Tuesday, April 27, 2004
# Posted 6:49 PM by Patrick Belton
Madeline Albright and Sen. John McCain (correctly, to my mind) call for renewed US sanctions on Burma, as well as a refusal of international recognition for the junta's cynical "road map to democracy" - which is intended only to grant a thin veneer of civilian political legitimacy to the junta's continued rule, and that in a bid to avert regional and international sanctions.
Among the many pundits left and right currently experiencing an epiphany that Senator Kerry, whatever his virtues, is a terrible, terrible, terrible presidential candidate are John Podhoretz and the Village Voice's James Ridgeway (who is calling for a reinstatement of the draft - ideally, of Edwards). And elsewhere, Narasimhan Ravi, editor of The Hindu and a current fellow at Harvard, writes about India's parliamentary elections. And of Kofigate Claudia Rosett (rightly) asks of the Secretary General of the world's foremost corrupt organization, what did Kofi know, and when did he know it? (Note to self: that would almost make for a rather merited google bomb...) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:00 PM by Patrick Belton
Beating the Bounds of the Parish is a very ancient custom. At St Michaels at the North Gate (our Saxon tower is the oldest building in Oxford, predating the arrival of William the Conqueror) we have documentary evidence of the practice back to the fourteenth century and it probably goes back to Saxon times when parishes became the basic land unit for law enforcement and taxation. It was very important for members of the parish to know precisely where one parish ended and one began. It was even more important for neighbouring parishes to be told where not to trespass. So, on Ascension Day, Thursday 20th May 2004, armed with willow wands (spears maybe?) we process round the parish, marking the stones which ring our parish.UPDATE: I love our readers:
Hi Patrick,(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:13 PM by Patrick Belton
For more information, please consult our essay contest guidelines or email our contest chair, Connie Chung. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:01 AM by Patrick Belton
Just as a minor correction to an interesting piece (Thomas Corbally, 83; Figure of Mystery Was Reputed Spy, April 26, 2004 Home Edition, Section:California; Metro; Metro Desk; Part B; Pg. 11), PM Wilson was actually not a Conservative but rather a lifelong member of the Labour party, and is still regarded by many non-Blairites in Labour as representing the high point that party reached.My, with this degree of neglect for detail in just one small matter of British parliamentary history I happen to know something about, I must say I'm starting to have some doubts about these people. Or as a reader rather eloquently puts it: "Whenever I read anything in a newspaper about which I know something, I find they get it wrong. So why should I believe them on subjects about which I know very little?" (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Monday, April 26, 2004
# Posted 10:34 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Pleasurable and destructive: They're so easy to consume, and so endlessly available. Their second-by-second proliferation means that far more is written than needs to be said about any one thing. To change metaphors for a moment (and to deepen the shame), I gorge myself on these hundreds of pieces of commentary like so much candy into a bloated -- yet nervous, sugar-jangled -- stupor. Those hours of out-of-body drift leave me with few, if any, tangible thoughts.In contrast to Matt, Kevin Drum isn't too bothered by all of this. He observes that
Based solely on the thousand words that are online, I'd say Packer has blogs pegged pretty well. While it may be true that mainstream journalists are sometimes more contemptuous than they should be toward blogs, Packer is dead right when he says that we more than return the favor. In fact, practically the only place that liberal and conservative bloggers find common ground these days is their apparent belief that the New York Times ranks just below Richard Nixon's White House on the list of trustworthy American institutions.Hmmm. I'm going to side with Matt on this one. Packer is right that blogs always seem to be keeping score and that they are far too quick to compliment themselves on landing a knockout punch. But isn't that exactly what Packer is doing in his column? Even the title of his column sounds like a blog post.
Of course, this kind of 'gotcha' attitude is widespread at all levels of the journalistic establishment. All you have to do is the open the paper in the morning to find a half-dozen examples. Here's one: The ABC website now has an article up on the mini-scandal set off this morning by John Kerry's extremely nuanced explanation of what medals he did (or possibly did not) throw over a fence during an anti-war protest in 1971. The article begins as follows:
Contradicting his statements as a candidate for president, Sen. John Kerry claimed in a 1971 television interview that he threw away as many as nine of his combat medals to protest the war in Vietnam.So I guess the lesson here is that bloggers, myself included, have adopted some of the mainstream media's less desirable habits in spite of our constant efforts to demonstrate our moral superiority. Anyhow, I think the real problem with Packer's column (or that portion which is online -- even LexisNexis doesn't have the whole thing and I am certainly not giving my money to Mother Jones) is his assertion that blogs lack substance. While Kevin may be too moderate to say so, his own website disproves Packer's allegation that blog posts are "usually too brief for an argument ever to stand a chance of developing layers of meaning or ramifying into qualification and complication". And while I have my issues with Josh Marshall, I think that is absolutely impossible to accuse him of not developing his arguments in considerable detail.
Moreover, Kevin (and less frequently Josh) develop their arguments through active debate with other bloggers. How often can professional journalists say the same of themselves? While I'm sure that journalists deconstruct each other's work off the record, it is absolutely taboo for the New York Times or Washington Post to take apart each other's articles in the public spotlight (except when plagiarism is involved.) While Packer is right that bloggers tend to have a sort of rah-rah patriotic attitude toward the blogosphere as a whole, he is wrong to say that they are "unfailingly contemptuous toward everyone except one another." Right after the NYT, the #1 target of almost every blogger is his or her closest friends and closest enemies in the blogosphere.
So, how can one conclude a chest-thumping, navel-gazing post like this? By reminding everyone that George Packer is an absolutely first-rate journalist. He has published what is far away some of the best work on the occupation of Iraq. And in person, he is a very nice and down-to-earth kind of guy. But like the rest of us, he makes mistakes. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:08 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
The U.N. [Development Program] surveyed thousands of people in 18 democratic Latin American countries and found that a solid majority would prefer an authoritarian system if it produced economic benefits.Commenting on this result, the NYT observes that
Clearly, this endorsement of the Pinochet model shows that most Latin Americans do not feel as if they have a stake in their democracy.Now hold on a second. Pinochet was a brutal dictator who murdered thousands. Is he what the UN's poll respondents had in mind when they expressed their willingness to trade freedom for prosperity? Probably not.
