Is Ronald next?
: McDonald’s in the UK drops the golden arches for a golden question mark.
Is Ronald next?
: McDonald’s in the UK drops the golden arches for a golden question mark.
: Let’s stop calling Jon Stewart, SNL, et al “fake news.”
It’s not fake. It’s merely funny.
These days, who’s to say what’s fake, eh?
Bandwidth envy II
Hey Jeff, to feed your envy…
I live in Paris now, and here’s what I get for my 30 Euros per month: 6mbps downstream, 1mbps upstream. 100 channels of cable television VIA DSL, and free national phone calls VIA DSL, at no additional charge.
A year ago, when I signed up, it was just 2mbps downstream with no TV, but for the same price. The market here is in a bandwidth war, with each ISP consistently raising the ante. Bandwidth go up, price stay same.
Also, I pay absolutely zero to the former national phone monopoly, France Telecom, for a land line — the DSL is completely independent of a land line (which is rendered unnecessary by the free national phone calls).
It’s not South Korea bandwidth, but it’s a helluva lot more for a helluva lot less than in the USA.
The Daily Stern: No suggestions, please, we’re American
: The Federal Censorship Commission just fined Fox $1.2 million for suggesting sex. Yes, suggesting.
By that standard, they might as well just go ahead and empty the piggybanks of every network, producer, star, advertiser, ad agency, magazine, and teenage boy in America. Suggesting sex is now a crime. Don’t have to do it. Don’t have to show it. Just have to suggest it, and you’re going bankrupt.
Turning to the instant case, we begin our analysis with an examination of whether the material at issue depicts or describes sexual or excretory organs or activities. As noted above, the April 7, 2003, episode of
: Some more thoughts on the Okrent/Schwenk exchange I chronicle reluctantly below:
Folks fire off angry emails … blog posts … columns … talk-show calls … talk-show rants … movies … ads … billboards … forum posts … or whatever….
It’s mad media.
And for a minute, mad media may feel good, like a sniper shot in an arcade game: Got ‘im!
But when and if civility returns, mad media feels disgusting and dirty.
For you forget that you are dealing with a human being.
Whether that human being — your target — is a reporter or a politician or a columnist or a blogger or a someone you see on TV or hear on radio or read online…. it’s still a fellow human being. When you try to inflict pain, you usually will.
You forget that at the peril of your own civility.
That is why I’ve been obsessing on the mud of this campaign: because mud begets mud, it oozes and spreads and dirties everything and everyone around it; it splatters where you don’t expect. It’s hard to contain mud.
In this campaign, far too many people have trafficked in mud: the candidates, their campaigns, newspaper columnists, news executives, news stars, bloggers, commenters, moviemakers, “special-interest groups”….
And what have we all gotten from it? Dirtier and dirtier, that’s all.
In this little Okrent/Nagourney/Schwenk melodrama, we see a story that has gone too far. Schwenk should not have said what he said; it is impardonable to wish ill upon another man’s child — impardonable — and Schwenk, sadly, then got a taste of his own bile when his own children got scared, something that also should not have happened. Nagourney and Okrent also would have had a far better moral to their story if they had indeed confronted Schwenk before the column was printed; I’ll bet he would have seen the error of his words then — when confronted at a human level — and they could have used this to remind us all of our duty to act civilly to each other. Instead, they shot back. So now that’s happening in public. Fine. Let it be a lesson to all:
Mud gets you dirty.
And in this time when the uncivilized of the world are attacking us, it is more important than ever that we preserve civilization and that we behave civilly to each other.
As I said below, the real potential of this new medium is that it can cause conversation — rather than shouting matches. With the immediacy and intimacy and urgency of this medium, we can and should talk and air our issues and we and democracy will be better off for it. I’ve seen it happen online (and I’ve seen it not happen); take your pick. You want to wallow in mud media or do you want to get somewhere? The choice is yours every time you hit the “send” button.
Behave, boys and girls. Please, behave.
The Daily Stern: Together again?
