I rarely make political statements on this blog, but seeing the news nowadays is enough to make some of us wish for this option.
Archive for politics
My apologies for the lack of posting yesterday. Some days just don’t allow for blog time!
And I’ll finish off with a video that begs the question “Why is every sport that looks mildly appealing to me a century old and long since laughed out of existence?”
I’ve been educating myself as much as possible about SOPA. The consequences for truly valuable and well-meaning information sources could be staggering. As an information junkie, I’m terrified at the thought of this act passing.
If your favorites sites have gone dark today, consider watching this informative video:
I got that video from a wonderful post on Open Culture, which nicely sums up the problem for those who haven’t heard about it:
Backed by the Motion Picture Association of America, SOPA is designed to debilitate and effectively shut down foreign-based websites that sell pirated movies, music and other goods. That all sounds fine on the face of things. But the legislation, if enacted, would carry with it a series of unexpected consequences that could change the internet as we know it. Among other things, the law could be used to shut down American sites that unwittingly host or link to illegal content — and without giving the sites due process, a real day in court. Big sites like YouTube and Twitter could fall under pressure, and so could countless small sites. Needless to say, that could have a serious chilling effect on the openness of the web and free speech.
Please take a moment to sign this petition.
Kudos to Wikipedia and the other major sites going dark today in protest (I wish facebook had taken action and gone offline with an informative message about the issue…sadly, that probably would have gotten FAR more people to pay attention).
Rate My Rat is an ingenious plan to call attention to the ways in which NYC publicly funded Subway cleanup is sorely lacking. New Yorkers have been asked to submit their subway rat photos, and the gallery is open for viewing and rating.
I must say I was delighted with the folks in my homeland for coming up with this absurdly wonderful campaign.
Check out the rat gallery here.
In honor of my home state now allowing gay marriage (a measure that brings us one small yet much-needed step closer to honoring the basic rights of every human being), I give you a beautiful series of antique Jewish marriage contracts from around the world.
For those who think marriage is “just a piece of paper,” this tradition certainly makes the most of it! The artistry is incredible. I don’t know what the contract states, but I’m going to pretend it’s something amazing and sublimely meaningful to the particular partnership it commemorates.
Think about it. You could immortalize your own vows and promises in calligraphic glory on parchment, whether you wish to say that you are two halves of a single soul…or that you won’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.
My dear roommate and I were recently talking about how various friendships could even benefit from some sort of formalized written understanding.
In all seriousness, everyone should be allowed to pursue love and happiness, and to have it recognized in the eyes of whatever government, God or Flying Spaghetti Monster they choose. NY…may your actions be the first of MANY steps in a global effort to honor humanity without judgment.
I rarely step on my soapbox and get personal here, but I feel the need to comment on the recent facebook trend of posting cartoon characters as profile pictures to “fight child abuse.”
Let me make this clear: if you posted a cartoon, I’m NOT insulting you. I have no problem with anyone taking part in the trend.
My beef is with the trend itself and what it says about our culture; the unprecedented distance between one’s public dedication to a cause, and any actual measure of reflection or helpful behavior.
Symbols have been iconic representations of various social causes for decades (red ribbons, pink ribbons, rubber bracelets). At least the proceeds from these culturally fabricated products went toward the cause they represented. A small step, but a step nonetheless.
In the social networking world, trends like the cartoon character meme are devoid of ANY direct connection to or impact on the cause itself. No profit, no research, no inquiry, no time volunteered, no outreach program, no benefit.
These trends are yet another reflection of the narcissism that now pervades our technologically advanced society. Only in an extremely egocentric, disconnected population could one believe that posting a favorite character or listing the color of their bra (in the recent “breast cancer awareness” meme) has ANY influence over the true misfortune at stake. Yet I’ve seen an alarming degree of smug self-satisfaction from those who comply.
Sadly, I’d wager that upon the spread of the cartoon character meme, most people briefly thought “Yes, child abuse is wrong.”…and then spent half an hour googling the perfect ironically retro cartoon image to post, enraptured in their own nostalgia. I’ve seen plenty of “Dude, I loved Thundercats!,” but ZERO comments about child abuse itself.
Suddenly, awareness of a good cause becomes about ME, ME, ME! MY favorite things! MY pictures! What do I like? What am I wearing?
How does a call for charity become self-centered and completely divorced from charitable behavior?
I am wholeheartedly grateful for the role technology plays in my life (including online networking), yet I find myself missing the days when people didn’t think what they had for breakfast was newsworthy enough to be shared with everyone they’ve ever known on three different sites. I miss when caring about a cause meant volunteering time and sharing valuable information.
The closer we get, the more disconnected we become.
99% of the time, I ignore solipsistic social networking trends, even when they involve causes very close to my heart.
Here is a cartoon I liked as a kid:
Are children still being abused now? Wait…Really? Are you sure?
I’m afraid I agree with Gossamer here: