Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
I’ve been sending out Christmas cards since I was around 16 years old, when my mom told me I was old enough to start sending out my own cards. The cards I chose over the course of many,many, many years depended on a lot of things, but it never occurred to me—ever–to wonder if my choice of card would offend anyone.
Ted Cruz, that notorious commie-hunting senator from Texas channeling a certain notorious mid-20th century commie-hunting senator from Wisconsin, is just one in a long line of rock star politicians who think they've latched onto the best way to get their cockamamie ideas across: Get out there and make shocking accusations against either individuals or authority with such astounding stagecraft, the press, the media--indeed, a sizable section of the population--will become such slathering groupies they wo [Read more]
WHEN asked to explain why he was running for a seat in the Australian Senate while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Julian Assange quoted Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”Plato was “a bit of a fascist,” he said, but had a point.Imagine the chagrin Mr. Assange must feel now, given that not only did he fail to win a place in the Senate in the recent election, but he was less successful than Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Mr. Muir, who won just 0.5 percent of the vote, is most famous for having posted a video on YouTube of himself having a kangaroo feces fight with friends.
Hello folks. I'm sorry you haven't heard much from me lately. My nose is pressing hard against the proverbial grindstone as I race to finish my book by October. It has a new title, by the way...
In the meantime, I'd like to share a video from a journalism conference that I participated in last January at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Historians have eagerly anticipated the release of this raw, unscripted Q/A session, which offers new insight into the mind of the Blogger Formerly Known As Genghis during the pivotal period before he achieved worldwide fame and fortune.
The subject of the panel discussion is "Journalism in the 21st Century: Blogs and Social Media." [Read more]
Everyone's talking about Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. But it's also been a dramatic week for two newspapers close to my heart in different ways: The Boston Globe and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Two days ago, The Globe, like the WaPo, was sold to an individual billionaire with a high profile. Today the Plain Dealer, which has not been sold, stopped delivering the newspaper. It will still be printed every morning, but it will only be delivered three days a week. Nearly one third of its reporters were laid off on Wednesday. It's not the first round of buyouts or layoffs at the PD, and it's not the second either. [Read more]
Michele Bachmann to leave Washington to spend more time with her "family". Prompts the resurrection of FRIDAY FOLLIES. (What? Every Friday? Uh. . .we'll see how it goes.)
I love academic bloggers. Academic bloggers worry me sick. And the bloggers who keep me up at night are the ones who have adjunct or alt-ac jobs but are trying to move to the tenure track. Some of those people are using blogs and social media to advance their careers in ingenious ways which I would never have foreseen. But others seem, at least from my vantage, to expect or hope that their online work will help their career in specific ways that it will not and cannot. Being online can help an academic career. But it's important to be clear about what it can help and what it can't.
On Monday, May 20, a devastating monster of a tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma; the second category 5 tornado to hit this little town. (It happened before on May 3, 1999, with 44 deaths.) Reports coming in today, the day after, state it was two miles wide, of colossal, possibly even record-breaking, proportions. Whole neighborhoods have been flattened, and the grim prediction is that the number of dead, at 24 as of this writing, is sure to rise.
As if it wasn't enough this week that three young women held captive and terrorized by a madman were found alive after 10 long years, we now learn that in 2004, celebrated psychic Sylvia Browne made an appearance on celebrated sinceremeister Montel Williams' television show and told the mother of one of the captives that her daughter was dead.
NEW YORK — The writing style of satire was blown up in a suicide attack at its home in the upper West side of Manhattan. Snark and Snide Disregard were also injured in the attack and are currently in intensive care.
Satire, which gained prominence via writers like Jonathan Swift and Voltaire, has struggled to find its footing recently in the Internet-driven world, as more and more satire is associated with mindless attacks, sophomoric humor and the oft-imitated “Breaking” news story. Satire reached a low point recently when the magazine “The New Yorker” hired Andy Borowitz, who then proceeded to write the exact same story 175 consecutive times. [Read more]
Let's recap the things that did not happen on the sorry day that the Boston Marathon was bombed:
Five unexploded bombs were not discovered nearby. No unexploded bombs were discovered nearby.
The government did not shut down cell-phone service as a precaution to prevent more detonations. The cell phone system around Copley Square simply became massively overloaded, so that calls could not get through (but texts, which take much less bandwidth, could).
The police did not arrest anyone or identify any suspects.
Twelve victims did not die.
Neither of the bombs exploded inside the Copley Fairmont Hotel.
Let me just say right off that when it comes to Homeland and border security, I'm all for it.
When it comes to appreciating how essential shipping is to the Great Lakes, I'm right at the head of the line.
When it comes to being in awe of the engineering feat that is the Soo Locks I am so in awe I can't stand it.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama – in an attempt to ease tensions with Senate Republicans – bought a dozen GOP senators dinner last night, in what all have said was a pleasant evening. The dinner was held at the Jefferson Hotel, with Obama picking up the tab out of his own pocket. [Read more]
Once there was a young Washington Post reporter named Bob Woodward who became a celebrity almost overnight by joining with another reporter named Carl Bernstein (remember him?) to expose the inner workings of a seemingly minor break-in at the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington. D.C.
I've started a new non-political blog at WordPress and this is one of my posts there. Come on over and check it out!
Oh, no. Sybil [Read more]
When Justin Sisely announced that he planned to film a “Virgin Sells Virginity” porn, the media went wild, endlessly repeating a story based on nothing.
Now, that’s not a big surprise. What is a surprise is that after the announcement – heck, even before it – random dudes with lots of walking-around money started hurling incredible bids at Sisely, asking to be the male lead in said porno. [Read more]
This article continues from The Information Jacuzzi - Part I.
The Middle Ages was not a great era for budding writers. In those days, there was only one large publisher in all of Western Europe: the Catholic Church. Nearly every scribe on the continent worked in one of its affiliated monasteries or theological universities. Any writer who hoped to have his work duplicated and distributed had to win the sanction of Church leaders, and they were not known for permissive editing. Even writers who published outside the Church suffered from its monopoly on information, as the Pope routinely ordered heretical works banned and burned—usually along with the author.
That’s why the printing press, invented in the 1440s, was so significant. It bypassed Church scribes and produced books so quickly and cheaply that anyone with a little money or a wealthy patron could spread their ideas across the continent. Seventy years after its invention, Martin Luther published his famous 95 Theses criticizing Church practices. His ideas were not entirely new, but they spread far further than those of his predecessors, who lived before the printing press. As with previous heretics, the Pope excommunicated Luther and banned his writings, but his tracts had already flooded every corner of Europe. Thousands of people read and reacted to his ideas. The Protestant Reformation was born. [Read more]
Back in 1996, when mobile phones looked like giant calculators, and a social network was a just group of friends, comedian Dave Barry published a book called Dave Barry in Cyberspace. He devoted a chapter to the newly popular “World Wide Web,” which he titled, “The Internet: transforming society and shaping the future through chat.”
Sometimes truth is stranger than comedy. Internet chat and its heirs—blogs and social networks—are in fact transforming society and shaping the future in ways that no one imagined in 1996. [Read more]
It's January 1, which means it's the day that works whose copyright has expired enter the public domain. Here's the list of works that entered the public domain in the United States today:
Nothing. Nada. Not a thing.
It's Saturday, the day after what will forever be known as the Sandy Hook School murders. Yesterday Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot to death six adults and 20 small children.
We're all in shock and looking for answers. We're crying, grieving, mourning, and we want answers. We want gun control that actually controls guns. We want people not to blame the guns but the shooter. We want to know the names of the victims, and, as I write this, all news stations are on alert, awaiting a press conference where those names will finally be announced.