What can you not find online?

by Eszter Hargittai on April 28, 2004

There has been much hype about how the Internet and especially search engines (need I name the one in particular?;) are giving everyone everywhere access to anything and everything. I’ve already commented previously about why this simplifies matters (even beyond controlling for mere access issues), but let’s limit our discussion to people who are quite skilled at online information-seeking. What remains – or may increasingly become – hard to access?

Here are some examples. I’d be curious in what other instances people have encountered or perhaps expect to encounter roadblocks at some point.

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Treachery

by Harry on April 28, 2004

Courtesy of zizka I notice that our honourable colleague Daniel has been profiteering while all the time opposing the US action. Just to declare that CT will make no money from the sale of these goods, unless we can figure out how to.

Why Is American Radio So Bad?

by Harry on April 28, 2004

I never knew much about Doris Day, except that her singing still makes me go weak at the knees, and some of the films are great (I started watching after reading a surprising laudatory essay by the excellent Judith Williamson in the 80’s), and, like Rosemary Clooney, she comes from my favourite American city. But that has all changed, because Radio 2 is running an 80th birthday tribute called The Life of Doris Day. All that you would want to know about her (the first 5 minutes are a bit annoying). But I defy you to find tributes like this on US radio stations. Why?

UPDATE: I should have warned you that the BBC website is very slow and unreliable the past day or two, so you may have to be patient trying to listen to the show.

Brooks makes sense

by John Quiggin on April 28, 2004

Like nearly everyone else, I’ve been deeply disappointed by David Brooks’ Op-ed columns in the NYT. But it’s not only out of a sense of fairness that I’m giving a favorable link to his latest – it’s not only good relative to the other stuff he’s written but better than most other commentary[1]. Referring to the debates over the Clarke and Woodward books, occurring at a time when Iraq looks like sliding into chaos, he says

This is like pausing during the second day of Gettysburg to debate the wisdom of the Missouri Compromise.

Right though this is, it’s obviously helpful to the Republicans, as is the observation that

many Americans have decided that it’s time to persevere and win.

But his final para raises the real issue

Over the next weeks, U.S. forces are going to jump from the fires of unilateralism to the frying pan of multilateralism. What’s going to happen when our generals want to take on some insurgents but Brahimi and the sovereign Iraqi appointees say no?   

Brooks might want to ponder the point that the Bush Administration appears to have no answer to the question he has posed here. They have set up rules that let them ignore the supposedly sovereign government they plan to establish, but it’s obvious that any such action will bring the whole structure crashing around their ears.

Update 29/4 Well, no-one at all in the comments thread agreed with me, but I haven’t seen anything to change my mind on the central point. Of course, the he said-she said stuff reported by Woodward and Clarke will be relevant to the election in November, but the “handover” in Iraq is due to take place at the end of June, and the crucial issues seem to me to have received no discussion at all in the (mainstream) media.

Can any readers point me to any prominent old-media commentator who has addressed the issue raised in Brooks’ final paragraph, and quoted by me? And if the whole thing falls in a heap, as looks increasingly likely, will anyone really care about the precise alignment within the Administration that got us to this point ?

fn1. Obligatory blogplugging: That’s old-media commentary, of course. This whole post is a subtle reminder that blogs, including this one, have already moved on from point-scoring and asked the questions that are now being raised by Brooks.

Thom Gunn

by Chris Bertram on April 28, 2004

The poet Thom Gunn has died, and there are obituaries in the “NYT”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/28/books/28GUNN.html , “the Times”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1089982,00.html and the “Guardian”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1204724,00.html . A friend introduced me to Gunn’s work about twenty years ago and there are some lines from “Elegy” from “The Passages of Joy”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374517967/junius-20 (1982) that have stuck in my mind ever since I first read them:

bq. There will be no turn of the river
where we are all reunited
in a wonderful party
the picnic spread
all the lost found
as in hide and seek.

A sad loss.

Morals in South Park?

by Brian on April 28, 2004

I haven’t watched _South Park_ in years, but when I did I tended to agree with the conclusion of “this article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/28/arts/television/28SOUT.html?ex=1398484800&en=9cf4a2bb20610253&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND that it’s too preachy for its own good. Still, the article’s title gives me an idea or two. _South Park and Philosophy_ could be better than most of the “_Randomly Chosen Segment of Pop Culture and Philosophy_”:http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/20/1082395861338.html?from=storyrhs books that are coming out I think. Perhaps there is still potential for life in the genre. Apart from _South Park_, what could be next?

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50 per cent

by John Quiggin on April 28, 2004

One of the most pleasant aspects of being a Research Fellow is guest lectures. I give guest lectures in a number of different courses, ranging over several faculties and sometimes different universities. This gives me all the things I like about teaching, including (since a change is as good as a holiday) generally attentive audiences, and a chance to present material that’s not the standard textbook, but not new or rigorous enough to justify an academic seminar. On the other hand, all the unpleasant stuff – booking rooms, litigious students complaining about their grades, administrators trying to promote customer-centric shareholder value in a dynamic enterprising university, and so on – is taken care of for me.

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