An Impartial Interrogation
One of the things I miss about my eighteen years in the US Senate are the stories of the old Southern Democrats. I didn't always vote with them, but I loved their technique of responding to an opponent's questions with a humorous story. Once when Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina had to handle a tough question from Mike Mansfield, he said, "You know, Mr. Leader, that question reminds me of the old Baptist preacher who was telling a class of Sunday school boys the creation story. 'God created Adam and Eve and from this union came two sons, Cain and Abel and thus the human race developed.' A boy in the class then asked, 'Reverend, where did Cain and Abel get their wives?' After frowning for a moment, the preacher replied, 'Young man--it's impertinent questions like that that's hurtin' religion.'"
posted by nofundy
on Jan 19, 2007 -
The Plantation Mentality
The veteran broadcast journalist Bill Moyers spoke on Friday before 3,500 at the opening of the National Conference on Media Reform in Memphis. He announced his return to the airwaves and outlined his vision of media reform. "As ownership gets more and more concentrated, fewer and fewer independent sources of information have survived in the marketplace; and those few significant alternatives that do survive, such as PBS and NPR, are under growing financial and political pressure to reduce critical news content and to shift their focus in a mainstream direction, which means being more attentive to establishment views than to the bleak realities of powerlessness that shape the lives of ordinary people."
posted by nofundy
on Jan 18, 2007 -
The Human Speechome Project
- "A baby is to be monitored
by a network of microphones and video cameras for 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, in an effort to unravel the seemingly miraculous process by which children acquire language.". Selected video clips
(PDF, 750KB). To test hypotheses of how children learn, Prof Deb Roy's team at MIT will develop machine learning systems that “step into the shoes” of his son by processing the sights and sounds of three years of life at home. Total storage required: 1.4 petabytes
posted by Gyan
on Jul 23, 2006 -
"Drove my Chevy to the levee..."?
That's a lawsuit. "Pass the Courvoisier"? Yup. Lawsuit too. Artwork using Barbie Dolls? Lawsuit again... It's all part of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act
, which would eliminate the non-commercial "fair use" protections of trademarks in art, literature, and speech-- To amend the Trademark Act of 1946 with respect to dilution by blurring or tarnishment.
It goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the 16th, and there's a large roster of groups fighting it, including the American Library Association, EFF, and more, saying that consumers as well as artists would be preventing from exercising their free speech rights unless it's amended.
posted by amberglow
on Feb 3, 2006 -
Last week, a woman was forced off a Southwest Airlines flight for wearing a t-shirt.
The shirt in question bore the phrase "Meet the F*ckers" and an image of US President Bush, VP Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. The passenger, Lorrie Heasley, refused to remove it after other passengers complained. Apparently "Southwest rules filed with the FAA say they can remove a passenger that is offensive, abusive, disorderly or violent or for clothing that is "lewd, obscene, or patently offensive," but the airline says the curse (not the political message) led to her being asked to leave. Ms. Heasley is now speaking with the ACLU to see if she can initiate a lawsuit, but the NYTimes checked with experts in constitutional law and they don't think she has a case.
Well, the makers of the t-shirt have responded: "If any T-Shirt Hell customer is kicked off of any commercial airline flight simply for wearing one of our shirts, we will provide you with alternate transportation to get you to your original destination. This transportation includes, but is not limited to, the T-Shirt Hell corporate jet."
posted by zarq
on Oct 11, 2005 -
I just finished up reading The Turk
by Tom Standage (briefly mentioned in passing here
) a biography of the chess-playing automaton that toured Europe and later the Americas during the pivotal transition from the 18th to the 19th century. The Automaton was invented as an exercise in national pride by Wolfgang von Kempelen,
who considered it a trifle compared to his experiments with mechanical speech synthesis.
As a celebrity, the automaton had historic encounters with Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, Beethoven, Philidor
and Charles Babbage, and fictional encounters with the monarchs Catherine the Great, George III and Frederick II. Standage credits it with influencing the development of the Difference Engine
, the power loom, Poe's mystery stories
, and Barnum's manipulation of the press.
The myths surrounding have even caught James Randi
, who seems to have been unaware of a colleague's reconstruction
based on notes from the last owner.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Sep 21, 2005 -
Internets: Serious Business!
These last few months have seen an increase in the attacks on the participatory culture of the web. The mainstream establishments, both political and corporate, have been looking with a cautious eye towards this new developing place.
So far we've established that blogs can get you fired
, keep you from getting a job
, give pedophiles a place to ruminate on snatching your children,
threaten journalistic integrity *snicker*, endanger the marketing
, product planning
, and product life cycles
for automobile manufacturers, can infect your computer with virii
, and have all sorts of negative consequences
. The internets (both of them) can cause your children to be charmed, seduced, and addicted by readily available porn,
and can also provide access to extremist radical and fundamentalist groups, prompting Congress to discuss more restrictive legislation
), but only for the porn. It has even been claimed that the web has given "Al Qaeda wings"
. P2P is blamed as causing record loses by the music industry, despite their investments in
local station marketing
payola. The FEC has held public hearings attended by both hemispheres of the blogosphere
(amazingly in near-agreement) discussing the regulation of political speech online
. The figureheads of a certain political party fear that their affiliated slice of the blogosphere may be too far-left.
