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July 19, 2013


I'm as loathe as the next guy to bitch about the weather, but it is New Orleans out there, without the attendant benefits of being in New Orleans.


Posted by mrbrent at 11:19 AM

July 17, 2013

juror b37

As loathe as I would be for the woman to make any money off this, I would dearly love to read the thoughts of Juror B37, because she just may be everything that's wrong with the criminal justice system.

Now we don't have a lot of information from her — her voir dire, but mostly the interview she did with Anderson Cooper — but she aptly demonstrates why the so-called "jury of your peers" is a freaking joke.

This is B37's summary of the case:

"I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods, and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done," she said.

I'd love to read her book mostly to find out how "above and beyond" does not qualify as, you know, breaking the law.  It gives the impression that this juror is of the belief that the job of the jury is not to follow the instructions of the judge and determine the answer to some yes/no questions based on the criteria supplied by the judge, but rather to "feel" what happened and then contort the verdict to that what the juror "feels" fits inside it.  B37 seems to be saying, "Oh, Zimmerman is technically guilty, but I wouldn't convict him of anything."

There's no law against being a facile dupe of a juror (and as we all know it's the facile dupes that don't lie their way out of tepid, no-pay jury duty), but it's more than a little chilling that, in this country, the scales of justice are being tipped by rubes like B37.

Having said that, at least we're not Italy.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:43 AM

July 16, 2013

interviewing tim leong

Take a brief respite from your Weltschmerz and spend ten minutes with an interview I did with Tim Leong for the Awl.  Leong has a nifty new book called Super Graphic coming out next month and it's really super.

Leong is a graphic designer, and the book is not exactly just a picture book and not exactly a text narrative.  It's a collection of infographics and information visualizations that really come together in a mind-opening way.  Oh, and it's about comic books, which is probably how the interview got suggested to me.

I wish that I'd had longer to talk to him (and maybe outside of the context of his upcoming book), because there's this flip side of Big Data that's being applied in artistic ways, which I feel is a nascent visual language in the same way that the first movie screening of a locomotive terrified the audience — they didn't yet have the tools to comprehend.  Leong is at the forefront of those that are teaching everyone to speak the new language.

And he was a hella sweet guy, so give a read!  Unless the world's just too much these days.  I get that too.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:07 AM

July 14, 2013


That was a terrible verdict, knocked the taste out of my mouth.  Not much to say, or rather, there's a whole lot to say and I'm deferring to them.

Gawker is crushing it: read Tom Scocca, pre-verdict, and then read Cord Jefferson, post-verdict.

And Gene Weingarten, who I very much want to grow up to be someday, makes the sound point on Twitter that hate Zimmerman all you want but don't hate the verdict, because the system requires the absence of a reasonable doubt, and the system worked.  I see where he's coming from, and I remember saying very similar things after the O.J. verdict.  But I think what is worth hating is the precondition of American society that is the source of that reasonable doubt, that the defense played on so well: the presumption of guilt of minorities.  That's pretty fucking awful.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:25 AM