Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Saturday, July 31, 2004

There's a lot of ghostwriting about and everyone understands that. People know it covers everything from celebrity autobiographies to what might be called more serious literary work, but it's
a fascinating area for people because it's secretive, sometimes a little bit murky. It's a sort of creative life that dare not speak its name.
The publishing trade to some extent colludes in this as well -- there are a lot of in-house editors nowadays who are brushing up the efforts of quite well-known writers.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers:
My mother, Maria Imrichova too, worshipped God as intensely as the saint transfixed. And His companionship was to her as that of an old and very dear friend. Perhaps somewhere else one woman has walked through so many years charming so many people by her warmth and diffidence and humor and faith. If so, I wish I might have known her.
Her love for her children and her husband was absolute.

Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography [The Untold Story: Who is Hot Now? Cold River and its Site Media Dragon (smile) ]
• · The Untold Story of The Importance of Being Famous: The Rise and Rise of Celebrity Journalism
• · · See Also Publisher peeved at political parody
• · · · Is literary culture reflected in how books are pulped? It's a sad chapter for Cold River [Media Dragons live in what is likely the beauty capital of the world and have the enviable fortune to work with some of the most beautiful women in it ]
• · · · · Most literary prizes -- however valuable -- merely give the chance for organisers and judges to drop a polished pebble into the ocean of indifference At least they also prove that money can't buy love - or even attention
• · · · · · Is literary culture reflected in how publishers and fraudsters interact? Khouri coverage [ Faking it has a rich history]

Friday, July 30, 2004

Feeding the Soul: She's not at the Bus Stop
There's only one bus a week where I live. It's actually the daily schoolbus--one of those old-fashioned yellow ones with metal seats--but it does one special "shopping trip" every Thursday for those of us poor suckers who don't have a car. It goes around all the beaches and then into the main town half an hour away, then in the afternoon it comes back. We sometimes take it to town, but usually just get it down to my parents place about five minutes away up on the main road, as it's too far to walk.
A strange thing happened the other week [Link Poached from Gianna]
• · See Also Does philosophizing change what we think about death?
• · · Ownmost possibility The discomfort of strangeness
• · · · See Also Proofs of the Nonexistence of Censor by his Author
• · · · · See Also It's time - and we can't get enough of it

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Have you read Trumpet of the Last Judgment against Hegel, Atheists and Antichrists? If you don't already know, I can tell you that, under the secret seal, the authors are Bauer and Marx. I have truly laughed heartily reading it.
- G. Jung, letter to Arnold Ruge (December 1841)

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Cutting through literary lies
Another literary hoax to join the grand Australian tradition of the Ern Malley affair, the Demidenko moment, the Thoughtli(n)es...
Humiliated publishers still want to believe the best of the author Norma Khouri, accused of literary deception with her bestseller, Forbidden Love, despite overwhelming evidence that the book does not truly represent her life and experiences. Its Australian publisher is awaiting rebuttals from Ms Khouri but concedes the book's withdrawal from sale is due to the Herald's allegations which, Random House said, "cast doubt on Ms Khouri's true identity and her story as told in" the purportedly factual book.
The Herald's allegations, established by old-fashioned but reliable gumshoe techniques of investigation, do more than cast doubt on Ms Khouri's version of her upbringing, and her claim that her nearest friend, the book character Dalia, was stabbed to death in Jordan by Dalia's father because she defied his will and pursued a chaste relationship with a Christian man she met while the two women ran an Amman hairdressing salon. The book highlighted the archaic and brutal practice of honour killings, where the state turns a blind eye to the murder of its own so that family honour can retain paramountcy. It is a moving tale of the excesses of cultural and religious inflexibility. It mustered a wave of Western revulsion against a supposedly widespread Muslim practice at the very time the West was clamouring for justification of anti-Muslim sentiment. But fact it is not.

Forbidden Bribery Island (sic) ((Author goes to ground)) [The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing Riverview]
• · See Also On being able to switch accents
• · · See Also Books That Will Tell You Why Everything is Crazy [ Dragons ]
• · · · See Also Revenge may be frowned upon, but the urge is primed in the genes [link first seen at Disgust is an adaptation for survival, but what is the point of it now? ]
• · · · · I am often accused by people who don’t know me very well of never changing my mind and always wanting to be right Changing our mind These charges are usually hurled at me in the midst of some heated debate, often when the other side is close to be running out of defensible arguments.
• · · · · · See Also Is that quadriplegic or tetraplegic? The English language feeds from different streams, with the result that one term may acquire two forms

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Meet the MEdia Dragons, Blogging Beasts and Evil Blaghhs

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bloggers Are the Sizzle, Not the Steak
The Democrats and the Republicans are inviting a limited number of bloggers — those witty, candid, irreverent, passionate, shrewd and outrageous Internet chroniclers — to their 2004 conventions.
Tracking Our Stories [ courtesy of David Adesnik: KEEPING UP WITH JONES: Joe Gandelman has posted a very thoughtful response to Alex Jones' anti-blog temper tantrum in the LA Times. Daniel Drezner: Good — this is exactly the kind of story that merits further inquiry by "real" journalists — you know, as opposed to...
Pejman Yousefzadeh
: THE POWER OF THE BLOGOSPHERE — While Alex Jones moves Heaven and Earth to try to deride blogs as "the sizzle, not the...Rickheller @Centerfield: (Note to Alex S. Jones - I haven't been paid to promote this documentary. All I got was iced tea and a slice of apple pie.) Jay Rosen: Alex S. Jones, of Harvard's Kennedy School, a former reporter for the New York Times, and a biographer of newspaper...James Joyner: Alex Jones' LA Times op-ed "Bloggers Are the Sizzle, Not the Steak" set off a firestorm last evening, with several blogs commenting on it.
Also: Robert Cox, David Allan Pell, Jeralyn Merritt, Clayton Cramer,
Jeff Goldstein
, Patrick Belton, Jeff Jarvis, Jon Henke, Jonah Goldberg, Captain Ed, Joe Gandelman, Matt Welch, Glenn Reynolds, Timothy Wheeler]
• · Beantown Becomes Blogtown: What is news is that for the virgin time several dozen political bloggers will receive media credentials to report on the event
Robert Cox: But...if you have a note from a doctor, you are allowed to TIVO THIS tonight... TIVO THIS Judy Woodruff's Inside...Will Collier: Fund On Blogs — Great John Fund OpinionJournal column today on political bloggers, who seem to be getting under the...Glenn Reynolds: CONVENTION BLOG-COVERAGE ROUNDUP: Here's my MSNBC post on convention blogging. Here's a link-rich item by John Fund...
"Beantown Becomes Blogtown" — John Fund today: "It isn't news that more than 15,000 journalists are descending on this city to cover the Democratic convention. The Big Trunk

Monday, July 26, 2004

The 2004 Vice Regal Blog Comments Award

The Blog, The Press, The Media: At the speed of blog
After a Republican congressman resigned unexpectedly, a lefty blogger called for readers to send money to his opponent -- and the cash poured in.
What happened next was beyond anything that Yellin had expected.

