Samir’s Selection 09/03/2015 (p.m.)

  • tags: summer time loss regret melancholy ageing childhood FOMO TimKreider quote

    • The summer looked as wide open and shimmering with possibility as the summers of childhood.
    • Every reminder of forgone pleasures — the empty hammock I hardly ever lay in, a little sugar-cube melon that went bad before I’d even cut one slice from it — makes me want to cry. This end-of-summer melancholy is a common experience, even a cliché. Part of it of course is just my dread and hatred of back-to-school time, unchanged since childhood. The whole world of work and productivity still seems to me like an unconscionable waste of time; the only parts of life that really matter are the summers, the in-between times — the idle goofing off.
    • I use the word “never” in my Icelandic lament because there really is attached to it a sense of desolation, as of a possibility lost forever. For me, at least, it feels less like “melancholy,” which is a gentle, almost pleasant emotion, and more like terror. It’s only a superficial throb of a pain that goes much deeper, in the same way that those few oddly cool days in August are the first innocuous evidence of an entire planet tilting inexorably into the shadow. It’s entangled, somewhere down there, with the existential panic of aging. Of time passing, the calendar running out, things left undone.
    • But at some point you start to suspect that you might not end up doing that stuff after all, and have to consider the possibility that the life you have right now might pretty much be it.
    • I suspect that the way I feel now, at summer’s end, is about how I’ll feel at the end of my life, assuming I have time and mind enough to reflect: bewildered by how unexpectedly everything turned out, regretful about all the things I didn’t get around to, clutching the handful of friends and funny stories I’ve amassed, and wondering where it all went. And I’ll probably still be evading the same truth I’m evading now: that the life I ended up with, much as I complain about it, was pretty much the one I chose. And my dissatisfactions with it are really with my own character, with my hesitation and timidity.
    • how I long to go out West again someday — to drive some blue highway in Nevada or Utah until there’s absolutely nothing around me, then stop the car, in the middle of the road, maybe, and get out and just stand there, where I can see the horizon in every direction, and smell the air and feel the sun and listen to the silence of the desert. I have this idea that if I could do this, time might hold still for a second, and I would know, for just a moment, what it feels like to be here.

    tags: dataprotection privacy ECJ Google search internet secrecy freeexpression trade culture Europe USculture

    • The European Union’s Court of Justice last year came up with the “right to be forgotten” when it ordered Google to remove links to news stories in search results about a Spanish lawyer who complained about factual reporting on his troubled finances. The court said the articles violated his privacy, even though the accounts were true, and ordered search engines to delist links that are “inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive.”
    • This isn’t about privacy—it’s about hiding. Privacy laws protect people from facts about them becoming public. The right to be forgotten is instead a right to make it hard for others to find already public information. News articles remain online, but no longer appear in search results, undermining the main tool employed by Internet users to find reliable information.
    • Google appealed, saying a European requirement to censor search results globally “is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.” Google noted: “There are innumerable examples around the world where content that is declared illegal under the laws of one country would be deemed legal in others,” citing as examples Thailand’s making it a crime to criticize its king, Turkey’s criminalizing some political speech and Russia’s banning what it calls “gay propaganda.”
    • As Google put it, if the search engine allows France to edit its results globally, “We would find ourselves in a race to the bottom,” where “in the end, the Internet would only be as free as the world’s least free place.”
    • last week the British Information Commissioner’s Office demanded that Google not include the paper’s follow-up reporting in search results. In other words, Google must remove links to news articles reporting about its being ordered to remove links to news articles.
    • The European discovery of a right to hide is a reminder that the values at the core of the Internet reflect its roots in the U.S. The open Internet was built on American exceptionalism favoring free speech and permissionless innovation, not censorship and search algorithms vetted by lawyers.
  • tags: ShashiTharoor India-culture India-politics journalism editorialpolicy broadcasting printmedia ethics badjournalism trust accountability

    • (Indian TV epitomises the old crack about why television is called a “medium”: “Because it is neither rare nor well done.”)
    • The result has been, to put it mildly, disturbing. Our media, in its rush to air the story, has fallen prey to the inevitable rush to judgement: it has too often become a willing accomplice of the motivated leak and the malicious allegation, which journalists today have neither the time nor the inclination to check or verify.
    • The damage is done in a blaze of lurid headlines – and rectification, if it comes at all, comes too feebly and too late to undo the irreparable damage to innocent people’s reputations.
    • The distinctions amongst fact, opinion and speculation, reportage and rumour, sourced information and unfounded allegation, that are drummed into journalism students’ heads the world over, has blurred into irrelevance in today’s Indian media.
    • motivated leaks, with discussion shows on the voyeuristic Indian TV channels debating accusations and imputations with zero evidence or even elementary research behind any of the statements aired
    • Manipulated and malicious claims are reported uncritically, without editors asking even the most basic questions about their plausibility.

      Part of the problem is a disinclination to take the trouble to research or verify a story, when so many are willing to feed you their versions of it.

      Ranting anchors

      The cavalier attitude to facts is compounded by a reluctance to issue corrections, which are virtually unknown in the media world.

    • The airing of opinions is the cheapest way to fill a broadcast hour; ranting anchors score the highest ratings.
    • As a result, trust in the media is eroding. A friend summarised the problem succinctly for me: “When I was young, my father wouldn’t believe anything unless it was printed in the Times of India. Now, he doesn’t believe anything if it is printed in the Times of India.”
    • They provide the information that enables a free citizenry to make the choices of who governs them and how, and ensures that those who govern will remain accountable to those who put them there.

      It is the media’s job to look critically at elected officials’ actions (or inaction), rather than at marginalia that have no impact on the public welfare.

      Instead, the media’s obsession with the superficial and the sensational trivialises public discourse, abdicates the watchdog responsibility that must be exercised by free media in a democracy, and distracts the public from the real questions of accountability with which the governed must confront the government.

      The free press is both the mortar that binds together the bricks of our country’s freedom, and the open window embedded in those bricks. No Indian democrat would call for censorship, or for controls on the free press: what we want is not less journalism, but better journalism.

      Government needs a free and professional media to keep it honest and efficient, to serve as both mirror and scalpel.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s