A journalist’s experience in Vietnam

The German Lutheran journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto, a friend of mine, has written Duc:  Triumph of the Absurd, a Reporter’s Love for the Abandoned People of Vietnam, a memoir of his days as a Vietnam war correspondent, telling of his affection for the Vietnamese people, describing his harrowing experiences, and going on to indict the way the U.S. government and the media handled the war.  The audio book has been released by New Reformation Publications.  It’s a gripping story.  [Read more…]

Hackers enforcing morality?

So the Ashley Madison site, designed to hook up people who want to commit adultery, was hacked, leading to the release of data about some of the website’s 30 million customers (including already disgraced “family values” activist Josh Duggar).

This has created some indignation about the hackers’ “public shaming” of would-be adulterers.  But the fear of public shaming has kept people in line across all cultures for millennia, enforcing the external morality that is necessary for social order (a.k.a. “the first use of the Law”).  The internet has promised to get around that with total secrecy and anonymity, but the web isn’t as secret and anonymous as people assume.

So do you consider the Ashley Madison hacks to be egregious violations of privacy, or a fitting outing of cheating husbands and wives? [Read more…]

Why you hate talking on the phone

Do you dislike having to call up people, in real time, on the phone?  Would you rather text or e-mail?   The Millennial generation tends to feel that way, I learned, and I admit that I do too.

Media scholar Ian Bogost tries to explain why this is.  In doing so, he goes into the difference between talking on cell phones and talking on the old handset devices.  Whereas cell phones are designed to be carried, rather than talked into, and are used in public places, the old landlines were designed to enhance personal conversation in private spaces.  The handset phone, as well as the technology that went into it, created what he calls “a technology of intimacy.”

Well, I didn’t particularly like using the old-style phones either, but Bogost makes a fascinating case for the genius of old technology and design. [Read more…]

. . .and the second tier debate

I’d also like us to live blog the 5:00 p.m. debate featuring the seven candidates that didn’t make the top ten.  But I doubt that I will be back from work on time, and the same will be true for most viewers.  This adds injury to insult.

The Fox network scheme of breaking the debates into two tiers, the prime time show for the top 10 most popular candidates according to an average of polls, and a non-prime time show for the remaining 7 candidates is just not fair.  Let me tell you why after the jump. [Read more…]

“There are not two sides.”

As the nation’s media openly joined in the celebrations of the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage, some are saying, as we blogged about, that they will not cover opposition to the issue anymore.  Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed, said this:

“We firmly believe that for a number of issues, including civil rights, women’s rights, anti-racism, and LGBT equality, there are not two sides.”

You have GOT to read Federalist editor Mollie Hemingway’s evisceration of this attitude, linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Newspaper won’t allow opinions against gay marriage

Where we are already, after the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling:  A Harrisburg, PA, newspaper has announced that since  the gay marriage issue is now “settled,” it will not print op-ed pieces or letters to the editor that oppose gay marriage or say that homosexual acts are immoral or unnatural.  We won’t print racist, sexist, or anti-semitic letters, the editor explained.  “To that we add homophobic ones.” [Read more…]


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