I don’t have much time to blog about conservative blogger Michelle Malkin’s latest “scandal,” so I’ll point you to a few other blogs who do a more-than-adequate job of highlighting the inanity. First we have this post from Sadly No!. Then there’s this one from John Scalzi. And to tip it off, there’s this post from Daily Kos.
Archive for May, 2008
Sometimes I’m so focused on mining blogs in search for the obscure gems that I somehow miss the huge memes that float across the internet each week. It’s a weird occurrence, that feeling of “How the hell did I miss this with all the internet surfing I do?”
The video embedded below fits into this category. I had seen it referenced on several blogs without actually clicking through to the link. Titled “Pork and Beans” it’s Weezer’s homage to the the internet’s biggest online video stars:
So most people will think I’m stupid for this, but so far I’ve been manually moderating nearly 100% of my comments. Basically, if you’ve made a comment I’ve approved in the past, all future comments from that same IP address will be posted without moderation. Everything else — both spam and new legitimate comments — goes directly into my moderation queue.
Up until recently, this was a big time suck but still manageable. As long as I cleaned out the queue once or twice a day, it was usually fine. Luckily, 90% of spam is easily spotted when quickly scrolling down a page. If I went more than a day without cleaning it out, I basically just had to mass delete the whole folder because it wasn’t worth it scrolling through 600 pieces of spam just for one or two legitimate comments.
But within the last week or two the volume of spam has stepped up another level, and so I don’t know how much longer I can go at this pace. I probably need to install some kind of CAPTCHA wordpress filter. And since I’ll already be doing that, I might as well upgrade my WordPress account, something I haven’t done in nearly two years.
This is utterly bizarre. A car dealership in Mojave, California called Kieffe & Sons Ford has been running this advertisement on local radio stations:
["Did you know that there are people in this country who want prayer out of schools, "Under God" out of the Pledge, and "In God We Trust" to be taken off our money?"]
“But did you know that 86% of Americans say they believe in God? Since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians, who believe in God, we at Kieffe & Sons Ford wonder why we don’t tell the other 14% to sit down and shut up. I guess I just offended 14% of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case then I say that’s tough, this is America folks, it’s called free speech. None of us at Kieffe & Sons Ford is afraid to speak out. Kieffe & Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond, if we don’t see you today, by the grace of God, we’ll be here tomorrow.”
First off, they don’t even have the statistics correct. As The Underground Believer notes, only 73% of the U.S. identifies as Christian. Secondly, what the hell does this have to do with cars? The dealership is voluntarily going out of its way to offend a sizable portion of its potential customer base with an advertisement that has nothing to do with its business.
Not only are you directly attacking 27% of the population, you’re also likely offending a good number of left-of-center Christians who would cringe at such unsubtle bigotry.
Here’s one way to strike back: Gather around five atheists in that area. Over the course of the week have each of them go in and show interest in buying some of the most expensive cars in the lot. Then, after they’ve wasted a good 30 minutes to an hour talking to you, bargaining with you, and getting ready for you to sign the contract and give them those great commissions, have sudden epiphanies that this was the dealership that had those offensive ads. Then have them walk out without buying the cars.
This way, not only does this get them thinking they’ve lost out on thousands of dollars in sales, but it also wastes their valuable time they’ve spent tending to you.
So who’s up for it?
The New York Times Magazine has published a fascinating and even heartbreaking first-person account by Emily Gould, a former blogger for Gawker. In it she dissects not only the parasitic nature of Gawker Media blogging but also the sometimes-dangerous tendencies of bloggers in general.
My blogging today is much different than when I first started back in 2003. Back then my writing was filled with raw anger and was deeply personal. And as is common with posting about personal experiences, it was nearly impossible for it not to involve those who were close to me. And I certainly didn’t create any kind of filter to protect anyone; some of those posts were written expressly for attacking others I knew in real life. I lost one good friend and one girlfriend at least partially because of that first blog. And reading it now (the archives are still online if you know the right search terms to find them), I can’t help but shudder at how ignorant and angry I was when blogging as a college freshman.
“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to compare the initial thrill of evoking an immediate response to a blog post to the rush of getting high, and the diminishing thrills to the process of becoming inured to a drugÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s effects,” Gould writes in the Times piece. “The metaphor is so exact, in fact, that maybe it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a metaphor at all.”
This is certainly true. One can see signs of this with the obsessive checking of traffic statistics, technorati ranking and adsense clicks. Writing a post and attracting dozens of links and thousands of readers does wonders for your self esteem for an hour or two before you’re inevitably pulled back down. That initial burst of traffic can quickly diminish in a matter of hours, and by the end of the day it’s like being left to clean up after a party. Three thousand people came in, made a mess, and left you to gather up the trash alone.
Today I ordered an Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device to go with my digital recorder that I’ve had for about a year.
Technically it doesn’t count as an impulse buy because I’ve been thinking about getting one for awhile now. What finally closed the deal was the fact that I want to start doing more phone interviews for Bloggasm rather than relying on email and IM. But my cell phone is way too small and hurts my neck why I try to cradle it against my shoulder and type quotes at the same time.
The Amazon reviews say that it does a pretty good job with cell phone recordings. I’m really looking forward to trying it out.
When he was George Bush’s political adviser, many journalists complained that Karl Rove typically refused to talk to the media, instead choosing to stay out of the spotlight. Now that he’s no longer working for the president, the media can’t get enough of him, no matter how many conflicts of interests he may have.
These days, Rove has regular gigs with Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, often providing “analysis” on the presidential campaigns. But as Salon documents at length, those outlets are refusing to disclose several conflicts, including Rove’s informal advising of John McCain’s campaign and the consulting firm he heads that distributes electoral maps. I say “refusing” because they’ve been aware of these criticisms for weeks.
“After Rove had made 14 appearances on Fox News, Politico reported that soon after donating to McCain’s campaign, Rove ‘had a private conversation with the senator,’” writes Salon. “A top McCain advisor also told the paper that Rove and Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman were ‘informally advising the campaign.’”
Yes, the cable news landscape is littered with former political advisers, though for the most part their political affiliations are disclosed. Failures to inform viewers of conflicts of interest have become a rampant problem in the industry, as we saw with the recent NY Times “military analyst” story.
It’s time for Rove to choose: Does he want to be a pundit or a political strategist? And since he long-ago proved that he has no qualms with violating ethics, it’s time for these news outlets to choose for him.