RSS test 2

again, sorry for the noise

RSS test

sorry for the noise

RSS feed

There comes a time every year or two when I screw up my feed settings terribly. In fairness to myself I must add that sometimes it’s Feedburner’s fault. Sometimes their instructions are opaque, and in one instance while they were being digested by the Google borg they actually hosed up my feed themselves. Really.

So this is an annoying test post to see if I’ve reset my 2024 feed options for listics properly. The only way I’ll know is if this post shows up in the feed.

If you’re a subscriber and it doesn’t, well… this is one of those “please let me know if you don’t get this message” kind of things. Seriously… subscribers? I’ve probably goofed everything up again.

Race to the bottom at the New York Times

The weekly race to the bottom in the OpEd section of the New York Times ended in a dead heat today. Ross Douthat shares the prize with that perennial favorite, the odious Stanley Fish. Among the reasons I find Mr. Fish detestable are observations like this: I’ve now learned two things about New York Times readers. They don’t believe in God, but they do believe in, and in fact, worship, democracy. Also repugnant is Fish’s favorite narrative device, an analysis of the comments he received on a prior post. The device is vaguely reminiscent of the kind of Germanistik literary criticism given to counting adjectives and matching them to nouns. And nouns to verbs. And, best of all, drawing a conclusion about a literary work based on that data. Did you know that “the first record of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852, in which it appears six times.” It’s true. I read it in the Wikipedia. You can look it up.

Yesterday, Stanley Fish wrote about politics to add weight to the idea that people remember the George W. Bush administration fondly and miss the ringleader. It must be true. There’s a billboard on a freeway in Minnesota that makes it implicit.

This weekend, Ross Douthat wrote that true religion is dying under the weight of bourgeois mystical practices:

By making mysticism more democratic, we’ve also made it more bourgeois, more comfortable, and more dilettantish. It’s become something we pursue as a complement to an upwardly mobile existence, rather than a radical alternative to the ladder of success. Going to yoga classes isn’t the same thing as becoming a yogi; spending a week in a retreat center doesn’t make me Thomas Merton or Thérèse of Lisieux. Our kind of mysticism is more likely to be a pleasant hobby than a transformative vocation.

This kind of rhetoric goes over well with the bishop. It provides grist for the diocesan fundraiser PR mill. I wanted to point Douthat toward Mystic Bourgeoisie, a four and a half year study that pulled together chapter and verse regarding the spiritual bankruptcy of the American middle class flirtation with matters numinous and self-help. Douthat suggests that the cost of this dilution of the currency of faith is paid by a wandering away from the one true faith, that old time religion that somehow should bind our faith and practice. Nonsense, of course, but sadly, I would have had to log-in to leave a comment and the ennui around here is pretty thick today.

Have I mentioned that Dickens coined “boredom” as a neologism in the mid-nineteenth century. Fascinating…

L. Ron Jobs and the Millennials

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’
– Bob Dylan, 1964

Steve Jobs, Disney Director and famous iCrapper, is a baby boomer. Bram Cohen, who wrote BitTorrent, Shawn Fanning, who developed Napster, Sergei Brin and Larry Page who founded Google, and Linus Torvalds famous Linux dude are all much younger than Jobs. Steve Jobs represents entrenched interests. The aforementioned Millennials famously promote open systems and free exchange of ideas. Jobs is a “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) kind of guy, the sort who believes the Disney copyrights on that mouse should be extended to the corporation in perpetuity.

Jobs leads a cult of dedicated customers, people who will buy his products regardless of performance because they’re marketed so well. In upscale malls across the US you can get Apple products the day they are released simply by standing in queue at the Apple outlet and reinforcing the belief of those around you that the iPod, iPhone, iMac, iPad or iWhatever is the NEXT BIG (retail) THING. Sadly, the Church of Apple’s profits are tied to a strict program of Digital Rights Management and it’s getting harder and harder to come up with the NEXT BIG (retail) THING, patent it, and control its release in the marketplace.

Okay, the iPods, those stored music thingies, were pretty cool. Initiates and communicants could identify each other by the little white carbuncles blossoming from their ears, growths that presumably excluded the echoing chant and drumbeat of the marketing weenies who tweet and IM and Facebook, and blog the news that the NEXT BIG (retail) THING that you bought last month will soon be passé, because the NEXT BIG (retail) THING is about to be introduced by Jobs at the next big iHoopla and Marketing Festival (BTOBS).

For the last month or two, under pressure by the need for big numbers on the iPad launch, Jobs has been on a tear spreading fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about competitive products. Now he’s added injury to insult with a patent infringement suit against HTC, his leading competitor. Well, it looks a little like an iPhone, but wait! It’s so much better!

Some of Jobs’ success is based on his creative adoption of Xerox’s mouse and graphical user interface. Will he prevail against HTC which seems to be taking a page from his own book?

Invitation to visit a new blog of mine

“It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.” — Noam Chomsky

Thus begins a new blog with the preposterous and passé name Class War. The author? Yours truly, of course. Who else would hurl a dead skunk into the marketing meeting then chain the door shut?

Class War is a blog where I can post my perhaps outré but passionately held political opinions. This blog (Listics) isn’t going away. It will remain an eclectic collection of links to good blogs, good food, journalistic criticism, the Interwebs tech community, and basically anything I want to share. But from now on I’ll be banging the drum for progressive politics and meaningful social change at Class War. I’m just tuning up over there, finding my voice, finalizing formats and layout, that sort of thing. Drop in. Leave a comment. Subscribe.

The Republicans are growing ever more strident in their opposition to Health Care Reform. Many have already begun to hold their breath until they turn blue. Palin is speaking at the NRA convention. The lines are being drawn… there’s a lot to write about as the 2024 political season gets underway.