Paying attention.

20 11 2008

  My item the 9th, the Urban Dictionary, is a cool site.  I think it is important in the context of information repositories because of its irreverence, its shock value.  If we accept that the ‘build it & they will come’ ethos is bunk, then we must figure out ways to expose repositories to people.  If the repository is intended for use by the general public, or a part of the GP, a subculture, then one has to find ways to reach them.  In addition, once one has reached the intended population, one must convince them to actually go to and use the repository. 

  I am against appealing to the lowest common denominator so hard.  I am against hype-marketing hard as well.  I think this is because the products that use these things are trying to promote the worst things, unhealthy food, horrible movies, detrimental things in general.  So, might it be ok to rub up against those two forms of promotion if one’s product is ‘good?’  Might it be ok to intentionally place controversial or irreverent items in the collection to get some promo?  Assuming, of course, that the contovo/irrev item(s)  ‘legitimately’ belong in the collection.  That is to say, puting pictures of the FBI’s corpse garden in a repository for books made into films would not be ‘legit.’  Though, putting those pictures in a collection about genocide would be acceptable, even though the FBI’s corpse garden has nothing to do with genocide.

  So, mightent one have to do things one finds distasteful if one wants to get one’s IR known and used by the people who it is created for?  I think maybe one must.  But then again, I am very suspicious of ‘best sellers’ or movies that are ‘top grossing.’  That isn’t to say that I do not like any, I do.  But, when a favourite band or author has an album/book that comes out and goes platinum/best seller, I suspect that they have lost their artistic/creative integrity, that they have sold out, when before I had wondered why their albums/books didn’t sell more copies b/c they were so good.  While I wish for the artists I like to do well, I am immediately suspicious of them when they do.  I think a little of that struggle exists in many IR creators.  They want the IR to be used by people and to be popular but, only by the population it is intended for, only by those who deserve the IR, not the unwashed masses. 

  I guess what I’m saying is that, perhaps we need to come down off our high horse/ivory tower and let the thing be used.  Used by anyone, deserving or un.


It’s not just OK

28 08 2008

This story reminds me of our, Oklahoma’s, own Sally Kern.  Not so much Sally’s homophobic tyraid, but her efforts to get certain children’s books banned from the Tulsa City-County Library.  Some of the more hilarious titles she had on her list dealt with going to the doctor/dentist & adoption.  This new contender, JoAn Karkos, has chosen the book, “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health” to wage war against.  Let us take this book, “It’s Perfectly Normal…” and compare the harm it has done to that of another book, say, The Bible.  There is hard proof that this book has been responsible for many bad things.  A few of these are war, genocide & slavery.  There is no proof that giving a citizenry the option to access knowledge produces violence, war, genocide, slavery, etc.  It seems to be the opposite actually.  As the public has become more informed, slavery (The Bible was used to justify) has been outlawed, women have been given the right to vote (those who opposed women’s suffrage used The Bible to defend this position) and other societal injustices have been ended, often in spite of religious efforts and rhetoric.  Think of gay rights today, think of an organized group that is opposed to this, would they use The Bible to back up their positions?  I bet they would.  They certainly wouldn’t use “It’s Perfectly Normal…”

I know out technological evolution has far outpaced our ethical evolution but, it still isn’t fun to be reminded of just how   W     I     D     E   the gap is.  So, this story is disheartening but, it also makes me feel good, schadenfreude, that Oklahoma isn’t the only state plagued by the narrow of mind and small of intellect.

Dead at last, dead at last. Thank god almighty he’s dead at last.

10 07 2008

  What is the deal with the press coverage/reports about Sen Jesse Helms?  Did everyone forget he was a racist, bigoted bully?  Below are a few quotes, taken in context, from the 90’s.  There are others, a multitude of others, from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & 80’s but, I kept it recent to show Helms’s unrepentant, unapologetic bigotry. 

