle

Reflecting on the fact that my Niece who is just starting seventh grade is taking algebra, and Video production as an elective. I had a dream about seven grade the other night. This was the dream: It was the end of the day I walked down the hall, got in line to wait for the bus. The bus came, I moved to get on it. That was it - that was my dream. Most of my dreams are like that.
11:32:24 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 7 September, 2004
Content Propagation ii

I wanted to take a second shot at the previous post. I didn't get very far into a defense of Wikipedi. I decided to think it through a bit more, look at an journal article I thought I had photo-copied and saved somewhere, and try it again with actual gathered thoughts. Checking with Robert, confirms that path of information into and through various mediums is traced in appreciable detail and timed seperately for different academic groupings. This is covered in a standard reference class in library school. I want to add here that Robert has cited iMdb as a source to establish names in the Library of Congress Authority File

A librarian fielding a question and reccomending sources of information would attempt to assess the purpose of a users question, the scope of the information needed (to answer the question), the time period of inquiry (in terms of current, recent, beyond recent). A large part of this is especially the first clarification is determining whether a fact or series of facts in wanted, or analysis. There are cultural artifacts which possess particular elements - a date of comming into being, an author or creator, a name. These are Facts. There are opinions about these artifacts and facts. The Red Sox lost the last game of the 1986 World Series. This was in the papers the next day, in almanacs and encyclopedia, by Christmas. Much of what we now regard as globalism is a direct result of a conference held in 1944 in Bretton Woods NH. The conference might have been mentioned in Newspapers at the time, maybe even the phrase International Monetary Fund, but as an object of analysis it's more likely to turn up in books today. Along with a clarifiaction of the question a division of documents - information - into primary, secondary, and tertiary sources is considered. News accounts, diaries, government documents; journal articles, books; dictionarys, encyclopedias, annuals etc. account for those catagories.

All to the good, but when I look at Wikipedia along with the significant advantage in internet communicaton of it's content being copyleft information, I look at the immediacy and breadth of the information, stemming directly from its collaborative, open source peer contributive model. Most information sources have to wait for a cultural phenomenon or event to be turned into information, this is often a function of mainstream elements of society. Mainstream culture becomes commodified into information in a orderly and well understood manner. Popular culture as well, but because there is so much of it not in a comprehensive or predictable way, much less so for fringe, underground, non-conforming culture, or dissenting opinion. Even years afterward understanding of such things is marked by a period of mainstream recognition of it. Punk rock is an example of this: there was nothing really different about what ocurred in London in 1977 that was not going on in New York since 1974. Essentially only Malcolm McClaren.

I knew a guy, Bernie Grindle, (original bass player for Velocity Girl by the way), who was taking a film class that studied movies from the forties; because they were thought to be primary documents and un-self-aware. Popular culture is often thought to be transparent and uncomplicated as opposed to elite or mainstream culture. The article I remembered and wanted to look at was by William Studwell: Where is the mainstream culture of the late twentieth century?... (Music Reference Services Quarterly. 4 n. 1 : 1995.) [if i can find full text of this i will add a link, but its pub. by Haworth so i doubt it]. He notes simply that is seemed by the end of the twentieth century what had been popular culture - even fringe culture had joined with what had been mainstream culture, parts of mid-century mainstream culture were looking a little highbrow. and rather than leave a vacuum at the level of popular culture a barbaric entity called rock seemed to have taken its place. Call this the Eric Clapton effect. No matter how many times Cream played the Filmore in the 60's. Eric (is he sir eric yet?) will eventually find himself surrounded by people in tuxedos playing "Wonderful tonite". Looking at this I would not want to maintain a distinction of cultures on complexity. There would be too much 'splainin' to do.

So much occurs that either generates no cash flow, or a low margin cash flow that it can be essentially invisible to a cultures documented concious for years or forever. If, it generates any kind of enthusiam, or loyalty a project like Wikipedia will capture and share it. That is the essential justification of Wiki'ness.
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Friday, 3 September, 2004
Content propagation

In the interest of the fullness of truth I ought to mention that my friend Robert was able to demonstrate that you can look the aphex twins up in the (online) encyclopeadia Britannica. It was worth it; though, to see the aghast look on his face when I pointed out the "edit this page" tab at the top of all Wikipedia articles, which he had never noticed before. It's all true any sod can wander in out of the gutter and add or edit content in Wikipedia, Well, once they register and read the FAQ. For a moment the fire of faith that lights the internet flickered and near went out.

Speaking of fires I've been writing very slow the past couple of weeks. I believe there may be soot building up inside my head again. And yet from the single and rather small candle I keep going in there too. You wouldn't think, but... When news cycles pick up and events crowd in on each other I tend to think slower. There were many times in college what with five classes all talking about different things when I would cease to think all together. For weeks, even months at a time. I try to keep things simple now, but newspapers are like candy, the internet like extra fizzy RC cola. There are still times when I find I can walk faster than my thoughts and so leave them behind before they are caught by words and fall to the ground, like so many acorns.
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Thursday, 2 September, 2004
Garden Party

On Monday after a bit of un-wholehearted viewing I blew off watching the Republican Convention. The next day, after talking to Robert who helpfully recalled my near degree in political science. "It's 'government and politics' at Maryland", I murmured "politics ain't no science, and its only conjunctively related to government. But I took his point, I ought to be tickled with all this outre civicness going on. Truth is I'm not. Modern conventions are just PR events not just for the party, but the candidate's campaign in particular. They are dull repetitive and pointless. I could get the story and answer any questions I had on secondary source. The stream of cinema verite broadcast out of the garden each night was just a side branch of the river lethe. Nonetheless I watched it the next night and caught Governor Schwartzenegger's speech, and Laura Bush's. I stuck in a movie on the followingt night: A river runs through it and did not see Zell Miller or VP Cheney's speeches at occurrence; though, they were hard to avoid on replay. But can one really apprehend true art through mechanical reproduction?