Along with most academic experts on Latin American politics, journalists often forget how powerful the memory of a brutal dictatorship is. I don't think it is any accident that democracy is strongest today in those Latin American nations that suffered the most under military rule (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, etc.) whereas it is most threatened in those nations that had very moderate dictatorships (Ecuador and Peru) or haven't had to endure authoritarian rule for more than fifty years (Colombia and Venezuela).
On a related note, the NYT should probably mention that dictatorships actually have an extremely poor record of promoting economic growth or even economic stability. The Pinochet regime probably came the closest, although Chile suffered terribly during the pan-Latin crisis in the early 1980s. In theory, dictatorships are supposed to be able to implement those economic reforms that are too controversial for an elected government to implement. Yet in the absence of a democratic mandate, Latin American generals have often found themselves forced to buy off both the rich and the poor. So, what is to be done? The NYT recommends that
Democratization in much of Latin America, if it is to be completed rather than reversed, now requires a bold set of reforms aimed at bolstering the rule of law, such as the development of independent judiciaries.I think it is fairly misleading to suggest that a lack of boldness is the cause of Latin America's troubles. Even the most well-meaning governments (and Latin America has had many) cannot will the rule of law into existence. If a policeman can't afford clothes for his children, do we really expect him to resist taking bribes? Perhaps if there were better child welfare programs, policemen wouldn't take bribes. But how can you set up such programs when the bureaucrats are also corrupt? And so the cycle continues.
Rather than a lack of will, what Latin America suffers from is a set of interlocking institutional crises that eviscerate the democratic order without necessarily promoting dictatorship. How can such interlocking crises be resolved? Unfortunately, nobody knows. Political scientists have been caught off guard, since they expect flawed democratic orders to be overthrown by dictatorships. In other words, this is the first time that Latin America's democracies have survived long enough for the experts to worry about institution-building rather than coups d'etat. At least that is something to be thankful for. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Sunday, April 25, 2004
# Posted 9:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Plus, don't forget to read the latest installment in Steve's series on Pornography and Prostitution, which not only explores the legal dilemmas surrounding such unsavory pursuits, but also explains what Josh Chafetz does on Thursday evenings. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:18 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Plus: Read the latest entry in the annals of how high-tech outsourcing creates jobs right here in the USA. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:18 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
why it is that in-flight movies are so uniformly bad. There is rarely an Oscar winner shown on flights, and the movies appear to range from barely tolerable to profoundly awful.Well, if you want high-quality films along with attentive service and reasonable food, you should fly Virgin Atlantic. I've flown from London to New York around a half-dozen times with VA and have almost always had something good to watch. Best of all are those flights on the newest VA planes, which are equipped with a sort of video jukebox that gives each passenger a choice of 50+ films to watch along with 50+ hours of TV (including The Simpsons, Ali G, etc.). Moreover, you can control the box the same way you would a DVD player: start the film whenever you want, pause it to go the bathroom, etc.
Among the films I've seen on VA are Igby Goes Down, which came highly recommended by Mr. Chafetz, and the very clever Japanese bank-heist farce, Space Travelers (not to be confused with the animated film of the same name and from it which it borrows playfully). Of course, VA gives you the right to watch bad films as well. Once, I made it through 30 minutes of watching Ben Affleck as Daredevil. Mr. Affleck should be shot.
Anyhow, the question remains as to why VA has better in-flight entertainment. In general, in-flight films are supposed to be as inoffensive and unstimulating as possible. If you look up "least common denominator" in the thesaurus, you'll probably see "in-flight films" listed first. However, Virgin prides itself on being a maverick in the airline industry. It built up its successful business by challenging the staid and government-backed British Airways (which is a perfectly good airline). This rebellious corporate culture -- embodied by CEO Richard Branson -- tends to affect all aspects of the VA experience, from the unorthodox style of animation used for the pre-flight safety video to the choice of films shown on board. Perhaps the best expression of Virgin's rebellious attitude is the fact that its in-flight magazine sometimes gives bad reviews to the films being shown on board. Now that is service. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:52 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
And a note for all you Spinsanity fans: Ben, Brendan and Bryan's first book is coming soon to a store near you! (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Saturday, April 24, 2004
# Posted 11:58 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 11:43 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
While I have absolutely nothing meaningful to add to this excellent discussion of vouchers and school choice, I am proud to report that I once met Prof. Hoxby at a barbecue and that both she and her husband Blair are no less charming than they are intelligent. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 11:32 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 11:25 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
In case you haven't already, take a good, long look at Phil's excellent posts on photographs of the fallen, the logistical challenges of waging a global war, and his two-part series on the relationship between security and reconstruction in post-war Iraq. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 11:01 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Friday, April 23, 2004
# Posted 9:47 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
I wouldn't quite say that John Kerry Is A Douchebag But I'm Voting For Him Anyway but that's not wildly off the mark.Man, Yglesias must be in a bad mood. However, the rest of his post is worth reading if you want to read even more about national security and opinion polls. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 9:37 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Much less impressive are the arguments made by Ryan Lizza and Josh Marshall, whose columns appear together on today's NYT op-ed page (alongside columns by Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman, just in case you find Lizza and Marshall to be insufficiently anti-Bush.) Marshall begins his column by pointing out an apparent paradox:
In this year's presidential campaign, no wisdom is more conventional than the assumption that George W. Bush's re-election effort will succeed or fail along with the American mission in Iraq. If Iraq collapses, the reasoning goes, the Bush presidency will soon follow. And yet here was the president gaining ground, in several polls released this week, in the face of what were certainly the worst three weeks in Iraq since the United States deposed Saddam Hussein a year ago.As it turns out, there is actually a very simple explanation for this paradox. When asked who would do a better job handling the situation in Iraq, voters are pretty sure that the answer is Bush. His margin in the WaPo/ABC poll is 51-42, while his margin in the CNN/Gallup poll is 40-26 with 15 percent saying that both candidates would do a good job. If Marshall had noticed these numbers, he wouldn't wind up asking his audience (mis)leading questions such as
If Americans decide that Iraq is a disaster, why do they not see him as the cause of the problem? Why has support for the president bounced back (up four points in one poll) even as approval of his handling of Iraq has fallen (down three points in the same poll)?Marshall's first question presumes that voters have identified Iraq as a disaster. But that isn't so clear cut. CNN/Gallup shows that voters are not happy with Bush's handling of Iraq by a margin of 49-48. The same respondents still believe that going to war was the right decision by a margin of 52-46. The WaPo/ABC poll shows voters unhappy with the situation in Iraq by 54-45 margin but still approving of the decision to go to war 51-47.
Looking at Iraq, the only numbers Lizza mentions are the 54% negative rating from the Wa/Po ABC poll and the same poll's observation that 65% of voters believe that the number of American casualties sustained in Iraq is unacceptable. The latter figure is misleading for two reasons. First, it has fluctuated in the same four point range (33-37%) for six months now. Thus, there is no correlation between the 65% figure and the recent upsurge of violence in Iraq. By extension, there is no reason to believe that the 65% figure has had an impact on Bush's re-elect numbers.
Second, how often will any poll respondent describe the tragic deaths of American soldiers as "acceptable"? That is why, when you ask voters whether the US military should restore order in Iraq even if it means taking more casualties, they answer 'Yes' by a stunning 66-33 margin. Moreover, that margin has been increasing over the last six months.
But what if you ask the public whether the United States "has gotten bogged down" in Iraq or is "making good progress"? Faced with that kind of black-and-white choice, the answer is "bogged down" by a margin of 59-41. Yet at the same time, the public favors sending more troops by a margin of 54-44.
That said, let's go back to Marshall's second question of why Bush' re-elect numbers are rising while approval of his work on Iraq is falling. The answer is "issue salience". If you take a look at Question 12 in the WaPo/ABC poll, you'll see that 22% of the public lists terrorism as the "single most important issue" affecting their vote while 23% say Iraq. 26% say "the economy and jobs". Six weeks ago, 36% said economy & jobs while the numbers for terrorism and Iraq were 17 and 10. In December, the numbers for terrorism and Iraq were 14 and 9.
All of these additional numbers I'm throwing at you really just make the same point: that no matter how much all the headlines about Richard Clarke and Moqtada Sadr hurt George Bush, they hurt John Kerry even more. Yes, it is ironic. Bad news makes national security more important. George Bush is responsible for a fair amount of that bad news. But what voters fear even more is giving John Kerry a chance to clean up the mess.
Do I feel the same way? I'm not sure. I'm undecided and probably will be for quite a while. But I am pretty sure that I will vote for whoever I think can do a better job of handling terrorism and Iraq.
Last but not least: Ryan Lizza points out that Reagan had a 54% approval rating in April 1984 while Clinton had a 56% rating in April 1996. In contrast, Bush is "hanging by his fingertips" with 51 or 52 percent. What Lizza overlooks is the fact both Reagan and Clinton won their elections by a landslide. No one expects Bush to do that. All that matters is who wins. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
record has become both an asset and an issue as he seeks the presidency. The senator from Massachusetts has used it to define his qualifications for the office, his experience in foreign policy, his leadership -- and, regarding the conflict in Iraq, his firsthand knowledge of war. But critics have cited it as evidence that he was opportunistic and have questioned whether he deserved one of his medals.From what I can tell, there is no evidence whatsoever to substantiate allegations that Kerry was anything less than a full-fledged hero. Thus, when conservatives play up such accusations, all they do is embarrass themselves and provide Kerry with exactly the sort of credibility he so desperately needs on national security issues.
For an in-depth look at both Kerry and Bush's service records, take a look at this post from Phil Carter. The praise that Bush received as a Guardsman is actually quite impressive. Yet as Kevin Drum reminds us, Bush's talent as an officer seems to have been matched by a disturbing lack of dedication to his military duties.
Finally, Campaign Desk thinks that the media has gone soft on Bush by not following up on the documents he released after coming under fire in February. I beg to differ.
What really happened was that the media raised expectations by building up Michael Moore's unsubstantiated charge that Bush went AWOL. Then Bush kept the story alive by stonewalling. Yet once the White House released a new set of documents about Bush's record in the Guard, it became apparent that there wasn't enough evidence to back up the critics' overblown claims. Let down, the media dropped the story -- after first creating it.
What Campaign Desk misses was that the Bush/AWOL episode was more about the media's inconsistent and incoherent definition of what counts as news, rather than its supposedly forgiving attitude towards the President's sins. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 3:32 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
"In sports we have a tendency to overuse terms like courage and bravery and heroes, and then someone like Pat Tillman comes along and reminds us what those terms really mean."Hear, hear. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:18 AM by Patrick Belton
Fare thee well, ye banks of Sicily,(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:17 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
UPDATE: The resourceful JM points out that many lost webpages can be found in the "cached" version of a Google search. So if you want to read about curvaceous co-eds, click here. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:12 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Now, the official guest at tonight's dinner was Amram Mitzna, the Labor MP who lost to Sharon in the last general election. It turns out that he is an extremely intelligent and thoughtful human being. Of course, I am the low man on the totem pole, so there was no chance that I was going to be sitting with Mr. Mitzna. I did, however, get to sit next to Prof. Erez Manela, one of the rising stars in the History Department at Harvard. Unfortunately, a certain idiotarian hijacked the conversation at our table, so I didn't get to benefit from sitting with Prof. Manela.
The idiotarian in question is a professor of women's studies at Boston University as well as an activist in the peace movement. Nothing wrong with that. Israel could use some peace. But when you insult your dinner partners instead of having an intelligent conversation with them, you really just discredit your own cause. Now, the target of Prof. Stupid's comments was a friend of mine who happens to be a colonel in the US armed forces. In addition to being a thoughtful individual, he is one of the most mild-mannered and respectful individuals I know.
At one point during dinner, the Colonel asserted that even if Israel withdraws to its 1967 borders, radical Palestinians will continue to launch terror strikes against Israeli civilians. Prof. Stupid responded that the Colonel's comments were somewhat unfair because he criticized her approach to the conflict without offering any other. Then she asked, "And what is your strategy? Just to kill more people?"
