The Root's ?uestlove on the invisibilizing of Black culture... "...you can point to this as proof of hip-hop’s success. The concept travels. But where has it traveled? The danger is that it has drifted into oblivion. The music originally evolved to paint portraits of real people and handle real problems at close range — social contract, anyone? — but these days, hip-hop mainly rearranges symbolic freight on the black starliner. Containers on the container ship are taken from here to there — and never mind the fact that they may be empty containers. Keep on pushin’ and all that, but what are you pushing against?" [more inside]
I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day.Tim Kreider: The ‘Busy’ Trap.
Op-Ed at 40, A Brief History of the Art, Four Decades of Illustration at the New York Times is an awesome 10:20 minute mini documentary video with a selection of brilliant political, social satire cartoons and insightful illustrations. Bonus link: DailyOpEd.com – Read and search over 100 major newspaper op-eds. [more inside]
There are two guards: one always speaks the truth, the other gouges the eyes out of people who ask tricky questions.
Fame and Infamy. In some sort of journalist version of two (geek) worlds colliding, graphic novel author Warren Ellis, famous for his acerbic personality and sociocultural commentaries, starts a regular op-ed column for Reuters, about the overly-hyped user-defined virtual world of Second Life.
A second career? The President pens an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. For extra credit compare and contrast attitudes towards bipartisanship in the op-ed to this speech or this one. Gold star for the best answer.
Angry and Furious at the Collaborationist Democrats I [Martin Garbus] don't understand. An hour after I saw the Times "scoop" on the Bush illegal wiretapping plan, I wrote that it was clearly illegal and unconstitutional. But as it now turns out, dozens of politicians, as well as the New York Times knew about the surveillance plan and did nothing. Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, and Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, a man known for some sensitivity to civil liberties infringements, and a substantial number of congressmen, plus the New York Times, all knew of Bush's illegal spying.
The rareified land of op-ed is the latest section of the big-city daily to see upheaval. A few weeks back, outgoing NYT ombudsman Dan Okrent and professorial columnist Paul Krugman waged an all-out snarkfest over the accuracy of Krugman's statistical references. As Okrent intimates, should op-ed columnists be subject to the same fact-checking standards as reporters? And how much should the views of one columnist be taken to represent the views of the paper? The Los Angeles Times is shaking up its model by allowing editorial board members to openly dissent from op-ed columns, effectively turning philosophical pronouncements into policy debates. But the most interesting thing to come out of the redesign, to be launched next week, is wikitorials, the op-ed that Anyone Can Edit. Disaster in the making, or the new face of journalistic opinion?
Recent neuroscience research suggests that Democrats and Republicans are not nearly as far apart as they seem (NYT). Will an awareness that we are conning ourselves to feel alienated from each other help to close the political gap? Or, are we conned by science and the media?
People talk about how universities have almost turned into diploma mills, churning out degrees to almost anyone that breathes. So what do students think about the current situation? According to this student, it doesn't go far enough: "I have come to the conclusion that the University system makes absolutely no sense. Students pay teachers to educate us, yet they are then allowed to tell us how much we're learning...I'll be the one to tell the receiver of my hard-earned money exactly how well they did. Shouldn't it be the same with education?" That's right, students want, nay, demand an A, since they paid for it.
Oh, I So Wish So-And-So Were On The Other Side! Just move over, dude! For conservatives, it's often the case that our allies are a damn sight worse than our worst so-called enemies. Here's a prime example, extremely rare in its totality: an embarrassing piece by an embarrassing neo-con, John Laughland, about an even more embarrassing neo-con, Michael Ledeen, in a totally embarrassing magazine, American Conservative. Do liberals and lefties have it any easier? Who are the Center's and the Left's most difficult-to-explain compagnons de route dudes? Quite honestly - and although they're certainly not immune to the exquisite unease of political companionship - I enviously fear that they do.
A Liberal Argument for Iraqi Regime Change from Salman Rushdie Such a pleasure to read a well-written op-ed piece for a change.
Woody Harrelson, the man who among other things has been arrested for hanging on the Golden Gate Bridge to protest redwood logging, wrote a surprisingly lucid op-ed about Iraq in the Guardian today.
Woody Harrelson, the man who among other things has been arrested for hanging on the Golden Gate Bridge to protest redwood logging, wrote a surprisingly lucid op-ed about Iraq in the Guardian today. "I have been here three months doing a play in the West End. I am having the time of my life. I love England, the people, the parks, the theatre. The play is great and the audiences have been a dream. Probably I should just relax, be happy and talk about the weather, but this war is under my skin - it affects my sleep." Regardless of your politics, you've got to admit he's not a bad writer.
Satan Doesn't Wear Sweaty Socks. Matthew Parris of The Times weighs in on the War on Terrorism, painting the U.S. as the 900-lb. gorilla of world affairs and offering the observation that maybe Al-Qaeda isn't as scary as the Bush and Blair administrations say it is.
Baseball player Curt Schilling's letter to America. I think this is a great way to say we're shocked, we're grieving, and we're going back to work with the victims and their families in mind. Play ball!
Death with Commercials is how the ever apposite Frank Rich sums up the media-saturated McVeigh execution, the ultimate reality show. Rich thinks all the hoopla my have served to turn more people away from punishment by death.
The Morality Police. "Our hysterical attempts to shield kids from images of sex and violence are stunting young lives -- and trapping us all in a Big Lie." A well-argued piece, more of an op-ed than a straight-up book review. As a scientist I only quibble with the author's musing that "if there really were a cause-and-effect link between real violence and media violence, then it would have been proven by now."
Flutterby wonders what the difference is between those who have faith in media and those who see them as "an unending stream of barely edited press-releases."
My opinion about the hostage rescue in Miami. (Link to my page; sorry.)