Childbirth Porn

by Maria on August 23, 2005

Belle is rightly indignant about fathers put off sex by witnessing the birth of their children, and asks if there is such a thing as childbirth porn. There is. Well, in the sense that Mills & Boon and other softly-softly girl-targetted erotic fiction can be called porn, there also exists an analogous form of childbirth porn. I should know.
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Best of the Web

by Henry on August 23, 2005

I mentioned Alfredo Perez’s “Political Theory Daily Review”:http://www.politicaltheory.info/ a few days ago – it’s a wonderful site. I see today that Perez is looking to get a little publicity, by asking people to nominate his site for Business Week’s “Best of the Web”:http://www.businessweek.com/technology/bestofweb.htm survey. It seems a laudable goal to me (you can also, of course, vote for other websites that you think don’t get as much attention as they deserve; feel free to list these in comments).

Digital Phoenix

by Henry on August 23, 2005

[This is the first of a few book reviews that have been piling up on my desk – next up is Chris Mooney’s _The Republican War on Science_, and then sometime in the not _too_ distant future, Glyn Morgan’s _The Idea of a European Superstate_].

_Digital Phoenix: Why the Information Economy Collapsed and How It Will Rise Again_ by Bruce Abramson, (the MIT Press 2005). Available from “Powells”:http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/partner?partner_id=29956&cgi=product&isbn=0262012170 and from “Amazon”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&camp=1789&tag=henryfarrell-20&creative=9325&path=tg/detail/-/0262012170/qid=1124806131/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1?v=glance%26s=books (deprecated).*

Bruce Abramson’s’ _Digital Phoenix_ is a smart read – it combines an excellent overview of the recent developments of the digital economy, with some important insights into how it works. The writing style is pacey, the stories (the Microsoft-Netscape battles, the MP3 wars, the birth of open source) are well told, and the quite substantial intellectual content is delivered in a user-friendly format. It’s the best non-technical account I’ve read of how network economies do and do not work in the information age. I’ll be assigning it to my students – as far as I can see, it’s the best and most complete account available. This said, there are two problems. First is its slightly breathy enconium to the new economy. All we need to do, says Abramson, is to renew our faith in the “corporate innovators and entrepreneurs who make growth possible,” and we can achieve the original promise of the information technology revolution. It isn’t that simple; the New Economy was never “everything it was cracked up to be”:https://crookedtimber.org/category/henwood-seminar, and the future, insofar as we can discern it, seems likely to be considerably weirder than Abramson gives it credit for being. Second is the concluding section which feels a bit tacked on, jumping into an argument over the fight for control of the information economy between terror movements and authoritarian governments on the one hand, and democratic liberals on the other. It reads like the conclusions of a very different book, and a substantially inferior one. [click to continue…]