Exactly. That was exactly the Colonel's point. Crush the skulls of Palestinian children with cinderblocks. Anyhow, at another point in the conversation, Prof. Stupid asked the Colonel how many Palestinians he had personally met. But that was just the set up for the Prof. Stupid's touchingly sarcastic remark that "You know, the Palestinians are human beings, too." Given that the Colonel is far too polite to respond to such remarks critically, I conspicuously turned to the quiet historian at my left and remarked, "That's funny. I thought that all Palestinians were robots."
Well, now that I've got that off of my chest, I'm feeling a little bit better. All in all, tonight's dinner was quite a nice event. The definite highlight of the evening was the seared tuna served as an hors d'oeuvre. The center of the delicate slices were deliciously red and their edges were encrusted with a flavorful mixture of spices. Almost as good as the seared tuna was the brief question and answer session with Mr. Mitzna.
When I first saw Mr. Mitzna at the cocktail hour, I assumed he was a member of the faculty because of his inobstrusive manner and his salt & pepper beard. As it turned out, Mr. Mitzna has something of the bearing of the professor, at least in an intimate setting. He listens very carefully to those who ask him questions, then responds slowly and thoughtfully. He also seemed very sincere. To be fair, there are a lot of Harvard professors who are obstrusive, clean-shaven, loud and disingenuous. But Mitzna wasn't one of those.
Of course, I also liked what Mitzna had to say. Without reservation, Israeli has the right and the obligation to strike at terrorists before they commit murder. This includes the right to hunt and kill the leaders of terrorist organizations, because they are no less responsible for terrorist attacks than the foot soldiers who carry them out.
Mitzna supports Arik Sharon's plan to dismantle the settlements in Gaza. While he finds it somewhat ironic that Sharon is now implementing the same programs he ran against as a candidate, Mitzna believes that Sharon has crossed an historic threshold by becoming the first Likud prime minister to recognize that Israel cannot rule over the Palestinians forever.
Yet while supporting disengagement, Mitzna believes that Sharon has impaired his own strategy by making absolutely no effort to provide the Gaza Strip with a post-occupation order. As a result, Gaza may become a haven for terrorists at whom Israel cannot strike because of the presence of those international relief workers who will arrive in the wake of the Israeli withdrawal.
The main point on which I disagree with Mitnza is his belief that there is an effective Palestinian peace camp -- represented by Yasser Abd Rabbo -- that wants a negotiated settlement with the state of Israel. Yet as Mitzna responded to one Palestinian who asked him a question, the next critical step in the negotiating process is for more Palestinians to step up and say that they want peace. The Israel people have made no secret of their desire. But they need the Palestinian people to show that it is the leaders of the peace camp who truly represent the people. If only...
UPDATE: After re-reading this post, I think I come off as a bit strident and too willing to describe others as idiotarians. The actual words spoken by Prof. Stupid were not that extreme. But what my post failed to convey was the tone in which she spoke them.
Rather than being defensive or rhetorical, her questions were condescending. She really seemed to believe that the Colonel was some sort of thug who actually thought that killing people is a good idea and that Palestinians are sub-human. It was this incredible presumption of malevolence and ignorance -- spoken without hesitation to a stranger in a public setting -- that marked Prof. Stupid as an idiotarian. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Thursday, April 22, 2004
# Posted 3:21 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 3:11 PM by Patrick Belton
Democracy "shouldn't be the measurement of when you leave," Kerry said. "You leave with stability. You hope you can continue the process of democratization -- obviously, that's our goal. But with respect to getting our troops out, the measurement is the stability of Iraq."(SF Chronicle)While I'd like to be charitable, it's pretty clear that what Kerry's doing here is establishing a lower bar for withdrawing troops from Iraq, which is tied in turn to downgrading the importance of democracy promotion in the US engagement in Iraq. Pretty dispiriting stuff - weren't the Dems once the party which had habitually criticised administrations for privileging security over democracy? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:49 PM by Patrick Belton
This unprecedented amount of UN corruption is being referred to as "Kofigate," and is receiving coverage from across the spectrum (see Telegraph, Independent). If there's one edifying part to this entire sordid spectacle, it's that the story was initially broken by an independent Iraqi paper, Al Mada - showing that when it's allowed the safety to follow a story, the Iraqi Quatrieme Etat can hold its own with the Fourth Estates of the big boys. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:49 AM by Patrick Belton
* In the 26th April cover story Appeasement: Should we strike a deal? (extra credit: guess now what the answer is going to be), New Statesman incorporates these maxims, worthy of Euclid:
" Appeasement has been present wherever terrorist violence has been controlled successfully."
"Appeasement is only another name for the willingness to negotiate."
"The truth is that force alone cannot end terrorist violence." (No, much better to trust to lots of hand-holding over shared marijuana and mellow guitar chords.)
And now for the "utter lack of moral clarity" category: From an NS piece with the catchy (and apposite) title Iraq - Invaders have ripped up the fabric of a nation that survived Saddam Hussein. This is a war of liberation and we are the enemy. By John Pilger
- we have:
first, the "nostalgia for Saddam" entry:
Four years ago, I travelled the length of Iraq, from the hills where St Matthew is buried in the Kurdish north to the heartland of Mesopotamia, and Baghdad, and the Shia south. I have seldom felt as safe in any country. Once, in the Edwardian colonnade of Baghdad's book market, a young man shouted something at me about the hardship his family had been forced to endure under the embargo imposed by America and Britain. What happened next was typical of Iraqis; a passer-by calmed the man, putting his arm around his shoulder, while another was quickly at my side. "Forgive him," he said reassuringly. "We do not connect the people of the west with the actions of their governments. You are welcome."
catchy inventive synonym, entry one: Marines public relations officers are referred to as "psychopathic spokesmen"
catchy inventive synonym, entry two: the last decade's western foreign policy toward Iraq: "both the economic siege and the Anglo-American assault on their homeland"
creative use of the term "terrorism" entry: on all US use of force in Iraq being terrorism, we have: "Thus, western state terrorism is erased, and a tenet of western journalism is to excuse or minimise "our" culpability, however atrocious. Our dead are counted; theirs are not. Our victims are worthy; theirs are not."