Stephen Yellin, a 16-year-old politics junkie and frequent contributor to the lefty blog Daily Kos [ E-mail is so 1995 In no time, you'll be spending more time reading what you want and less time sifting through junk ]
• · The unedited voice of one person Online personals sites that cater to a specific political point of view [Malcolm Farr political leaders and rumours ]
• · · pass the word We don't need no stinkin login http://www.bugmenot.com/ [link first seen at Gianna ]
• · · See Also ADV: PClessons.info. Free articles and lessons about Windows, MS Word, MS Excel and Internet.
• · · · > Medical Meta-Search Engine Debut: Metasearch engine: operates different way as search engines like Google or Yahoo
• · · · · See Also CNN announced that Technorati will be providing real-time analysis of the political blogosphere at next week's Democratic National Convention [ Coming Soon: Politics.technorati.com ]
• · · · · · Circa 1960 Google of Yore

The good parts of a book may be something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life—and one is as good as the other.
Ernest Hemingway, letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sept. 4, 1929

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Truth scores at the movies
With Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 about to crest the $100-million (U.S.) mark at the box office, and movies such as The Corporation, Super-Size Me, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster and The Control Room currently doing well in multiplexes, we're in the midst of a documentary explosion.
Apparently, it's no longer the vegetable on our entertainment plate. Apparently, we can handle the truth.
Why Now?
Part of it could be escape fatigue. As mainstream movies have become more effects-driven and divorced from reality, we are craving something that has some connection with life as it's lived outside the multiplex.
Documentaries also feature real people, a scarce movie commodity. And technology has made docs easier to make.
Finally, I suggest a political impulse. Docs by their nature question assumptions about reality, truth and history, and the appetite for alternative viewpoints is only made keener during times of official information management. That is why Michael Moore is a star.

One more thing: When [documentaries] work, they can knock you flat on your ass [Actual crime statistics aside, some cities just stand out as the world's most crime ridden:=: Crime Magazine’s Review of True-Crime Books]
• · See Also The Art Of Giving Credit
• · · A brief history of the alphabets .Believe it or not, many ancient philosophers and thinkers were not entirely supportive of the art of writing
• · · · See Also Author Norma Khouri may lose the right to live in Australia following allegations she made up parts of her past, published in a best-selling non-fiction book last year
• · · · · See Also Libraries ordered to destroy US pamphlets [The Boston Globe] [Dummies And Idiots And Boneheads, Oh My::Who knew you could make millions by insulting your customers? ]
• · · · · · See Also Books, Books, Books! Everywhere! (Too Many?) [ Kartoffel Surprise Kafka Cooks Dinner ...It was a dish so clearly German, rather than Czech, and certainly not French at all] [The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook Formula for a Denver omelet ]

Friday, July 23, 2004

Correct us if we're wrong. Every once in a while you have to step back and look in the mirror. Unfortunately, all of our mirror manufacturing has been outsourced. So...we turn to our friends across the pond for a fresh look.
In essence you don't run for President directly, you ask the media to run you for President. Reaching the voters relies almost entirely on how the media choose to perceive you and your campaign.
The March of Time: Old Battle for the White House (punt intended)

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Margo On the road again
Making the media accountable for their errors in the lead up to the Iraq war, and the false claims of some mainstream media that they’re working for you, the reader, rather than for their owner’s corporate agendas. Harry Heidelberg recommends Petition for initiation of complaint against Fox News Network for deceptive practices, where moveon has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to take legal action against Murdoch’s Fox Network for deceptive advertising by promoting itself as the “fair and balanced” network. And see details of the moveon-inspired Outfoxed movie, which “provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know”. The Not Happy John Website is pulling together a mailing list of readers who we hope will help the site morph into an Australian version of moveon to help defend our democracy.
Wondering who's to bless and who's to blame in the MEdia [Why network publicists cut off journo Bobbin at six questions People are naturally superstitious in an industry in which no one really understands what separates hits from flops and hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, they will cut off a Q&A session after Bobbin's sixth question ]
• · See Also Media Matters: making headway in campaign against misinformation
• · · Journo wonders why media bigs aren't reporting WMD scoop: Why isn't Dan Rather reporting this? Why isn't Peter Jennings reporting this? It has been generally ignored, just as any story that's deemed favorable to the president is ignored by the formerly mainstream press
• · · · See Also Thomas Norton, a retired college professor, stared at Morning Call reporter Tracy Jordan and called her a 'stupid bitch
• · · · · See Also SF Chron letters editor on leave over political contributions
• · · · · · MEdia Dragon, who smacked book critic Dale Peck Crouch says he's being congratulated for hitting critic Peck

Thursday, July 22, 2004

in Bushworld, you don't consult your father, the expert in being president during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can't talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes.
Ms. Dowd's Bushworld
Their civility...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Liberalism as Deep Civility
Political correctness is another name for civility
The point of being polite or civil to another human being is not to demonstrate superiority, it is to demonstrate respect. The real test of a person's civility is the way they treat those who have less power and status than they do. True civility is not about whether you chew with your mouth open or use four letter words, it is about acknowledging that other people's beliefs, ambitions, and feelings are as important as your own.
Good manners are sometimes about being respectful and sometimes about maintaining a status hierarchy. Knowing which fork to use at dinner can be a mark of status. Knowing the right name to call something or someone can serve the same purpose. For example, referring to a judge as 'your highness' will earn you a smirk and a snicker from those who pride themselves on knowing better. Elaborate rituals can be used to exclude and humiliate people.
Civility is not just good manners. It is not civil to publish tracts denying that the holocaust took place or promote research which set out to prove that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. It doesn't matter how well mannered your prose is or what deference you show to academic norms. To have members of your family slaughtered like animals and then be accused of making it up is to be treated with contempt.

What's the Point of Being Polite? I; Where's the civility? II [ courtesy of Ken Parish]
• · See Also John Quiggin
• · · Daniel Drezner had a nice roundup on civility in the blogosphere: An Incentive to Behave badly
• · · · Kalblog: That said, it does make a lot of civility complaints look rather silly, especially since the blogosphere is in many ways an outgrowth of academia
• · · · · See Also Rewarding-random-acts-of-civility
• · · · · · See Also Never underestimate the role of envy in any walk of life

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Above all, blogging is fun. And that’s one thing I don’t get from Jennifer Howard’s eat-your-spinach account of life in the blogosphere: a sense of how much fun we’re all having out here. ‘We’ meaning TMFTML and Maud and Cup of Chicha and Old Hag and Bookslut and the thousands of nice people who visit us every day. It’s not a private party. There’s no secret handshake. All you have to do is click on a link. Or not. But we hope you do.
Not exactly Heathers

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Why 'Heritage' is no longer a dirty word
Although the sun doesn't often make an appearance, summer is upon us. And across our bloody meadows, open commons, and ancient forests Britain's heritage army is steeling itself for combat. As July merges into August, the great battles of the English Civil War, the Wars of the Roses, even the Roman invasion will once again be re-enacted to the delight of millions. For summer is the season of heritage.
Since it was first widely identified some 20 years ago, Britain's love affair with the living past has mushroomed both in popularity and as a realm of critical inquiry.

