Posts from April 2003

Ambivaloid

Ambivaloid
: Kurt Andersen, in an interview with Minneapolis’ The Rake [via Romensko] reveals that he and Graydon Carter are thinking of coming out with a Spy retrospective — good idea; I know someone who’ll love that (and so would I).

He also talks about his decision to support the war, “ruefully and fretfully,” which he wrote about in the NY Times magazine.

But to be anti-anti-war isn’t the same as being pro-war, and that’s the sort of the weird ambivalent gray zone where I was for a long time, and still remain, I guess….

On this particular thing with Iraq, I can’t understand how anybody can have absolute conviction on either end, frankly. So I’m both a contrarian, I guess, and a kind of chronic ambivaloid.

That, as near as I can tell, is a coinage — no Google references at all for ambivaloid — and it’s a good coinage. In these days of strong opinions, on cable TV or on weblogs, to be amvibalent is to be contrarian.

Canada: It’s catching

Canada: It’s catching
: The SARS panic is about to get out of hand. Conventions in Toronto are canceled (well, OK, if you fear that nobody’s going to come and you’re going to lose a fortune). Kids’ sports games are canceled. Catholic pilgrims are disinvited from a U.S. even. But here’s my favorite: the Washington Post cancels a meeting with Toronto Star execs.

Paul Gallo, manager of the Star’s editorial computer systems, said he received a call “really late” from Post executive John Benner, cancelling the meeting.

“He left a message, sounding really embarrassed and apologizing, to say the tour of the facility couldn’t take place,” Gallo said from Washington yesterday.

Gallo … said Benner told him that he’d been instructed “by his executive editor that the tour wouldn’t be a good idea for liability reasons. He explained that, if anybody at the Post were to get ill after our visit, there’d be liability implications.”

And the National Post sends a reporter to the WHO in Geneva:

The hotel desk clerk quickly stepped two paces back yesterday when I told her I was from Toronto. “SARS,” she blurted, and for a split second she covered her face with her hands. I wasn’t sure if the gesture meant she was embarrassed, or if she was trying to protect herself.

Perhaps she thought that I might infect her. Kill her.

So I asked. “Are you afraid of me?”

“Yes,” she replied.

Bearing all

Nabbed

Nabbed
Fox and CNN says Tariq Aziz is in custody.

Political correctness knows many authors

Political correctness knows many authors
: Now this is beatiful: Sen. Sanctimonious has pissed off not only gays and reasonable Americans, he has also pissed off polygamists for lumping them in with adulterers and gays.

The age of populist publishing

The age of populist publishing
: I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen that the tremendous potential of this blogging thing is that it brings the power of publishing — yes, quality publishing — into the hands of the people. More such tools will follow (photo, audio, video, collaboration, marketing tools, search tools… and they’ll all get slicker and easier, note the great new stuff coming from Movable Type). And more power will follow (witness the noise blogging is making in Iran; witness the worldwide spread of it).

Here’s Google CEO Eric Schmidt explaining (at last) the acquisition of Pyra in this context:

I believe that this notion of self-publishing, which is what Blogger and blogging are really about, is the next big wave of human communication. The last big wave was Web activity. Before that one it was e-mail. Instant messaging was an extension of e-mail, real-time e-mail.

The next step in general for information is the self-publishing part. If somebody takes the time to write something, having Google understand that is very important to that person. So if you view the world as one person at a time, getting that person, that author to understand that we value, we index, we search, and we care about their information is a very important part of our strategy….

We

War, who is it good for?

War, who is it good for?
: Michele has a deliciously cynical view of the anti-war show biz crowd: Protest as a career move.

I mean, who would really know that Tim Robbins still existed (except as Mr. Sarandon) if not for his public tirades against George Bush? Would Bill Maher have a tv show or Michael Moore an Oscar or Arianna Huffington a website if not for loud, public dissent?

It’s a marketing tool. The people who decry capitalism and all things America are the ones scooping up the cash by the fistful because they cry the loudest.

Don’t cry for the Dixie Chicks. They have risen to the top of the pop culture ladder because they said some nasty things about the president.

Ain’t that America?

As the war fades from the headlines, will these celebs find themselves suffering attention withdraws? Will their careers also fade?

Ow, Canada

Ow, Canada
: Canada is up in arms over the WHO issuing a travel warning to Toronto because of SARS.

Reality check: I was supposed to be in Toronto this week with my family for vacation. But we cancelled for two reasons: war (which was on when we were reserving) and SARS (which wasn’t this bad when we were planning). The truth is that we’re very glad that we’re not headed there now because of SARS.