snarkiest Trotskyite v. Maoist put-down: On the Guardian, not cooky enough apparently for its tastes: "Britain's former premier liberal newspaper" (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 8:00 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 6:19 AM by Patrick Belton
"What I saw was village after village which has been burnt down," [British journalist] Phil Cox said on CNN's International Correspondents program.A promising sign is that an investigative team from the UN Human Rights Commission has been granted access to Sudan's western Darfur region today, and during the time it has been barred from entering Sudanese territory, has been conducting interviews with refugees in Chad. The U.S. administration has attracted praise lately from its more accustomed critics for successfully urging the Islamist Khartoum government and southern rebels to the negotiating table (and in the process, acquiring greater support from Khartoum against Al Qa'ida, which in its territory is strong). However, the ceasefire toward the south has directed Khartoum's fury to its west, and the nations of the world have been unduly reticent to decry the genocide there for fear that in so doing they would reopen one of the globe's most long-festering civil wars. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
# Posted 9:17 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 7:26 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 4:15 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 3:27 PM by Patrick Belton
Dear, err, Dork,Also, Arthur at Tripias has also been keeping a very amusing running tally of Boudreaux spoofs. And for those of you who don't get the last one (i.e., Lcdpl Boudreaux killed my dad, then all your base are belong to us), here's the authoritative explanation. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:12 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 12:36 PM by Patrick Belton
Its a slow afternoon here in Berlin and so I thought you'd appreciate a little parcel of news, opinion, stories and a sprinkling of crass generalisation and bigotry.(0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:46 AM by Patrick Belton
Famously, and as we've noted here before, it turns a buck by selling advertising targeted at you on the basis of the content of your inbox. Probably partly for that reason, they give you a ludicrously large amount of storage capacity (1000 megabytes), and zealously encourage you to "archive, not delete." Yeah, really, no surprise there. But I don't really much mind - if it's really the case that individually identifiable information isn't sold to advertisers but is only held by circuits somewhere in Googleland, then frankly I'd rather see ads for foreign policy magazines than for the cars and free vacations that get displayed on the rare occasion when I log into my Yahoo account. But I could see how that could annoy many privacy advocates, and frankly I don't blame them.
As far as the advertising itself, it seems linked fairly seamlessly into Google's justly famed search technology - when I sent myself a test email, over on the side appeared two "sponsored links" from advertisers, both fairly relevant (one a European international relations journal, and the other an advertisement urging me to "download a doctoral dissertation now!"), and then non-sponsored links that it thinks would interest me (oddly, a conservative seniors advocacy group, and a libertarian site). My suspicions of my own mortality are such that I don't really think I'll ever click on any of the links on the side, but I think by this point we've all become fairly inured to extraneous Google search results as part of the cosmic background radiation, and since they're not for Viagra, they're not really that annoying.
The much heralded search feature is, well, exactly what you'd expect - it's quick (particularly when you only have two messages to search), it lets you add a huge array of filters ("has the words", "doesn't have the words"), and it's prominently accessible from the top of each page. Somewhat oddly, it also lets you search the web, but that might just be a justifiably ingrained habit for the engineers at Google.
But what I'll be interested in is seeing how well its filters deal with spam- so if you're a spammer, please spam me at email@example.com. Let me note that I'm particularly interested in acquiring Nigerian diamonds and a longer reproductive apparatus.
UPDATE: Ha, ha. I appreciate all of our readers who've emailed me in the last hour to offer me Nigerian diamonds. (Incidentally, I still owe a few of our friends and correspondents emails back, and am really awfully sorry about that - after meeting an attractive female Mossad agent in Rome, to my great surprise I was flown in handcuffs to the Middle East, where I was then inserted into a padded white room with a flourescent lightbulb, a computer, and the collected Public Papers of the Presidents (1988-present), and am currently being made to convert caffeine into dissertation text, all while running on a treadmill. You're all warmly welcome to come and visit.) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 4:51 AM by Patrick Belton
And he's not even unqualifiably our bastard: desirous to expand his options now that he has an insurgency on his hands, Karimov visited Russia on 15-16 April to work out details of a new Uzbek-Russian security arrangement. Also, Karimov's government has begun a suppression of all religious minorities, including non-radical Muslims who simply remain independent of the nation's officially sanctioned clerical establishment. Perhaps he has been taking lessons in despotism from his Russian friends. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
# Posted 10:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
One especially interesting part of yesterday's column was Chinlund's observation that there were few complaints about the Globe's decision to run a photo of a fallen Marine on its front page, but that those few who complained were themselves Marines. As one corporal asked, "If you were over there in Iraq, would you want that to be your family's last memory of you?"
A very fair question. Still, I think the Globe made the right decision. The photograph in question showed a group of Marines praying over the body of their fallen comrade. It was very touching and I believe that it was respectful as well. Of course, each reader should judge for himself whether that is the case. (Which is easier said than done since I can't find the photo on the Globe website. Paging the ombudsman!) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 10:07 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Kristol & Kagan are even harsher on Rumsfeld than NRO was, and I agree with everything they have to say. As I mentioned before, I agree with NRO's criticism of Rumsfeld but don't think much of its attempt to pin's Rumsfeld's mistakes on the neo-cons.