• Think of heritage as the building block for understanding the world: Think of literature as training wheels for the imagination [Shared inheritance As July merges into August: In the future, all books will be digital...well, ]
• · But who knew half the nation was still reading? Literature's killer could hardly be more obvious: It's the Internet [I want to be a loose cannon, I still want to do my part to shake things up: Lily Wong Fillmore is in love with village language
• · · There's a profound air of inquiry hanging over 9 La Trobe Street, Melbourne: The Existentialist Society gives me purpose, yes. Although it might all be bullshit [The multiculturalist preaches that, in an age of mass migration, society can be a kind of salad bowl, a receptacle for wonderful exotic ingredients from around the world, the more the better, each bringing its special flavor to the cultural mix. For the salad to be delicious, no ingredient should predominate and impose its flavor on the others: As culture merges into mores]
• · · · See Also So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance
• · · · · John Marsden Australia's most influential author: John, when you sign one of your books, you sign, Take risks. Why that?
PS::Because I guess in modern society the emphasis is so much on taking care that I think we're going to end up with a generation of frightened people, but also people who are emotionally and spiritually stunted by being so careful that they never get out there and try anything adventurous.
• · · · · · Rachel Griffiths: Rejected by NIDA, dismissed by others who simply continues to delight in the unorthodox
• · · · · · · Writing Tool #14: Interesting Names Roy Peter Clark The best reporters recognize and take advantage of coincidence between name and circumstance

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

You'd have to think hard to come up with practically any journalist, east of Iraq, who has a juicier beat nowadays. ...Toobin's beat is suspenseful enough to make a Reality TV poobah drool Toobin is a journalist in the right place at the right time

The Blog, The Press, The Media: American journalists thought they were safe in Russia
Former Time magazine Moscow correspondent Andrew Meier says there's little doubt that Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov was the victim of a contract killing. Although during Putin's presidency 14 reporters have been killed, with one exception they were all Russians, so Americans thought they were safe. Business, imagined Western reporters covering the rise of Russian capitalism, had matured. The bosses of the underworld and the lords of the oligarchy had learned. Disputes were settled in courts, not bloody sidewalks. How wrong we were.
Svoboda Slova; Freedom of Speech [ courtesy of Why Jones is wrong about blogs NYU's Rosen has three reasons]
• · See Also Shooting the Messenger: The Challenge Facing Real Journalists... [ courtesy of Call this the season of the documentary... Fahrenheit 9/11, Control Room, Hunting of the President and now, Outfoxed]
• · · How does today’s Republican Party fit Wall Street bankers under the same tent as blue-collar America? How does a party unify those who seek to bathe corporations in taxpayer cash with those who want to curtail government spending? When Left is Right
• · · · DRAGON: Underground MEdia Diet FOX: The 'Official' Government News Network... a steady diet of official information [ courtesy of The E(l)ection: Bring It On!... ]
• · · · · See Also Why the Press Failed... [ courtesy of A Giant Leap for Academia? Google Ventures into DSpace
• · · · · · Darren Baker on My Czech Republic: A native of California, Darren has been living in Moravia since 1992. Not far, in fact, from the house where Freud was born (which, incidentally, is a massage parlor today)

Monday, July 19, 2004

Once a year, every politician should be required to catch a train. He should buy a ticket with his own money, line up with the citizenry, fight his way through the crowds, listen to public announcements; and pay close attention to what his fellow travellers are saying and doing. In short, he should be forced to remind himself on a regular basis of how ordinary people experience life, and marvel at the fact that they keep voting major parties back in spite of everything...
Mark Latham in 2003 From the Suburbs paraphrasing Cold River:
Wherever power is concentrated in society - whether in the boardrooms of big business, the pretensions of big media, the political manipulation of big churches or the arrogance of big bureaucracies - we need to be anti-establishment. The outsiders want us to take on the system on their behalf. They want us to disperse influence and opportunity as widely as possible.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: If not now, when? Czech out: Smartmobs
About grassroot journalism unsettling Big Media's monopoly
86% of US MEdia Dragon readers declare that blogs are a useful source of news or links they can't find elsewhere, and most believe that blogs feature a better perspective, faster news and more honesty than traditional media.

About Last Night got written up yesterday in Publishers Lunch:
Finally, the big blog occasion this week is the one-year anniversary of cultural critic Terry Teachout's abundant blog About Last Night. He writes, Blogs are the 21st-century counterpart of the periodical essays of the eighteenth century, the Spectators and Ramblers and Idlers that supplied familiar essayists with what was then the ideal vehicle for their intensely personal reflections. Blogging stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the corporate journalism that exerted so powerful an effect on writing in the twentieth century.

I still can't figure out why everyone isn't getting their authors to blog [Blogging puts professionals and amateurs on an even footing: That’s why so many professional writers dislike and distrust it]
• · Yes, children, we did used to have blogs. We called them diaries: The Key to Discreet Gossiping ((Creator of the web turns knight: SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE ))
• · · The most delightful Tilly, the king of Moving Headlines: Coming soon: thunderstorm in the blogosphere
PS: I wouldn't move into knickerknotting mode here. But a sledgehammer was used to crack a nut, which managed to sprout legs and likketysplit out of the way on its little Dunlop Volleys.
• · · · See Also After The Lawyers, Can We Kill All PR People? [I would really like to believe that not all PR people are this bad, but I'm beginning to lose faith: PR-approved versions are clearly spun, and we're not fans of spinning]
• · · · · Well, come on. Both Yahoo and Google announced small purchases in the last week, do you think Microsoft could resist? Google-juice: Search Space Acquisitions Are Hot Hot Hot
• · · · · · Isn't it about time we addressed the question of why all that bandwidth is focused downward? Let Us Swim Upstream (( The internet is a communications medium, not a broadcast medium ))
• · · · · · · History is Back Australia Talks Back: Blogs and Blogging

Sunday, July 18, 2004

The kids need more than rock in their art diet:
One of my beginnings was about a young university guy who, when you meet him. is drinking coffee at a Toronto diner. He's reading Kafka in the hopes that it'll offer a clue as to why he's able to turn into a housefly, but really he just wants to get up enough nerve to talk to the waitress.

