Here we go - a nice fat n' juicy topic: the Mosque at Ground Zero. Please add the cheese, pickles, and mayo.
Almost everything I have read on the topic can be divided into the following:
This is in really bad taste, how dare you, the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim.
This is America - all religions are free to do as they please.
The Mosque will be a friendship outreach center, an antidote to terrorism.
The more I read about the founders of the US - the more I like where they were going with the whole thing, and the more I freak out about what people today think they were about. We tend to associate America with the the idea of Freedom Of Religion. But the deeper I go into how the original coders thought, the more I realize that they meant:
Freedom From Religion.
Now what does this mean? I do not think it means that they were against religion, or that they were all atheists. I really think it means that they wanted a country relativelyfree from religion in the public and political sphere. It was the noxious mix of oppressive religion and intolerance in Europe that drove many to cross the Atlantic Ocean in crappy little wooden sailboats(!) Imagine how bad it must have been to risk everything just for a little breath of freedom from the oppression of crazed religious folks in power.
In my own life I have friends from every spectrum of faith (and lack of faith) and religion: Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Atheists, Wiccans, Agnostics, Spaghetti Monsters Folks - everything and everyone. What has really helped all of these friendships is that our discussions are mostly free from discussing religion - and if and when we infrequently do, it is not a battle of right vs. wrong but one of trying to learn about some cultural tradition and then quickly back to a topic which does not involve religion.
It is one of the things I love the most about the idea of America - religion as a non-issue: do your thing, but let me do my own thing, and let's be tolerant and not in each other's face about it. Keep religion as a somewhat private, personal, family thing - you do not have to hide it, but let's not make a big deal about it. Nothing is more personal - when we die, each of us will face whatever we believe (or do not believe) in. Religion needs to become largely a non-issue.
So what about the Mosque at Ground Zero? The organizers (because this is America) are surely free to build the Mosque. Should they keep in mind that it is probably in bad taste? Yes. I would recommend that they sit down with the families of those who died in 9/11 and really find out if this is helping to build bridges of friendship and peace. How about taking the same money and donating it to the kids of the victims and helping them all through college? How about taking taking that same money and building schools of tolerance and liberal thought in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it is sorely needed. Are you really trying to extend a hand of friendship? If so, this symbolic act may be not the right move - and there are always ways to adapt - it is not too late.
But most importantly - this is America. It is our distinct freedom of, and from, religion, that allows to have this discussion at all. Maybe all religions need to take a small step back, and just let people come forward, and we'll all realize what has been in our way, and that we do have many things in common, once we let the walls of politics and religion take a backseat.
Maybe we all believe in G-d, or something, or not - but how and why we do should not be dividing us anymore. I have my own beliefs in G-d, my own sense of religion - but I also have to leave open a window of uncertainty. Uncertainty that as I grow I will learn more and my understanding will surely continue to change and evolve (as it has), and that none of us can really know what is by definition beyond our capability to know - so we need to be highly tolerant of everyone and their own beliefs, as our own is surely flawed. We are human, as humans we are limited - the arrogance of those who claim to know everything is in my view the highest form of idolatry - because if they do believe in G-d, only G-d knows what they think they claim to know. If we were all much, much, more humble in our beliefs (believers, atheists, and everything in-between) the world would be a much better place.
So what would good old George Washington tell the builders of Mosque? I think he would sit down with them and have a long chat. This is America, my friends - you are welcome here, and you are also welcome to build here - in the spirit of freedom and friendship. But let's perhaps discuss a better place for your dollars. You don't have to agree with me, but at least let us sit down and talk. After all - this is why we fought and defeated the British King - it wasn't all about tea (at least not all of it!).
In Rolling Stone Issue# 1008 (Sept. 7. 2006), writer Matt Taibbi describes what it was like to hang with Arab-Americans protesting American and Israeli policies in the Middle East. On August 12th, 2006 thousands of Arab-Americans rallied to Washington, D.C. to protest against the Iraqi war and Israel's war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon. Matt rode with them in a bus and describes how the film "Legally Blonde" (it's actually not a bad movie) was deemed offensive when it was shown as entertainment during the trip, among many other unsettling observations.
