Mickey’s Law and other assorted EFFing matters

by Eszter Hargittai on April 1, 2009

EFF smileyLike Maria, I haven’t exactly been ROFL in response to the trying-to-be-funny material floating out there today, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s newsletter did impress me. Since it doesn’t seem to be on EFF’s homepage, and since they’ve explicitly stated that we can repost the whole thing, I’m doing so after the jump. (I hope they won’t mind my playing with their logo either.) Enjoy! [click to continue…]

Plausible Deniability

by Maria on April 1, 2009

April Fool stories tend to be more ‘heh’ than LOL. (A couple of Internet geek ones I’ve gotten today; one is ‘heh‘ and the other is ‘eh?‘) But just seeing a tagline with April 1st underneath it makes me doubt any post’s veracity, even totally plausible and unfunny ones like “Brian Barry’s Obituary” (which, by the way, I’m surprised doesn’t mention ‘Sociologists, Economists and Democracy’, the only one I’ve read so presumably the most mainstream.)

Perfect example of a spoof that’s too plausible to be all that funny (or is it a spoof…?): today’s from George R.R. Martin saying he has engaged Howard Waldrop as his writing partner on Ice and Fire. It all sounds plausible, especially given the amount of abuse Martin gets from his overly entitled fans for being so late in delivering the latest of the unwieldy Ice and Fire series. (They grudge him watching football, seriously.) But the last bit where Martin says Waldrop will knock out the rest of the novel in a month or two while Martin is “in the hot tube with some babes in bikinis, sipping some Irish Mist and watching my TIVO replay of the Giants victory over the Patriots in the last Super Bowl but one” gives it away. Still, if old George really did want to outsource his sprawling epic, there are probably worse ways to go about it.

Scott McLemee has the “sordid details”:http://www.insidehighered.com/views/mclemee/mclemee236.

Last month, the Washington, D.C., newspaper Politico revealed the existence of a secret online discussion group for left-tilting reporters and academics called JournoList. The article provoked a furor of denunciation among right-wing bloggers, who took the existence of an Obamaphile wonk cabal as proof that something darkly conspiratorial must be afoot. … So you can imagine my surprise when, a few days later, I discovered the existence of an even more well-concealed e-mail group. It connects up the nation’s most powerful academics. For the sake of this article we can call it AcademoList. …

Scott is now in hiding – but the truth must get out. And there are more shocking revelations to come. Scott has discovered that:

AcademoList’s cover was nearly blown in 2006, when David Horowitz published The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Professors in America. In spite of the subtitle, the book actually listed only 100 dangerous professors. At the time, scarcely anyone noticed this. And if they had, it would not have been too surprising, since it was obvious that considerable ingenuity had been required to get it up to that length. … The mysterious “dangerous professor number 101” turns out to have been one of the founders of AcademoList — a truly sinister figure, and indeed the single most important player in the effort to subject the United States to both Islamic fundamentalism and the gay agenda.

Scott could only say so much, but I can now reveal that the secret 101st Dangerous Professor in America is _David Horowitz himself_ (he holds endowed chairs _in pectore_ at Yale, Harvard and Princeton). He is also the Fourteenth (sic) Imam and the Beast Foretold in the Book of Revelations. Further Fun AcademoList Factz:

  • Mickey Kaus was invited to be one of the founding members of Academolist (he too holds an _in pectore_ appointment, as Snifre-Bedschietz Chair in American Politics at Long Beach College) but balked when he learned that he would have to sacrifice a goat to Shub-Niggurath at the initiation ceremony.
  • In addition to Aristotle’s lost treatise on comedy and the True Vindication of Camille Paglia, the AcademoList secret library hosts the skulls of Vannevar Bush and William F. Buckley Jr. Persistent rumours suggest that it also holds a birth certificate with Stanley Fish’s real name (and it ain’t Morris Zapp).
  • The comments sections to _Inside Higher Ed_ columns reflect the ongoing research activities, and plans for future world domination, of one of AcademoList’s most distinguished emeritus members, Dr. Alphonse Moreau.

Further revelations are promised (and should anyone have additional useful information that they wish to share in comments, anonymously or otherwise, we are happy to guarantee their safety).

Brian Barry obituary

by Chris Bertram on April 1, 2009

There’s “an obituary of Brian Barry”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6010790.ece in today’s Times,