Another point of difference between the Standard and NRO is that the Standard explicitly challenges the President to make good on his word about Iraq, instead of directing all of the accusations at his subordinates. Even so, after their initial mention of Bush, Kristol & Kagan focus exclusively on Rumsfeld. But how viable of a strategy is that? If the Secretary of Defense has been screwing that badly for that long, isn't it time to hold the President responsible? (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 1:44 PM by Patrick Belton
For those of you who feel you are Democrats longing for a party that takes national security more seriously, (or even borderline Republicans discontented with both parties) a new group has formed that would love to have you as members. The Truman National Security Project (www.trumanproject.org) is a group of young foreign policy professionals dedicated to creating a strong foreign policy platform for the Democratic Party, and working to move the national security debate beyond the tired battles between Cold Warriors and Vietnam-era liberals, to create new ways of thinking about foreign policy for an age of transnational threats and terrorism.And if you're feeling particularly like a joiner (or if you just want to keep track of them all), other organizations within the OxBlog universe you can also take part in are the Nathan Hale Foreign Policy Society, a burgeoning bipartisan national foreign policy society with thirteen local chapters (ed: quick, someone, add another!) and an active think tank; OxDem, which supports democracy movements overseas and democracy promotion as a keystone of American foreign policy; and the Ibn Khaldun Project for Internet Media, which will be involved in translating weekly selections from the English-language blogosphere into Middle Eastern languages. And once my cofounder Marianna finishes up her M.Phil. exams, we're also looking forward to establishing a race NGO with local chapters which will foster spaces, through dinners and an assortment of other programs, in which people can have conversations and make friendships across race lines. All these organizations are carrying out important work and could very much use your help if you'd like to be part of them; and most importantly, we just wouldn't be being completely honest with you if we failed to note that membership in any one (or all) of these organizations is reported by scientists to confer on the member instant irresistability to the opposite sex.
To find out more about the Truman Project and to become involved with its efforts, please contact Rachel Belton. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 1:19 PM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 8:17 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 7:43 AM by Patrick Belton
Monday, April 19, 2004
# Posted 11:23 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
On Matt's behalf, I'd like to say that both the NYT and the WaPo have done a marvelous job of whitewashing Negroponte's record in their coverage of his appointment as Ambassador to Iraq.
Throwing balance out the window, neither the Times nor the Post bothers to balance the President's lavish praise of Negroponte with a single critical comment. And believe me, it would not be hard to find some very knowledgeable people who would be willing to gives the Times and the Post an earful. If any NYT or WaPo staff happen to be reading this post, why not give Bill LeoGrande or Cynthia Arnson a call? Both of them are well-respected scholars who have published op-eds in the leading newspapers as well as longer articles in places like Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, not to mention numerous books on the subject of the United States and Central America.
You'd think Matt would've had some more sharp words for the Times and the Post, given his constant efforts to show that the media is biased in favor of the right and not hte left. So is this a case of conservative media bias? No, not really. I think what's going on here is simply that journalists have very little knowledge of any sort of history that they didn't experience themselves. If Ray Bonner or Alan Riding -- both of whom are current NYT correspondents with experience in Central America in the 1980s -- had written the Negroponte story, I seriously doubt that Negroponte would've gotten off so easily.
Now, you may be wondering, "What did Negroponte do that was all that bad? If the only one covering this story is Yglesias, wouldn't it be safe to dismiss the accusations against Negroponte as just another liberal Democratic vendetta?" Actually, no. For an excellent summary of Negroponte's amazing ability to deny the existence of death squads in Honduras, take a look at this article in TNR from March 2001. (Link via Yglesias)
However, Matt goes pretty far overboard with his suggestions that Negroponte will start training death squads in Iraq. Now, I generally agree with Matt that from an ethical perspective, Negroponte is not the right man to be running the Embassy in Baghdad. After all, how long will it be before Sunni and Shi'ite insurgents begin telling anyone and everyone that the United States has installed a death squad chieftain in the embassy in Baghdad? No, that characterization of Negroponte isn't fair. But the Iraqi people aren't likely either to appreciate the nuances of the situation in Central America in the 1980s or give the benefit of the doubt to an American pro-consul.
But nuances there were, and an American audience deserves to know a little more about them. While Matt and others have focused on the death squad issue, Negroponte real job in Honduras was to build up the right-wing Nicaraguan guerrilla force known as the contras. In addition to the logistical challenges of running a guerrilla war, Negroponte had to face the twofold diplomatic challenge of keeping the whole operation secret while also persuading the Hondurans to severely compromise both their own sovereignty and international law by voluntarily hosting a guerrilla force dedicated to the violent overthrow of a neighboring government.
In November 1982, Newsweek destroyed the myth that the United States wasn't the main sponsor and organizer of the Contra forces. Unsurprisingly, widespread knowledge of what the United States was up to made it far harder for the Hondurans to pretend that they weren't involved. The fact that Negroponte persisted in such adverse circumstances won him a reputation as a top-flight diplomat, at least on the Republican side of the aisle. Lately, Negroponte seems to have won admirers on both sides of the aisle.
What I can't say, since I haven't finished my research yet, is what role Negroponte played in the illegal phases of the Contra war. If you're interested in reading what an unreliable and partisan source has to say about Negroponte and the contras, click here. When I have some hard facts, I'll put up a post on the subject.
On a related note, it is also important to put Negroponte's blindness to human rights abuses in context. During Negroponte's five years in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran death squads only committed about as many murders as the Salvadoran death squads did in an average month (between 1980 and 1983). At the same time, the Guatemalan military was waging a genocidal campaign against indigenous Guatemalans that resulted in tens of thousands of innocent lives lost. Thus, Negroponte hardly stands out among diplomats of his time as someone blind to human rights abuses.
On the other hand, American diplomats in El Salvador did far more to speak out against the brutality. In 1981, Reagan sent Deane Hinton to replace Bob White, the Carter's administration's Ambassador in San Salvador who was appointed precisely because of his commitment to human rights. While Reagan & Co. expected Hinton to stay relatively quiet, Hinton delivered a blistering anti-death squad speech in late 1982 that the Reagan administration disavowed because it was so embarrassing to the United States.
On the other hand, it was Bob White who presided over the most murderous era in the Salvadoran civil war. His intentions were good, but does that really excuse the fact that he actively supported a junta responsible for ten thousand murders? The same can be said of Hinton. Should White and Hinton have resigned? Or was being more honest than their colleagues enough? The same can even be said of Thomas Pickering, the #3 man at State under Albright. As Ambassador to El Salvador after Hinton, he was so outspoken in the campaign against the death squads that they ultimately tried to kill him. Yet he, too, presided over a slaughterhouse far worse than that in Honduras.
Of course, it was not the killings in Honduras that truly represent Negroponte's greatest blindness. In my opinion, his willingness to work with the Contras, whose leadership was drawn from the ranks of the Somoza dictatorship's brutal National Guard, was even more problematic. Unsurprisingly, the Contras amassed a record of human rights violations far worse than that of the Hondurans. They just didn't have death squads.