He writes that many of the protestors had an extreme anti-Israel, anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-capitalist sentiment.
Here is my problem with all of this: where were, and where are the Arab-American protests against the genocide in Darfur?
In the Wikipedia on Darfur, the following is stated:
In response, the government mounted a campaign of aerialbombardment supporting ground attacks by an Arab militia, the Janjaweed. The government-supported Janjaweed were accused of committing major human rights violations, including mass killing, looting, and systematic rape of the non-Arab population of Darfur. They have frequently burned down whole villages, driving the surviving inhabitants to flee to refugee camps, mainly in Darfur and Chad; many of the camps in Darfur are surrounded by Janjaweed forces. By the summer of 2004, 50,000 to 80,000 people had been killed and at least a million had been driven from their homes, causing a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
Arabs largely committed the massacres and atrocities at Darfur - and the world watched and did little to intervene. I do not recall any Arab-American protests at the White House regarding this issue - nor do I recall Matt Taibbi writing about how Arab-Americans were protesting Arab violence on a scale that exceeds 400 Lebanon conflicts.
Why? Because protesting against Israel and the U.S. has political capital. It plays well in the media. It advances a larger agenda. But let's not mix this with true humanitarian protests - and this is where Taibbi is both lost and confused. You've been manipulated Matt - and you missed the wider context.
I want to see the Arab-American protests against the violent agenda of many Arab regimes, against harboring terrorists behind women and children, against suicide bombings, against the Islamic violence in Iraq against other Muslims, and an accounting for Arab crimes in Darfur. Where is that protest?
This kind of protest would be introspective - it would be about coming clean regarding all of the violence and blood spilled first because of Arabs and Muslims. That kind of self-reflection would go a long way in making peace and communication with the West possible. As long as the Islamic world seeks to find the root cause of its problems in the West, blaming the West for all, there will be conflict. It is easier to blame someone than to look within, and it is high time for the Islamic world to look within and to have an internal spiritual struggle, not an external, physical struggle. The revolution needs to be within the Arab world and worldview.
There can not be a true dialogue with the Islamic world if there is no admission of their own major contributions to violence in the world. There is also a great need for the Arab world to admit and correct, the harsh, abusive, and repressive treatment of women in many Arab countries. The liberation of women in Arab countries will go a long way to creating a culture where peace is possible.
There is a whole lot to protest about. Some of the problems are caused by the West - but many are not. It would be refreshing to hear that from a non-Westerner as well. That would be progress.
Just read an interesting article on A-list bloggers, B-list bloggers, and C-list bloggers. Some bizarre Japanese and Chinese blogs in the top 50 - while classic A-listers like Instapundit and Daily Kos hold strong with many thousands of powerful links and rabid visitors.
Here are my thoughts on the whole shebang:
Some heavily funded organizations are going to find a way to send the whole group into the dark recesses of deep C-list one day - and turn blogging into a mega corporate activity.
Occassional party crashers (like myself, a no-list blogger) while jam the status quo every once in a while, sending the whole tightly wound cluster of A's and B's into a freznzy.
If blogging only becomes another ad vehicle, was it worth ripping down mainstream media?
Did the guys from Google go to Stanford to become the world's biggest ad agency?
Thought for the day - maybe blogging is become codified and smelly, and it is time for something else to take it down. Like punk in the late 1970's, it flashed, then it turned into crappy 80's new wave, and then a flash revival as grunge, and then we have Green Day as "anti-Bush" boys making more money than Texas oilmen. Where is the voice of the people if most of this is a few blogging elite making big $ and turning into what they hate(d)? I still like the long tail - it's a good place and it will have its day.
A very odd experience - blogging while being interviewed about technology and blogging. Instead of pretending to blog for the piece, I'm blogging, but methinks that I'm just blogging crap right now.
I'll need to write something with a little more zing later - like why with no investigation the VP of the US can shoot someone?
Other interesting notes:
Blogging for Peace in the Middle East update - no bites. Perhaps this was an incredibly stupid idea.
Update on blogging - it is a very zen activity - if you think hard about writing a meangingful blog you won't, and if you don't think at all it will be just crap anyway. The state a blogger needs to achieve is one of "no mind blogging" which is to think without thinking.
