8.17.2002

Wouldn't it be great if someone did this on the SAT II Writing Exam?

That would be the day...someone writing the essay questions in netspeak so everyone would understand them.

"U wanna heart some1 and lose, or not heart ne1 at all?"
Den Beste has an interesting look at Zambia, whose government has chosen to refuse genetically modified corn, choosing instead to allow its people to starve. One point he did not make, however, is that some GM crops cannot be treated as normal ones. Manufactures, looking to increase profits, often include a "timer" in the DNA of the seeds which result in second generation crops being sterile, and thus forcing the farmer to buy new seeds.

I don't know if these are the seeds we are sending to Zambia, but if the come from surplus US products, there is a good chance some of the seeds will have these self-destruct timers. Ergo, no problem vis-a-vis contamination.

That, however, should be irrelevant. A government should not be forced to choose between economic standings and the survival of its people. The system needs to adapt, needs to realize the gross immorality of the situation into which it is putting leaders.
Reynolds has an interesting post on Charles Heston. Seems some fool in Chicago was trying to take the NRA debate to a personal level (as so many do). The fool's article was foolish and bad. Any article that needs to start with a disclaimer ("I'm allowed to insult someone with a fatal disease because someone I loved was killed by a fatal disease") isn't worth its weight in ink.
The Nation(you know, the idiotic leftist paper I hate) has compiled an anti-war page, dedicated to informing people on why we shouldn't go against Iraq. I, dedicated war-blogger that I am, disagree with the sentiment, but like their format.
This article from the NYT's Magazine section could have been so much better. The premise: why is folk music tied so inextricably to lesbian culture? There is no answer proposed by the author of the article beyond the mundane. It doesn't objectify women; there is a sense of community; gay women "simply belong" in acoustic music...the author does not delve further into his question.

Rather, he turns the tables, and shows the "dark side" of the queer takeover of folk music, saying that -- surprise! -- some of the women have no talent other than the fact that they are gay. And -- more surprise! -- straight women are pretending to be gay to fit into the increasingly-lesbian music circles.

His conclusion is limp and uninspiring: "...lesbian artists have taken the genre in fresh directions; in order for the form to remain vital, however, new voices must continue to be heard." Really? How is that different than, say, any other form of art?

The article had great potential; some of the artists, Ani DiFranco and Janis Ian, to name a few, have amazing talents and personalities. A personal profile -- in the narrative style -- would have made for a better article than the detached analysis the author tried to perform. The best moments in the article, in fact, were when the author was relating an amusing anecdote from a concert; not only did these moments lend some humor to an otherwise dry piece, but they shed some light on the most important aspect of the movement of all: the community.

I suppose the title itself should have tipped me off. The title is "Queer As Folk," which seems, at first glance, to be perfect. It's an article about queer folk musicians, and so the title seems to fit. However, the phrase "Queer As Folk" is the title of TV show -- originally British, then lifted to Showtime -- that depicts the sex-filled lives of a group of gay men. The stars of the show are, culturally, the polar opposites of the women written about a few lines later. Perhaps someone should have done a bit more research.
Since everyone's been so vocal about whether or not we should "topple" Sadaam, I figured I'd climb on the old soapbox. Personally, I believe that he should be taken down. I don't believe that it should be through conventional military actions, as that proved useless ten years ago. If the CIA (or whatever the organization was in the Bourne Identity) wants to get rid of him covertly, I believe that most of the international community (read: The EU) would look the other way. And what everyone's saying about Sadaam using WMD on Israel, then perhaps, although it would be terrible, the ever-prepared Israelis could show us a thing or two about attack readiness. They don't need a color coded threat system, Tom. Plus, it might rouse support for Israel among the anti-Sadaam left.

8.16.2002

Excellent takedown by Howard Fienberg of Brian Whitaker, the fool who tried to discredit MEMRI for translating articles which "reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel."

Don't know why you linked to the Mickey D's sites, but whatever.
Loved Moses' speech, think he's very well spoken

Interesting fact...

This is a copy of McDonald's current Saudi Arabia site.

And this is a copy of what the site looked like a few days ago.

The difference?

Well, in the original site, there's a passage lauding the fact that:

There are two unique McDonald's restaurants located in the Holy City of Makkah. These restaurants are the only two restaurants in the world that are wholly staffed with Muslim employees and who serve exclusively Muslim customers, from Service Crew to Restaurant Manager level.


(link via Curmudgeonly & Skeptical)

I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

A friend of mine e-mailed me this link to a speech by Charles Heston, delivered at Harvard. It's lovely.

8.14.2002

Personally, I use my name because I messed up. But I'm not afraid, as I doubt there are any readers we haven't forced here, leaving a nice cushy area of protection. I have always been in favor of using pseudonyms, as I read lots of pieces about sick crazies who trace things online. I hope I'll never have to deal with that, and I don't fear that here, but I know it's happened.
FOLLOWUP:

According to Ender Series, Demosthenes was a warblogger!

In the beginning at least -- when the wars being discussed were human/human -- Valentine/Demosthenes was agitating for them.

Peculiar.

8.13.2002

Interesting. K Lo called National Review's paper edition NRODT.

National Review Online Dead Tree, the publication formerly known as the National Review.
I was going to post a lengthy, intellectual comment on the use of of pseudonyms online, but, alas, I realized that most of what I was going to say has been said far more eloquently here and here. I will, however, give a little case study: myself.

Online, I go by two names: Sarah, and Misch. They both allow me a degree of anonymity, as Sarah is an extremely common name, and Misch is a nickname, albeit one that stems directly from my last name. The point is quite simple: to allow myself some privacy should someone I know in real life stumble upon me online (and yes, it has happened). That's really the entire story. Theoretically, if someone were to e-mail me with their real name, I'd tell them mine.

Additionally (and I know I promised not to go into a long post), for many bloggers (especially him, and him) their online web log is an extension of their professional lives. Professors, journalists, scholars...for these people, it makes sense to go by their real name, because this is their line of work. Not for me. This blog has yet to attract enough readers for me to worry about whether I should continue to write anonymously.

Mostly, it's force of habit that I go by "Sarah". "Don't give out your name or address" was the line hammered into my head when I first signed online back in the third grade, and it's stuck ever since.

Two Extra Points:
1) USS Clueless has forgotten his basic science fiction, tsk tsk. Valentine (Ender's sister) went by the name Demosthenes, and Peter went by Locke. Peter went on to play uber-warblogger, his writings pushing the entire planet towards intergalactic war; Valentine stuck with Ender and went off-planet, where she maintained the Demosthenes persona for the thousands of years that she and Ender lived. Curiously, from a geek's point of view, blogger-Demosthenes chooses to open his/her site with "Shadow of the Hegemon" -- the only book in the Ender series in which discovering Demosthenes' real identity was not a significant plot element (or does he/she want to be more like Bean?). Even more curious is Valentine's (and Peter's) view on warfare. I need to re-read Ender's Game to verify this (I will post back), though I recall in the continuation of the series, Valentine never once doubted that the war was a necessity; in the first battle of the war, the enemy had taken out China, and threatened to demolish the entire Earth should there have been a the second battle*. An enemy which was entirely at odds with humanity's moral viewpoint and opinions, an enemy which could not be negotiated with. Any parallels there someone wants to draw?
*I do not believe that humanity acted immorally in demolishing the enemy's home planet. There was no way to know that there was not going to be a second battle.

2) You can ask Becky why she uses her real name, but I think it's because she gave it to Blogger by mistake when she signed up and we've never bothered to fix the problem.