I had a professor once who believed that one could get a window on the true nature of modern civilization and culture by examining the art work of patients at St. Elizabeths, he had slides for this (ezra pound lived at st. elizabeths for a while). Musing on simply printed quotes and characterizations of Miller's speech I found in the papers the next day, I felt that to take a stance like that, the honorably intended would have announced their desicion to leave the democratic party and agreed to stand for office as a overt republican - before - giving such a speech. When I caught up to some video excerpts from the event I was physically stunned- what a profoundly sick twisted angry man he is. Dr. Glass would be able to organize an entire gallery showing around this sad little man, should he take up the brush.

On Gwen Ifil's show Washington Week She noted that the White House has had Zell Miller's speech in hand for four weeks and let him deliver it without asking for or making any changes. She noted as well speculation that it was felt that he might make the speech by VP Cheney seem tame and reasonable by comparison. This is not all that unlikely. I recall reading a quote from Cheney a week or so ago: he was remarking to Don Rumsfeld that when Rumsfeld came into a room it made people see him as warm and cuddly. They were already aware that Cheney who has high negatives according to polls is also read relationally to his surroundings. It's also possible that Senator Miller over-sold his speech a little, it's well known that them Georgia boys love their meth-amphetamines, but you can get too cranked if you take too much.

On Thursday I did tune in for President Bushes speech. It didn't sell me but I don't think it was intended to. I was surprised how much of it was recycled from the stump speeches of the President and Vice president, much of it I've heard before on the Newshour. I thought even for a campaign speech it was remarkably vague. I recall reading somewhere this week that vagueness was testing well. In reaching back for an assemblage of proven crowd pleasers he waded into assertions and positions that were certainly disingenuous if not dishonest. Kerry's statement concerning Hollywood and the heart of america, not just taken out of context but mis-quoted. His own opposition to the Dept. of Homeland security - until he realized it was going to go through without him. Kerry's supposed flip flop on the Iraq funding bill, while ignoring their own role in changing nature of that bill itself. The bill ended up being smaller than the true amount needed, because the White House pulled funds for ammunition, body and Humvee armor out figuring they could come back for emergency supplemental appropriations for critical items like that - after the election. The Iraq war proffered as proof of his vision and leadership, rather than evidence of his powerlessness, incompetence, shorted sightedness which is what that situation represents in reality. Up in Massachussets were I come from; we call that smell bullshit.

Pre-emptive war is an inherently unstable concept, with a built in invitation to abuse. Too far out and on too little evidence it's more subjective than objective, ie. its more about you, than about them. The opposite of such a preemptive doctrine is not by any means a post-event reactive war. At the same time the war in Afghanistan, haven of Al Qaeda, is illustrative: before 11 September 2001 neither the Clinton Administration nor the Bush Administration had a mandate or interest to conduct such a war there let alone a war in Iraq. An argument he didn't make in this speech - directly but I hear made occasionally. Is that the widening of our necessary war in Afghanistan, into Iraq was to send clear uncontravertable message to all the people of the middle east that the U S takes militant islam seriously by taking the war to the bad actors of the region. Who, arguably by keeping the region in turmoil, allowed it to flourish. This in fact is a stronger argument that the ones they willing put out publicly (the nature of our relation to Pakistan probably keeps our message from becoming too clear). Even so it still is just version of the "they only understand force" argument which it reduces to and falls into the trap that this is a a false and simplistic reading of human nature and therefore it is unlikely that our message is being understood as we think it is, but rather in some very very different way US standing with Arabs hits a low | .

An variation on this is seen in this slate article America's New Revolutionary War - Why is Muqtada Sadr defending the status quo Lee Smith writes that in is not Muqtada Sadr who is a revolutionary figure. He is a figure utterly of the region on a routine Middle East career path. By turns; warlord and politician, privately and publicly violent and murderous, for both practical and resonant reasons. Rather it is the U S that is the revolutionary actor and voice by trying to replace this pattern with democracy and the will of the people. The general will of the people. We say Arabs can be peaceful and democratic, but not on their, own only when we come and transform them.

President Bush also alluded to Saddam Hussien's intransigence. With the U S, with the UN, with everyone. This is quite true. President Bush declares he had no choice but to go to war with Iraq. I remember a line in a metafilter thread from nearly a year ago someone remarked that it is a stupid man who allows himself to be maneuvered into a place where he has 'no choice' (I discover I saved this remark to a text file allowing me to test my memory against Ctrl-c)

There was no choice.
It is a stupid man who allows himself to be maneuvered into a place where he "has no choice." posted by rushmc at 10:15 AM PST on October 17 Lies and the Lying Liars That Wage War | Metafilter
I can't accept the Presidents interpretation of this, in the end the iraq war says more about this administrations unwillingness, in ability their incompetence to conduct diplomacy than anything else. Clear sightedness on how little on iraq war has accomplished,how poorly, it was planned managed and understood. Is important now as forces gather in anticipation of a second term for this administration to lead the U S into Iran, and Syria if not North Korea as well.
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2004 Paul Bushmiller.
Last update: 10/04/04; 23:41:42.