Robots and Bill Joy - Bill I am one of those people building the robots that one day you think will wreck humanity. Our robots our for surgery - but then again TNT was first used as a building tool.
Nanogoo - is this really a problem? That the world will turn one day into a giant gray nanogoo?
Cure for Alzheimers - my cabdriver last night was from Japan - his mother has Alzheimer's. I had a relative with the same experience. It's a pretty crappy situation.
More notes about blogging while being filmed - very wierd, especially if the film is about the media from another part of the world.
Being a famous blogger in strange parts of the world - this is a very strange feeling to think that people from somewhere halfway aorund the globe have some opinion about what you do as a sporadic part-time thing.
College journalism - this is a great breeding ground for blogging - it's just a wild west of chaos.
I received an interview call this week from a producer at Japan's public TV station. They are going to do a 2hr. documentary on bloggers, the media, and how it is changing the world.
Blogging cleary changed my world - it's a funny thing to be written about in publications like the UK's Financial Times. It's not really about me - it's about a meme that I represent, but my name somehow is stuck with that meme. It's a wierd feeling when a small segment of words floating around the internet somehow represents what you are, even though what you really are about is a much more complex set of ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
I really like Japanese journalists - I've had the most pleasent experiences with them over the last year. They seem to get what blogging is becoming and there is a deep love of technology, but also a sense of respect, fear, and unease with the darker side of things. As an American over here, Japan seems very far away and over there - it's cool to be discussing how the world is changing with them.
They want to film me in superblogger mode - perhaps at some political convention, blogging away from my Blackberry (if they stay in business!) and striking fear in the hearts of corrupt and dastardly politicians in need of a good ass-whupping.
They want to catch a major blogging event live - another Easongate, catch a Senator in a lie, or a live videoblog scoop of Condie Rice signing a peace treaty between Hamas & Israel (not likely). The pressure is high - ok superblogger, let's see you leap that tall building again.
It's a bit like the old Looney Tunes cartoon about the singing frog who sings only when no one is watching - except I'm the frog. Or like The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy where one can fly only if you don't think about it at all. Blogging on a global scale, where you ride the wave - even make the wave - is like using the Force from Star Wars. You need to be in the Zone, in your Zen. You don't want it to be like the old Woody Allen movie where he is having sex on live TV with Howard Cosell calling the play by play.
Why do this tv thing? I hope that we can pick a thing - a positive thing that we want to change - and create and document a blogstorm that drives it. It will be like making rain - so we will need to do a rain dance. It will be cool to see a fixtheworld experiment work on demand - that we somehow learn how to conjure and utilize blogstorms in a way for good.
So here is what I would propose: Blogging For Peace in the Middle East. With Sharon out of Israeli politics and the election of Hamas to power by the Palestinians, a worst case scenario is brewing. The cycle of violence can soon reach an apex in that region. So what does this have to do with the Japanese? Nothing - which is why they could be a credible party to an interesting blogstorm and experiment. What is this experiment?
Let's expand the Davos theme of open blogging and create a blogspace where Israelis and Palestinians - the people, not the leaders - face off and debate in a blog world. Direct communication without direct contact. Arguing without bombs, bullets, guns, and knives.
Let's cajole some big players (Microsoft, Dell, telecoms) into supplying the infrastrucure fast for such a mass blogspace debate to take place - this will be a "time out - before anyone blows anyone up, give us 90 days to connect all of you through the web so that for the first time two peoples who are sworn enemies can communicate - in a bloodless way".
It will be harder to hate when there is a person you are speaking to - not a demon or concept which is not real, but a real person dealing with you directly.
This is not about the leadership of the two peoples - let's face it - the leadership has failed to make peace for decades. Let's bypass the leadership and take it to the people. Does everyone really want to endlessly shoot at each other, kill each other's children, and make life unbearable and miserable? Why? Please explain yourselves - not just to each other, but in an open blog dialogue the whole world can see. Why is killing each other the answer.
Can a mass peer to peer network of communication between two peoples end a cycle of violence? Maybe - and I have a good reason why.
