The main reason I started posting links to things that I’ve read and found interesting but that didn’t prompt me to write a full post was the hope that other people would respond by giving me links to things in return. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Still, I hold some hope that this may occur in the future, so I continue to post, from time to time, “Links.”
I didn’t spend as much time this week poking around on the internet. (“Surfing” sounds like ridiculous self-aggrandizement.) While waiting to board the train earlier this week, I looked around the newstand for my usual train magazines. MIT Technology Review had a cover story entitled “Free Speech in the Era of Technological Amplification.” Needless to say, I picked it up since the story fit in so well with my ongoing research on the subject. (Yes, I promise I’ll write more. Or perhaps I should say threaten.) What a disappointment. I feel so lame giving you a link to a crummy, poorly thought out article, centered around a conceit so clumsy that it’s downright embarassing. It seems as if it was written off the cuff by someone who did not one whit of research. It might be acceptable as a post on a private blog, but, when someone is writing for a living, I expect them to do some useful work, not indulge their own vanity. I can indulge my vanity because I do this for free. I wondered how the editor of the magazine let that crap pass muster until I got to the end of the article where the author was identified as the editor in chief. Sorry, but this all I have to offer for this week.
Related to the subject of freedom of speech, I saw Searching for Sugar Man last night, a movie about the muscian Rodriguez. It was a reminder that censorship is used to maintain the position of the people who have the power to censor. A woman working for an archive in South Africa that maintains material that had been censored during the aparthied era takes out a vinyl record of Rodriguez’s album Cold Fact. She shows the track Sugar Man, which has been physically scratched to render it unplayable. Obstensibly, this track was forbidden because it was about drug use, but the viewer is made to understand that the real threat posed by Rodriguez had less to do with drugs but with the deeper message that we need to question society’s assumptions.