Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ode to Samizdat Blogging: Engaging the world

Climate experts grade the year's biggest stories for credibility. (Lots fail.) 
↩︎ Climate Feedback 
More record-breaking heat was experienced around the world in 2017, with the year joining 2014, 2015 and 2016 as the four hottest years ever recorded in the 138-year global temperature archive.     

Chinua Achebe knew this when he observed in his fantastic forgotten conversation with James Baldwin:“Those who tell you ‘Do not put too much politics in your art’ are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are quite happy with the situation as it is… What they are saying is don’t upset the system.”

MEdia Dragon is sweet 16 years young, thousand years old in the Internet Age, and we do suffer from not having a proper sense of how much time has really passed between now and then  - PraGue Spring Soup and Palach 1968 and 1969, Iron Curtain Cold Was River Escape 1980, Second Prague Spring 1989, Children of the Velvet Revolution 1990 and 1992 ... Cognitive psychologists have a name for this: the telescoping effect.

The telescoping effect (or telescoping bias) refers to the temporal displacement of an event whereby people perceive recent events as being more remote than they are and distant events as being more recent than they are. The former is known as backward telescoping or time expansion, and the latter as is known as forward telescoping. Three years is approximately the time frame in which events switch from being displaced backward in time to forward in time, with events occurring three years in the past being equally likely to be reported with forward telescoping bias as with backward telescoping bias. Although telescoping occurs in both the forward and backward directions, in general the effect is to increase the number of events reported too recently.

Samizdat of a story  as Evil  Elvis Leaves NSW Parliamentary  building circa of Not Happy John stories 

 NSW Planning Minister launched pro-developer group headed by his friend - The Australian

Developers buy access to minister - The Sydney Morning Herald

ICAC told of Energy Minister Anthony Roberts' 'euphoria' over trip on developer's luxury yacht 

All Savvy Readers Just Need to remember this site -
A while back, several of us thought we would see what all this BLOG stuff is about. We went googling and searching and soon became either frustrated with poorly kept blogs or overwhelmed with the mere volume of ...

Deep bloggers will miss Dean Allen who died last weekend. His friend Om Malik has a fine remembrance of him here.

Who was Dean? There are so many ways to answer that question. You could call him a text designer, who loved the web and wanted to make it beautiful, long before others thought of making typography an essential part of the online reading experience. You could call him a Canadian, even though he spent a large part of his life in Avignon, South of France, with his partner. A writer whose prose could make your soul ache who stopped writing, because, it didn’t matter. Or you could think of him as like an old-fashioned: sweet, bitter and strong, who left you intoxicated because of his friendship. 

Dean was a web person…someone who could do all of the things necessary to make a website — design, write, code — and damn him, he did them all really well. I got to know him through a pair of sites he built, Textism and Cardigan. His writing was clever and pithy and engaging and you wanted to hate him but couldn’t because he was the nicest guy, the sort of person who would invite you to stay at his house even if you’d never even met him before. He also built Favrd, which was a direct inspiration for Stellar.

Weirdly, or maybe not, my two biggest memories of Dean involve food. One of my favorite little pieces of writing by him (or anyone else for that matter), is How to Cook Soup:

The Awl and The Hairpin announced they would be closing up shop at the end of the month, after almost nine years of danged good blogging. Several writers and editors wrote about their favorite pieces; many of them agreed with Jason that Willy Staley’s A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage was a high-water mark.

Very little in pop culture, especially if it doesn’t live very long, is multi-generational. The Awl and The Hairpin managed to pull it off, straddling the seam of Millennials and Gen X with an air of uncaring desperation. It was the writers who lost their jobs in the financial crisis of 2008-2009 staring at the kids who couldn’t get real jobs after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, making a solemn vow to write whatever they thought was smart, or funny, or necessary for the moment. 

Eventually, the jobs came calling — for many of the site’s best writers, but not for all — because they badly needed what The Awl had. And advertising: well, what are you going to do? Working on a shoestring may be romantic, but it sure ain’t no fun.

The Awl should have been the model for a new generation of sites that all outlived it. It wasn’t. We would mourn it less if there were more new blogs, staffed by hands young and old, rising to succeed it, jockeying to become required reading. Right now, there aren’t.

But who knows? There is still plenty of time.

A big new media study finds that 60% of Republicans trust Fox News and basically no other source of information.

Every walk is a sort of crusade,” Thoreau wrote in his manifesto for the spirit of sauntering. And who hasn’t walked — in the silence of a winter forest, amid the orchestra of birds and insects in a summer field, across the urban jungle of a bustling city — to conquer some territory of their interior world? Artist Maira Kalman sees walking as indispensable inspiration“I walk everywhere in the city. Any city. You see everything you need to see for a lifetime. Every emotion. Every condition. Every fashion. Every glory.” For Rebecca Solnit, walking “wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak.”

“Far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it.”

“Worshipped today, scorned or even crucified tomorrow,” Albert Einstein wrote in contemplating the fickleness of fame,“that is the fate of people whom — God knows why — the bored public has taken possession of.” And indeed the public itself often knows not why it has taken possession of those whom it inflates before deflating with the same rapaciousness and rapidity — such is the arbitrary and fleeting nature of popular favor in its gruesome modern guise of celebrity. “Success is the pageantry of genius,” Germaine de Staël wrote in her pioneering eighteenth-century treatise on happiness, but in the 
twenty-first century celebrity has become the simulacrum of success and visibility the simulacrum of genius.

Marta Chamilova advised little Jozef that some trends never change always write and link for yourself  - the social media trends predicted for 2017 ...Not surprisingly, blogging trends for 2018 will follow the same pattern. It’s predicted that more and more blogs will be created this year but that many of them (perhaps most, even) will not be read. Why? Because they’ll fail to stand out amongst the crowd, drowning in a sea of similar blogs. So what can you do to make your blog attract readers and followers?

First you’ve got to make sure you create a blog worth following. Then you’ll need to stay on top of changing trends and practices