Monday, May 26, 2003

Literature Canada is once again fighting to be different from America.

Okay, so that One City One Book idea is a good one, but we can't copy anything from America. I know! We'll have our whole country read the same book. The panelists for CBC Radio One's Canada Reads jury opted to bridge the country's two solitudes yesterday, choosing Hubert Aquin's controversial Prochain Episode as the novel it wants Canadians to read this spring.
· Whole Country [TopRead]

Sunday, May 18, 2003

That a 'nobody' like [Salam Pax] wound up providing a more nuanced view of his world - better than either the authoritarian inanities of the Iraqi information minister or the Geraldo-besotted dispatches of the commercial television networks - testifies both to the specific value of weblogging as well as to the broader impact the Internet may yet have around the world.
Charles Cooper

Strange Weather Lately

Vonnegut gets a few things off his chest . . .
Asked to speak as part of the Clemens Lecture Series at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, Kurt Vonnegut gave a speech (courtesy here of In These Times) in which he asked, What other American landmark is as sacred to me as the Mark Twain House? The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln were country boys from Middle America, and both of them made the American people laugh at themselves and appreciate really important, really moral jokes." Vonnegut then proceeded to launch a scathing attack of American conservatism, saying, What are the conservatives doing with all the money and power that used to belong to all of us? ... they have turned loose a myriad of our high–tech weapons, each one costing more than a hundred high schools, on a Third World country, in order to shock and awe human beings like us, like Adam and Eve, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. ... Conservatives are crazy as bedbugs.
· They are bullies. [ InTheseTimes]

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Mothers doing what?

THIS SUNDAY IS Mother's Day.
Restaurants are already booked for brunches and dinners. The flower, candy and card industries await their annual spike in sales. This is soooo 20th century. The women who conceived Mother's Day would be bewildered by our rituals. They would expect us to be marching in the streets, not honored for our individual sacrifices.
That's because the idea of a mother's day began with women's public activism. In 1858, Anna Reeve Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized Mothers' (not Mother's) Work Days in West Virginia to improve the sanitation and decrease the deaths caused by polluted water.
In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic, proposed an annual Mothers' Day for Peace. Horrified by the casualties of the American Civil and Franco-Prussian wars, Howe asked:
Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?

· Mothers' (not Mother's) Work Days [ Chronicle]
Democracy Inverted Totalitarianism

Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers. That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.

What is at stake, then, is nothing less than the attempted transformation of a tolerably free society into a variant of the extreme regimes of the past century. In that context, the national elections of 2004 represent a crisis in its original meaning, a turning point. The question for citizens is: Which way?

· Sheldon Wolin [The Nation]

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Hairy Me

It has been difficult to ignore the unstoppable rise of the hairless male body aesthetic over the past two decades. Where once a man's hirsutism was a sign of manhood and virility, it is now largely derided as uncultivated or even beastlike. And make no mistake, it is not just women - or even primarily women - making this judgment. Men want to shave. Nearly all men shave something; almost none come in their natural, bearded state. Depilation of one's chest, shoulders, back, stomach, pubic area and legs - everywhere but the head - has become a basic part of many men's grooming. And once they start, they seem to find it difficult to stop. Many men, particularly those under forty, associate body hair not with their manlihood, but only with anxiety and disgust. Why has this come about? And what might we make of it?
· Shaving Situation, in More Ways Than One [CipherCulture ]

Thursday, May 08, 2003

New Media Journalists Debate Closure of Another Blog

Courant says Weblog lacked editing oversight
A journalist working for a major media company decides to start a personal Weblog in his spare time. His blog becomes popular (or not). His association with the media company is stated, but discreetly. He has the usual disclaimer: This Weblog is the opinion of Joe Journo, and not the company he works for. But what does the company think? If it's CNN, Time magazine or the Hartford Courant, it doesn't think -- it acts, killing the Weblog for reasons stated (and unstated).
· Bloggers [OJR]

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Literature Canada is once again fighting to be different from America.

Okay, so that One City One Book idea is a good one, but we can't copy anything from America. I know! We'll have our whole country read the same book. The panelists for CBC Radio One's Canada Reads jury opted to bridge the country's two solitudes yesterday, choosing Hubert Aquin's controversial Prochain Episode as the novel it wants Canadians to read this spring.
· OneNation [ Globe]

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Slate Sets a Web Magazine First: Making Money

· Model [Slate ]

Friday, May 02, 2003

Journalists Debate Closure of Another Blog

A journalist working for a major media company decides to start a personal Weblog in his spare time. His blog becomes popular (or not). His association with the media company is stated, but discreetly. He has the usual disclaimer: This Weblog is the opinion of Joe Journo, and not the company he works for. But what does the company think? If it's CNN, Time magazine or the Hartford Courant, it doesn't think -- it acts, killing the Weblog for reasons stated (and unstated).

· Courant says Weblog lacked editing oversight [ ORJ]