September 28, 2007

Having fooled around for a bit on both MySpace and Facebook, I can say that Toby Young's analysis on the "U v. Non-U" traits of both social networks is dead on:
I’ve been a member of both MySpace and Facebook for at least two years and while MySpace is populated by a vast array of hip, alternative types (disc jockeys, musicians, skateboarders), Facebook users are almost exclusively upper-middle-class professionals and/or their children. It’s the internet equivalent of U and Non-U.

If anything, this divide is even more pronounced in the UK because, as a nation, we’re so class-conscious. The great thing about Facebook is that it offers people an almost limitless number of ways to advertise their superior social standing — something that U-types are particularly keen on in my experience. I don’t simply mean you can post a picture of yourself standing next to a celebrity — though, God knows, we’ve all done that — or even that you can advertise your membership of U-sounding groups, such as ‘I’d rather be hunting’. (There’s even one called ‘I say loo not toilet’.) No, I’m talking about the ‘update your status’ button that enables you to tell all your friends exactly what you’re doing at any given moment. It is this feature, more than anything else, that allows Facebook users to flaunt just how successful they are.


For a Facebook user, the ultimate confirmation that you’ve arrived is if someone else tries to impersonate you on the site. I had no idea how widespread this practice was until I applied to become Facebook friends with ‘Harold Pinter’, ‘Daniel Craig’ and ‘Angelina Jolie’ — and they all said yes.*
Personally, I've always found MySpace to be more interesting, and not just for the creative and genuinely hip manner in which spam finds itself to my humble site on a routine basis. Maybe it's just the blogger in me, but I enjoy having a forum to unapolegetically display my inner geek to the universe, and MySpace is perfect for that. Perhaps that's why bands and artists of all types love it so much; being "private" is the opposite of being creative, and exposing yourself (so to speak) to a world outside your circle of friends is liberating.

*Ed.-Also a problem on MySpace; it never ceases to amaze how low a level of celebrity it takes to generate a bogus site.
If there's anything sadder than Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS (which, from the technical aspect of contract law, may not be entirely meritless, particularly if representations were made to Rather about future employment), it's the pathetic defense of the report about George Bush's "service" in the Air National Guard that inexorably led to his ouster at the network. For some lefty bloggers, the bogus documents are what global warming and/or WMD's are to the right, a claim that must never be conceded to the other side, in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary. Truth is always the first casualty of war.

It is true that the documents highlighted on the 2004 60 Minutes II report have never been "proven" to be forgeries. No eyewitness has come forward to claim that they witnessed a third party drafting the letters on a Dell Computer, nor has anyone admitted to having been the forger. The only evidence that exists that the documents were forged is circumstantial. In that respect, saying that the forgery was unproven is like saying O.J.'s guilt in the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman is "unproven." After all, nobody saw him do it, a jury hearing the case in a criminal court acquitted him, and he claims he's still looking for the real killer. The blood of the victims in his car, on his clothing, and at his house is nothing more than the kerning and the raised font of the TANG letters.

Of course, there are still wingnuts on the right who insist that the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" weren't similarly discredited, who insist that the multiple contemporaneous accounts of John Kerry's bravery in Vietnam were less credible than the memories of middle-aged men, warped by partisanship and anger, three decades after the fact. The desire to believe the absolute worst in your enemies is a very human one, and is unaffected by one's opinion on providing universal health coverage or supporting preemptive wars. It is so much easier to stick to one's guns to the bitter end.

But in the end, I prefer the truth. In this case, the truth is that the documents in question were almost certainly forgeries. That doesn't mean that George Bush fully performed the terms of his service to the Air National Guard, or that Robert Bullock, the Kerry for President campaign, or Karl Rove were behind the forgeries, or that everything Dan Rather or Mary Mapes ever reported on is discredited. And it shouldn't have any bearing on whether Rather's lawsuit against his former employer has any merit, since it is based on representations made after the validity of the documents had come into question.

