Tuesday, October 05, 2021

What I Owe You—Measured Praise' Blogosphere

Facebook and Instagram appear to be back online after global outage for almost SIX HOURS but WhatsApp still remains offline as the social network blames 'networking issues'

Westpac director Steven Harker has defended his use of a Samoan superannuation fund that was set up by one of the advisory houses at the centre of a major media investigation into tax avoidance schemes and breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

Mr Harker, a former guardian of the Future Fund, is one of more than 400 Australians identified in a massive data leak of 14 offshore tax advisory firms exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in a global media investigation known as the “Pandora Papers”.

The ICIJ said the trove of documents exposed the complex business structures being used by scores of billionaires as well as royal families, politicians and celebrities, like Elton John and Ringo Starr, to allegedly hide their affairs from tax authorities. The consortium’s local partners are The Australian Financial Review, the ABC and Guardian Australia.

On Monday, the tax office said it will analyse the trove of secret documents released by the ICIJ to see if it can identify any possible Australian links. “We will certainly look at this data set and compare it with the data we already have to identify any potential connections,” ATO deputy commissioner Will Day said.

Not avoiding tax’: Westpac director digs in after Pandora Papers expose

False Pro-China Accounts Invade Twitter in the UK

While cybercrime and cybersurveillance are commonplace today, how many of us understand their effect our everyday lives? What’s revealed in the history of cybercrime, from its rudimentary beginnings in the 1980s to today?

Using RSS to replace social media

What Social Media Needs To Learn From Traditional Media

Even if there were a dozen major social networks, each one would still need to deal with the content dilemmas plaguing the existing juggernauts. There’s no road to healthier online discourse without some level of self-imposed professional guidelines. - Wired

'What I Owe You—Measured Praise'

D.G. Myers and I met in the bookish precincts of the blogosphere in the fall of 2008. He was the new guy, and had just launched A Commonplace Blog. I was the veteran of two and a half years. David lived in Houston, the city we had left that spring when we moved to Bellevue, Washington. I would return to Houston three years later, but by then David and his family had moved to Columbus, Ohio. We met in person only once, in March 2012, in Houston. David was back in town to consult with a doctor about the cancer that would kill him seven years ago, on September 26, 2014. We had lunch in a Mexican restaurant and never stopped yacking. I have never known anyone who cared so much about literature, and wasn’t afraid to say so. 

We shared a love of Henry James, among many other writers. David had a goat’s appetite when it came to fiction. He happily read stuff I could never choke down. On that visit to Houston, David gave me his duplicate copy of James’ Literary Criticism (1984), the Library of America volume of essays and reviews devoted to American and English writers. David was a literary critic by training and temperament. I am not. Most of my reading is intuitive and pleasure-driven, though David insisted I was a sort of critic manqué. He liked to argue. I don’t. His analytic skills were sharp. Mine are, in comparison, almost nonexistent. In James’ well-known 1884 essay “The Art of Fiction,” I find a rough articulation of my stance:


“Nothing, of course, will ever take the place of the good old fashion of ‘liking’ a work of art or not liking it; the more improved criticism will not abolish that primitive, that ultimate, test.”


David and I exchanged emails almost daily for those six years, except on Shabbat, as he was an orthodox Jew. He was a rare correspondent with whom I was comfortable saying anything. He never misunderstood or was offended. In 1985, R.L. Barth published a pamphlet of David’s epigrams. This one is addressed to his former teacher, the great poet J. V. Cunningham:


“Take these, the work of quiet days,

In place of what I owe you—measured praise.

As you have made my mind your own device

To honor you I epigrammatize.”


This post is written in place of what I owe David Myers – measured praise.