Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Be careful what you wish for

A little levity before linking to a disturbing Newsweek piece about the increasing presence of 'religious-Zionists' in the Israeli army. In the past, we heard resentful complaints by secular Israelis that the Hasidim got all the government perks without having to serve in the army. Suddenly, there's worry that more and more officers are wearing knitted yarmulkes and sympathetic to the settler movement. The author asks, will these soldiers obey their commanders or their rabbis? File under: Be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Facebook Effect

Reducing "people" to "users" and "consumers" through profiles designed to define them as such. (Zuckerberg: "A lot of the information people produce is inherently commercial. And if you look at someone's profile, almost all the fields that define them are in some way commercial - music, movies, books, products, games. It's a part of our identity as people that we like something, but it also has commercial value.")...What made social networking such a big deal was the fact that people liked being used. Anything was better than the loneliness and boredom of the Internet and the derangements brought on by blogger psychosis. And so social networking became a drug. Early on, Facebook executives called the effect their product had "the trance," understanding that what they were doing was essentially pushing a narcotic (not coincidentally, their first big advertiser would be a gambling site).

Read the entire review here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Poets are masters of concision - but this is ridiculous

How to reduce a twenty page film treatment into fourteen lines - and rhyming, iambic pentameter to boot! A battle of wills to be sure. Shakespeare himself would be impressed.