Posts from August 2002

An invitation: My small (and

An invitation
: My small (and nonthreatening) Congregational Church in New Jersey is having a memorial service on Sept. 11 at 8p (not 7:30p) and I will give the meditation. Directions here.

The hit list
: The official State Department list of worldwide terrorist organizations. [via Die Zeit]

Whew: Good news: Daniel Taylor,

: Good news: Daniel Taylor, the Dreaded Purple Monster, is out of the hospital and rehab and back home. His wife has been keeping his online friends up-to-date and now he’s at the keyboard again.

Remembering: John Ellis sends us

: John Ellis sends us to Leon Wieseltier’s essay in The New Republic on remembering September 11 (you have to register to read). I agree with him in spots (and don’t agree with his dissection of William Langewiesche’s pieces on the aftermath at the World Trade Center). In any case, the piece is filled with good and smart and smartly written observations and I’ll quite unfairly reduce it to its best soundbites:

A society that is notorious for its inability to remember is about to do nothing else. America eats the past…

…The yahrzeit is here, and the least lachrymose country on earth is devising its rituals of commemoration. The interesting question is whether the memory will have life outside the media….

…Most of us will be remembering an event that we never saw, which is precisely the character of collective memory: knowledge made so immediate that it feels like experience…

…It was a measure of the horror that the media were too weak to interfere with our consciousness of it. In American existence, this counts as an epiphany. For the managers of meaning, the anchors and the reporters and the commentators, were themselves too shocked to set to work…

…The American heart is the bouncer at the door of the American mind….

…The media is greedy for tears. I expect also that what will be commemorated on television will be the coverage of the catastrophe as much as the catastrophe itself. Many reporters have an unattractive tendency to believe that an event that they have covered is an event that has happened to them…

…They are tourists in history…

…There is nothing that anybody can say or show on television that will be as crushing as what one may oneself imagine about what it must have been like to perish at the World Trade Center a year ago. Imagination is television’s mortal enemy; and mourning is, to a large extent, an activity of the imagination…

…What we will be commemorating on September 11, after all, is the beginning of a war…

…A shallow mourning is a hideous thing. Or so I reflected the other day, when I came upon the perfect mourner’s accessory, a Judith Leiber bag that portrays, in black crystals on white crystals, the World Trade Center. For under $4,000 evidence may be given of a broken Manhattan heart. Otherwise the terrorists will have won.

More memories
: Rossi has survivor’s guilt:

The thing is

101: Columbia University’s J-school halted

: Columbia University’s J-school halted its search for a new dean because the university’s president said the school had better first figure out the future of media. The NYT’s Clyde Haberman has a few suggestions.

Young reporters need to be taught to avoid clich

das Blog: Germans have been

das Blog
: Germans have been brilliant at copying the best (and avoiding the worst) of American technology and media. They created better versions of American Internet companies; some succeeded. They have a better newsmagazine in Focus. They have their own David Letterman who looks, talks, gesticulates, and jokes like the real one, named Harald Schmidt.

And now they are taking on blogs with a vengeance:

: A German blog search engine: Blogoo.

: A German version of at Blog Checkup

: A German weblog map, not unlike

: German weblog software called Sunlog.

: Even a German weblog birthday list.

Stand up and be counted
: Ev inspires me to suggest that it’s time for bloggers to band together to be counted by Media Metrix and Nielsen/NetRatings.

First see this story in Wired News blathering about how many weblogs are or are not tended and read (if a blogger blogs in the forest and there’s nobody there to read it, does it make a sound?). It’s a ridiculous and purely speculative argument that won’t land anywhere meaningful. The only way to know how big the blogosphere is is to get it counted.

There are two key counters: Media Metrix and Nielsen/NetRatings. They count by tracking a sample of Internet users (just as Nielsen’s TV service creates ratings by tracking Nielsen families; it’s innaccurate but it is the accepted math of media).

No blog — not even Instaman! — is big enough to register on these services’ meters. But an aggregate of all weblogs surely would. Or wouldn’t. There’s only one way to know.

Both services aggregate the domains and traffic of various companies’ sites — e.g., all of the AOL Time Warner empire adds up to one number; ditto Knight-Ridder newspapers.

It would be impressive if there could be a count for all weblogs.

Granted, there is no central weblog repository; this is an amorphous amalgam. But it would not be hard to come up with a catalog of most webloggers, as Ev begins to suggest: Take all the domains served by Blogger and LiveJournal and at most a half-dozen such outsourced services and add in the domains listed at and Eatonweb over, say, a month and eliminate the duplications and voila: you have a list of current weblog addresses.

I’ll bet one good-hearted weblog-loving geek out there could compile that directory in his/her spare time.

Now if someone can convince Media Metrix or Nielsen to count — and aggregate statistics — based on that list, we’d have a view of total traffic and audience to weblogs. The service smart enough to do this would get a nice press release: “Revealed: This Weblog Thing You Keep Hearing About — Should You Give A Damn?” And we’d know how big we are.