Posts from October 12, 2004

Is Ronald next?

Is Ronald next?

: McDonald’s in the UK drops the golden arches for a golden question mark.

Who’s fake?

Who’s fake?

: 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

Bandwidth envy II

: The French are beating us. The friggin’ French! It’s one matter for the Koreans to best us in bandwidth. But the French! Says Andrew Levy in the comments below (here and here):

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 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.

whipped.jpgThe Censorchip Commission rules:

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

Mad media

Mad media

: 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.