Sunday, September 30

Thursday, September 27

It is Banned Books Week. In this time where willingness to give up liberties some Americans don't realize they are entitled to and don't appreciate, let's hope this will stay alive.

Wednesday, September 26

Let me apologize in advance for this--no, wait, I take back my apology. I decided long ago that I wasn't going to be ashamed for having an opinion, however unpopular. We tend to make a habit of saying unpopular things here. On September 17, Scott Lepera, a good friend of ours and someone who has given us invaluable assistance with Opensewer, said,

Thank God for the Internet, which not only allowed for normal folk like you and I to scoop the traditional media, but also provide an arena for those same people to express their ideas to the world.

Well, to that statement, all I can say is: I’m not sure the benefits are so clear. There is a lot of noise out there, but few signals. Opinions are a dime a dozen, but underlying truth is difficult to discern. Freedom of speech is a wonderful right--its benefits outweigh its drawbacks--but an overflow of information can do more harm than good. “Thoughtful” essays about the Tragedy become too numerous to be meaningful or even comprehend. Reading this opinion won’t make your vision any clearer, so please discard it when you’re done.

The worst offender in this mess is The Fray. Almost immediately after the Tragedy, Fray posted a group of personal stories called “Missing Pieces.” The tag line reads:

Holes in our lives, holes in the skyline, holes in our spirit.

This gooey, over-emotional sentimentality only disrespects the truth of the events and those who died. The thirteen or so stories offered generally display the same sort of extra-dramatic expositions of “deeply personal” experiences. I realize now that The Fray is not a community. It is a place for people who want visibility. There is some “truth” there, but it’s hidden behind ego.

Please listen, I want to make it clear once again that you should disregard this opinion as soon as you’re done reading it. I just wanted to jolt you a bit.

Is anybody out there listening?

Tuesday, September 25

Howard Zinn is right; we have learned nothing from the past.
As I read webpage after webpage and article after article, it strikes me as odd when people preach about not giving their two cents--yet still put in their two cents in doing so! If you wanna talk about the terrorist events, do so - but don't sit there and postulate about others and then proceed to throw in your mantra about what went wrong and how, blah blah blah.

Monday, September 24

Here are two interesting articles from The New York Times regarding the events of September 11 and its effects on artists. (NYTimes Login: Opensewer, Password: iswatching)

Sunday, September 23

Today is Sunday! Why don't you turn your computer off for the day?

Saturday, September 22

We have changed the topic for Opensewer Gathering #10 to "America: Life After September 11." The "bioethics" topic will be reserved for Opensewer #11. When the world changes in the blink of an eye, how could we ever justify ignoring it? As humans, we bond through our humanity, our intellect, our emotions...

Friday, September 21

...because this war is older than all of Europe that is surrounded by the sea, which swallows human life.

This is an excerpt from a letter to my Great Grandmother from her son, Micheleno (my Great Uncle). It was written while he was undercover somewhere in the trenches during World War I. Need I say more?

Thursday, September 20

re:constructions is a site focusing on the part the media plays in the current situation.

Wednesday, September 19

An interesting view of America.
The worst is not,
So long as we can say, 'This is the worst'

-- Lines from King Lear, quoted by Robert McCrum in an absolutely wonderful article where he encourages all of us, during these trying times, to find solace in the arms of literature.

Sunday, September 16

Saturday, September 15

Friday, September 14

The highest priority of every world citizen should be the avoidance of war.
And here's something else that might offer inspiration as we remember what has happened to America, yet struggle to get back to normal, whatever the definition of "normal" now is.
A little something to consider before we all plunge into mass hysteria.

Wednesday, September 12

Even as Americans pull together and show their resolve and love for one another in this terrible situation, they also talk of being willing to go to war. Let us allow justice and reason to dominate our actions, and be careful who we blame before real evidence is discovered. If we rush into a misdirected witch-hunt, we'll not only disrespect the victims of this attack, we'll also lose the trust and respect of much of the civilized world.

Tuesday, September 11

Some useful information:We hope that you and your loved ones are well.
We reel in pain together, and try to understand why hatred and violence continue to permeate human culture.
Hats off to Louis D. Boccardi, The Associated Press' President and Chief Executive, who is standing up to Bush and his League of Monkeys (including John Ashcroft and in this case, Senator Robert Torricelli, D-NJ) concerning freedom of the press. Our Government subpoenaed a reporter's home telephone records and Boccardi is fighting for symbolism and journalistic freedom, stating that "...symbolism is important in the delicate intersection of press and government in our nation."

Monday, September 10

"Redefining Progress is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization that seeks to ensure a more sustainable and socially equitable world for our children and our children's children." You can determine your Ecological Footprint - according to the quiz, the average American uses 30 acres to support his or her current lifestyle. You can get results for your own in both metric and those measurements Americans continue to insist upon.

Sunday, September 9

In his incredibly rich paintings, new artist Vince Torano attempts to probe the attitudes and behavior of society by exploring the grotesque, the absurd, and our deep-seated preoccupation with affluence and physical beauty.

Friday, September 7

Now this is interesting..."Christianity has been 'almost vanquished' in the UK says the Archbishop of Westminster." Read yesterday's BBC email debate on this topic between Madeleine Pym from the British Humanist Association and Steve Tomkins, a writer on church history and religious satire.

Thursday, September 6

I just purchased a textbook and it has advertisements all over it. This bothers me. (More on this subject later.)
Rose pointed out this Alternet article to me when it first appeared in the editorially weak Ithaca Times a few weeks ago. It's a die-hard lefty writing about feeling guilty for shopping at Wal-Mart (because he knows better). Gee, I thought that if you knew something was wrong, or that it had an adverse affect on society, the correct thing to do was pretty clear: DON'T DO IT. Did I miss the part where things got more complicated than that?

Tuesday, September 4

Sell out? I think definitely so. Ashamed? Of course not! In 2001, selling out is a virtue! To wit, Fay Weldon has written "the first novel commissioned to advertise a particular product." (NYT article; username: "opensewer"; password: "iswatching".)
What? So now "ugliness" is in. And bad 70's decore. What will be the next marketing ploy? We are a sad society - ugliness is not "in" for the right reason...
A quick word from Stephen Hawking about artificial intelligence.

Sunday, September 2

Just what is Big Tobacco smoking? Several weeks ago, OS reader Kory Johnson called our attention to a NYT article entitled, "Tobacco Industry Still Advertises in Magazines Read by Youth." Read the article, and then read Philip Morris' spin on the situation. (NYT login required; username: "opensewer"; password: "iswatching".)

Saturday, September 1

The decline of the brainless-men's-magazine era (i.e., FHM, Maxim, Loaded). Thank GOD! From the article: "As economic times harden...so male angst returns. Or perhaps laddishness was really about male anxiety all along."
Alternet's critical review of the PBS series PlanetWork contained a reference to a somewhat frightening global corporate practice that I first learned about from Franklin Becker at Cornell: Multinational companies are farming many tasks, including telephone customer service, to countries like India where wages are much lower. "Visit your doctor and there's a chance your file, dictated over the phone, will be typed up in India and shot back overnight into the physician's computer." But that's not really the scary part. The scary part is that the Indian workers might speak to you with a perfectly practiced Southern accent, just to make you feel comfortable.
Miriam Carey has mentioned Opensewer as one of the 365 Ways To Meet People In Cleveland (her latest book). It's available on Amazon, if you are interested.