When I was at the University there was a Palestinian student in my writing class. We sat near each other and we developed a friendship. He also happened to be the head of the Hamas group on campus. This was in the early 90's, well before 9/11 and other events, but it was still a controversial thing. He and I disagreed very strongly with each other - and we would often get into heated debates that bled into point and counterpoint articles in the campus paper that the whole student body would follow. I opposed what he stood for, and he opposed what I stood for - there was little common ground outside of a love for writing.
The interesting thing was that on campus, words were enough to satisfy us both. One day he told me that if he and I were in the Middle East, that things would be different and we would probably be shooting at each other - even though on campus we could be civil - and perhaps we were even friends. He was right - in the Middle East we are shooting at each other - but somehow on the campus we could sit together, talk, debate - but walk away intact and live our lives.
You don't make peace with your friends - you make peace with your worst enemies. The worst news for Israel is that Hamas was elected to office - they are Israel's worst enemy. But at least the days of pretending and BS are over - it is all out in the open.
But - there is a choice - and I lived that choice. You can look this worst enemy in the eye and realize that they are human - on some level no different - we are the same. It should not be about Israel vs. Hamas - it needs to be about bringing the campus to the Middle East - create a new space where it is about one person communicating with another - and force that debate and discussion - force the two sides to realize that the other side is human - and let the world see this debate and discussion. This has to be about the everyday people - not the leaders with their agendas and power and corruption. Everyday people realizing that their hated counterparts are nothing more than everyday people too.
To my old friend and worst enemy - you were right. Over there we are shooting at each other. We could keep doing that forever if you wish. But maybe it is time for something different.
If you have not checked out Wonkette, please do so now. It's pretty hip in the blogging world to call Wonkette a foul mouthed skank, a sex obsessed gossip fiend, or a trashy DC blogging boozing tramp.
In my view, Wonkette means something else entirely. Wonkette is the apex of blogging - a high water mark in journalism. Wonkette takes a hearty piss on all that is Washington - a healthy stream of urine that douses all in its way. A river.
Wonkette is the dirty underbelly, the lint in the bellybutton, the quick jello shot of online porn - the dirty, sexy fun girl in college with a massive IQ, granite confidence, and an unholy taste for bad things and clove cigarettes. The intellectual slut - a brainy dreamy nightmare rolled into one ball of manic fur and martinis who eats boys for dinner and spits out their chewed up bones.
Wonkette is an evil pleasure - just saying "Wonkette" makes one feel filthy and skeezy. Would you like to Wonkette? Sure! It is good, this norwegian wood, this wooly Wonkette.
Don't fight it - immerse deeply in the Wonkette, slap down some science, and keep on truckin' down that road.
Isn't blogging such a wanker thing to do? Blogs will soon become like ants - no single blog will matter.
Thanks to Google and blogging, every little bit of insignificant data will be embalmed forever in some server, haunting you. Mobile phone pics of your lunch. Nose hairs. An old pizza. The color of your socks. Text messages between middle school friends. Rants from ex-employees. Nutty conspiracy theories. AI software passing the Turning test, unnoticed.
Maybe we will need some of that old school media one day.
Tonight Nightline ran an interesting piece on bloggers and the blogosphere. The hosts, Chris Bury and John Donvan, were quite respectful of us unwashed blogger hordes. They even had on Rebecca MacKinnon and her lively bunch of Berkman Center Bloggers, who were blogging while being filmed (freaking the Nightline guys out a bit). Go Harvard! The vibe seems very much in line with the 1970's Homebrew Computer Club, which spawned Apple and helped to spark the PC revolution (yes, the MIT hackers mattered too). These are the idealistic, heady days of blogging. Don't worry, in a few years it will all be one giant corporate machine with no more pesky freethinkers to worry about.