But there is another twist to the story. Neither the New Republic nor Matt Yglesias describe how Negroponte helped consolidate democracy in Honduras. Although the transition to democracy in Tegucigalpa begun under Carter, it could not have been completed without the active support of the Reagan administration. While Honduras is not exactly a model democracy today, we'd probably all be pretty happy if Negroponte managed to build an Iraqi state that regularly held elections for more than 20 years, subordinated the military to the civilian government and ultimately got rid of almost all major human rights abuses.
All in all, the situation is far more complex than what you would pick up by reading either the NYT/WaPo descriptions of Negroponte's career or Matt's polemics against him. In spite of my belief that the Reagan administration made a tremendous contribution to promoting democracy in Central America, I still cannot forgive the fact that so many of its highest ranking officials regularly lied to Congress in order to support that policy. Even in hindsight, it is very hard to separate right from wrong.
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# Posted 9:28 AM by Patrick Belton
# Posted 8:23 AM by Patrick Belton
We've also gratefully got our first handful of volunteers - Arabic and Farsi speakers, as well as expert computer hands. We can always make use of the efforts of more, and we will look forward to making this project worthy of its namesake!
(SIDENOTE: It's also an acronym, incidentally - "I" stands for internet, and "bn Khaldun," well, we won't get into that for considerations of space....) (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 7:01 AM by Patrick Belton
Also, just as an incidental sidenote, I've as yet only seen Teletubbies in Serbo-Croatian, which I've got to say didn't really help to reduce the oddness of the series for me.
UPDATE: We've got, ahem, fans. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:25 AM by Patrick Belton
"There is no point having improving GCSE results and higher education participation rising towards 50% if there remains a huge chunk in the middle that continue to drop out and enter into a cycle of continuous low paid work or unemployment."While I'm hardly a Nietzschean in matters of education policy, it seems to me there actually is indeed some point in raising test scores and the number of people going to university, even holding for the moment constant the number of students dropping out of secondary school. This might be true, for instance, even if it were motivated only by Rawls's Difference Principle, and a desire to create a larger reservoir of income with which to drive a more robust social welfare state. But such ideas are coming to be seen as terribly out of fashion in an England which would rather condemn its principal research universities to slightly-below-European-level mediocrity than subject itself to criticism for pursuing any goal other than (or even together with) utter levelling equality, or allowing any inequality irrespective of how meritocratically attained or useful for the society as a whole. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
Sunday, April 18, 2004
# Posted 9:25 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
There are a lot of different ways to blog for profit, and Jeff Jarvis has put up a rough list of them here. Even though I've never had much interest in figuring out ways to make money off of blogging, I've noticed that more and more of my favorite blogs have started to put up ads.
Sometimes, you just don't have a choice. As Kevin Drum mentioned when we met up last December, the cost of bandwidth for a popular site can add up to thousands of dollars per year. In other words, Kevin basically had the choice of paying out of his own pocket to give readers access to his site or, instead, selling ads to cover the cost. As Kevin found out, a site as popular as his can easily earn back five or six times in ad revenues what it lays out for bandwidth.
One of things I'm curious about is how many hits per day a site has to have before BlogAds will take it on as a client. I'm also sort of curious about the maximum amount someone can make off selling-ads. The BlogAds site says it has clients making up to $1500 a month. Is that a reference to Glenn Reynolds? Or will he break that ceiling wide open?
Anyhow, I don't think I'm doing a very good job of conveying the substance of Jeff's session. Frankly, a lot of the business talk passed me by because I don't have any sort of framework to plug it into. What definitely was both interesting and relevant was when Jeff polled the audience to find out what are the most important challenges facing the blogging industry.
The top two answers, far and away, were: 1) A blogging industry trade association and 2) Reliable demographic information about blog readers. A trade association is necessary to set standards as well as deal with collective welfare issues such as legal concerns, lobbying and insurance. Reliable stats are critical to turning profits because it is very hard to sell ads or product without a reliable way to quantify the target audience.
While blog audiences are small compared to big media, my suspicion is that our demographics are extremely impressive in terms of education, income and geographical distribution. But you can't sell a suspicion. The challenge then becomes how you get a representative sample of readers to provide information about themselves.
The technical folks at Jeff's session seemed to be in agreement that measuring internet traffic is a very, very hard thing to do. Why is that so? You probably know more about it than I do. But I wonder if there are solutions to this problem already out there. After all, the NYT and WaPo have a strong incentive to get demographic information about their readers. Whatever methods they use should have some applicability on a smaller scale as well. Or not. After all, what do I know?
In closing, I think that Jeff's standing-room only audience felt that his session was a big, big success. The participants were very excited about sharing their ideas and actually seemed very excited just about being together and sharing the hope of turning blogging into a major industry. I hope they're right about that. I could use the cash!
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# Posted 6:16 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In March 2002 alone, 16 suicide bombers struck Israeli citizens. In 2002 as a whole, there were fifty attacks. In 2003, there were twenty. So far this year there have been six, including a recent attack that only killed one border guard.
While Myre doesn't come out and say so directly, this trend may reflect an extraordinary vindication of Sharon's strategy of crushing terrorism with overwhelming force. I have to admit, I never really thought it was possible. Much as I resented the media's kneejerk condemnations of Sharon, I never really liked him either and never thought Hamas or Fatah could be beaten on the battlefield. Their popular support and organization resources were simply too deep.
But, hey, I've been wrong before. And I may be wrong now. The current setbacks for Hamas and Fatah may only be temporary. Of course, I hope not. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 6:03 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Based on where most American soldiers seem to have been killed, it looks like the Ba'athists and not the Sadrists have been responsible. But what is the significance of that fact? Are Sadr's men simply less proficient in combat? Are they less willing to die? Or is level of hostilities between Coalition forces and the Sadr militia simply not as serious?
