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June 27, 2007

insert navelgazing here

For the record, I'm taking my show on the road for a few days.  I'd say if you send me an email I'll send you a postcard, but I'm scant hours away from hopping in the conveyance, so that ain't gonna happen.  Maybe there will be Internets where I am going, and I will be filled with thoughts to share.  Or maybe I will be uncommunicative, full of food and drink.

(BTW, and beware the contextual whiplash, an article I read in a newspaper ended with a sentence constructed like this: "[x], after all," where [x] is a premise previously introduced in the piece in a doubtful manner.  I think that if you are going to end a piece with, "[x], after all," then you might as well just end it with, "The End.")

The reason that these "quiet for a few days" posts will not soon die is that we who post them don't want you to mistake our sites for one of the millions of abandoned sites out there, floating in the digital ether.  Somewhere in here is an analogy to how carcasses, eons later, turn into sweet sweet crude oil, but I am not smart enough to think of it quickly.

Fortunately, I plan on returning smarter than I am now.  After all.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:41 PM

with this paris hilton post, i am officially ignoring ann coulter

I only pay enough attention to Paris Hilton to know that I'm not paying attention to Paris Hilton - those fuzzy blank spots in my memory are the places that would be otherwise occupied by time spent watching news about Paris Hilton on the TV in your average American.  But in the credit where credit is due department, I give you this link, mostly because I have a crush on its headline:
Us Weekly Takes Empty Gestures to Colossal New Heights of Cynicism

The story is that of Us Weekly's courageous stand against any further coverage of Paris Hilton.  The cynicism therein is the interesting fact of Hilton's agreement to provide Us Weekly's competitor, People, with a post-prison exclusive.

This is why I persist in contending that catching people in half-truths is much more fun that committing half-truths.  (Though committing half-truths may be more sporting, I guess.)

Posted by mrbrent at 10:28 AM

June 26, 2007

virtual fence and human nature

There is an interesting story in the New York Times, which is partly unfortunate, as I will not link to the NYT on account of their backwards-thinking content wall, but partly fortunate, as without interesting stories we would not have days.  The story is another chapter in the bar-lowering debate over how to "secure our borders".  The Department of Homeland Security has given Boeing a buncha million dollars to build a "virtual fence" along a stretch of the US/Mexico border in Arizona.

As modern news stories are actually individual aggregations of specified outrages, this story has one or two.  First of all, there has been some delay, and some surprise over the delay (which you can read about in this non-NYT link), which has incensed them that don't so much like the immigrants and are waiting for an actual fence, a tall one, with spikes and broken glass, so that their hatred may be given tall and useless form.  Yeah, those folks.  They are outraged.  We hope they're okay, and they can move on to hating Those Kids With Their Long Hair, or maybe The Poor.

The second and more mannered outrage is over privacy considerations.  Because, you see, this multi-tech initiative consists of camera/radar arrays/etc. on top of 100 foot towers, interspersed over a 28 miles section of the border - and when I say "interspersed", I mean also at varying distances from the border, nearby certain private residences.  So, naturally, folks are concerned that these long distance spy machines might be misused in the pursuit of naked civilians.  David Aguilar, chief of the Border Patrol, responds to such concerns (in the unlinked NYT piece):

We are members of the community.  We recognize their sensitivity.  But we feel confident our officers are going to follow policy and common sense.  Can I guarantee you nothing is going to happen?  No, we are all human.

And what could be more human than misappropriating a multi-million dollar security system on an impromptu beaver hunt?  Why, Mr Aguilar would prefer the beaver hunt not to happen, but he can't make any guarantees.  Because he is a leader.  And that's what leader's do - not make guarantees about beaver hunts.

Boeing must be thrilled that a stand-up guy like Mr Aguilar is around to distract the public from the obscene amounts of money they are making on this stalled project.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:20 AM

June 25, 2007

i was in the nerd phyle, duh

I've recently spent time with friends discussing how, in our commingled experiences, different it must be coming of age in these techucopia days as compared to the dark ages of touchtone phones and compact discs.  What we were discussing specifically was how "plugged in" the kids are presently - no rainy afternoons wishing the phone would ring for them.  Between the connectivity of the wireless communication and the rapidly advancing social networking technology, the kids (offensive phrase, I know) will soon wonder what "solitude" was in the same way that I wondered what one died of when one succumbed to "consumption".

So surely, as the architecture of pre/post teen life is so drastically altered, then so must be the social landscape.  The kids have put that brick and mortar past of casual emotional violence done in the school highways well behind them, yes?  And moved on to an idyllic future of mutual respect and ones and zeros and digital togetherness in the one world one love?

Of course not.

According to a paper noted by Boing Boing, you can take the kids out of high school, but you can't take the high school out of the kids:

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm.  These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school.  Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace.  MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

Please leave space for the jock/gook paradigm in your concept of utopia.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:24 AM