  ‘And the man ABC News now describes as a “conservative icon” (8/22/01) in 1993 sang “Dixie” in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, bragging, “I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing Dixie until she cries.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/5/93)’

    ‘More recently, when a caller to CNN’s Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for  “everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers,” Helms’ response was to salute the camera and say, “Well, thank you, I think.” (Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95)’

  Click here for the full article in which these quotes appear (w/ retro, bonus hate from pre 1990!).  Helms’s homophobic predjudices are also seen in the article.  It seems a tad odd that Barack Obama is accused of being un & anti American and a terrorist and John Kerry was accused of being anti-American but Helms is reffered to as a posterboy for attack dog politics and unabashed and bold.

FOX NEWS, We Photoshop, You Decide

3 07 2008

  Fox ran two Photoshopped pictures on its ‘Fox & Friends’ show.  The pictures is Photoshopped were of a NY Times reporter & an NY Times editor.  Check out the story here ->

  How much different is this than when Katie Couric is thinned out and dewrikled?  Or when the glamour mags airbrush the models?  One could argue that the reporters Fox Photoshopped were made to be less attractive and more sinister, but that is just an opinion.  Some people may like yellow, corn nugget teeth. 

  I think what Fox did is despicable.  I think that what glamour mags do is just bad, but where and how do we draw the line?  I assume, but don’t know, that the models, KC included, allow or sign a contract allowing the mags to alter their appearances.  The two NY Times guys did not, again assumed by me.  So perhaps the only difference is legalistic and the other differences are only arbitrary.  Perhaps airbrushing the truth is as bad as distorting it.  It’s all propaganda, no?

Striking Similarities

17 05 2008

  It struck me on Monday as I was driving to work hearing yet another report on Myanmar (Burma) and the horrible cyclone that struck the country, yet another striking blow to the arguement that America is not the best country in the world.  Look at the example below. 

  Myanmar, due to a devastating cyclone hitting the country, many are left without homes, power, food, clean water, etc.  Tthe death toll could top 100,000, the injured count could reach 2 million.  The natural disaster is being turned into a man made catasrophe due to the Government of Myanmar not letting in foreign aid.  The government has repeatedly denied entrance to the county by foreign aid workers.  Myanmar’s ability to respond to such a large scale disaster has been pointed out as insufficent in many articles.  So why will they not let in foreign aid workers?  Is it pride, fear or something else?  Surely in America, in our republic, the democratically elected officials wouldn’t allow something so horrid to occur.

  America, flashback to 29 August 2005.  To paraphrase Sophia Petrillo, picture it, New Orleans 2005, hurricane Katrina hits the city.  For whatever reasons the government, the US government, said it was ‘unable’ to reach to devastated areas.  It insisted on this for several days.  Foreign aid workers were turned away from ports around New Orleans by the US armed forces.  This first occured on 30 August 2005, the day after the hurricane hit the city, several days before American aid reached anyone in the city.  G-Dub stated that America did not need any assistance from foreign aid workers and further that America would not accept assistance from foreign aid workers. Yet, no aid was reaching the people of New Orleans. So why would G-Dub not let in foreign aid workers? Was it pride, fear or something else?

  It strikes me as odd that Myanmar, who’s armed forces are much smaller than that of the US, will not let in foreign aid workers to assist its citizens. 

  It strikes me as odd that the US, who’s relief forces were ‘unable’ to reach the citizens of New Orleans, would not let in foreign aid workers that were able to. 

  Truely this shows the difference in governance between a military junta style dictatorship and that of a republic.


Update on Oklahoma’s *latest* Xenophobic (read racist) Push.

5 05 2008

  Oh dear internets, my embarrassment grows. This article informed me that the English only bill has passed the OK House. It is now going to the OK Senate. In this new draft, the bill’s authors added exemptions for Oklahoma’s American Indian languages, Brail and sign language.  I guess the hypocracy of disallowing Native American languages was to much even for them.  But this only serves to further expose the racist anti-hispanic/latino sentiments behind the bill. 