Feeding the Soul: If you can make Underground Love to Zamizdatzine, you can make a Book
The first thing I learned about self-publishing is that the literary world considers it roughly equivalent to defecating in the middle of a formal dinner party...
The rise of indie music offers a potential model. Ten years ago, if someone put out their own album people would say, Oh, I guess they couldn't get a record deal. Nowadays -- after years of undeniably great independent releases, consciousness of media ownership, and a self-sustaining community -- public perception of indie rock has shifted. Now, people would be just as likely to say, Oh, cool. Major labels suck.
The same shift could happen in publishing. Similar conditions are there: increasing media consolidation on one end, and a pool of artists who are used to doing it themselves on the other. This time, it's zinesters and their photocopiers instead of guitarists with their four-tracks.

• The Thing by Which You Will Be Judged: Indie music in the '90s, indie publishing in the '00s [Link Poached from Don’t Let a Little Thing Like Failure Stop You! ]
• · the very stuff of your being is unworthy, your soul too thin and your brain too thick: Fighting the Voices In Your Head
• · · The absence of new stories makes for a monotonous and confining culture: Writing a book is a political act, and because it's entertainment, it's a subversive one

For I am like a passenger waiting for his ship at a war-time port. I do not know on which day it will sail, but I am ready to embark at a moment’s notice. I leave the sights of the city unvisited. I do not want to see the fine new speedway along which I shall never drive, nor the grand new theatre, with all its modern appliances, in which I shall never sit. I read the papers and flip the pages of a magazine, but when someone offers to lend me a book I refuse because I may not have time to finish it, and in any case with this journey before me I am not of a mind to interest myself in it. I strike up acquaintances at the bar or the card-table, but I do not try to make friends with people from whom I shall so soon be parted. I am on the wing.
W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer’s Notebook

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Small print, big picture

Getting a book on the big screen is a hard enough task, so what chance of starting from scratch with the latter in mind?
In September 1994, Derek Hansen was an author in search of a movie deal. Setting out to write his third novel, Sole Survivor, he decided to do everything he could to make the book attractive to filmmakers.
His motivation was simple. A movie deal is an imprimatur. If you get a film made, it says it's a good book because there's a blind faith in movies. So I kept the cast small, set it in one location and made the props fairly minimal.

Hansen was something of a river-dolphin. He enjoyed swimming in silty water and outwitting the crocodiles around him [The challenge was to ourselves not the Morava River iRiver drowned in the sea of ideas ]
• · Just as Hitchcock, Dreyer and Eisenstein in their bravest, most driven projects reached for cinema's unique selling point so, in Ten, did Kiarostami The whole point about cinema, surely, is the close-up of the human face
• · · See Also But though the book has been optioned for a movie and he is on top of the world, Jones lives a minimalist lifestyle
• · · · Any book publicist will tell you that it's easier to get press or broadcast coverage for non-fiction books because they come with pictures and flesh-and-blood characters: Making Room For Fiction ((Making Better BBC: The corporation’s programmes were not good enough and launched a major inquiry into how to improve them))
• · · · · Never a dull day, never a good night's sleep: Blaenavon, the small coal and iron town in South Wales, launched an audacious experiment - to build a new prosperity based on second-hand books in a post-industrial graveyard of dead jobs.... Town Of Books, Town Of Dreams
• · · · · · A Cold Serial With Your Hot Cereal: Minority Opinion: NYT To Serialize Fiction

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Back in June 2004 AD I made a punt along the lines that Federal E(l)ection would not take place sometime after 20 October (The Day of the Dracorian 20th wedding anniversary). My gut feeling is that the Liberals will scrape in despite byelections making Blair look like a loser. Winner takes all mentality was practiced by the communists and now major parties are also tempted to take the easy way out. In my humble opinion Iron Wall to Iron Wall Labour version of the political machine might be even more dangerous than John Howard. While NSW is in the hands of the Sussex Street the Kanberreans of Liberal devotion have nothing to fear until 2007.
The year of the webdiary/blog: It's one thing to hear people in the internet industry swapping jargon like Blogosphere. It's quite another to hear it emerge from the lips of a government minister

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Next Power to the People will be Blogged
Margo is without any doubt, just like John Hatton and Brian Harradine and Ted Mack, the national living treasure. As ordinary Havels and Mandelas of this fragile world, Margo might not have a silver bullet to solve the entrenched problems of democracy but she honestly cares about people. Margo is also one of the few journalists who keeps every dishonest leader, be it a power hungry politician, media personality, or businessman, awake at night.
Margo Kingston would like to make one thing clear: she is not Australia's answer to Michael Moore. Yes, her new book Not Happy, John! is a broadside against our Prime Minister, just as Moore's books and films have been slaps in the face for George Bush.
Yes, like Moore, she argues with a colloquial passion that her publishers hope might - just might - tap into a similar seam of popular discontent. But that's where it ends. Although we both dress badly, and we have continual bad hair days, there's one crucial difference. Which is that I do not have a sense of humour.

There's enormous energy just bubbling along under the surface in this country [ courtesy of The Antipodian Political Bible]
• · See Also Anti-Howard website linked to controversial consultant Tim Grau, the Bunyip of the Labour Party; like the weblog it sends up, it lacks any real depth or insight
• · · Google et al Search firms hunt the next dotcom boom
• · · · MEdia Dragon, Inforworld meets print:
Dialogues started online shape the content of this magazine InfoWorld Test Center Lead Analyst Jon Udell has worn his fair share of hats during a 25-year career

• · · · · Believe or not this sewerage case scared a bit this MEdia Dragon based in Sunshine Coast in Y2K: Fear factor: Largely the stuff of Hollywood films, cyber terrorism - politically motivated attacks intended to shock and terrify

• · · · · · Czech Out The Community Amplify: Blogs on steroids

Books for Babies, and earlier. Biblia, the Warrior Librarian writes "New Zealand has just started a new scheme to promote literacy - Books for New Zealand Babies. Interestingly, as part of the campaign they... will produce Baby Bookpacks in consultation with Kidz First, comprising a free book and reading tips, to be distributed to parents of premature and critically ill babies in the neonatal unit, with the goal of encouraging them to read to their newborns..
Sharing books with children from birth not only promotes bonding, but is proven to have a powerful impact on literacy - both for these children and their families

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Books have not been killed off by the visual culture
It is depressing that we have one of the most literate societies in history but a decreasing number of readers...
Divine marketing opportunity. Collect donations for people not to buy your book, but to put your book in a public library. The indie press No Media Kings crowd would like you to do just that in their NO MEDIA KINGS, YES LIBRARY BLING drive. Don't miss their how to make a book section.
I'm interested in strengthening the ties between indie culture and public libraries, because it's a political alliance: we both fight corporate power. Just by being there we provide an alternative to our increasingly commodified culture and preserve the diversity of the public sphere. I think there's a lot of really interesting things that can be done between these two communities, once we become aware of each other's intersecting mutual interests.
Literature of MisReading [Literature of Dating]
• · See Also With Toughness and Caring, a Novel Therapy Helps Tortured Souls
• · · See Also Six signs you may be taking yourself too seriously at work
• · · · See Also Top 10 Contemporary Classics
• · · · · See Also Chattering Classics
• · · · · · · See Also This the most tiring thing I have read all week: So Tired - Where Web surfers go when they haven't slept a wink

