Posts from August 2003
Don’t let the border bump you on the ass on the way out
: The Observer’s U.S. correspondent, Ed Vulliamy, leaves the U.S. and it appears it’s not a minute too soon. He pens a bitter, mean, angry, anti-American (and badly written) farewell piece that is filled with nothing but negativity: terrorist bombs, lynchings, poverty; he sees our world through dung-colored glasses:
America was always a dichotomous, Janus nation – born of a revolution by democratic visionaries such as Tom Paine but built on genocide and enslavement. Enriched by immigration but made greedy by power and wealth. It was always a question of which America was in the ascendancy at a given time. I think that during Clinton’s presidency there were elements of that democratic America to the fore. Or at least there were by contrast to a country now redefining its role as an international citizen, a country where democratic rights, enshrined in the Constitution, are eroded largely by consent.
Our boy on the bus
: David Weinberger is blogging from the Dean campaign bus.
On the plane now. It’s a chartered 737 sitting on a back leg of the airport. No metal detectors here, but they do a thorough job going through everyone’s luggage. The press sits in the back of the plane, the staff in the front. Plastic clumps of grass are taped to the seats because this is a “grassroots” campaign, which is somewhere between charming and hokey.
The Governor enters the plane last of all. (Yes, they wand him before he enters … you never know, given his stand on gun control, he could be packing heat :)
David is an (unpaid) adviser to the Dean campaign.
Reading this, it would be very smart for a campaign to invite a few unaffiliated bloggers onto the campaign bus: The result would be more human, less jaded, more compelling coverage of a campaign from real people.
Call it grassroots coverage.
Our man in Kabul
: Ben Hammersley, blogging correspondent, has made it into Afghanistan. He ended up flying in, rather than trekking over the Khyber Pass:
Two days in Dubai, then, instead of the Islamabad-Peshawar-Jalalabad-Kabul route of legend. In many ways I’m relieved. I’ve been to Peshawar before, two months before 9/11, and it was dodgy then. In a choice between dubious airline and a roadtrip where the Pakistani authorities insist that you take a gunman with you to the border, and I guess it’s more calming to take the plane. Of course, the incessant worries about the wings dropping off and suchlike are still there – it’s the *Afghan* national airline, after all…
: Two choices:
(1) Declare flashmobs tired and retired. It was cute for a day. But they are pointless and irritating: just a bunch of rich and wired kids with nothing better to do showing off that they are rich and wired and can afford to waste their time.
(2) Organize a flashmob to actually do something useful: Hey, kids, let’s all meet in Central Park at 7:08 and each of us pick up a piece of litter? Or why don’t we all meet in downtown Manhattan and give the still-struggling merchants down there a little business? Or let’s all show up on the FCC’s doorstep and tell them that we want more wireless innovation now. (Special French edition: Let’s all show up at an old folks’ home, make sure they’re not dying of the heat, and bring them a cold Evian.)
: Hammihan, an Iranian blogger, gets what’s wrong with “Judge” Bubba Moore’s refusal to take his religious monument out of a government building. Amazing that the “judge” and his religious extremists don’t:
by disobeying the ruling of Alabama’s supreme court, Mr. Moore has violated the principle which sets the US government apart from regime’s like that which is oppressing the people of Iran. by stating that the word of HIS ‘god’ shall overrule the laws of the State of Alabama, he has declared that he wishes Alabama to become a theocracy, just like the one in Iran. he has declared himself the representative of ‘god’ on Earth (or in Alabama), and has allowed himself to destroy the civil institutions of that State based on his religious bigotry. Mr. Moore should move to Iran, and join the Ayatollahs in doing the ‘work of god’, ie, opressing people and destroying democracy
Baghdad Bob, pitchman
: Andy the Hobo Traveler in Iraq finds a billboard selling olives and making fun of Baghdad Bob.
Raindrops on roses and Iranians on Americans
: The American woman married to an Iranian and living in Iran lists the things she likes about Iran, including this:
I like being an American here. Everyone is so nice to me. Everyone seems to think that Americans are wonderful. One restaurant owner had to restrain himself from hugging me when he discovered that I was American. People shake my hand. They talk to me. Sometimes they tell me that they don