August 2006

iSchool Adjunct Professor Geoffrey Nunberg did a great job on The Colbert Report last night. Geoff did his best to talk about the topic, while Colbert just kept making jokes. Sheesh!

Check out the video.

I identify with this because I've been fighting with Flash myself, lately. But check out the epic battle of the animator vs. the animator's creation. I had to watch it three times!

Animation's Revenge

(via BoingBoing)

…certainly not George Bush. The New York Times reported today that Bush thinks those who support the recent ruling that the Federal wiretapping program is unconstitutional are 'naive.' According to him, they 'simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live.'

Oh, the irony. I cannot believe that no one told Bush what an idiotic statement he was making. What *is* the nature of the world in which we live, Mr. President? Let's extropolate a few simple axioms from recent statements:

  • The fight against terrorism – whatever it is – is more important than your privacy.
  • I am not interested in trying to fight terrorism and at the same time working to safeguard your privacy.
  • This new world is so incredibly new – newer than the many new worlds that came before it – that it's finally okay to disregard the standards set by the Framers and upheld since then.
  • I can tell people what to believe.

You'll note that only the first three are political. Debatable, maybe, though I think the two sides of that one are very far apart, and in both cases hiding their real priorities. It's the last one, though, that I just can't believe. How could it be that there is no anthropologist, sociologist, psychologist, or marketer in the White House to tell Bush that you cannot get anywhere telling huge swaths of Americans that they are wrong and naive for believing something? This is not a political issue. The Bush administration appears to be so dogmatic, so without nuance, that they can't even recognize a public relations problem when it smacks them in the face!

They have so far had modest success making every last iota of politics about terrorism – but I think the veil is lifting, and the issues with true staying power are coming through. Terrorism will never be gone. But the public relations stunt that is *TERROR* will be gone soon. Privacy will be an increasingly important issue for the foreseeable future. No president will get by saying that Americans should subsume their beliefs about privacy to a national political agenda. It doesn't work that way. And I can't believe no one told Bush that.

The Democratic Staff of the House Judiciary Committee on Friday released a report called "The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance".

It absolutely skewers the Bush administration for breaking dozens of laws. Why hasn't this report seen any media coverage? Your guess is as good as mine.

(via The Mobtown Shank. Thanks Alex!)

Foolish though it is to reblog Slashdot posts, I wanted to toss in a comment about a recent WSJ article posted there. In 'Many Companies Still Cling to Big Hits To Drive Earnings' Lee Gomes argues that big hits, blockbusters, and the top 5% still dominate the market today. The Long Tail, he argues, isn't as relevent as we might think.

The thing is, Gomes was just trying to give some sound business advice: don't think you have to switch to a brand new model right away: the tried and true one still works. But in the process he's misrepresented the whole idea of the Long Tail. The idea isn't that blockbusters won't be important anymore, just that they won't be the only important thing. When many folks have access to the channels of distribution, and diverse content is always available, it creates another option for those who want it. The blockbuster has some competition.

The Barnes & Noble's of the world are in no immediate danger from the competition of the Long Tail. But if they're smart, they'll realize, unlike Mr. Gomes, that the two aren't mutually exclusive. Be a hits oriented company, but cultivate a symbiotic community of producers, consumer, commentators, searchers, stockpilers, and experts. After all, today's blockbusters will be sliding down that curve before long. Why lose their value entirely?