Friday, July 16, 2004

In the immortal words of Monty Python, Amongst [the Spanish Inquisition's] weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms. Truthfully, not a bad formula for startup success...Fanaticism is the secret weapon... that, and the comfy chair

The Blog, The Press, The Media: New York Times, Sydney Morning Herald et al...
We've discussed many times how newspapers simply don't get the internet, and Adam Penenberg is suggesting that there may be no greater example than the NY Times. The Times, of course, was one of the first online newspapers to require online registration and set up a paid archive for articles after a short period of free time online. However, because of that, the New York Times results barely appear at all in Google. If they're striving to be "the paper of record" then they need to be where people are looking -- and these days, people are looking in Google. Penenberg notes that despite the fact that the Times makes very little money off of those archives, they won't open them, because it might endanger their $20 million per year deal with Lexis-Nexis. Talk about getting hung up by legacy systems. Either way, it's a good point that the folks at the NY Times (and other newspapers) need to realize. Being online means being accessible. If you're not, then today's surfers aren't going to care. You may believe you can hang onto a small group and sell their demographic data to advertisers, but the data is dirty and the times are changing. People don't want to jump through hoops when there's a lot of other content out there, and if the command line of the internet is a search engine, these sites that block themselves off are simply making themselves obsolete.
Being online means being accessible [ courtesy of Bad for business popups generating more negative feelings for the brand than positive responses]
• · See Also Silicon Valley and Hollywood Are Not That Different
• · · Webdiary: If Tony Fitzgerald QC was correct about the importance of truth to democracy, it's not just politicians who owe us the truth. Journalists do too
Only for MEdia Dragons who fail to appreciate the fact that curiousity about intelligence can kill even in the so called civilised world...Czech this Out:
• · · · Full Report of Contradiction in ChairName and Content: Lord Butler delivers Iraq verdict [The spectre of Good Intentions & Weapons of Mass Destruction ... will hang over Media, MI6 and MPs]
• · · · · US Senate report on the intelligence that helped bring about the war in Iraq: Warning Amerikan PDF spy within [Tasman courtesy of ASIO, Mossad, KIWI agents]
• · · · · · Last, But Not Least: Barista singlehandedly pumps MEdia Dragon;=) [ Ken Parish: Pump, Baby, Pump New Blog: From a LAN Downunder Moore New Blogs Down Under:It's 4.45am and I'm crying like a baby...]

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I am looking forward to an open, transparent and meritocracy-based communication, attributes that bloggers are famous for!
Here are some tidbits from head of the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Powell's blog at http://www.alwayson-network.com/

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Blogger, the Pamphleteer, and Mixed Blessings
The blogosphere is Berlin in the late eighteenth century. It is London in the late seventeenth century. It is Paris...well, pretty consistently since the French Revolution on. The blogosphere is all of these, wrapped up into one overwhelming whole.
What does it mean to say this? Simply put, the blogosphere now seems to fit the space that pamphleteers and small journals in ages past once held. Where once groups of individuals would come together to create, say, the Berlinischer Monatsschrift, today any individual with a computer, Internet access, and time can do the same. Indeed, where in previous ages, the writers needed to be near to one another, now an online weblog can include people from Texas, DC, Indiana, California, and England in realtime. The flurry of ideas that one could see at those points in history has now come to the masses.

The Great Periphery makes up the rest of the blogosphere [After Howard Dean: The next step in grassroots campaigns is here. And this time, it's Republicans who are leading the way] [A blogger named Jason is making a case for why people should go to church naked: Life is but a blog for growing number of Web writers ]
• · 419 e-mails: Next time you get a spam letter from Nigeria, keep this link handy... The Order of the Red Breast
• · · See Also The Duke Professor Is Vulnerable: Liberal Blog Praises and Attacks John T Plecnik ((Malaysia: The media monitors' blog provided the much-needed space for online, critical examination of the mainstream media in the run-up to the general election
• · · · See Also Venture capitalists muse on new blog [ Visit Nwventurevoice.com was initiated by Martin Tobias] [ courtesy of The Value of a Business Mentor]
• · · · · See Also Legal blogs ((Blog, baby, blog: to get your five minutes of fame))
• · · · · · See Also A good blog is a punch in the stomach: It's officially a living: Bloggers find ad boom can pay their rent
• · · · · · · See Also Reporters share dark side of news in blogs

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Lev Grossman suggesting a list If You Read Only 10 Cool Books This Summer! You don't need a reviewer to know which way the river a flowin
Shed, any inhibitions about raw escapism. You get back in touch with the tiny Philistine who lives in your lazy, pleasure-loving little heart. Why fight it? We took a look at this summer's guilty pleasures and picked out the most delicious we could find. Go ahead. You've been good. Have a summer fling with an unsuitable book.
The survey, by the National Endowment for the Arts, indicates that people who read for pleasure are many times more likely than those who don't to visit museums and attend musical performances, almost three times as likely to perform volunteer and charity work, and almost twice as likely to attend sporting events. Readers, in other words, are active, while nonreaders, more than half the population, have settled into apathy.
[Why hadn't this active act happened before? Jozef Imrich Punches Critic: The Literary Wars Turn Violent ]

Literature & Art Across Frontiers:
Fantasy is a literature particularly useful for embodying and examining the real difference between good and evil. In an America where our reality may seem degraded to posturing patriotism and self-righteous brutality, imaginative literature continues to question what heroism is, to examine the roots of power, and to offer moral alternatives. Imagination is the instrument of ethics. There are many metaphors beside battle, many choices besides war, and most ways of doing good do not, in fact, involve killing anybody. Fantasy is good at thinking about those other ways. Could we assume that it does so?
Ursula K. Le Guin: Immature people crave and demand moral certainty [Visit Ursula Le Guin's Web Site ]
• · The world is suffering from a dark and silent phenomenon known as Digital Decay: New on the endangered species list: the Bookworm [An Austrian-born cartoonist ruins his life pining for Disney's approval and just a little credit More people in the world know my name than that of Jesus Christ
• · · See Also Jean Bethke Elshtain reviews books on Gandhi
• · · · See Also Insiders agree the financial squeeze on university presses is likely to persist ((2nd hand books make shaky future on the Web: Is Amazon.com becoming the Napster of the book business?))
• · · · · See Also 'Micky Mouse' courses, such as a BA in Popular Music, can be rigorous, relevant and lucrative
• · · · · · See Also [The Da Vinci Code]: Librarian Aids Best-selling Novelist