It simply means that the juiciest portion of the infamous broadcast back in the late summer of 2004 was based on fraudulent evidence, evidence that would never have been broadcast had CBS News performed adequate due diligence. These were not counterfeit documents, reproduced copies of genuine letters, "fake but accurate" evidence, like a medieval monk's careful reproduction of an ancient text that he couldn't read. If it is the duty of a progressive to speak truth to power, to be a critic and opponent of injustice, then the tactics of a partisan hack cannot be followed.

September 27, 2007

Tip for the Track: Always bet on Bodacious Tatas....

September 26, 2007

Perhaps the most famous boxing TV broadcast in history:

It probably got pushed back in the morning paper, though, since it occurred on the same day the Supreme Court announced the Roe v. Wade decision, the North and South Vietnamese publicly released the terms of a peace treaty temporarily ending the war, and LBJ died.

September 25, 2007

Figures: Move-On's lame-o ad attacking Gen. Petraueus was plagiarized...from Rush Limbaugh. And as Marc Cooper points out, the entire purpose of the ad was apparently not to raise public awareness, but filthy lucre instead.

UPDATE: And of course one fund-raising scam deserves another [courtesy of TPM]
One Morning at Berchtesgaden:

President Bush and Karl Rove sat listening to Norman Podhoretz for roughly 45 minutes at the White House as the patriarch of neoconservatism argued that the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The meeting was not on the president’s public schedule.

Rove was silent throughout, though he took notes. The president listened diligently, Podhoretz said as he recounted the conversation months later, but he “didn’t tip his hand.”

“I did say to [the president], that people ask: Why are you spending all this time negotiating sanctions? Time is passing. I said, my friend [Robert] Kagan wrote a column which he said you were giving ‘futility its chance.

And both he and Karl Rove burst out laughing.

“It struck me,” Podhoretz added, “that if they really believed that there was a chance for these negotiations and sanctions to work, they would not have laughed. They would have got their backs up and said, ‘No, no, it’s not futile, there’s a very good chance.’ ”

From The Politico, 9-24-2007.

September 24, 2007

Losing the War:
It's not often mentioned, but the rest of the world does not evaluate all international interactions from a starting premise that America is right and its motivations pure. We actually have to convince them of that, particularly in the post-Iraq era. And we're failing. We're abetting Ahmadinejad's attempts to project a hugely disingenuous version of himself through our megaphone. Without us, he's in trouble: He's domestically unpopular, and fundamentally without a platform. With our opposition and apparent hatred for Tehran, he's Iran's champion against America, and he's outwitting us in the court of world opinion.
--Ezra Klein

Needless to say, any Presidency that can transform Hugo Chavez from an egocentric nickel-and-dime hustler into an internationally beloved populist shouldn't have any problems making a Holocaust-denying whack job like Ahmadinejad into a world-historic figure. Well played, fellas.
In the middle of another banal attack on "Bush-enabling" Democrat Dianne Feinstein, comes this rather sleazy attack by Glenn Greenwald:
Additionally, Feinstein is a 74-year-old divorced Jewish woman currently on her third husband, and it is thus extremely unlikely that she harbors any hopes of running in the future on a national ticket.
One would think by the thrust of that jab that the senior Senator from California was a political version of Zsa Zsa Gabor, or the Democratic version of Rudy Giuliani. In fact, Feinstein has been married to the same man now for 27 years. Her previous husband was married to her for sixteen years, until he died of colon cancer. The one divorce she had was nearly fifty years ago, hardly the marital record to make Liz Taylor blush.

In any event, it's hard to see why Greenwald is so hysterical about Senator Feinstein, since it's not as if she's ever pretended to be a tribune for the underclass or a champion of progressive values. When she was Mayor of Frisco many years ago, a leftist group tried to recall her at the polls (oddly enough, it was over her support of gun control laws), and it was hard to see much of a difference between the candidates when she challenged Pete Wilson for governor in 1990 (she lost, barely) or Michael Huffington for the Senate (she won that one). She's never campaigned as a liberal, so it should hardly be shocking that she doesn't always vote that way.