John Scalzi, in “Why Not Feeling Rich is Not Being Poor, and Other Things Financial”, reacts to those employing his powerful piece, “Being Poor” against the (in my opinion) lack of empathy Todd Henderson shown in his piece complaining about being classified rich while earning greater than $250,000 (original piece deleted, this version is from Google’s cache). The anger that erupted over the post has led him to unfortunately quit blogging.
I post both these pieces more to show the very differing perspectives both have and John Scalzi’s followup went far to try and illustrate that. I’d rather see Henderson continue to blog and share his point of view because while you or I may vehemently disagree (I do), we are richer to have it in the public sphere.
I am *not* accusing anyone of coverage bias. I’d bet that Google News’s story inclusion algorithms probably reflect what people are linking to and discussing generally.
Google News: “Republican Party”: 11,579 stories
Google News: “Tea Party”: 22,977 stories
Google News: “Democratic Party”: 15,668 stories
The difference between an actual organizer/activist working in a movement and someone of the punditry; there are *concrete* artifacts pursued by an organizer/activist and the primary artifact of a pundit is their cult of personality.
If there aren’t proposals behind the bluster of someone considered a leader, maybe what you have isn’t a leader, but a pundit in pursuit of nothing more than fame and power.
There is a Rebooting Democracy movement brewing among many in technology spheres. Lawrence Lessig is one of the activists (not pundits) behind this and a perfect example of this is a movement he and many others are pursuing to pass the Fair Elections Now act. Check it out.
Activists tend to be far more boring than pundits in my experience (no offense you activists out there). When you start to coalesce energy into real action (which in turn means facing the gears of bureaucracy and process), it can be frustrating, slow and yes, boring. But it’s the body of democracy. And we are part of it.
There is a challenge here for the Rebooting Democracy movement. Where is the list of laws or bills on the books that lets me find those I might be interested in supporting or fighting to have dismantled? The tools that are out there require a lot of work and are not where they need to be. Until I can locate laws and bills, Local, State, and Federal that would call me to action (even ‘like’-ing them on Facebook) and such activity can be aggregated some how for our representatives to act on, we remain in a position where those who speak the loudest, or have the greatest cash pile, have the ear of our law-makers.
We say we want an informed citizenry and participatory democracy. To me, this is an achievable small measure along that path.
So if you are a software engineer out there who would like to build the infrastructure for this, or are part of this, let me know, because I want to be involved where I can. There is code to write. System’s to build. So that all of us can better connect, be informed, and participate.
O’Reilly Radar: Mark Drapeau: “What does Government 2.0 look like?”
- Scott Berkun shares the perfect quote of the week:
John F. Kennedy:
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
- Dick Polman missing George W. Bush and concerned about the politics of short term gain: The American Debate: Where has all the love gone?
- A stirring call that we are all minorities and immigrants in America – YouTube: What It Means To Be An American – Have You Forgotten?:
- Michael Bloomberg: on the Daily Show:
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Michael Bloomberg Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party
- Jonathan Mann: YouTube: : The Ballad of Steven Slater (don’t play around the kids!):
- Danny Glover speaking Julia K. Dinsmore’s “My Name Is Not “Those People””:
- I’ve taught myself this one and will play it out some day – Billy Bragg’s cover of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore”
Sociologist Erving Goffmanll said that all of life is performance, and Peggy Orenstein in the NYTimes says that Twitter is a new stage.
Jeff Jarvis is getting ready to write a book about “abundant publicness” and some of the thoughts and quotes from the linked post are thought provoking.
“Once-abundant privacy is now scarce. Once-scarce publicness is now abundant.”
I like this – a lot. Makes a whole hell of a lot more sense than PMRC warning labels, that’s for sure. I wonder if a Firefox plugin, enabling some social review mechanism to apply these labels would work. Probably too small of an audience. Besides, I think Tom Scott was joking. I think. Gotta send him an email.
Contents Not Verified
I have been hard on Memeorandum in the past, believing that its story selection algorithm’s were too narrow, that it promoted a small subset of the Web, but just look at it. Look at it again.
Memeorandum is the only one stop shop on the Web to get exposed to both sides of the political conversation taking place. That admirable, helpful, and downright impressive. No one else does this and I am thankful I can go there each day to get a round up of what’s being discussed in the political sphere.
Jeffrey Rosen in the NYTimes reports on the effects social networking will have on our efforts to redefine ourselves:
It’s often said that we live in a permissive era, one with infinite second chances. But the truth is that for a great many people, the permanent memory bank of the Web increasingly means there are no second chances — no opportunities to escape a scarlet letter in your digital past. Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you.
Tom Meltzer in the Guardian reports on the strange paradox of loneliness among the most connected generation seemingly ever:
This is not just a teenage problem. In May, the Mental Health Foundation released a report called The Lonely Society? Its survey found that 53% of 18-34-year-olds had felt depressed because of loneliness, compared with just 32% of people over 55. The question of why was, in part, answered by another of the report’s findings: nearly a third of young people said they spent too much time communicating online and not enough in person.
In a YouGov poll published by Samaritans last December, 21% of young people aged 18-24 identified loneliness as one of their major concerns. Young people worried more than any other age group about feeling alone, being single, about the quality of their relationships with friends and family. Such figures have led newspapers to dub us the “Eleanor Rigby generation”; better connected than any in history, yet strangely alone.
Interested in how information reaches those it needs to reach? Intersted in acts of journalism crossing cultural gulfs and divides? Interested in web services and connectivity? You will want to watch Ethan Zuckerman’s talk at TEDGlobal 2010 and I hope be inspired: “Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices”:
Check out his ideas on how to use Twitter to open up your world.
Zuckerman and danah boyd are helping establish a reasoned view of the Web and its potential based upon its now decade-plus history. It is why I feel project’s like Zuckerman’s Global Voices are so important. Following is danah boyd’s talk at PDF 2009: “danah boyd – PdF2009 – The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”:
Ethan Zuckerman’s transcription of the talk
danah boyd: transcription of her Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) 2009 talk: “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”
Clay Shirky: “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality”
Guardian.co.uk: John Naughton: “The internet: Everything you ever need to know”
The call to action:
raise voices, go beyond babel, engineer serendipity, build bridges, cultivate xenophiles, rewire