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Former editor of the Antipodean Terror Col Allan, now of The New York Post kitchen sink fame, got Kerrey's running mate wrong. You can buy a copy of Page 1 on eBay for five bucks... Ach, priceless sink is going for $$$$
Critic says people are laughing at NY Post, not with it...
Media critic and longtime Post reader Jon Friedman says it pains him to say the Murdoch tabloid is becoming a bad joke. Fixated with the task of printing what it considers to be scoops and exclusives at all costs -- even when it had the flimsiest evidence to make its case -- the Post has been captured by its own game and, worse, it has become a caricature of itself.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Is Another Caricature of itself Sliding slowly into the Sedney Sunset?
Lord knows, we get a little puffed up sometimes. Having someone who can puncture our over-stuffed dreams of fair and balanced journalism might be a really good thing.(Hard core irony intended)
Well Margo Kingston's web diary has an extraordinarily high hit rate and her web discussions are informative lively and civilised and give a real debate that is missing from the rest of the paper. She has cultivated new writers and many readers after taking part in web forums have gone off to start their own blogs.
The Herald editors just wish Margo would go away. When her book Not Happy John was published it was recommended by middle ranking editors that it was good enough to warrant an excerpt. But this was vetoed by editor Robert Whitehead. A profile commissioned for spectrum was ditched, once again by Whitehead. So we have the funny experience of Kingston being ignored by her own paper. Then the Sun-Herald dropped her column without even telling her. The oddest thing was when Ross Fitzgerald launched her book, his speech on the death of civil society was a page one story in The Age and it spilt to a full text of his speech on the oped page. In the Herald, not a word.

What makes it strange is that her book is now in its second reprint and has sold about 25,000 copies
• Out-of-the-closet liberal columnist Walter Cronkite: Outfoxed Amazing Documentary: Former Fox journalists, internal memos to blow the whistle on Fox partisan bias [Newspaper ethics Jon Carroll laments the passing of the old days of casual corruption and illicit favors]
• · See Also Election 2004 Backyard Blog project: Seattle Times wants its readers to blog the elections
• · · See Also Jay Rosen will be on of 35 credentialed bloggers reporting from the Democratic Convention [ courtesy of First Draft]
• · · · See Also Andrew Cline laments the dearth of understanding journalists have of rhetoric, a lack that results in he-said, she-said political coverage [ courtesy of Campaign Desk ]
• · · · · See Also Tim Rutten labels 2004 as the year of living dangerously for the U.S. news media, warning of an acceleration of "journalism's slide back into partisanship
• · · · · · See Also W's to the basics of journalism. No. 8: Why did I waste my time?

Boom time for Stollywood: Cold (War) River stories take bizarre new turn: The Movies' Billion-Dollar Month For the first time, American movie theatres sold more than a billion dollars worth of tickets.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: This Genteel Racket: Meeting an Untimely End
One of the hardest things in art, outside of creating it, is to be that very first person who looks at an unknown and his or her work and says: I like it. Any idiot can second the motion. But to look at an unknown and say, 'You, yes you, you are worthy'—that is different. That means taking a risk, to say yes where probably dozens have already said no. It is also what changes the course of an art form. And this is why I sometimes nurse the suspicion that the real gatekeeper of American literature is not the publisher, not the critic, and not Jack Warner's fabled 'schmucks with Underwoods'—i.e., writers. No, it is the schmuck with a Rolodex: the literary agent
Successful Art - It's Who You Know [link first seen at ]
• · See Also
• · · See Also Burdened by Books: Jim Fusilli quit his job reviewing fiction for the Boston Globe
• · · · See Also Bookworm Gordon Brown: Modern politicians don't read [Brown's speech on the great success of the British Council internationally (part 1) ] [Brown's speech (part 2) ]
• · · · · Garton Ash witnessed the power of freedom in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland in the late 1980s Making a world of difference
• · · · · · David Holthouse received over 2,000 e-mails after writing about his plot to kill: I'm a journalist who wrote the toughest story of my life, a story that explains my life. And now I'm getting on with that life and moving to a new story

Sunday, July 11, 2004

You heard it here first: Scotty of the Tulip fame will give Free Beer to any Australian Bloggers --md. Yes...Yes...Yessss
Wait a minute. You gave money to Kerry?-ed Yes. Doesn't that violate journalistic ethics?--ed. Not mine, as long as I disclose it, which I just did. The danger is that having invested in him, I'll now go soft on him. Don't worry! You think he'll be a failed, Carter-like President--ed.
I plan to vote for him because I think a) we need to take a time out from Bush's strident public global terror war in order to prevent it from becoming a damaging, lifelong West vs. Islam clash...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: I am not Paranoid, but Trees are Out to Get MEdia Dragon
Back in the mists of early Internet history, online publishing was going to wrest power from the inky fingers of old media groups and put it in the hands of ordinary people. Well, it never happened. Yet just when old media began to feel smug again about its old-fashioned paper-based products, weblogging (known as blogging) happened. The question for the big media world is whether to embrace the phenomenon that, in part, claims to undermine it.
Blogs have emerged as an instant critique of major media, says Andrew Sullivan, former editor of the New Republic, whose weblog book reviews can lift a title into the top ten on Amazon. At the same time, bloggers are parasites on big media, relying on them for stories and raw material.

Should old media embrace blogging? [ courtesy of Web logs have done more to spark opinion-sharing than anything since the creation of the Internet]
• · Bloggers Suffer Burnout Whiskey Bar: The site's author ran the site as a virtual bar with himself as the bartender
• · · See Also Technorati tracks 3 million blogs
• · · · See Also Pentagon Reportedly Aimed to Hold Detainees in Secret; Proposal to keep some prisoners 'off the books'
• · · · · See Also In Australian cyberspace, no one can see you vote ((The Web: Online voting an election away))
• · · · · · See Also What bloggers are reading

We're living in such conservative times. Anyone who is prepared to commit a passionate act for something they believe in is considered a fool or crazy.

A cold story about the ghosts of Hitler and Stalin trapped in the tomb, may not sound like hottest book in town
Hitler and Stalin took over societies already riddled with fear of the future, with paranoia about conspiracies and with hatred of 'others' expressed in murderous language. Both dictatorships were able to replace the notion of moral and legal absolutes with 'historical absolutes': the idea that law must be subordinated to the 'iron laws' of development, whether Marxist-Leninist or racism...
Steel magnate Fritz Thyssen fled to Switzerland because he believed that Nazi planning was 'Bolshevising' Germany. Factory manager Victor Kravchenko defected in 1943 because he found that class privilege and the exploitation of labour in Stalinist society were no better than the worst excesses of capitalism. Violence was... regarded as redemptive, saving society from imaginary enemies. It is the memory of that deception which still, generations later, darkens our hopes of constructing a future through politics.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Do-or-Die Revolution: A Hard Day's Escape
When the Beatles spontaneously launch into I Should Have Known Better from the caged-in luggage compartment of a train as a group of girls cluster outside, Taylor shoots the crisscrossing fence wires not as a cold, defensive barrier but as a protective one, one that fosters a kind of intimacy: It's all that separates the Beatles from the world, but it also frames them beautifully, a visual affirmation that these four raffishly striking young men were made to be seen as well as heard.
There was a time, shortly after John Lennon's death, when A Hard Day's Night was almost unbearable to watch. It was bad enough that we all knew how the band's story had ended, with lawyers and negotiations and daggers of mistrust shooting four ways and then, the worst thing imaginable, silence. But in the early '80s the story took a sadder and more jagged turn. If it was hard to think of the 1980 John as dead, leaving behind some great and some mediocre solo records and a grieving widow nobody ever liked much anyway, it was incomprehensible that the 1964 John -- the one we'd loved first -- was gone too.

