In this edition: the new online puritanism, capitalists continuing to do Bad Shit, building communities, engaging with our media, and rage as a superpower.
Tag: Politics Page 1 of 2
Toad is very rich and a bit of a fop, with a penchant for Harris tweed suits. He owns his own horse, and is able to indulge his impulsive desires, such as punting, house boating and hot air ballooning. Toad is intelligent, creative and resourceful; however, he is also narcissistic, self-centred almost to the point of sociopathy, and completely lacking in even the most basic common sense.
Let’s call him Mr. Toad.
I am not afraid of the bogeymen.
This summer, my landlord was arrested for possession of child pornography. My reaction was mixed. Revulsion, yes. Disappointment. Pity. That deep melancholy that accompanies a reminder of the world’s dark corners. I felt a lot of emotions, none of them happy.
But even on the day I found out, when I saw his pathetic mugshot and imagined how fundamentally unsettled the parents in our building must have been to hear the news, even when my blood was hottest, if you had asked me to grant the government wide-reaching powers to capture other people like my landlord… I would have said no.
Sexual predators. Pedophiles. Terrorists. These are the bogeymen they warn us of. “Beware,” they hiss, and they gesture at the dark, foreboding closet as their grip on our shoulder grows painfully tight.
I am not afraid of the bogeymen. What I fear is something else entirely.
A month or so ago, as part of a joint field trip with my Lenses of Culture and Waste and Pollution classes, we went to Osaka to visit the Osaka Human Rights Museum. Organizing thirty American students and getting to Osaka, about an hour away on the train, was an interesting (read: hair-tuggingly frustrating) experience, but when we actually got there, the museum was quite the sight.
Stale Content Alert!
This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.
I’ve never before been as terrified by the state of American politics as I am now.
A lot of the time, when I’ve written about politics, it’s been about single issues. One of my earliest blog posts ever was about the proposed amendment to ban the burning of the American flag. Recently, I blogged about Net Neutrality (in response to an issue in Canadian politics, but relevant in the US nonetheless). I’ve been frustrated over individual cases here and there, but never in my life have I been so honestly outraged and frightened by the state of politics.
Maybe I’m just getting older and realizing how messed up things are, but I think there’s more. I think things have taken a nasty turn recently. I can’t pin a finger on it– I don’t know when it happened or what caused it– but its many symptoms are starting to make me wonder just how diseased the entire system really is. It’s at the point that I’m eager to leave next year, and I’m sincerely considering the possibility of moving away after college. If these trends continue, I don’t want to be anywhere near the US.
Put simply, I’m scared shitless by the amount of power the government is accruing, in whose interests it’s being used, and how little oversight or regulation there seems to be.
Just this week, Canada approved usage-based billing for the internet. What’s this mean? Now, Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can place caps on the amount of bandwidth subscribers can use, and charge them heftily for crossing that cap. While this may make sense in the abstract, the implementation is where it’s all shot to hell: Bell Canada is switching to an incredibly low 25GB monthly cap, and is charging almost $2 for each gigabyte past that cap. (The cost to Bell to deliver a gigabyte of data is far less than a penny, for reference.)
This is bad in so many ways.
The leaders of Myanmar and Belarus, or Thailand and Russia, can now rightly say to us “You went after Wikileaks’ domain name, their hosting provider, and even denied your citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant and all targeting overseas entities, simply because you decided you don’t like the site. […]
The leaders of Myanmar and Belarus, or Thailand and Russia, can now rightly say to us “You went after Wikileaks’ domain name, their hosting provider, and even denied your citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant and all targeting overseas entities, simply because you decided you don’t like the site. If that’s the way governments get to behave, we can live with that.”
Clay Shirky, “Wikileaks and the Long Haul“