August 27th, 2024

The Big Con

  • el
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  • Scoble is fit to be tied that Amanda Congdon isn’t living her life the way he thinks would be best for her to live it. Robert is the new Mullah! Jeneane lays into him in the comment thread on that post. She’s been on a tear today, making fun of Robert, Seth Godin, and Hugh the cartoon guy. Hugh and Seth did an interview that was either hilarious (in a bad way) or an emetic (in a good way, I suppose, if you are anorexic or something).

    Madame Levy has a Site Pal reading a G.W.S. Trow passage about con men:

    The con man does give you something. It is a sense of your own worthlessness. A good question to ask: “Does this event exist without me?” If the answer is no, leave. You are involved in a con game. When the con man tells you that he is about to present you with “a wide range of options,” ask for one thing he will absolutely stand behind. Or beat him up. If he has some authority, you have a right to see what it is. If he is only describing the authority he senses in you, then do as you please.

    The idea of choice is easily debased if one forgets that the aim is to have chosen successfully, not to be endlessly choosing.

    By these lights, Scoble is behaving exactly like a con man! Kevin Kelly observed long ago that the web runs on love, not greed. That’s what dooms Michael Arrington to such a dismal life. Kelly said, “As the Internet continues to expand in volume and diversity without interruption, only a relatively small percent of its total mass will be money-making. The rest will be created and maintained out of passion, enthusiasm, a sense of civic obligation, or simply on the faith that it may later provide some economic use.” I don’t know if Robert’s core values ever lined up with Kelly’s observations, but regardless… the man needs a long vacation. Offline.

    The rip-off of BloggerCon IV was Arrington leading a core values session. There are all these bull elks out there clashing antlers and believing that there is some ultimate meaning in the struggle. I imagine that they’re lining up their own herds, and that there are plenty of submissive elks ready to present for them, but in the final analysis, one must remember that the critical importance of elk to the omnivore is that it provides the most flavorful red meat on the planet. Eat me? No, eat you, Robert. And Michael… eat you too. Good for Amanda for not listening to these confused voices. One of the saddest things about the con man is that he himself is the victim of a big con, or he wouldn’t be in the business of conning others.

    For core values worth internalizing one can look many places, but certainly not in the blogs of Scoble or Arrington. Here is a quick catch of the day from JP Rangaswami:

    I don’t read blogs to find out things faster than anyone else; I don’t read blogs to find things to link to and comment on before anyone else; I don’t read blogs because I can’t find any books to read.

    I read blogs because they’re participative, they are accessible, they help me learn. I write blogs because I want to participate. In a community. Everyone wants to make a difference, everyone wants to leave a legacy. Blogs are useful in both cases.

    August 27th, 2024

    Writing Assignment

    Here’s a challenge — re-write the following craptastical post by Halley Suitt to eliminate most of whatever makes it suck:

    There is something so classic about heavy metal Gothic videos. They all look alike. Big dining room table in big dark mansion, cobwebs on candlesticks, pierced girls with much mascara. Top 20 Countdown, some things you can just always depend on.

    August 27th, 2024

    Might Read

    From “The End of Irony,” Meghan O’Rourke’s review of Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children in this morning’s NYT Sunday Book Review

    “The Emperor’s Children” is, on its surface, a stingingly observant novel about the facades of the chattering class — with its loves, ambitions and petty betrayals — but it is also, more profoundly, about a wholesale collision of values: those of the truth-telling but hypocritical Murray Thwaite, who epitomizes earnest 1960’s liberalism, and the Machiavellian Seeley, who represents postmodernism and its assumption that truth is fungible. The metaphorical pawn in their struggle — a struggle over status — is Bootie Tubb, who is too young to accept that he lives in a world of filigreed self-absorption rather than pragmatic transcendentalism, and who rightly sees Murray’s self-satisfaction for what it is. And so Bootie — poor, clueless Bootie — becomes both the novel’s antihero and its hero, setting out to expose Murray by writing a tell-all article for Seeley’s new magazine.

    Based on the lengthy excerpt here, I’m guessing the Messud wrote but did not read this novel, making it a good early draft. I wish she had cleaned it up before release. Ah well, all is beta.

    I liked the proximate juxtaposition of “aubergine” with “Aborigines.” More of those and one could forgive the overwhelming turgidity, evidenced in sentences like:

    Having spent half an hour putting on her face in front of the grainy mirror of Moira and John’s bathroom, ogling her imperfections and applying vigorous remedial spackle-beneath which her weary, olive-shaped eyes were pouched by bluish bags, the curves of her nostrils oddly red, and her high forehead peeling-she had no intention of revealing to strangers the disintegration beneath her paint.

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