Tag Archives: Scholars and Rogues

New: S&R persona for Firefox

If you’re a Firefox user, you’ve probably upgraded to v3.6 by now. If not, you should – it has some great new features, especially in the arena of privacy. 3.6 also has a cool new personalization feature called “Personas”; this one lets you import all kinds of cool design into the look and feel of your browser. There are thousands of options, including everything from Web sites to cartoon characters to cars to sports teams to, well, vampires. Of course. It is 2010, after all.

Oh, and now there’s a Scholars & Rogues persona. Because you just can’t be one of the hip kids without it, I suppose. Here’s the how-to:

Y’all have a nice day.

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Apathy, Lippmann and PT Barnum

My colleague Russ Wellen has a nice piece over at Scholars & Rogues that asks “is apathy socially redeeming?” I especially like how he manages to get through the entire post without once resorting to the word “sheep”….

Snark aside, there is much to consider here. For sure, the complexity of modern life is a problem. People, even dumb ones, can often find their way to workable solutions when they’re dealing with something they can get their heads around. But as you note, there is so much to know that it’s impossible for even the most brilliant minds in our society to know it all. Continue reading Apathy, Lippmann and PT Barnum

The Best CDs of 2009, pt. 1: the Gold LPs

Best-CDs-of-2k92009 was arguably the best year for new music since 1979, and that’s saying a lot, even if I’m wrong. For whatever reason, this year was just packed with incredibly great CDs from bands we knew were great, bands we didn’t know were this good, bands we hadn’t heard from in a long time and bands we’d never heard of, period. The result – it was all I could do to keep up, and I fully expect to spend the next couple of years tripping over even more awesome releases from 2009 that I missed this year. So in advance, apologies to those artists I didn’t find my way to in 2k9.

So here’s the format. There are usually three tiers: Gold LP, Platinum LP and CD of the Year. (The LP is taken from my personal site, Lullaby Pit, which is where this annual tradition started several years ago. And the fact that albums used to be LPs. Get it?) This year the glut of outstanding CDs have necessitated the addition of a new level – SuperPlatinum – because a few of those platinum discs are a notch above the rest. Over the next few days, then, the Scholars & Rogues/Lullaby Pit Best CDs of 2009 will be rolled out in four installments.

Up first, in roughly alphabetical order… Continue reading The Best CDs of 2009, pt. 1: the Gold LPs

Why American media has such a signal-to-noise problem, pt. 2

Part 2 of a series; Previously: What Bell Labs and French Intellectuals Can Tell Us About Cronkite and Couric

The Signal-to-Noise Journey of American Media

The 20th Century represented a Golden Age of Institutional Journalism. The Yellow Journalism wars of the late 19th Century gave way to a more responsible mode of reporting built on ethical and professional codes that encouraged fairness and “objectivity.” (Granted, these concepts, like their bastard cousin “balance,” are not wholly unproblematic. Still, they represented a far better way of conducting journalism than we had seen before.) It’s probably not idealizing too much to assert that reporting in the Cronkite Era, for instance, was characterized by a commitment to rise above partisanship and manipulation. The journalist was expected to hold him/herself to a higher standard and to serve the public interest. These professionals – and I have met a few who are more than worthy of the title – believed they had a duty to search for the facts and to present them in a fashion that was as free of bias as possible.

In other words, their careers, like that of Claude Shannon, were devoted to maximizing the signal in the system – the system here being the “marketplace of ideas.” Continue reading Why American media has such a signal-to-noise problem, pt. 2

Still not ready to make nice: what does the Dixie Chicks saga tell us about freedom in America?

We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas. – Natalie Maines

I don’t even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. – Merle Haggard

Last night over dinner the subject of The Dixie Chicks came up, and I got mad all over again. Which is unfortunate, because when you think about artists that talented the last thing on your mind ought to be anger. But still, it’s been six long years now since “the top of the world came crashing down,” and I can’t quite free myself of my rage at the staggering ignorance that led so many Americans to piss on the 1st Amendment by attempting to destroy the careers of Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson. Continue reading Still not ready to make nice: what does the Dixie Chicks saga tell us about freedom in America?

The Scholars & Rogues Manifesto: what are we doing here?

It has been alleged that Scholars & Rogues is not, strictly speaking, a political blog. Sure, we write about overtly political issues and devote our share of time to things like media policy, energy and the environment, business and the economy, and international dynamics. Yes, we were credentialed to cover the DNC, but we don’t really do hard, insider, by god politics. Daily Kos is a political blog. Firedoglake is a political blog. Little Green Footballs, The Agonist, Politico, The Seminal – these are real poliblogs.

S&R, on the other hand, writes about music. About literature and poetry. About art. Education. Sports. Culture and popular culture. The Ramsey case and what it tells us about the state of media. And now that the election is over, S&R is writing about politics less than ever.

So really, what is S&R? Continue reading The Scholars & Rogues Manifesto: what are we doing here?

Where Are You Online?: Episode 1 – Political Media

Back during the DNC S&R hooked up with the team from Zero Coordinate and EccentricProduction on the Tent State march and our interview with Lee Camp. Natalie, Paul and Chris were in town primarily to work on a documentary – a production I’ve been waiting on pretty anxiously.

Part 1 arrived today, and it provides a perspective on the process that most people probably haven’t encountered before.

Where are you Online” is a docuwebisode project exploring the shift from entertainment to ‘intertainment’.

We have a unique opportunity to document a shift in technology, entertainment, and our whole society’s view on “Who can be an artist?” Continue reading Where Are You Online?: Episode 1 – Political Media