I wonder if Nightline was worried, as many mainstream media types are these days, about pissing off the wrong bloggers and ending up "gated". They discussed what has become the holy trinity of blogging scalps: Dan Rather, Eason Jordan, and Jeff Gannon (who has his own blog now - the gay porn exposure and constant Jon Stewart ribbings have not slowed him down one bit). They also highlighted a liberal blogger, Maura, who helped stick it to a Republican Congressman when he tried to introduce a kooky bill that really, truly pissed off many women around the country (A Republican not understanding the needs of women? How odd!). Congressman Cosgrove, who still looked like he had no idea what hit him, was pretty darn miffed. Cosgrove expected traditional media courtesy from Maura. Pre-blogging days he always had the chance to review the pieces on him before they aired or were published (how convenient). He also said that because she had a wide audience, that she now had to play by traditional media rules (kiss a Congressman's ass for favors?). What's going on? My constituents telling me what to do! How terribly wrong!
Unfortunately for him, a blogging mob shredded his bill with a blogswarm. Congress Cosgrove did say that all of the holes in the bill that the bloggers caught would have surely been rectified and tweaked in some committee meeting. Yup. So why did he trash the bill and not just fix the holes?
It must have been that crazy right wing, conservative blogging mob that so many liberals talk about....no wait! It was a liberal mob! Hmm. When required, the Left can also come together and do what it needs to do. Or does this have nothing much to do with the traditional Left and Right, but a lot to do with the "long tail" part of the population that does not have power or access to the media, but now has a voice? Maybe it's an issue by issue affair, and not always Left vs. Right, even though the old guard keeps trying to color it that way.
Nightline was also fascinated with the basics of the internet, which has been around since the 1960's!. Hyperlinking, which they described as these magical portals/doorways to a whole new world, was emphasized several times. Where have these people been? Maybe next week we'll see a piece discovering for the first time a magical tool called e-mail. To give Nightline some credit, the simplified blogging packages now make it easy for anyone to utilize standard web tools (writing, editing, posting, linking) to publish. The mainstream media has now officially blessed and baptized blogging as A New Thing Which Can Do Good But Is Scary Too. Welcome to Blogger Convergence, that period of time VC's loves to invest in and the media loves to blab about.
What all of this hooplah tells me is that the powers that be are so rotted that almost any light shone on them results in all kinds of unexpected, nonlinear outcomes. The big media, politicians, corporations, bankers - they have all had their collective hand in the cookie jar, together, for so long, that they are beginning to freak out when they see the public show up, unedited, unfiltered, asking hard questions. Who let them in to our party?
Bloggers will have a field day for years because I believe that those in power have had it so good for so long, and they have run amok, largely unchecked (except by others in power). There is an Old Boys Network, and it is going down, or at least changing, fast. The Old Boys will resist, but they simply can not stop what is becoming billions of connected people. It will be. Call it The Great Leveling, or the Normalization of Power. The internet is first connecting society, but it may actually reshape it entirely.
Democracy meant that a citizen spoke with a vote, but an elected official actually spoke for the wide masses. That elected official gets to live in an elite world, a closed door world, a world of privilege and luxury. It is good to be the king. Blogging eliminates the middleman. Blogging is a Dangerous Idea. It may not only upheave journalism, it may do the same thing to politics and many systems of government. The idea of I speak for myself from now on is mighty powerful. If we could get blogging up and running in North Korea, and wire them to the web, it may be a quick hop and a skip to chase their Dr. Evil psycho dictator out of power. A bloodless, quick blogger invasion. South Korea - the most wired country in the world - hello! wake up! Do something. Hook up your northern brothers - it will be cheaper than bombs. Smuggle in wi-fi and cheap mobile devices. Let them know that their Dear Leader is completely insane and to stop letting this nutball ruin their country. Stop drinking his Kool-Aid! Blog! (Of course, many Democrats would say the same thing about the U.S.!).
The great Bob Marley sang: I shot the sheriff, But I didn't shoot no deputy. I think that he would appreciate the shift from shooting to blogging, because he was overall a peaceful guy. Maybe the fall of Babylon can be soft, electronic, and come in an unexpected wave. Words can, and should be, more powerful than guns. Let's fight with words. Put the guns away. If you need to shoot, play Quake or Counterstrike.
I blogged the sheriff, But I didn't blog no deputy.
