There's trouble brewing. A columnist for New Republic (and ESPN), Gregg Easterbrook, said something anti-semitic in a blog post, Roger L Simon, a novelist and screen writer with a weblog blasted him for it, he's been fired from ESPN, and Simon expresses his regrets, as does Easterbrook (although half-heartedly). This all appears to have happened in the last 24 hours. Even weirder, all the posts on ESPN's site from Easterbrook are 404, but they're in the Google cache.
Easterbrook: "Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence?"
Don Park asks if it's really anti-semitism. I offer a perspective. We don't know if it is or it isn't. But Jews are sensitive to any sign of anti-semitism, for good reasons.
Kevin Werbach makes a feature request to the universe. Interestingly, the feature he asks for is one UserLand implemented in March 2002, however it's the kind of thing that won't really be useful until most aggregators implement it, and a non-aggregator vendor (a non-profit, possibly) runs the central component. It's also a perfect example of something that was much-discussed during Day 2 at BloggerCon -- how to use the powerful communication systems we have to help the users express their wants to software developers. If you want to hear my evangelical plea about this listen to the Fat Man session. I think it's important. The only way we're going to move forward, is if the users are empowered.
David Weinberger reports on a Clay Shirky presentation. Clay's still giving the power-law rap. His thesis is that weblogs are just like television all over again. That makes Luddites feel comfortable, until you see that's not what's actually going on. My thesis: it doesn't matter if only 25 people read your blog, or even 2.5 people, if they're the right 2.5 people. My weblog worked, we were able to route around the BigCo's and establish new standards without their help or approval. Clay went contrarian on that too. My distribution didn't come close to matching PC Mag or PC Week, yet somehow I was able to influence the whole industry from this little pulpit. It's not about how many eyeballs you aggregate, it's which ones.
Here's an example of an ambitiously titled weblog with a small number of readers, that works. I read it whenever it updates. There's value for me. I'm glad he publishes it. What else matters, exactly?
AP: "Short people may be shortchanged in salary, status and respect."
I have a story to go with that. I'm fairly tall -- 6 foot 2. When I was in college sometimes I'd go out drinking with other students. Quite a few times a really short (drunk) guy would pick a fight with me. It was never a problem, I'd just put my hand on his head, and keep him at a distance where his fists couldn't reach me. Some little guys love to fight, they pick on the biggest guy around. It's usually not the best idea.
Dowbrigade: "The outcome of the game and the fate of the Red Sox season depended on what I, the Dowbrigade, did during the next few crucial moments."
NY Times: "The editorial page editor, Bob McManus, prepared two editorials well before the end of the game -- one if the Yankees won, the other if they lost -- each written in such a way that it needed no editing to reflect the exact score or game details."
Two years ago I won Wired's top prize as technology innovator of the year.
Three years ago: "The Mets even in the bozo years, knew that we were in the eye of the storm, or the center of the universe, whatever you want to call it."
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