The great Beatles movie reminds us how much they gave -- and how much we took [The world premiere of The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night was in London in July 1964 ]
• · See Also Pretty good for a leg crosser: Defender of the little people, Sharon Stone lists her requirements for taking a job
• · · See Also Literary Reading in Dramatic Decline: Fewer Than Half of American Adults Now Read Cold River
• · · · See Also Nobodies of the world unite!
• · · · · Oedipus complex is the antecedent Hamlet complex Ours is a culture obsessed by the skull beneath the skin
• · · · · · Where it will all end, knows God! You heard it here first: Congratulations Terry, ouch Terence Alan Teachout ((Even Best Friends of Barbara Bush love reading About Last Night))

Friday, July 09, 2004

It is exactly 60 years since Rudolf Vrba's and Alfred Wetzler's successful escape from Auschwitz, an escape that brought to light accounts of Hitler's extermination camps.
The testimony given by Messrs. Vrba and Wetzler forced representatives of the democratic world to face facts that many did not want to believe, even after the end of the war. Thanks to them and countless numbers of other witnesses, the horrors and extent of the Nazi final solution are universally known.
Like the Nazi Holocaust, the crimes and brutal reality of Soviet communism were also outlined and understood, thanks to the writings of Arthur Koestler, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and others...
Fortunately, people who use direct eyewitness testimony in attempts to expose the greatest crimes against humanity can be found in each era and all over the world.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Let the de-linking begin: John Kerry and the Lost Kos
A violent squall sprang up in Blogistan earlier this year over comments made by a wonkish blogger named Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of the Daily Kos. He typed something impolitic about four contractors in Fallujah, Iraq, whose charred, mutilated corpses made for a perverse photo-op on the front page of The New York Times, as well as leading the news on CNN. The dead men weren't there on orders, Moulitsas, a military vet, pointed out. They weren't there to rebuild Iraq. They are there to wage war for profit.
With the Internet being the Internet, his comments spread at the speed of data. The fact that a blog could be de-linked from a presidential candidate's official website (and actually had advertising to lose) is noteworthy -- it shows that blogs have indeed arrived as a force to be reckoned with...

America's War With Blogistan [ courtesy of Daily Kos Kos]
• · See Also Rupert Murdoch's print media pulling Dewey Defeats Truman moment [via Europe pioneered the Internet as a mass medium, but the U.S. has made the best use of it ]
• · · See Also Is civility an endangered species in the blogosphere?
• · · · Trust me - I'm a journalist What The Media Are Doing To Our Politics
• · · · · Shot, and Drowned in the Political Dark Room: McGavin's sacking just doesn't add up. I don't think it is acceptable to be kept in the dark ...
• · · · · · Google Search Coolest River & Surf Operators
• · · · · · · See Also Political bloggers

During a recent graduate seminar on 20th Century American Autobiography and Memoir, I found myself obliged, in the interest of civility, to swallow a fit of temper.
Deeply ironic, Saar's work speaks from a sort of existential nakedness, and gets beyond...Exclusion is the rule in binary practice (either/or), whereas poetics aims for the space of difference -- not exclusion but, rather, where difference is realized in going beyond. Read it before it is banned!

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: ACTION AND REACTION: It's Imitation Time
In Seven Types of Ambiguity, William Empson argues that ambiguity serves an indispensable function in poetry. When the disparate meanings of an ambiguous grammatical construction or word reinforce and enrich each other, the poet can achieve radically novel conceptual and emotional effects; but unhappy ambiguities, including those condemned as mixed metaphor, may be simply incoherent when the meanings are mutually impertinent or at odds. In his recent contribution to the history of ideas, which tracks the medieval word reaction and its more ancient correlate action from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries, Jean Starobinski makes a similar argument about the metaphorical appropriation of terms.
Jean Starobinski's History of Reaction: The Uses and Dangers of Metaphorical Language [The most dangerous threats are right under our noses: If books could kill]
• Gene Deitch: A whole new area of work opened up for me just as the Soviet forces were breathing smoke around the borders of Czechoslovakia, and I made a film called The Giants that the communists banned for 20 years. For me, it was a point of pride: The Giants Win and Lose (Part 1): (Don’t Let a Little Thing Like Failure Stop You!)
• · See Also Our MPs can scarcely be accused of being bookish. Why then a plush library?
• · · Péter Esterházy's Celestial Harmonies A Cheeky Work of Postmodernist Genius
• · · · The Boston Globe: offers an amusing round-up of reviews of presidential memoirs
• · · · · See Also The attraction of strangers: partnerships in humanities research [Happy ever after - on separate floors Couples are increasingly finding that living apart is the best way to stay together ]
• · · · · · See Also Literacy in the new millennium

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The rich have the right to buy more homes than anyone else. They have the right to buy more cars than anyone else, more gizmos than anyone else, more clothes and vacations than anyone else. But they do not have the right to buy more democracy than anyone else.
Justice Learned Hand, a prophet of democracy

To live is an expression which has had much harm done it by rich celebrity writers who seem to think that life is limited to pretending you like Elvis, absinthe, cocaine, and keeping a mistress in Potts Point.

This is the Escape that will Never Be Duplicated: The Seventh of July of Our Tragic Escape: Declaring Independence From Fear...
It is important from time to time to remember that some things are worth getting mad about. The cold hard truth is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so we should not be surprised if or when Madmen Run the Asylum...
Once Upon A Bad Time, the lives of Eastern Europeans were dominated by leaders with aristocratic manners appropriate for the stone age. Thank your lucky stars you were not one of us. We have to remind ourselves that those born and bred in the Eastern parts of Europe were the Western European equal in their desire for life, their longing for liberty, their passion for happiness.
7/7 of 1980 enlarged the meaning of escape across the Iron Curtain as the crossing has no exact precedents or parallels. Even after 24 years, the scent of horror is still impossible to wash away.
In death, Cold Rivers’s characters find an extension of life: they live in death and we, the readers, actively participate in keeping them alive, even if only during our reading. Nothing was as it seemed and the more mundane the surface, the more layers there appeared to be; we are peeling a true literary onion, multi-layered myths and realities that are quite able to bring literal tears to your eyes.
There is no history, only biography of divine discontent. It was Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson who first coined the phrase divine discontent. Characterized by a yearning for greater meaning in life, this restlessness and dissatisfaction with the status quo is often an impetus to escape to the world that is more soul-satisfying... What could possibly impel three twenty-two-year-old Czechoslovaks, who just completed two year compulsory service in the communist army, to swim across the Morava River to Austria? How are we to understand their decision to forsake the land of their birth and build a new life in the far way world?
The ghost of the Central Europe tends to breathe confused life into every boy born into the communist system. In childhood we harboured fantasies that when we go to sleep at night our toys would magically come alive and carry us across the borders to the New World. Alas, it never happened, but that did not mean that one day we would not discover a mystical passage to the land of our dreams. One of the great things about life under communism was that it could always get worse, just when you thought it couldn't...
Those who know what it was like to be twenty-two-years young in communist Czechoslovakia might understand that some of us had absurd and impossible aspirations and we believed that we could achieve them. We used to dream of dancing at the Beatles' concert and marrying Olivia Newton-John ... Then we transferred our dreams to crossing the Iron Curtain.
There is a theory going around on the net that everything you need to know about divine discontent, and even life, you can learn from the drops of lessons in the Cold River. There is a lesson for teens, there is a lesson for adults, there is a lesson on having fun, there is a lesson on being serious, there is a lesson on soulful friendship, there is a lesson on dancing, there is even a lesson on how not to escape across the Iron Curtain. Moreover, there is a lesson how to make you feel like a lost Central European.
Unlike myth, history is not tidy, and the wall that became known as the Iron Curtain is complex as any genuine tragedy. Cold River is a chilling image of a totalitarian world without breathing space, where ideology has no outside and even an unborn child is already a subject.
When something is wrong, you know it. Deep inside, even if everyone around you tells you it is not, you still know the truth. Few would dare dream about crossing such a border, unless, of course, you have inside knowledge and contacts. Milan has both. They will have only one chance to disarm the army guards at the gate and drive through an army barracks without alarming others. Their set day is sunny. Not one of them, even for a moment, thinks it might rain. But it does and the swollen river makes it impossible for them to cross, yet it is impossible to go back...
You didn't care if you were brave or weak. You just became nothing!
The character in the Quiet American said, Sooner or later, one has to take sides. If one is to remain human.
In some ways, it was a selfish act. We had in a small way done our duty to our people and our country. We crossed the uncrossable Iron Curtain so we could sleep at night. True happiness calls for courage and a spirit of sacrifice, the rejection of any compromise with evil empire, and readiness to pay in person, including with death...
Zakes Mda's Ways of Dying features a central character Toloki who observes: Death lives with us everyday. Indeed our ways of dying are our ways of living or should I say our ways of living are our ways of dying?

· No power on Earth can stop an oppressed people determined to win their Freedom: Let's Say It with Blood [Any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened This was the Escape of Our Times: Survivor-on-Amazon breaking historical taboos]
· · See Also This is Another Fight of Our Lives [New Political Tidal Wave: Something to get mad about: Just memorise poetry if you are a teenager at heart- because the escape defies prose
· · · We weren't given a hope in Morava River... The Passion of Exile: Sentenced to the Strange Psychological Hell... From Old World Tragedy to New World Disaster
· · · · See Also In any society, it’s a risk to take freedoms for granted
· · · · · Random reality bites: We can't all be born rich, handsome and lucky... Better That 100 Democratic Witches Should Live
· · · · · · Better Off Dead: I'll admit I survived, but I wasn't proud of myself for surviving
· · · · · · Read more: In every book a wealth of experiences and universal wisdom awaits you, and they will enrich your cultural world ... Marilyn Monroe swimming in the Cold River

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Good Things in Bad Times...Morava River Works The Amazon Spotlight To Amplify Its Voice... Whistle-blower: I fudged Cold River's Amazon figures for years

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Snobs vs. slobs
From Spider-Man to Britney Spears to The Apprentice, America's identity is dominated by popular culture, both here and abroad. Yet the fine arts - painting, the symphony, literature - have always been part of the cultural mix, even if they have lost some of their cachet in recent decades.
There is nothing more American than the Three Stooges throwing a pie in the face of a soprano warbling Voices of Spring at a soiree.

· Even the intellectuals are anti-intellectual [Many progressive artists have lost their political will and regressed into self-indulgence: We now place little faith in hope and we decry the hopeful among us as simple-minded, manipulated, or worse]
· · See Also Sony E-Book a Revolution for Eyes
· · · · See Also Jane Perrone meets the shy paramedic whose blog has readers hooked on tales of life and death in London
· · · · · See Also Blogging Ghosts
· · · · · · See Also A new, new, Bestsellers list that records the most borrowed books

Monday, July 05, 2004

Mainstream journalism reads more like a modern version of court gossip.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Goodness and Tyranny
The first was goodness, the deep, abiding desire by these reporters and editors to do good journalistic work. They believed to a person that the purpose of journalism is to provide, at the least, information and, at its best, knowledge to their fellow citizens with the purpose of bettering society.
The second was tyranny, the oppressive troika of tradition, convention and production that combine to prevent most newspaper journalists from realizing these good intentions on a frequent basis.

· Hungry for understanding, what kind of people fill our newsrooms and how we make daily decisions [ courtesy of Blurbing First Draft Blog ]
· · See Also Dreaming Our Digital Future [ Political blogs--online journals featuring commentary, often highly opinionated--have rapidly become a presence in the campaign landscape ]
· · · See Also Should The BBC Be Privatized? The Guardian (UK) 06/29/04
· · · · See Also Hacking into the youth vote
· · · · · See Also Essays analyze and critique situated cases and examples drawn from weblogs and weblog communities
· · · · · · See Also Blogs, Surveillance, and the State Monitoring Daily Life ((Online dragon data collectorsWho's afraid of big brother? Aren’t arguments against government surveillance really efforts to protect our own crimes from detection?))

Sunday, July 04, 2004

A special meaning for July 4... The son who came home for the Fourth of July Patrick McCaffrey
There will be stories which can talk about things that kept going on inside James' head that few people would be willing to admit to their closest friends - much less publish in a book

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Kokoda Trail
The men of the 39th's B Company had no maps. They had simply been told that if they headed off up the track and followed their feet they would eventually come to Kokoda, and they were doing their best to do exactly that. Finding their way wasn't the problem. Making their way was. For despite the fact that they were not carrying particularly heavy packs, the going was beyond tough.
· Goldie River [ Europe as the metrosexual power]
· · See Also The Secret Of London's Success (Hear That Sydney?)
· · · See Also It blows the dust off your soul
· · · · See Also English Writers' Group Caught Up In Free Expression Dispute
· · · · · See Also
Bringing Some Temperature To The Language of Cold River

· · · · · · See Also The Democratization of Cultural Criticism: Too cozy behind the ivied walls of academe; a prose style decipherable only to a handful of the cognoscenti