erik lundegaard

Wednesday November 25, 2009

Lancelot Links

Had Lynn Vincent, Sarah, or Meg called me before Lynn had finished writing Going Rogue, I would have told her that in a single paragraph Lynn/Sarah got almost every one of their facts about me, other than that I am an attorney, wrong. While I probably once was, I haven’t been a “prominent” attorney in Alaska in years. While I am a registered Democrat, my personal politics are hardly “liberal.” To the extent anyone cares, I am a social libertarian who is an Eisenhower era deficit hawk who agrees with Teddy and Frank Roosevelt that the principal responsibility of government is to save capitalism from itself. And while during the presidential campaign several of my ‘Governor Girl Reports’ were posted by individuals other than me on the Huffington Post and Atlantic Monthly web sites, none of those musings “detailed an ethics attack strategy.”

  • Clay Shirky takes on the issue of what becomes authoritative in our culture, and what's becoming authoritative in Internet culture (and thus our new culture), and how they differ. Fascinating piece. He's just laying it out, seemingly unconcerned (he always seems unconcerned), but his description alarms me for, I guess, two reasons. One, even though they've rarely done me good, and even though they've stumbled at times, I haven't given up on the old authorities: The New York Times, Merriam-Webster, etc., and I still don't trust, but admit to being amazed by, enterprises like Wikipedia. Two: His description of algorithmic authority reminds me of nothing so much as how investment banks bundle mortgage securities. Individually, they're risky. Bundle them, chop them up, and sell the sections and the risk is made diffuse. Which works untll everyone gets too careless. Which they always do. But Shirkey's a must-read. The obvious joke is that he's an authority on this matter. To play with an example he uses: there's a world of difference between “Some guy on the Internet said so” and “Clay Shirkey said so.” In fact, the problem with the former sentence, the lack of its authoriy, may be less the “Internet” reference and more the “some guy” reference. At least the Internet is specific.
  • Some crazy, lovely person has compiled the 100 greatest lines from the five seasons of “The Wire.” Most of my favorites (Bunk: “Shit is fucked”) didn't make the cut but, among the ones that did, I'm partial to these:
    • Omar: “I never put dirt on anyone who wasn't in the game.” Bunk: “A man must have a code.” Omar: “Oh, no doubt.”
    • Frank Sobotka: “We used to make shit in this country. Build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket.”
    • Prop Joe: “You don't think I'm gonna send any of my people up against Brother? Sheeeyit, that nigger got more bodies on him than a Chinese cemetery.”
    • Reverend: “A good church man is always up in everybody's shit. That's how we do.”
    • Det. Freamon: “You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money and you don't know where the fuck it's going to take you.”
    • Russian mobster Sergie Malatov, talking about a dead body: “Did he have hands? Did he have a face? Yes? Then it wasn't us.”
    • Bodie: “This game is rigged, man. We like the little bitches on the chessboard.”
  • Jim Walsh on Ondi Timoner's documentary “We Live in Public” and the way the thing you're using right now is changing you and the world. A Timoner quote:

“The thing that freaks me out is that there are only so many hours in a day, and it’s so easy to create volume online, of emails and messages and correspondence,” says Timoner from her home in Los Angeles. “So it’s like two lives we’re living at the same time, and the real one is getting more and more compromised by the virtual one. You have to ask yourself, `Why am I on here? Why am I posting this online? Why am I still on here after two hours?’ ”

  • Now go outside and play.
Posted at 06:08 AM on Wednesday November 25, 2009 in category Lancelot Links  
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