You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

June 05, 2007

Harsh But Honest Criticism From A Bold Leader

My friend Rob sent me this recent commencement address, in which the speaker didn't hesitate to tell some uncomfortable truths:

While it’s wonderful to have the world literally at our fingertips, the tsumani of information at our beck and call has the potential to drown us and actually make us less informed...Surfing the web may be fast and fun, but sometimes pursuing knowledge requires you to go in the deep end — and not just dip your toe in the shallow water...

The proliferation of celebrity magazines makes Lindsey Lohan’s latest stint in rehab seem more important than what’s happening in Darfur.

The kind of fluff that accosts us on the newsstand may seem like harmless fun, but it should also come with a warning label that says it can rot your mind and distort your values.

Wow, that's great! If only the person saying this had some influence in this area! But sadly, they are completely powerless.

COMING UP: I fearlessly attack this website for its many deep flaws.

Posted at June 5, 2007 09:32 AM | TrackBack

Ah, Katie Couric.  I was wondering why that "world at our fingertips/tsunami of information" bit seemed so trite and vapid.

Posted by: Dayv at June 5, 2007 10:22 AM

And having done a little reporting of my own, I’ve learned a lot about this school and its legitimate bragging rights as a college of firsts: The first to sponsor a scientific expedition back in 1835; the first to build an astronomical observatory in America in 1838.

So, reporting = Wikipedia? Or, = info on the college's web site?

Posted by: Lame Man at June 5, 2007 10:47 AM

So much for your "more candles, less cursing" discussion, Jonathan. Now you're kicking Katie Couric around?

It seems almost like you're making Ms. Couric's point for her: it's too easy to just pull a few crumbs of info off a website somewhere, slap it on your own website with a couple snarky comments, and feel like you're accomplishing something.

Snarky is fun, but not enough. For example, sometimes you need to carry out thorough yet angry analyses of the correct method for measuring the U.S. share of global GDP in the postwar period. If only I could find a website that does that!

Posted by: Whistler Blue at June 5, 2007 02:22 PM

WB, It's a blog. Those are places where people write about they're thinking about; a log on the web, if you will. For a lot of people, that's not much more than "X was a great film", or "Hmmm... I need to feed my cat" Jonathan's thoughts are more interesting than that on the whole.

Also, some people are good at being acerbic, some at being constructive, some at providing analysis, etc. I guess one should have some diversity of activity, but focus on what one is good at.

Posted by: me at June 7, 2007 09:33 AM