Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Farnaz Fasihi vs. Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges, a professional war correspondent and international reporter of repute, gets kicked out of the New York Times for opposing the Iraq war.

In the meantime, Farnaz Fassihi, a public and virulent opponent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, continues with her politically-motivated and poorly-"reported" news articles on Iran for the Wall Street Journa, all filled with inaccuracies and nonsensical claims. She was a far better war correspondent, perhaps.

Is there any wonder?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Transferring posts

I had started transferring posts from my Sun Microsystems blog some time ago but the task became gigantic because there was no good tool to map my blog entries and categories into my various blogger blogs. I myself don't have time to compose such a tool. If you run into one, please let me know.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Media as Theater (or Theatre, depending on which side of Atlantic we're on)

I originally wrote this entry on September 28, 2004, and published it on blogs.sun.com.

The script of any play predetermines for the large part (or at least constrains to a significant degree) the appropriate moves, phrases, tones of voice, the words used and certainly the selected scenes from the reality whose unfolding it takes to play.

I've already written briefly about the uncritical aspects of the Journalistic approach to digesting of the facts and about Lawrence Lessig' view of the state of political discourse in the U.S. Now, Lessig is writing on his weblog about another aspect of "Journalism". I'd like to call this aspect of Journalism "the media theater". In other words, knowing the role it is supposed to play, media simply plays the role it is supposed to play. Mass media attempts to become theater, and yet, it will remain less than theater because at least theatric drama (in its classical sense) has a coherent story, a thread, that goes through its scenes and holds everything together. The role of the mass media (as Hubert Dreyfus extends Soren Kierkegaard's ideas) is to level us. (I've written more on Hubert Dreyfus elsewhere.)

Trying a "Mobile" Weblog

I originally wrote this entry on September 27, 2004, and published it on blogs.sun.com.

On my first day of owning a Sidekick II device, I've been able to start and manage a mobile weblog in less than 3 minutes, with great ease and directly from the mobile device itself. The device design and service integration are strikingly smooth. Many efficiencies are included.

Danger Gets Dangerous

I originally wrote this entry on September 27, 2004, and published it on blogs.sun.com.

I'd been waiting for more than a couple of years to get Danger's Sidekick.

No, this is certainly not like Enkidu, the sidekick to Gilgamesh, that primordial myth-model of heroism, from Mesopotamia, a land we now know better as Iraq.

Nevertheless, every hero needs a sidekick, even if it is to be a cyber-sidekick.

Gilgamesh had Enkidu, and I got my Sidekick at the Palo Alto T-Mobile outlet on University Avenue this Sunday. If I'm satisfied (and I get 14 days to decide), I will then have to see about number portability. I'm told it now takes a very short time to install. I will write about this more in a couple of days.

My criteria for the purchase of a sidekick had been a color screen and tri-band radio capabilities. Sidekick II meets both. Not only that, I now have IMAP/SSL accounts I can set up. I haven't had time to set up an IMAP account yet but I had enough time to take a picture of Roberto Chinnici. He visited me (or was it a visit to my Sidekick II) just a few moments ago. More about Roberto later.

Should I go or should I not . . .

I originally wrote this entry on September 26, 2004, and published it on blogs.sun.com.

I was supposed to attend (as vice chair and participant) the Open Mobile Alliance - Mobile Web Services working group meeting in Orlando early next week but Hurricane Jeanne has closed the airport until Monday afternoon, and going through 15 hours of travel and airports (not including the delays) while ending up with the opportunity to attend (possibly) less than one day of a meeting is not my idea of resourcefulness. So, I think I'm going to have to cancel this trip. This will incur Sun some cost but the savings in time, energy and individual productivity outweigh the losses. So, Sunday morning when I wake up, my first move will be to put a cancellation order in motion. Missing the meeting will unfortunately mean that I will also miss what promises to be a great presentation on Fast Web Services by Paul Sandoz. (He seems to have gotten to Orlando, from France, just before the airport closure.)

Some have expressed curiosity regarding how the OMA board could have allowed the meeting to be arranged during a hurricane-prone season in Orlando? Can Mickey Mouse really produce such an irresistible pull for our European OMA colleagues? I doubt it very much.

Boom or Bust

I originally wrote this entry on September 24, 2004, and published it on blogs.sun.com.

Journalists are a curious bunch when it comes to booms and busts. Their whole careers move with booms and busts. When there is a boom, they are among the boomers, and when a bust, among the busters.

Of course, we have those rare occasions when a journalist actually stands out. I'm thinking of H.L. Mencken or Ambrose Bierce (yes, Ambrose Bierce of The Devil's Dictionary although many know him by Carlos Fuentes' The Old Gringo). In these cases, the journalist seems to be filling a space where the priests have vacated in certain societies. A place that demands its inhabitant to speak a truth that is actually experienced.

Well, where did I learn all that stuff . . . Let's see, I remember a certain curiosity for the kinked view of things and a certain teacher. I bought my first copy of The Devil's Dictionary when I lived in Berkeley back in the summer of 1980 although I had trouble grasping large sections making references to politicians in Washington. It all seemed a bit unreal. Later on things changed and became more apparent. Then, there was a certain teacher who introduced me to Mencken and his role in instituting a particular culture among some American journalists who continue to revere him: Tom Leonard is not only a great professor of the history of journalism, he is also a great guy. He was gentle, patient and good to all students who took his graduate courses in history of American journalism. In his class, no question was unworthy of exploration. He probably doesn't quite remember me any more. After all, I sat in his graduate seminar some 15 years ago. I was that strange fellow at the J-School who also had completed a recent Ph.D. in a branch of scientific computing and was working in the physics department to put himself through the journalism program. Given the blogs and the web, it is easy to do this sort of thing today with no eyebrows raised, but back then people were very conservative and thought of me as some sort of a case gone wild.