Posts from May 6, 2004

It’s not a generation, it’s an era

It’s not a generation, it’s an era

: An NY Times headline writer tries to be hip and with-it today but gets it wrong:

The Blog Generation Takes Up Its Trowels

This tops a story about young people and wacky city gardens and it happens that one of them blogs, too. But the story is hardly if at all about blogging or a blogging generation.

And here’s the problem: There isn’t a “blogging generation.” That belittles this movement, reducing it to a fad with the youngsters.

Well, look at that picture to the right with the gray beard (which, I’ll confess, is even grayer now; so’s the hair). Check out pix of (no offense, friends) Roger Simon or the ailing (well, maybe it should be a young person’s game) Glenn Reynolds or Rex Hammock (who’s just as old as I’m about to be but doesn’t look it). People of all ages are blogging. It’s not a generational moment. It’s a movement. It’s an era. Damnit.

: Rex wishes I’d pointed to Doc instead. I’ll bet Doc will nominate someone else: Pass the old potato.

A bad Friedman day

A bad Friedman day

: I call myself a “Tom Friedman Democrat.” But today I call Tom Friedman way wrong.

He starts today’s column endorsing the dangerous deadend doctrine of diplomacy by popularity.

We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It’s no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom “Friends” right now. They’re the only friends we have, and even they’re leaving.

It’s bad enough that he also tried way too hard to make a pop-culture reference and conveniently join the Friends hooha — looking rather like a doughy middle-aged guy trying to wear clothes out of H&M while rapping. But that’s a literary criticism.

The real problem is that this is the same argument opponents made to the war in Iraq — the same war that Friedman supported: It wouldn’t make us any friends. Well, first off, experience shows that having friends doesn’t do us much good in time of need. France, Germany, and Russia have proven to be fairweather friends at best. With friends like those, who needs friends? Second, if making friends were our goal, we’d take on all kinds of horrid positions: We’d drop Israel like a hot knish; we’d go the FCC one better and endorse censorship of all our amoral media; we’d play trade policy like an episode of Queen for a Day; we’d ignore human rights violations of China and North Korea and too many Arab nations. Third, if we did as Friedman suggests and bowed before the altar of the U.N. as if it were an authority on what’s right we’d truly give up any pretense of world leadership and we’d give it up to an organization that has proven itself to be morally unreliable. It’s not about making friends.

Friedman then joins the lynch mob forming on the left against Donald Rumsfeld:

This administration needs to undertake a total overhaul of its Iraq policy; otherwise, it is courting a total disaster for us all.

That overhaul needs to begin with President Bush firing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Toward a free press in Iraq

Toward a free press in Iraq

: It’s going to be expensive and hard to develop a free and thriving press in Iraq.

Online and citizens’ media could help.

Larry Kilman of the World Association of Newspapers writes a fine piece outlining what needs to be done in ink and paper:

Democracy cannot take root without a viable independent press. But Iraq can

I’d like to thank… no one

I’d like to thank… no one
: Rafat Ali goes off on a fine rant vs. the National Magazine Awards, which suddenly include the possibility for giving kudos to blogs but never told bloggers to enter. Pariah Burke also lets off a little steam about the lack of nominations and awards.

I say: Ignore it. First, you shouldn’t expect one industry to award another. Second, you shouldn’t care about awards. Your award is your audience’s traffic every day. If you start writing for awards instead of for readers, you get into trouble and you can point to many an old media industry to prove it.

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: EVEN FROM THE RIGHT: A conservative religious broadcaster comes out on the side of free speech, the First Amendment and Howard Stern. Stuart Epperson, heade of Salem Communications, writes a long and impassioned warning to fellow conservatives that if Stern is taken off the air by government, they could be next.

Now conservative Christians and other conservatives too are being sucked into applauding measures that would have government again controlling content and shutting down stations that violate standards, just as many well-meaning conservatives supported the Fairness Doctrine….

Don’t get me wrong. I deplore the current state of this immoral and debased culture….

We may all cheer the demise of Howard Stern, who has lost many of his major markets because of impending government action….

Mark my words however, if impending government action can cause Howard Stern to be taken off the air, imagine a bill that would give the FCC power to so regulate content that after three fines for violating standards set by fiat, a station could lose its license. Let us suppose that Congress, reacting to the justified outrage over the Super Bowl halftime charade, passes such a bill. And let us suppose President Bush, in a tight re-election campaign and watching the polls that say the public wants action against the filth masquerading as entertainment, signs the bill. (After all, President Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign law even though he thought it was unconstitutional.)

Sure right now an FCC dominated by reasonable people wouldn’t do anything drastic. But let us suppose that with this bill on the books the nation has elected Hillary Rodham Clinton as President. And let us suppose – and it is no stretch of the imagination to believe this – that President Hillary appoints radical liberals to the FCC. With the precedent established that the FCC can revoke licenses over obscene content, these Commissioners determine that conservative views constitute hate speech – and hate speech is obscene. For example, we are strongly supporting a Constitutional amendment and would declare that marriage is between one man and one woman. Let us suppose that these Commissioners declare that such a position is against national policy and constitutes discriminatory hate speech.

Of course the homosexual lobby would organize itself to insure that there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of complaints against the stations that took this point of view. Armed with that sort of ammunition, the FCC would have no problem finding the excuse for shutting down those voices that broadcast what they would call homophobic views….

We are conservative but we

Farewell, Friends

Farewell, Friends
: When Friends premiered, I gave it a bad review in TV Guide. I said it was a rip-off of Cheers and an exercise in demographic pandering. But it grew on me and I wrote another column about a year later reconsidering teh show and saying that I was wrong and Friends was pretty damned good. One of the producers sent me a letter thanking me for admitting my mistake. So, you see, if it had been up to me, I would have abandoned Friends and we wouldn’t have all this hoopla tonight.