Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, December 16, 2002day link 

 Misinterpreting Osama's Message
picture In this article on AlterNet, Diane Perlman points out correctly that nobody seemed to pay any attention to what Osama bin Laden actually said in his last few 'official' messages.
"While media experts were preoccupied with analyzing Osama bin Laden's voice, they failed to comprehend, or even read, his actual words. Speculation about hidden meanings and secret clues totally ignored the obvious intended message, which is so clear that it doesn't even need decoding.[...]

All of bin Laden's messages have a consistent theme, emotional tone and logic. All are about reciprocity, expressed in many different ways. The message from Nov. 12, 2002, began, 'The road to safety begins by ending the aggression. Reciprocal treatment is part of justice. The incidents that have taken place ... are only reactions and reciprocal actions.'[...]

Bin Laden's messages are misinterpreted as unconditional threats and vows to attack. This is incorrect. They are all conditional warnings that whatever we do, they will respond in kind. What is missed by media and political leaders, whether intentionally or unconsciously, is the conditionality, the centrality of our role in provoking retaliation or preventing retaliation and reducing terrorism."
Read the whole article. Of course none of that legitimizes what Bin Laden is doing, but she's right. He says he'll pay back the aggressions, but that he, for example, wouldn't use nuclear weapons first. He is talking about reciprocity. Paying back. Retaliating. Evening the score. But that is not of much comfort, as an immature U.S. government continously supports and carries out plenty of aggressive and oppressive campaigns overseas that he and other terrorists might find ample reason to retaliate against. The escalation could quickly be stopped if the U.S. stopped trying to always get the last word in terms of retaliation, and if it stopped the dangerous planning for preemptive strikes. And, even better, if the U.S. would actually listen, and discover what it is people have been so mad about in the first place.
[ | 2002-12-16 16:36 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Bloggers Unite!
Doc Searls: "I came to the conclusion ... that blogging is about nothing more than writing — and that more of us will be writing to more people, with more effect, because of it. Every new blogging tool is one more step in the evolution of the Web as, literally, the ultimate writing medium: one that lets anybody write for everybody."

Britt Blaser: "The problem with a planet of bloggers is, how can we quantify the clustering of discrete trends and imperatives the bloggers feel strongly about? My proposal continues to be a coherent blog aggregation protocol:

Culture-wide Blog-based Knowledge-Logs
Let's take all blogs' RSS feeds and slice and dice them to aggregate our combined sensibilities.
1) Create a mechanism for people to identify and define the issues they care about, and the major positions that surround each issue.
2) Inspire and help bloggers to structure their RSS feeds to expose which issues they're discussing and where they stand on each issue.
3) Let bloggees indicate where they stand on each issue as they view it. Compile all these data points and let a million flowers bloom."
Yep, we'll need something new and better. I follow around 30 weblogs through their syndicated RSS feeds, aggregated in Radio Userland on my computer. I look at maybe 10 more directly. And I pay attention to the 50 or so newslogs that are automatically aggregated in the NCN member area. But otherwise, what I run into depends on luck and synchronicity.

There are around 15,000 weblogs that are tracked by the prevalent blog ecosystem sites. And there are maybe 50 or 100,000 total. And, as Doc Searls says, it is basically writing. People writing words. But it also emerging as something more - a grassroots global brain of sorts. But to make it actually work well at that, we need better tools, better structure, better ways of navigating the whole thing. Beyond being just 100,000 daily journals, or 100,000 soapboxes and megaphones, I want to sense what it adds up to. How do the winds blow? Where does the grass grow?
Britt Blaser: "I want a new superorganism - a culture - that reflects my values and beliefs, and I want that culture to take over the world as soon as possible. I want freedom from want through economics based on abundance, not scarcity. I want young people raised by adults confident enough to be gentle, reasonable and informed enough to mentor them skillfully. I guess I want to live in Jean-Luc Picard's world. Above all, I want patriarchy and fundamentalism to be a distant bad dream. Is that too much to ask?"
No, it isn't. I want it too.
[ | 2002-12-16 21:09 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

picture "Metalogue (1996, 3 min., play video) by Peter Rose has been described as a cross between a speech and a fireworks display. Digital editing techniques have been used to reflect and refract a complex monologue about memory, time, and language. By embedding the corresponding gestures in a spectacular diachronic array, Rose creates a new form of poetry. Metalogue won a Bronze Award at the New York Short Film and Video Festival." I'm not entirely sure what it means, but it is kind of deep and cool.
[ | 2002-12-16 22:08 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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