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to any of these questions. But my instinct says that our conflict with Sadr is very different from our war against the Ba'athists because Sadr and his men are not dead-enders with nothing to lose, but political operatives looking to establish themselves in the new Iraq. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 5:55 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 8:13 AM by Patrick Belton
• Burmese democratic activists released: National League for Democracy chairman Aung Shwe and party secretary U Lwin were freed Tuesday by the country’s ruling junta after nearly a year under house arrest. With their release, Aung San Suu Kyi and her vice president Tin Oo remain as the last senior NLD officials in confinement. Yangon-based observers tell the press there is widespread expectation that Suu Kyi will be released shortly, most likely before the junta holds a convention on May 17 to court international support by touting its seven-point “road map to democracy,” which it claims will end with free and fair elections. Suu Kyi’s decision will then be whether to participate in - and lend legitimacy to - the junta’s multiparty conference, after having led the NLD to resounding victory in the country’s last election.
• In Iran, President Mohammad Khatami formally withdrew two key reform bills this week which had passed the country’s parliament last year, in a sign of the utter collapse of Iran’s reform movement within the country’s political system. At the same time, Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi - who was behind the closure of about one hundred pro-democratic publications in the run-up to elections - was publicly honoured as the "best manager" in the Iranian judiciary. The two withdrawn bills had each been vetoed last year by the Guardian Council; one would have increased presidential powers against the clerical Guardian and Expedience Councils, while the other would have barred the Guardian Council from disqualifying parliamentary and presidential candidates.
• In Nepal, thousands of people have taken to the streets in the last several weeks urging King Gyanendra to initiate democratic reforms. Gyanendra said last month that he hoped to hold elections by April next year, but left ample room to delay them past that date based on a lack of security. The country has been in the grip of a Maoist insurgency since 1996, with 9,300 people having died in fighting between Maoist and government forces. In 2002, Gyanendra dismissed the country’s prime minister for failing adequately to contain the insurgency, and used the occasion to postpone indefinitely elections which had been scheduled for November of that year. Over the past two weeks, more than one thousand people have been detained for taking part in demonstrations against the King, which are officially illegal.
• A Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World opened Tuesday amidst warnings from Turkey and Jordan that political reforms must not be imposed by outside powers. Separately, Egypt’s President Mubarak visited President Bush at his Crawford, Texas ranch, where the U.S. president lavished praise on him for having hosted a conference of Arab civil society representatives who met at the Alexandria Library in March.
• South Korea voted for its National Assembly this week under the shadow of presidential impeachment. Polls favored President Roh Moo-hyun’s Uri party, which campaigned on a government reform platform, and benefitted from a backlash against the conservative Grand National Party after it drove impeachment through the legislature. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
# Posted 2:39 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
# Posted 1:56 AM by Ariel David Adesnik
Sessions at BCII included everything from discussions of international blogging to personal television networks to blogging and religion. The sessions I attended were the prolific Michael Watkins' discussion of academic blogging and the illustrious Jeff Jarvis' workshop on blogging for profit. And no description of BC II (or for that matter, BC I) would be complete if you didn't mention the man responsible for it all, Dave Winer. Go Dave!
A professor at Harvard Business School (HBS), Michael opened up his session by existing whether universities still have a right to exits. After all, aren't there much more efficient ways to accomplish the conflicting objectives of teaching students, conducting research and certifying professionals? In spite of universities' self-image as the home of free think and the free exchange of ideas, doesn't the inflexible academic hierarchy unsure that the most innovative ideas are the ones least likely to be pursued? And finally, can the blogosphere save the university from itself?
The question that clearly preoccupied the participants in Michael's was whether and how blogs have the potential to subvert the informal mechanisms of control that limit academic freedom. Michael's personal experience is quite relevant on this front since he used his weblog, World Events on Weekdays, to challenge HBS when it denied him tenure. Michael's case is exceptional, however, in that his outstanding achievements as an author -- writing six books in five years and selling 50,000 copies of the most recent one -- have prevented him from becoming dependent on the academy for employment.
However, there are compelling examples of rank-and-file academics who have challenged the authorities within their discipline. As one anthropologist related, there was recently a case in which his discipline's governing body responded to a major academic scandal by appointing a rather lax investigative committee. Yet to the committee's surprise, rank-and-file anthropologists chose to post the early drafts of its report in an online forum and deconstruct the report in considerable detail. As a result, the committee was forced to take its job seriously and confront the scandal head-on.
In addition to institutions, individuals can also become the targets of the blogosphere. As one participant asked Prof. Watkins, how would he feel if his students set up weblogs devoted to the in-depth critique of all of his lectures? Now, that was a softball question for self-avowed subversive like Michael. But what if other professors suddenly found themselves the subject of online forums? What about elementary or high school teachers? Although often unstated, there is a powerful academic norm which says that what is said in the classroom stays in the classroom.
But why should that be the case? With some justification, teachers are often concerned that public pressures will get in the way of academic freedom. Yet at the same time, blogs might offer unprecedented opportunities for students, parents and concerned others to become involved in the educational process. Similar concerns about the vulgarity of popular taste often lead professors to treat the blogosphere as a means of communication that is beneath them. Online, they can't rely on the protection provided by membership on the faculty of an august university or publication in a prestigious academic journal. In the blogosphere, some punk kid might turn out to know more than the supposed experts and proceed to embarrass them quite thoroughly.
Of course, blogging isn't the only medium that professors avoid because it is beneath them. As two professors of marketing related, many of their colleagues refuse to watch television and fail to recognize how ironic it is that supposed experts in marketing are totally unfamiliar with the most important medium for advertising today.
Even in a post of this length, it is hard to cover all of the issues and illustrative examples that participants shared in the course of Michael's session. Thus, the last thing I'd like to focus on is what wasn't said this afternoon. While talking to a former CNN correspondent at the reception that followed the conference, I mentioned that Michael had begun the session by asking whether academics do anything that is relevant to the real world. Instead of addressing that question, however, the participants mostly decided to talk about themselves. Typical, she said. Academics more concerned with what goes on inside the ivory tower than outside of it.
While that brief exchange didn't do justice to a very thoughtful session, I think it is fair to say that we never looked back after wading into the bog of academic politics. As someone who rails prolifically against the irrelevance of political science to actual politics, I would have been glad to talk about whether blogging may help make scholarship more relevant. Then again, this discussion was just a first. It is the foundation for discussions to come, not the final word on the subject.
Coming soon: Jeff Jarvis on blogging for profit. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion