Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border
From Watts’ site:
If you buy into the Many Worlds Intepretation of quantum physics, there must be a parallel universe in which I crossed the US/Canada border without incident last Tuesday. In some other dimension, I was not waved over by a cluster of border guards who swarmed my car like army ants for no apparent reason; or perhaps they did, and I simply kept my eyes downcast and refrained from asking questions.
Along some other timeline, I did not get out of the car to ask what was going on. I did not repeat that question when refused an answer and told to get back into the vehicle. In that other timeline I was not punched in the face, pepper-sprayed, shit-kicked, handcuffed, thrown wet and half-naked into a holding cell for three fucking hours, thrown into an even colder jail cell overnight, arraigned, and charged with assaulting a federal officer, all without access to legal representation (although they did try to get me to waive my Miranda rights. Twice.). Nor was I finally dumped across the border in shirtsleeves: computer seized, flash drive confiscated, even my fucking paper notepad withheld until they could find someone among their number literate enough to distinguish between handwritten notes on story ideas and, I suppose, nefarious terrorist plots. I was not left without my jacket in the face of Ontario’s first winter storm, after all buses and intercity shuttles had shut down for the night.
In some other universe I am warm and content and not looking at spending two years in jail for the crime of having been punched in the face.
But that is not this universe.
More at Boing Boing and Making Light.
This is America today. We pay the salaries of these thugs. We let our culture descend to the point at which some of our fellow citizens respond to such outrages by “pointing out” that if one were merely appropriately deferent and had just cringed more all would have ended “well.” As long as we all simply obey the commands of our overlords, without question, we’ll all live happily ever after.
Live in fear. Do what you’re told. Do not question authority. Do not make trouble. You have no rights.
I don’t want to live in this America anymore.
Printing blogs on paper wasn’t such a hot idea:
Mr. Karp, the founder of The Printed Blog, a Chicago start-up that we wrote about early this year, announced Wednesday that he would stop publishing the paper because he had run out of money and could not raise enough additional capital.
His idea was to take free articles and pictures from blogs, with their permission, and print them on 11-by-17-inch pieces of paper. Then he sold ads to local businesses and distributed the papers at train stations in Chicago and San Francisco. Though he still had to spend money on paper, ink and delivery people, he tried to cut costs by putting commercial printers in the homes of the delivery workers.
As Egon Spengler said in Ghostbusters, “Print is dead.”
That was way back in 1984.
does this word taste funny to you?
Totally fascinating piece at BBC News recently:
People may be able to taste words
We are all capable of “hearing” shapes and sizes and perhaps even “tasting” sounds, according to researchers.
This blending of sensory experiences, or synaesthesia, they say, influences our perception and helps us make sense of a jumble of simultaneous sensations.
Continue reading does this word taste funny to you?.
it’ll be even harder to get paid now
Simon Dumenco at Advertising Age calls it “the Award for Most Bitterly Ironic Media Award,” and he bestows it upon the Fred Dressler Lifetime Achievement Award, of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, for giving itself to Arianna Huffington:
Really, the school — which exists to train journalists — should know better than to honor a woman who thinks journalists should work for free!
Funny how the fact that The Huffington Post fails to pay most of its bloggers didn’t come up when Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham gushed about the blog mistress in a prepared statement: “Arianna Huffington was ahead of the curve with HuffPo. She embraced the use of new media but never forgot that no matter where or how you tell the story, content is still king. This is what we teach our students.”
Oh, give me a break! Content, in Arianna’s world, is not king, and it never was. Link bait is king; opportunism is king. If content was really honored at The Huffington Post, the site wouldn’t have gotten in trouble last December for lifting content wholesale from other sites that do pay for their own content. (In case you missed the scandal, HuffPo’s Chicago outpost got caught red-handed stealing detailed, bylined capsule concert previews — not just quoting them but copying them in their entirety — from the likes of the Chicago Reader and Time Out Chicago. See “Arianna Huffington’s Scuzzy Copying Pisses Off Chicagoans” on Gawker.)
