The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Friday, November 18, 2005
SELF-PROMOTION: The good folks at CounterPunch have invited me to send them a list of the music I've been listening to for the last week. You can read my reply, and those of David Vest and Jeffrey St. Clair,
on their site.

Also: Last week Irene McGee had me, Ben Fong-Torres, and various other folks on her show No One's Listening to talk about the past, present, and future of radio. The results are now available in podcast form.


posted by Jesse 11:32 PM
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A POINTLESS PORTAL OF OUR OWN: I was going to join the Open Source Media-bashing party, but my heart isn't in it. It's entertaining to watch these people reinventing the dot-com bust just five years after the fact, complete with
misused buzzwords, especially since they've been creative enough to add a few new mistakes of their own. So why complain? It isn't my money on the line.

It did take me a minute to figure out what separates their site from an RSS reader, but then I remembered the difference: An RSS reader actually shows me what I want to read. This shows me what some underqualified editors think I want to read.

There is a moral here, and if I ever do write something substantial about the OSM saga -- maybe when the company collapses -- it will probably be my theme. Just because you're part of a sea change doesn't mean you understand it. What these New Media mavens built is essentially identical to the white elephants those Old Media companies put together when they were first trying to figure out the Internet. Like Hugh Hewitt's horrible book Blog, which frequently mistakes the author's corner of the blogosphere for the entire thing, they've confused a process with its participants. It's blogging, not bloggers, that's revolutionary. And there's nothing remotely radical about the business these particular bloggers have thrown together.


posted by Jesse 10:48 AM
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
THREE THINGS ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DO MEDIA CRITICISM SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER:

1. "Media bias" is usually a euphemism for "insufficient bias in the direction I'd prefer."

2. Never attribute to prejudice what can be explained by inexperience. Most reporters today have never been in the military and are unfamiliar with military jargon and procedures; as a result, they are easily misled by sources with axes to grind, both pro-war and anti-war. (By the same token, most bloggers have no idea how a newspaper works, and are prone to produce similar howlers when they write about the press.)

3. Anyone who thinks the most important news from Iraq involves soldiers helping build schools or infrastructure is deluded. Iraqis can build their own infrastructure. The more important question is the effect the soldiers are having on the folks who want to blow that infrastructure up.


posted by Jesse 12:43 PM
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Monday, November 07, 2005
SELF-PROMOTION: Mindjack has just published my
review of The 70s Dimension.

Also: It isn't online yet, but the December Reason has been available on newsstands for about a week now. It includes four pieces by yrs. truly: my review of Joe Trippi's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and Richard Viguerie and David Franke's America's Right Turn; an expanded version of my web column on cooperation and disorder in New Orleans; a short article riffing on the L.A. Times' report that creationists are buying up roadside dinosaur parks; and a squib on a screwy Air Force project.

Finally: A website called The Cinematheque is doing one of those periodic polls to determine the greatest movies and directors of all time. They asked me to vote, and so I did.


posted by Jesse 2:35 PM
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IT'S NOT EVEN WORTH A FULL REVIEW: I'm
not a big fan of the strip to begin with, but last night's TV debut of The Boondocks was just painfully bad. The storyline actually had some potential, but the sluggish script generally failed to translate that potential into comedy. Or perhaps I'm blaming the wrong culprit: The dialogue may well have been snappy and well-paced on the page, but it lost something when the inept animators failed to synchronize it with the characters' lip movements. Cartoon Network bathed the whole thing in self-congratulatory hype, which only made me dislike it more. This wasn't the world's worst televised interpretation of a comic strip -- that would be Washingtoon -- but it's close.


posted by Jesse 1:55 PM
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Sunday, November 06, 2005
QUOTATIONS ON A SUNDAY:
He may then find himself in a difficult predicament. If he calls himself a liberal, he discovers that he is supposedly committed to a policy of accommodation with the Russian Government. If he opposes a pro-Soviet policy he is welcome to the camp of the Catholic Church and the Manufacturer's Association. If he eschews both camps, he is condemned for lack of principle. If he should support the rights of the workingman or minority and racial groups, he is a Red. If at the same time he believes in Constitutional Government and individual rights, he is also a Fascist.
That's
Jack Parsons, writing in 1946. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to feel the warm glow of recognition. You don't even have to be a gullible mystic getting conned and cuckolded by L. Ron Hubbard.

Meanwhile, here's Forrest McDonald, in the excellent E Pluribus Unum, riffing on the happily anarchic social order of one New England state in the 1780s:
In sort, most New Hampshirites had already achieved the taxless, shiftless utopia which most Americans cherished as a secret dream, and for which "republicanism" and "unalienable rights" were merely euphemisms.
Damn straight.


posted by Jesse 5:32 PM
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