Posts from May 20, 2004

Joey

Joey

: Defamer gets a sneaked-out copy of Friendsquel Joey: “God help us, we laughed.”

: LATER: I wonder whether getting the tape to Defamer was the work of a very smart flack building buzz. Have to ask Denton that….

Blind to the enemy

Blind to the enemy

: In an incredible — incredibly deluded and frightening, that is — statement, Michael Berg, the father of beheaded American Nick Berg, joins the rabid antiwar crowd in London.

People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son’s tragic and atrocious end on the Bush administration. They ask: “Don’t you blame the five men who killed him?” I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the Bush administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren’t quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him.

I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick’s breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son’s eyes and got at least a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment, did not like what they were doing.

George Bush never looked into my son’s eyes. George Bush doesn’t know my son, and he is the worse for it. George Bush, though a father himself, cannot feel my pain, or that of my family, or of the world that grieves for Nick, because he is a policymaker, and he doesn’t have to bear the consequences of his acts. George Bush can see neither the heart of Nick nor that of the American people, let alone that of the Iraqi people his policies are killing daily….

Even more than those murderers who took my son’s life, I can’t stand those who sit and make policies to end lives and break the lives of the still living….

So what were we to do when we in America were attacked on September 11, that infamous day? I say we should have done then what we never did before: stop speaking to the people we labelled our enemies and start listening to them. Stop giving preconditions to our peaceful coexistence on this small planet, and start honouring and respecting every human’s need to live free and autonomously, to truly respect the sovereignty of every state. To stop making up rules by which others must live and then separate rules for ourselves.

The world has watched his son being beheaded only to be used as a political pawn and yet he, too, turns him into a political pawn. Poor, poor Nick.

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: CENSORS NEVER SLEEP: An FCC commissioner says they’re still hard at work bleeping America:

Despite a cooling of interest in the subject among mainstream media, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein tells R&R his agency is still hard at work with the increased indecency enforcement efforts it launched earlier this year. “It got a lot of attention in the wake of the Super Bowl incident, but there’s a lot of discussion still currently going on, and we have a number of items in the pipeline that we’re looking at,” he said this morning. “Maybe you’re not seeing as much out in the public because the fear has passed and the media has moved on to something else, but here at the FCC we are continuing to press forward on a vast pile of complaints.” But Adelstein insists the renewed interest in indecency enforcement hasn’t distracted the FCC from other issues on its agenda. “We have many responsibilities, and while it’s one that I don’t think we were doing a very good job on until recently, I’m glad that we’ve increased our enforcement efforts,” he said. “We are taking the rules very seriously, and I think it’s having a very good effect. It’s what the public wanted us to do, and it’s what Congress requires us to do under the statute.”

Did you consider, fool, that it’s not just the media that has moved on but the people? Janet Jackson’s boop is old news and you’re still attacking the First Amendment because of it. [via I Want Media]

Are you incompetent?

Are you incompetent?

: David Remnick, editor in chief of The New Yorker, slaps the public for not reading the news he thinks they should read and a Stanford prof slaps him — deservedly — in return.

Mr. Remnick’s critique of the American press for turning from expensive foreign news to “non-fiction show business” featuring celebrity trials elicited agreement. But when he blamed the public for failing to pay adequate attention to serious journalism, Stanford Professor David M. Kennedy demurred with a little help from the author of the Declaration of Independence.

Prof. Kennedy, who like Mr. Remnick has won a Pulitzer Prize, likened the editor’s indictment of the public the night before to Jimmy Carter’s infamous “malaise” address. He paraphrased the former president: “I’m a good leader, but you’re not cooperating by being good, attentive citizens.”

“It’s absolutely fatal to democratic theory to believe the public is incompetent,” said Mr. Kennedy. “To whom else can we turn?”

Mr. Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan professor of history, quoted an 1820 letter of Thomas Jefferson: “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education.” News media, Mr. Kennedy said, must be more “clever” at making what’s important compelling.

Editor Remnick responded: “I don’t think at all people are incompetent. They are faced with a more difficult world than Thomas Jefferson faced.” In Jefferson’s time, he said, there was no “entertainment blizzard … the narcotic effect of television at the end of a day.

“I feel sorry in a way for the news consumer,” Mr. Remnick continued. “They are faced with a blizzard of choices and they are their own navigators.”

Sign me up for Prof. Kennedy’s speech. He’s absolutely right. If you do not trust and respect the people, then you don’t — you can’t — believe in democracy… or capitalism… or education… or art… or reform theology… And if the people don’t read what we write, then maybe we should find a new way to write it. We are our own navigators — all the more so in this age of remote controls and mice — and it’s a great thing. It’s about time.

Been there, done that

Been there, done that

: Garry Trudeau proves he has run out of ideas. He takes the idea Ted Koppel took from, oh, a hundred hacks before him: He’s running the names of all the U.S. Iraq war dead in his cartoon. Now that’s fresh.

How to blog, flack edition

How to blog, flack edition

: Just what the world needed: More Nick Denton publicity. This time, he’s telling PR people how to interact with bloggers.

Mullahs, Inc.

Mullahs, Inc.

: The mulluahs of Iran are censoring the Internet again, Hoder reports.

One reason behind it is predictable: “Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran unpopular prosecutor, has particularly said that he “won’t let the Imam Hossein’s dearests to be insulted” by some Iranian websites.”

But get a load of the other reason behind the crackdown: VOIP. Internet telephony is cutting into the mullahs’ revenue.

: I’ve also been remiss in not blogrolling Hoder’s photolog (and a million others). Here’s a pic of a place I want to lunch with him when I’m in Toronto in August.

I’m an idiot

I’m an idiot

: But then, you already knew that….

Today’s proof is that I mislinked to Linda Blake’s wonderful audio blog. It is here. Go there NOW to make up for the traffic I did not send her yesterday. Please. (I had accidentally linked instead to a pornographic page on the FCC site.)