Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Mention In The Independent

Too bad I stumbled upon an email from The Independent's Tehran correspondent, Angus McDowall too late. The email ended up in my Yahoo email which I only use as a spam trap.

An article was published today about the Iranian public's ho-hum reaction to the "Holocaust" cartoon exhibition. I was pleased to see that I was treated fairly.

"The cartoons included US, European, Brazilian, Korean and Chinese entries. However, the US cartoonist David Baldinger said that his drawing "in no way ridiculed the Holocaust".

It is best to let people determine what is propaganda and what is not. Most of the time intelligent people know the difference. Sane people, I would think, don't place value on government statements refuting the Jewish Holocaust's historical fact. I doubt Iranian president Ahmadinejad even believes his statements. He is engaging in what I would call "political mooning". A bare ass sticking in the world's face gets a lot of attention.

According to the article "Officials said that the exhibition championed freedom of speech, but yesterday they closed Iran's most popular reformist newspaper. One alleged offence was its publication of a cartoon which appeared to show President Ahmadinejad as a donkey."

I believe many Iranian cartoonists hope one day to have true free speech. Unfortunately, a government that executes teenage boys for being homosexual would hardly care about the freedom to make political statements through cartooning. My personal feeling is this: more can be accomplished through interpersonal dialogue between people than the sabre rattling and childish lack of diplomacy exhibited by world leaders. I will continue to engage my Iranian cartoonist friends for this reason. The less people fear each other because of the lack of truthful information, the less likely they can be whipped into a war frenzy. Take note of the most pro war population of the USA. They seem to be the most xenophobic, world history and geographic deficient group of people.


servant said...


Thank you for this window into our world. And thank you for representing the United States so diplomatically in this important dialogue. Your disposition toward propoganda is perfect in your words and in your art.

There is an important distinction I think that needs to be brought to consciousness. Xenophobia in Iran is much more understandable than Xenophobia in the west. We should know better. In their frame of reference, it is obvious that they are under assault by preditory cultures with effective war machines. I'm not excusing any government that would use propoganda against it's own people - a la "Path to 9/11". What I am excusing is the responsibility of people to see through it who are inside it.

Iran indeed has an effective form of Memory Hole management in Orwellian terms. And their Ministry of Truth may have the ability to murder ideas and people, but our Ministry of Truth is just as virulent and nasty. Let us not believe "they" are the only ones who have problems with propoganda.

For me, this dialogue is about the debilitated integrity of multi-culturalism. It is about raising consciousness of the validity of diversity and tolerance. Our culture in the west has the power to impose monoculture upon the rest of the world - to install the McDonalds business model and Coke machines like the Borg install implants in the races they assimilate.

We more like the Borg than the Federation in my humble opinion. And the message that goes out to our "customers" is loud and clear.

"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."

Am I a bad citizen because I am anti-assimilation? Yes. I am a bad citizen.

Anonymous said...

Hello again David. Sorry to abuse the comment moderator, but the beta.blogger will not allow me to create a link back to my story about your story at Ressentiment. It seems that exclusion is a two way street with beta.

Let it be written: No beta blog shall talk to any non-beta blog! Because we said so that's why!

As it be written so shall it be done.


David said...

your comments are always very appreciated. You thoughts are much more coherent than mine so I am grateful for whatever you submit. I believe the commenting issues are being worked on so hopefully everything will be back to normal soon. I do like using the Blogger Beta much more than the old "edit template" method. All that css code just gives me a headache.

servant said...

Yes. I created a beta blog and liked it a lot better. I especially like the tags feature and the "Read more ..." feature which lets you post only a summary of each post on the main page to keep things neat.

In fact I started a draft post about the problems we've been having with authentication with the "legacy" blogger. But I got onto something else before I finished it. If I had "tags" I wouldn't mind poluting my blog with technology related stuff, but I want to keep it on topic until Palestine gets resolved.

Long time, eh?

So I will leave my poop on the scoop here for your readers instead.

I found an article on blogger help which describes the authentication feature as an interface to the Flicker friends feature.

As a systems architect as part of my role as jack-of-all-trades programming role, I've studied several X.400 Directory Services, so I understand what Google/Blogger is up against trying to collapse authentication schemes across application silos.

The directories themselves are easy enough to maintain for trusted users. But when it comes to less trusted users subscribing to services things get complicated. If they are building bridges to Flickr, the architects are mindful of the complex scenario of granular access to concentric circles of "friends".

Current Blogger customers only have one level of authenentication. You accept anonymous comments or you don't.

Flicker gives you more granular control than that in that you can admit "friends" or "groups" to your online contents. This moves the authentication scheme out into the code. The web server ends up having to check first who is browsing your on-line conent and decide what they are allowed to see based on the user's specification.

This is the Holy Grail of web 2.0 technology. If Google/Blogger can pull it off they can copy that model to their work group spaces such as Calendar and Spreadsheet.

I have a feeling that they are looking at Microsoft's Active directory model and saying to themselves, "how did these people skip third grade? Look at all the things you can do with this."