Posts from September 2003

The real story

The real story
: Jay Rosen continues his discussion about the quality of reporting from Iraq. The issue isn’t painting the situation as good or bad but the story we’re missing, the one that takes some imagination, vision, and perspective. He compares the story of the rebuilding of Iraq with the story of the unbuilding of the World Trade Center:

Journalists are suppposed to tell us what

The real story

The real story
: Tim Blair’s friend finds the real reason why reporters are painting such a bleak picture from Baghdad: They’re all hungry, horny, and bored.

Presidential politics and blogging

Presidential politics and blogging
: I’ve been making a lot of notes for provocative (read: obnoxious) questions to ask the participants — that is, everyone in the room — at the Bloggercon day 2 session on presidential politics and blogging. I’d like the discussion to start here, now (so I can lazily get more provocative questions). To start the bidding:

: Is it more important for a presidential candidate to create a blog — or to read the blogs of the voters? Or to put it a big more abstractly: In this medium, is it better for the powerful to speak or to listen? (And we can — and will — ask the exact same question about big media and weblogs.)

: I say the best thing a Presidential blogger can do is to link to posts in voters’ weblogs. That proves they listen. But will the spinmeisters fear linking to someone with whom they may agree on one issue and disagree on another? Will the lack of control freak the control freaks?

: What happens when your online supporters are bozos — for example, bozos who spam blog comments? Can your own fans give you a bad name?

: I want to see webloggers fact-check candidates’ asses, too (and not just media’s asses). We need the Presidential Snopes.

: Can and should webloggers organize around an issue? Can’t a pack (or PAC) of webloggers gather together enough critical mass to, say, make spam an issue in Congress? Can’t they make a difference that way? Can’t they prove their combined influence that way? Or are webloggers constitutionally incapable of organizing themselves? (And, by the way, is that why so many of them are Libertarian?)

Dave Winer created a comment link for all the BloggerCon sessions here. Please leave questions, comments, views, curiosities, and random controversy for the discussion there or here.

: Doc’s post on Wesley Clark and blogging from Friday is more rich and warm fodder for discussion:

…I suggested that the General instruct his staff to find all the blogs that support him on the Web, to contact them personally, and to turn grass roots support into working relationships. By relating to his bloggers, he could start to “out-Dean” the Howard Dean campaign, which is by far the most clueful of the bunch, Web-wise; but hardly perfect. There is still plenty of wiggle-room for others who might be even better grass farmers than Dean.

Well, now comes news that Clark is, incredibly, scorching the earth where his grass roots were just beginning to spout. Follow both those links and you’ll read a story that’s both extremely complicated and clearly just beginning to play out….

Now is the time for him to call those pissed-off supporters, publicly admit the mistake of killing off their sites, and get on with the business of out-Deaning Dean.

Which, of course, I’d give a snowball’s chance.

[Later…] Backblogs here, here and here.

: More questions…

: Do candidate blogs have to be boring?

: Do candidate blogs have to be pompous or self-righteous? (Check out this headline: “Why can’t we all just listen to Bob Graham?”

: Is it necessarily true that unofficial candidate weblogs are better than the official versions?

Hockey stick

Hockey stick
: Technorati is now tracking one million weblogs.

That’s a real number: no blogs that are started and left to rot but blogs that are linking. An impressive number.

Now more them should link to me.

Campaigns by the people, for the people

Campaigns by the people, for the people
: Steven Johnson creates a campaign ad on his blog. He says he hasn’t decided who’ll get his vote yet; the commercial is a whim. It’s a proof of concept: that in this new, bottoms-up world of populist media, the winning strategies,the best strategies — the memes with mo — will come from the voters, now that they have a voice on the web:

Ever since the fall of Trent Lott, I’ve been fascinated by the thought of the web contributing ideas and strategy to political campaigns, and not just money and meetups. (Both of which are crucial, of course.) I have a feeling that as the 2004 campaign heats up, the blogosphere will become an increasingly rich source of “message” brainstorming, given how easy it is to put together a relatively polished attack ad these days.

More on this at Bloggercon

Funny, you don’t look Jewish

Funny, you don’t look Jewish
: So I was sitting yesterday with some of my great colleagues at Ibby’s, the greatest falafel in Jersey City (the greatest falafel I’ve ever had) and I’m watching across the street.

There’s an old synagogue across the street and I see lots of men going in, more and more, the parade doesn’t stop.

But, funny, they don’t look Jewish.

Sure enough, it’s a temple: Star of David in stone; appropriate symbolism in the stained-glass windows, Hebrew in stone.

The men are wearing head coverings, but they don’t look like yarmulkes.

Irony of irony: It’s a mosque. I wander across the street; only the mailbox — and the shoes sitting in the vestibule — mark this as a mosque. Otherwise, it just looks like an old temple.

I wonder whether they see the irony.

The vast fast-food conspiracy

The vast fast-food conspiracy
: I was so excited. Burger King has a new chicken sandwich. I loved fast food. But I can’t eat the Whoppers and Quarter Pounders I used to. And I still have to go to the fast-food joints because that’s what the kids eat. So I get excited when one of the giants comes up with a new, low-fat item. It’s sad. But it’s life.

sfcb.jpgSo I went today to try the new Santa Fe Fire-Grilled Chicken Baguette.

What a slab of crap.

First, the thing is tiny. It’s a frigging finger sandwich. The name is longer than the bread.

Second, they slather on a “southwestern sauce” (read: salsa for wimps) that is dreadful; it tastes like canned ratatouille.

Third, the chicken is mealy.

Fourth, the bread is tasteless.

What a damned disappointment.

I wonder whether it is a vast fast-food conspiracy: They make the low-fat stuff taste so dreadful that you have no choice but to keep eating the fries.

Google allowance

Google allowance
: While everyone and his uncle is talking about starting business empires out of online blogs and interactivity, my 11-year-old son and guru is making a business online. He runs a forum where friends talk about the things friends talk about (don’t go leaving your boring adult political opinions there, please… but feel free to click on the ads!) and he signed up for Google Adsense. I was, I’ll admit, surprised that he was accepted; he was and put up the ads on all his inside pages. I was even more amazed at his news this morning that on his first day in business, he made $2.56.

Beats a lemonade stand.

Google: The new allowance.