Friday, September 01, 2006

How Stupor Killed the Fourth Estate

Good Morning. A couple of new items today.
  • "Who Killed the Newspaper," the most recent cover story by The Economist, got what's left of us in the newspaper industry all riled up for a few moments, while the mass of the unreading public didn't even shrug: it was too busy watching "reality" TV. But the problem isn't with newspapers' content, or even with the medium. The problem is quality journalism--not its absence, but public indifference, if not disdain, for it. The medium isn’t the problem. It’s the message. And the message is: Most people disdain any medium that presumes to make them think. Mass-market anti-intellectualism has always been a norm in American society. Mass-market anti-reflection is now the new normal. News as critical reflection, news as change agent, as the fourth-estate, is not just irrelevant. It's dead. See Pierre's "How Stupor Killed the Fourth Estate..."
  • Not to get you down so much before the weekend, but there's also more evidence that the United States is slouching toward second-rate economy status, if it isn't entirely there so far as its social structure is concerned. See "Dawn of a Second-Rate Economy..."
  • Candide's Latest, as always, remains a busy place, including choice bits on Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka and Naguib Mahfouz, as well as a few clouds of demagoguery from Lebanon and a couple of blog round-ups. Keep your ears open: Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson will make an appearance or two soon.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Porn, Proctology and Hijackers

Good Morning. Several new items since the weekend.
  • Pierre's Tuesday column looks back at the five years since 9/11, notes that sometime over the next few weeks the death toll of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will equal that of 9/11, and asks who, since then, has been American values' real hijackers. See "America's Hijackers Five Years On..."
  • Porn for Troops: It's a truism that in war violence and porn join with seamless abandon. On Sunday, the New York Times ran what looked like an innocuous front-page story about risque dancers putting on shows for troops in Iraq. But the story was anything but innocuous, when you consider where the soft-porn shows were held: Haditha, the city where Marines conducted a massacre on 24 Iraqi civilians last year. See "From Massacre to Lap-Dance..."
  • Once in a while it's necessary to stop and bend over, not quite to smell the rose. Pierre describes his latest visit to the doctor's and reaches a few religious conclusions in "The Prods that Try Men's Souls..."
  • Candide's Latest has been extra busy with commentary on Katrina, our abusive military, and American fashion's sexualization of young girls, among many other items, all in Candide's Latest and its previous editions.
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Few politicians die, and none resign.
—Thomas Jefferson