Posts from January 23, 2004

A beautiful sorrow, a painful joy

path2.jpgA beautiful sorrow, a painful joy
: I have the reaction to the new PATH station design at the World Trade Center that I wish I’d had to the September 11th memorial designs.

I am saddened, joyful, humbled, and amazed.

Architect Santiago Calatrava’s design is magnificence.

It soars. It inspires. It remembers. It is hopeful, respectful, and beautiful.

Oh, why couldn’t the memorial have such a heart and soul as this train station?

I know that New Yorkers will come to love this station and treat it as if it were the memorial.

The pity is that this station will shame that memorial. The memorial sinks into the ground, cold, hard, sterile, unfeeling. This train station rises to the heavens, reaching to the heroes and innocents we lost that day.

The memorial is surrender and sadness. The train station is defiance and pride.

It made me profoundly sad to see this beauty at a place that had become so ugly. But it made me hopeful and happy about the future of this place for the first time in a long time, especially since I have started riding into again, seeing what is not there.

A mere design did that. A mere design can when it is the right design. A mere design could make me cry and make me smile.

: See the full PowerPoint presentation here.

: Don’t read the Herbert Muschamp analysis. That man could suck the life out of a baby.

S*** on toast

S*** on toast
: Andrew Sullivan says that after last night, Clark is toast. I agree. I’ll bet we’ll see him sliding and Edwards rising as a result. The voters are still looking for the alternative to the alternative.

Gossip as government work

Gossip as government work
: Politics is just gossip. And so it is perfect that Nick Denton’s latest is a Gawker for the District: Wonkette. Nick’s announcement:

Washington, DC has always been a mystery to me. So much power, and so little sex appeal. Hollywood for ugly people, as they say. But there’s gossip, there just has to be. What DC lacks in sexiness, it makes up for in pomposity and hypocrisy. So, Wonkette, the latest blog in the Gawker stable. Wonkette is written by Ana Marie Cox, who used to write the notorious Suck column for Wired Digital, and now lives in the DC suburbs. She’s funny.

She also wrote the late lamented Antic Muse.

I was one of the many in Nick’s gigantic coterie who was pushing conquest of Washington next. Perfect place. Perfect timing. Perfect people to do it.

I love it already. Enough with the pompous mass-turbation of mass media. It’s time to bring the snark to those who deserve snarking post. Enjoy.

The calculated scream

The calculated scream
: Dave Winer has a fascinating backstory on the Dean Scream:

I was at Dean headquarters on the night of the Iowa caucuses, and I watched the Dean rant on TV in the office, with the other Web programmers. A few minutes before the speech they had a staff meeting in the conference room. Everyone was there except me and another guest. Not being a staffer, I didn’t belong in the staff meeting. Several times during the meeting a loud crazy-sounding scream came from the room, everyone was doing it, and it was really frightening. The stuff of nightmares. This was before Howard Dean’s rant. I asked Jim Moore what that was about, he said it’s an Indian war yell or something like that, they used to do it in United Farm Workers rallies, and they adopted it at Dean For America. A few minutes later Dean let out the famous scream, it was the same scream I heard in the conference room.

They’re probably not saying this publicly because it wouldn’t seem contrite to do it, and they probably know they’d get roasted for saying the scream and ranting you heard was part of the motivational culture at DFA. Some have compared the Dean speech to a similar rant by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that made the rounds of the Net. So Dean gets a bit whacky, but after seeing it so many times, the shock value is fading.

Dave says all this to defend Dean (and, go read the rest, to complain about the scream overload in the press).

But I actually find this more frightening now.

If the Scream had come from a moment of excitement, it’s understandable.

If the Scream was a calculated political move, it reveals numbnutty judgment on the part of the candidate and his staff: “Hey, Howard, go do the Scream; they’ll love it.”

No, what the voters needed to hear was that you were learning to listen, not shout over them.

: But, yes, I should add that I agree with Dave that we’ve all had enough of the scream now. Yesterday’s foible. On to the next foible in NEW HAMPSHIRE, SOUTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVIANIA…

Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

Deconstructed

Deconstructed
: At a Newspaper Association online meeting last week, participants were invited, to considerable fanfare, to contribute to a group blog. Well, nobody did. It flopped like a dead fish on faded fishwrap. At the Poynter blog, Katja Riefler wonders why. I’ll tell you: A blog is a personal thing (even for a group). We contribute to our blogs because they are ours.

Creating a group blog for the meeting is old-media think; it’s going by the old assumption that everything needs to be centralized; it imagines that you are still the marketplace. If you wanted the conference blogged, it’s really quite simple:

Invite bloggers. And they will blog.

In this distributed, decentralized, deconstructed media world, you have to think differently (especially if you’re in the media): There is no more special privilege or power given to the guy with the conch because now everybody has a conch. Imagine a media world in which everybody is a reporter and photographer (and columnist); everybody owns a press and a broadcast tower. And then ask how the media landscape should be constructed. Now, instead of making everyone come to one place for one source of news, news is everywhere; there’s more news than ever; it’s just a matter of finding it (and finding the right news). It’s also a matter of enabling these many, diverse, and decentralized sources of news — these citizens — to work.

Invite citizens.

: At RSS Winterfest yesterday, I got excited talking about how I’m coming to think of the essential architecture of my day-job content as feeds (RSS, or equivalent). So for a given town, I will have feeds of the information from inside the organization: newspaper headlines, blog headlines, forum threads, classified listings, weather, sports scores… It’s all feeds. And as soon as you think about it that way, it’s no big to add feeds from outside the organization: bloggers’ headline feeds, feeds of related headlines from other news sources, feeds of listings from other sources, feeds of photos and audio and video.

And it gets really exciting when the feeds start reacting to each other (via Technorati links or Movable Type trackbacks or something new coming down the pike). The feeds start conversations. You find out what people really care about. And all this also creates an asset that can be saved and searched and used.

There is still a big role for a guy at the center to enable those conversations and a marketplace.

But you have to think in new ways. It’s no long about the one guy with the press or the conch or the blog. It’s about everybody.

Enable the citizens.