I’ve been raging about HuffPo’s devaluation of content — and, ergo, content creators — since late 2007, when HuffPo co-founder Ken Lerer told USA Today the company had no plans to ever pay its bloggers: “That’s not our financial model. We offer them visibility, promotion and distribution with a great company.”
how words shape ideas: “politically motivated shootings”
A promo on MSNBC during Keith Olbermann’s show last night tried to tease viewers into watching another program on the network because it would be discusssing the “politically motivated shootings” that occurred at that Kansas abortion clinic and the Holocaust museum in Washington DC.
I guess 9/11 was merely a series of politically motivated plane crashes, then.
So much for the “liberal” media: it can’t even call terrorism “terrorism.”
what is the future of books and publishing?
When I’m not watching and reviewing movies, TV, and DVD, I support myself by working as an editor and copywriter, for such companies as Cosimo, which reprints classic works — including many that rarely see the light of day in print, and if they do, often not in handsome editions. We also publish new books, typically of the kind that traditional publishers bypass because they’re not the stuff of bestsellerdom, even though — as with muckraking journalist Danny Schechter’s Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal, there’s plenty of interest.
Anyway, the point here is not to toot Cosimo’s horn but to highlight something I just posted at Cosimo’s blog wondering about the future of “the book” and of publishing as a traditional industry. If you’re at all in the least interested in such stuff, please check it out and comment over there, if you have something to say. I’m trying to jumpstart conversation over there…
nonreader Kayne West publishes book…
…and real writers everywhere bash their own heads against walls. From Reuters:
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rapper Kanye West does not read books or respect them but nevertheless he has written one that he would like you to buy and read.
The Grammy Award winner, known for his No. 1 albums and outspoken statements on everything from racism in America to the banality of Twitter, is the co-author of “Thank You And You’re Welcome.”
His book is 52 pages — some blank, others with just a few words — and offers his optimistic philosophy on life. One two-page section reads, “Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react!” Another page reads “I hate the word hate!”
That 52-page collection of fortune cookies will set you back 10 bucks. The book is deliberately not wordy or anything, because that’s the author’s philosophy on books:
“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed,” West said. “I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph.
“I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life,” he said.
those words don’t mean what you think they mean, dude
Sometimes you stumble across a piece of writing that is so brilliantly nutty, so rife with vocabulary that argues the precise opposite of what the author intends, that you simply cannot let it pass by unheralded.
Such is the case with an essay by Sam Schulman in The Weekly Standard called “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage.”
You must keep in mind, as you read these choice excerpts, that Schulman believes gay marriage is a terrible idea, but more importantly, he believes the entire concept will self-implode because it is not feasible. His reasons for believing this include:
Gay marriage is not burdened with a legacy of historical bullshit about the dominance of one gender over another:
This most profound aspect of marriage–protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex–is its only true reason for being, and it has no equivalent in same-sex marriage. Virginity until marriage, arranged marriages, the special status of the sexuality of one partner but not the other (and her protection from the other sex)–these motivating forces for marriage do not apply to same-sex lovers.
Continue reading those words don’t mean what you think they mean, dude.
“bookworm” is an insult (plus a bonus bizarre idea about words)…
Every Saturday, Markos posts some of the infinitely entertaing hate mail Daily Kos receives, and one of today’s batch jumped right out at me:
Trust me when I say this, only a few arrogant egotistical bookworms buy the dribble you produce. The problem we face today, sit squarely in the laps of the dems.. But, please keep on showing your bigot reporting and interpertation skills, its great entertainment.
Oh noes, the readers, they’ll doom us all!
It truly does astonish me, the fear that the love of reading instills in some people. It’s almost as if those folks know their placement of commas, their lack of usage of apostrophes, and their refusal to match tenses are wrong, and so they are forestalling the pointing out of such. “I, sir, am an American,” you can almost hear the perfect embodiment of those folks declaring, “and have no need for such homosexual fripperies as proper grammar or the self-reflection that reading encourages.”
This one was a close second, though:
I find [a Daily Kos diarist who shall remain nameless] many comments full of vulgar wording such as the frequent use of the four-letter word beginning with a F. There are women reading these comments, and we are ladies, and we find his use of the word so often, offensive.
Is this a spoof from Ladies Against Women? Alas, it appears to be genuine. If being a “lady” means engaging in self-censorship and the limiting one’s language, then fuck that goddamn shit. O, who will protect the ladies from indelicate vocabulary? It’s hard to believe females like this still exist in the 21st century…