Unlike the Huns, bloggers are often meek. But don't the meek inherit the earth? We didn't physically assault mainstream media. We used cheap, mostly open source technology and ideas. This is a soft, comfortable, couch potato revolution. It should be a model for all revolutions. Stay at home with your family. Don't lose your life, don't kill, don't hurt anyone. Blog away. A mind over matter revolution. A battle of ideas and thoughts - and everyone, anyone, can join in. That's pretty cool.
Maybe we don't need a sheriff anymore. We need our laws, our rules, our glues of society. We need freedom, free markets, and the ability to pursue our goals and dreams. But do we need a sheriff? Does humanity always need to be led, like sheep, or can we one day think for ourselves and somehow work together. Not communism, not any of the failed -isms, but real democracy. The democracy that the founders of the U.S. understood could not be with the education level, people, mindset, and technology of their day. But what about today? What would our Founding Fathers say about what is possible today? This goes well beyond blogging, but blogging begs the question - it urges us to ask these questions.
I blogged the sheriff, But I didn't blog no deputy.
[Disclaimer: This essay/rant may involve the use of satire - heaven forbid. It may also be quite nonsensical to some. It may also be pure crap. I think it mostly sucks, but has a few funny parts]
I read a fine article today (published on 2/21/2005) by a self-assured, most likely nattily dressed gentleman named Stewart Purvis of The Guardian. Stewart is the former CEO of something ominous sounding called the "ITN" (sounds big and important! - he must be very smart and omniscient).
(Sounds like- Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones)
Poor Stewart. He has not done his research well. He brags about his "blogger-style internet research", but he has not really done any in depth. Stuart writes:
"Rony Abovitz's version in the forum's own weblog presents the author as a concerned American anxious to get into the truth. Go to his own weblog, fixtheworld.blogs.com, and you will find a different agenda. Abovitz is one of those conservative online activists who believe the internet is an opportunity to balance what they see as media pro-liberal bias".
Stewart should pay special attention here, where a conservative attitude emerges from a liberal mindstorm (I also call Bush and Chirac genetic experiments gone bad - clearly part of the right wing conservative agenda handbook):
"Oh wait, it's that wacky mayor of San Francisco who allowed gay marriage. What a freakazoid - allowing civil rights in the United States of America? Where does he think he is? Russia? Poland? South Africa? Burn him! Throw him in the slammer and chuck the key. Of course you lost the Democrats the elections. Kerry is a great leader and he did not lose the election because he looks like Herman Munster and is a nincompoop (my diabetic cat could beat George Bush in an election). The most important issue in the whole world, much more important than peace, economic health, international relations, or healthcare, or even Angeline Jolie (heaven forbid) is stopping gay people from get married. That is why we invaded Iraq. It is all Gavin Newsome's fault. This is surely a dream because I saw Orrin Hatch's head pop off after it turned so red when he, with the righteouness of heaven, pronounced why the U.S. is going to steam roll over the Middle East and turn it into a Wal-Mart: Because the Mayor of San Francisco (who will burn in eternal hellfire and have to watch Al Jazeera 24-7) allows U.S. citizens to have their freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Damn the founding fathers! Liberal freaks!"
It is here that one can see that I truly am part of a vast right wing conspiracy designed to attack liberals wherever they lurk (Dear Stewart - poorly written and badly executed satire doth not make one a right wing conservative).
Even more damning to Stewart is the following posting:
This blog brought me a hailstorm of right wing unpleasentries, and a nice slap from Hugh Hewitt (who is clearly and proudly a right wing conservative). I doubt that Fox or anyone else who had me on the air read all of my postings.
Before Stewart, or anyone else begins to panic over a right wing conspiracy, consider this:
I'm quite far from being a right wing conservative - unless conservative means liberal. I have a right and left hand, and right and left halves to my brain (I hope I have a brain- some will dispute if I have a brain, perhaps even Stewart). Why can't I consider both the right and the left? A right and left wing would let you fly. I love flying - airplanes are very cool, as are gliders. U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, but especially Frank, would fall out of their chairs, convulsing from laughter, if they were ever accused of being right wing conservatives. Both are Democrats, openly liberal, and Frank is quite possibly one of the most liberal and is from one of the most liberal states in the U.S. But of course, Stewart knows something that all of us have missed: Dodd and Frank are both double top secret Republican operatives, planted by Bush and designed to confuse us all. I have also been planted by the evil Right, a vegetarian (been faking it for 20 years!) technogeek given an undercover mission to take out the top ranking leaders of the liberal media - using the new secret weapon invented by the Republicans, for the sole use of the Republicans, and with the purpose of causing the entire world to eat steak and enjoy huntin' and fishin': the internet.
Dear Stewart - are you madder than the Mad Hatter? We here in the states assume that those of you in the U.K. are much smarter than us in America because you have those very intelligent sounding accents. What is all of this nonsense? Where is Benny Hill when you need him (bless his soul!)
Stewart and the The Guardian are fishing in an empty swimming pool. The blogworld has a mixture of the vocal Right, and a mixture of the vocal Left. It also has a lot of independant thinkers who want to understand each event on its own merits, and each person on his or her own thoughts and actions. Maybe some people do not want a politicial movement and ideology to do their thinking for them. Maybe sometimes even those on the Left will do what is correct not because it is good for the Left, but because it was the honest and truthful thing to do. Maybe asking hard questions is ok, and challenging authority for good answers, on the Right or Left, is ok. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Jordan said some pretty bad, stupid, regretful things, and that is why Davos is sitting on the tape? Do you think that CNN would care about the fabled Chatham House Rule if playing the tape worldwide would have done them or Jordan any good? The tape would be on CNN 24/7 if it could have helped them - and the Rule would be in the trash.
It is too easy to point the finger at a vast, right wing conspiracy. It is harder to understand the ground shaking beneath your feet, and to feel the emergence of free voices saying what they want, whenever they want. Imagine hundreds of thousands of blogs like this one. Now imagine millions. Now imagine, one day, billions. All connected. All saying whatever they want. Imagine poor people, all over the world, saying whatever they want to the whole world. Imagine the outrage. Imagine what happens when they discover their voice. Imagine Africa and Asia finding their voice, and with new technology we begin to understand what they are saying. I'm a pretty happy camper compared to what may be coming.
Dear Stewart, welcome to the blog world. Do some more homework, do a bit more reading. It is a messy place, without easy answers. It will wash over everything. It is unpredictable. It is big, growing fast, and it may become very important. As The Floyd once said, welcome to the machine.
Dear Stewart, I apologize for being such a cynical snot to you, but I have never, ever, been called a conservative before. If I, Sir, am a conservative, the you, perhaps are a fascist. An Italian fascist with a long moustache. An Italian fascist with a long moustache who drives a French moped. An Italian fascist with a long moustache who drives a French moped who enjoys smelly cheese. An Italian fascist with a long moustache who drives a French moped who enjoys smelly cheese and eats fish and chips wrapped in a ragged, liberal newspaper. An Italian fascist with a long moustache who drives a French moped who enjoys smelly cheese and eats fish and chips wrapped in a ragged, liberal newspaper and voted for George W. Bush. There it is, for all the world to see. You Sir, voted for George W. Bush, which makes you a much stauncher conservative than I. I voted for Ringo, and you voted for George (He was the most undervalued Beatle, wasn't he?). How do I know all of this? The same way that you know that I am a conservative. And I am sure that you wear a red fez - Republican Red.
If you are reading this post, I am not sure if you have been following a series of essays and posts that I have been writing for the World Economic Forum's weblog. What has started as a challenge about facts to a major media figure has evolved (for me) into a broader concept about the MSM (mainstream media).
A hypothesis, which I introduced at a WEF session in Davos as a question to members of big media, is that at times the products of the MSM industry can be compared to the products of the tobacco industry. The ethics, the business practices, and the primarily profit driven motivations of both MSM and the tobacco industry have many interesting parallels and similarities. I propose that while the physical ailments of the products of the tobacco industry are known (various cancers), the byproducts of certain MSM products, particularly those devoid of content, or of skewed content, are unknown. Will science in the future be able to track the harm that certain MSM products cause individuals and society in general? If so, what can, or should be done? The organ potentially damaged by MSM's products is the brain, and correlating the relationship between neural or behaviorial disorders and certain media is not easy, or perhaps possible. But I did want to throw this idea out there and see what some initial reactions may be.