  America is one of a very few (the only as far as I know) developed countries who’s citizens do not have to interact with people who speak other languages regularly.  Even so, putting other languages on signage, what is so horrible about that?  Shouldn’t the government want people to read what it feels is important enough to say?  What, dear internets, besides a (scary) Nationalism could be the motivating factor behind this bill? 

    What I find humourous is this, think of the idea of ‘the ugly American’ and of American tourists in general.  When these people go oversees they benefit from English being on signage throughout.  Statistics have shown, for many decades, that Americans speak only one language.  Most other developed countries have citizens that speak two languages as a matter of course and three and up on the average.  English is on street signs, retail signage, mass transit systems, etc.  Now, I know that Enland is our favourite colony, but it isn’t even continental.  Why then should English be written on signage of countries that do not speak English?  What have they learned that Oklahoman’s do not know?  Could it be a ‘build it and they will come’ thing?  Like, if we make it easy to be a tourist here, maybe they’ll come.  Shouldn’t Oklahoma be interested in this as well?  It certainly stands a better chance of bringing in tourist dollars than a new convention center.  That convention center idea was old when I studied urban decay and revitalization in the late 90s.  Since nearly every metropolitan city in America had that idea 18 or so years ago, is Tulsa really going to pull in the tourist bucks?  Seems HIGHLY unlikely.  Will Oklahoma bring in tourist bucks if our signage is in their language?  Probably not, but it is far less expensive than a convention center or those dumb promotional commercials the state makes to show in other states. 

  I guess what I am left with is that there seem to be no reasons to pass an English only law in Oklahoma except for the racist anti-hispanic/latino ones.  But, if we are going to do the English only thing, shouldn’t get more specific?  Like, the Queen’s English only, or proper English only?  Shouldn’t we punish abusers of the language?  I mean, isn’t txt msg technically English? 


Relative, Close Kin – Not Adolph Eisenstein, of ‘This Makes Me Angry’

28 04 2008

  Remember that time, dear internets, I told you about Wisconsin residents being all xenophobic and how I was all proud and stuff that it was not Oklahoma (Native America) that went wacky?  Boy is my face red.  I’m going to feel this in the morning.

  I discovered that my beloved state, Oklahoma (Native America), has attempted, at least once before now as well, to legislate English as the one and only official state language.  If I take a second, and that is as much time as is needed, I can see the ignorance, the irony and be embarassed by such an attempt.  If I take a second, again that is all that is needed, I can guess which political party is responsible for authoring, petitioning for and championing this bill.  It isn’t the Greens or the Libertarians.  The person(s) responisble for this bill belong to the same party as Sally Kern, the nogoodnik. 

  This article, or plea, has some detail about the proceedings where this bill was voted on,  Very tellingly, an American Indian (Native American) was present and not allowed to speak, in fact no one (private citizen) was allowed to speak. 

  This attempt is ludacris.  Oklahoma (Native America) is home to several American Indian (Native Americans) tribes.  Tribes the federal govenment forced here, with violence.  Oklahoma (Native America) is home to a large German population, a Jewish population and a sizable Itallian population.  But I think it is safe to assume the real population this legislation is targeted at is the same population that was recently ostracized/expelled -> hispanics/latinos/chicanos. 

  The following is all personal testimony and heresay but, I’ve never heard anyone complain about computer terminals or signage being in German or Cherokee (Native Americans).  I guess it really bothers some people when they look at a sign and have to read it in English then they are forced to see that below that is a Spanish translation or that some storefront signage is in Spanish.  Why does it bother these people so?  I am unable to anwer this.  While I hesitate to throw the following word around, granted I used to use it frequently in my formative years, I feel this legislation borders on fascist.  It is definitly elitist.  Barring the free, open and equal access to public knowledge/speech from a specific group or groups of the public has no legitimate defense, at least in a republic.

Here is the bill that came before committee in Jan ’08

” ” in Feb ’03

’02 article that makes reference to ’97 bill

  PS, thanks are due to Timmy for telling me about the trouble down at the ol’ ravine.