: Defamer has what it carefully labels a completely unverifiable rumor du jour: that Viacom is thinking about buying Sirius satellite to get Howard Stern back.
Well, I’m a Stern fan but even I wouldn’t say that they’d do it just to get Howard back. They’d do it to get a piece of the sky — and the future — so they’re not stuck down on earth — in the past. Sirius is the one to buy because it is cheaper and just took on a bunch of debt; a Viacom investment makes sense.
Stern has been talking about ways the companies could work together. He also vowed this morning to stop talking about satellite or else he’ll find himself off the air. (A colleague here thinks Viacom has to take him off six months before the end of his contract so he doesn’t lead up to his Sirius launch with the full power of broadcast behind him.)
Note also that Les Moonves was on Letterman last night, talking about Stern at length.
The crazy chatter further holds that Viacom co-president/future galactic dictator Les Moonves was so despondent over Stern’s departure from his loving embrace (and over the possibility that the FM portion of his empire will be decimated) that Stern will now get to do his plain, old, over-the-air radio show in a new, commercial-free format. The upshot: Stern gets to keep his huge audience, Viacom finally shows they aren’t taking him for granted, and Moonves gets Sirius’ satellite pipleline to eventually deliver mind-control rays for his coming invasion Viacom content into the world’s automobiles, assuring there is no place where we will be safe from Real World and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns.
: UPDATE: The voice of experience says no way.
: In his Sunday column, Dan Okrent named one specific letter-writer for sending bile to The Times. I chose not to name the name (though I did Google him) because this is their fight and I don’t know where this he-wrote-she-wrote will land (and I then took Okrent to task for more generally criticizing bloggers as the muse of poison-pen-letter writers). But the named name just left a comment on this blog and so I’ll bring it out and quote him in full. First, here’s what Okrent wrote:
But before I turn over the podium, I do want you to know just how debased the level of discourse has become. When a reporter receives an e-mail message that says, “I hope your kid gets his head blown off in a Republican war,” a limit has been passed.
That’s what a coward named Steve Schwenk, from San Francisco, wrote to national political correspondent Adam Nagourney several days ago because Nagourney wrote something Schwenk considered (if such a person is capable of consideration) pro-Bush. Some women reporters regularly receive sexual insults and threats. As nasty as critics on the right can get (plenty nasty), the left seems to be winning the vileness derby this year. Maybe the bloggers who encourage their readers to send this sort of thing to The Times might want to ask them instead to say it in public. I don’t think they’d dare.
And now here’s what Steve Schwenk — and I presume it to be him — left as a comment below:
For a man who bemoans the absence of civility on the left, Okrent sure has a strange way of dealing with it.
He not only distorted what I said in my e-mail, but he called me a coward and told the entire country who I am and where I live after very effectively making me out to be a monster.
My kids were terrified by the never ending phone calls and hang ups. My daughter asked what we should do if a mob came to the house to get us. And needless to say, the humiliation I now have to experience in responding to the repeated inquiries about whether that was really me will go one for weeks. Did I mention that I am looking for a job?
The worst part is that the bastard completely distorted what my e-mail said and why I was complaining. He left out the 99% that raised legitimate questions and focused only on the sensational words of anger I regretfully used.
Thanks, Daniel Okrent. And thanks, to you too, “Adam.” I all but pleaded with them not to do it, that it would really harm me and was an unfair response to a private e-mail. Okrent’s assistant hung up on me and Nagourney laughed me off, like it was his right to harm me since he works at the NYT and thinks he’s a star.
And they wonder why people are angry.
And you can see what I said below.
Well, Schwenk does say that he is regretful about the words he used.
The object lesson is that this is where anger and mud inevitably leads: to bile and venom and words or actions regretted.
It is our role in this new medium of communication to get people communicating before it gets that far.
: UPDATE: Some additional thoughts above the filthy fray, above.
(If the telcos wanted to, they could do 600 times faster for about the same price.)
(Cable itself is poised to run 600 times faster than cable. Like dude? Moore’s Law?)
(Oh, right, I forgot that without scarcity there’ll be nothing to sell.)