Newspapers and TV are leading the charge, with the internet standing in for pharmaceutical scares, yo-yo diets, and missing white women.
The question is, how will the libertarian-minded digerati respond to this very real attack on the essence of web culture?
posted by rzklkng
on Jul 29, 2005 -
David Foster Wallace's commencement speech at Kenyon University
Please don't worry that I'm getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.
of Infinite Jest
attempts to explain what is wrong with your brain's default settings.
posted by Edible Energy
on Jun 29, 2005 -
AT&T Text to Spech
put out by AT&T labs is interesting to play around with. Select your language and accent and then go wild. You can even translate if you select the right accent.
posted by tozturk
on May 7, 2005 -
Guggenheim lecture on John Baldessari
in his own words:
"People shaking hands, you know: congratulating each other, what have you in a standard shot. I really always found them objectionable and then I realized that these were people making decisions about my life while I was in my studio so there was a kind of uneasiness on my part and one day after carrying these photographs around I had some circular price stickers and I put them on their faces. And I really felt that leveled the playing field somehow."
posted by Mme. Robot
on May 5, 2005 -
Address by Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on Gay Marriage.
Taking the bull by the horns, Mr. Martin speaks to the House of Commons regarding Bill C-38
, The Civil Marriage Act:
"This question does not demand rhetoric. It demands clarity. There are only two legitimate answers – yes or no. Not the demagoguery we have heard, not the dodging, the flawed reasoning, the false options. Just yes or no."
One of the finest speeches from a Canadian politician in memory, and an important read for Canadians and Americans alike.
posted by Jairus
on Feb 17, 2005 -
George W Bush
certainly makes more sense when you can write his speeches for him. Now only if we could make all of his other decisions...
posted by mule
on Feb 3, 2005 -
English Accents and Dialects.
The British Library has compiled an online archive of northern speech dating back to the 19th century. The recordings range from from audio from Victorian cylinder dictaphones to 1950s football fans chanting.
posted by Masi
on Aug 1, 2004 -
The G.W. Talking Sockpuppet
The Idiot's Guide to Presidentiable Speechwriting For Dummy ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink :: ::blink ::
posted by y2karl
on Jul 11, 2004 -
Dean is out of cash.
Somehow he blew through $40 million and still managed to leave the first Super Tuesday without a first or second place finish, anywhere.
No mistake about his Meet the Press interview
, though, which was felt as an incredibly strong and persuasive performance. It's obvious that Dean overestimated his grass-roots support, which has currently dried up, but the amount of publicity he has generated is surely a huge advantage. Two options come to mind: blow out the Washington Insiders (as he alluded to in his latest interview), or become more of a traditional candidate.
posted by BlueTrain
on Feb 4, 2004 -
"A lot of you were jerks."
It's one of those scenes that could've been lifted from a John Hughes teen coming-of-age movie. An unpopular kid gets the joke vote for class valedictorian, and he uses the opportunity provided by the valedictory speech to chastise them. Has this ever happened at your high school? If you had a chance to go back (or perhaps forward) in time and address your high school graduating class, what would you say?
posted by AccordionGuy
on Dec 27, 2003 -
Bush's Speech on the Spreading of Democracy This is a massive and difficult undertaking -- it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed -- and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran -- that freedom can be the future of every nation. (Applause.) The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.
Since this speech
was posted earlier, I just thought it would be good if we are exposed to ideas from both sides.
posted by VeGiTo
on Nov 10, 2003 -
The Subpoenas are Coming!
The FBI, in an attempt to prosecute Adrian Lamo (discussed here
) is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau. And by secretly, they mean don't tell your colleagues, editors or lawyers, or risk facing obstruction of justice charges. (Via dailyrotten
posted by Officeslacker
on Sep 30, 2003 -
It's Not What You Say, It's The Way That You Say It:
George Bernard Shaw famously remarked that every time an Englishman opens his mouth it's guaranteed that another Englishman will despise him. This website offers a motley and unintentionally hilarious collection of the many, ever-growing pronunciations of the English language. The variety is so wide you could almost be listening to different languages. But is a particular accent still an anti-democratic barrier, strictly revealing your position on the socio-geographic ladder, as it was in the days Nancy Mitford discussed U and non-U vocabulary
? Or have upper-class accents
in the U.K. and U.S. (note the Boston Brahmin
samples), once coveted and preferred, now become the opposite: unforgivable impediments? Does posh speech exist in Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as it does in the U.K. and U.S.? In other words: Does it still matter?
(Quicktime Audio for main and fourth link; Real Audio for third.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 20, 2003 -