Social Network As Kingmaker

Jonathan Zittrain is concerned about Facebook’s ability to swing elections: All sorts of factors contribute to what Facebook or Twitter present in a feed, or what Google or Bing show us in search results. Our expectation is that those intermediaries will provide open conduits to others’ content and that the variables in their processes just help yield … Continue reading Social Network As Kingmaker

Politics From Another Planet

Tim Kreider explains why science fiction tends be our most politically engaged genre of literature: Science fiction is an inherently political genre, in that any future or alternate history it imagines is a wish about How Things Should Be (even if it’s reflected darkly in a warning about how they might turn out). And How … Continue reading Politics From Another Planet

Symbolism And Neutrality

Jon Rowe ABBEYDavidMcNew:Getty commitment in an emotional and sexual world which often pulls us away from that. It encourages shared sacrifice; it instills the disciplines of shared living; it promotes thrift; it integrates gay people into their own families and society; it harms no-one. In that sense I'm a weak libertarian, believing in a minimal state that can nonetheless encourage core shared values and social goods and treats the equal inclusion of minorities as something worth sacrificing for. That's the social conservative side of marriage equality – and the evolution of gay culture even in the past decade shows how that could occur, especially as the first generation of gay kids grows up knowing in advance that marriage is an option.

In fact, a great deal of this symbolism has to do with gay kids more than adults. If you are part of a family and your society tells you at an early age that you can have no family, no spouse and no integration into the world alongside your brothers and sisters in the future as an adult, that's a brutal psychic wound that leads to all sorts of subsequent problems and pathologies. I'd rather help mitigate that for the sake of some desperate young people, often isolated and alone and give them a chance for a solid future, with their families and communities as they have grown up in them. That's why I'm not a full-bore libertarian. And that's why marriage equality remains as much a conservative cause as a liberal one.

Secondly, Jon's solution is simply quixotic to me:

The Best Of The Dish Today

Another note on the swift descent of ethical journalism. One concern I’ve repeatedly voiced is that at some point, corporations will simply dispense with “sponsored content” on existing publications and create newspapers and magazines for themselves. Since the Fourth Estate has already abandoned any pretense of being independent of advertizers for their content, it’s a … Continue reading The Best Of The Dish Today

Is John Oliver A Journalist? Ctd

Several readers comment on our praise of Last Week Tonight: My brother and I have fallen into something of a Monday-morning ritual where we rave about how great John Oliver’s expose-of-the-week had been the night before. Not because the extra 8 minutes have afforded him the equivalent of brutally delivered “long-form comedy-news journalism”, but because Oliver routinely taps … Continue reading Is John Oliver A Journalist? Ctd

Paying For A Faster Stream?

As Comcast and Apple consider teaming up for a new streaming video service, Gautham Nagesh reports that any potential deal “would likely draw close regulatory scrutiny and spark a new debate over whether [a cable company] can carve out a part of its pipe for content providers.” Matthew C. Klein absorbs the news: According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is trying to persuade Comcast … Continue reading Paying For A Faster Stream?

Comwarnercablecast, Ctd

Looking at Comcast’s move to take over Time Warner Cable, Felix Salmon worries more about monopolizing broadband than cable: [T]he US has something approaching a national broadband crisis on its hands. In comparison with the rest of the developed world, the US has slower broadband speeds and higher broadband prices than just about anybody. When you do find exceptions, they … Continue reading Comwarnercablecast, Ctd


Representatives from Comcast and Time Warner, when reached for comment. — Wil 'Ban the Nazis' Wheaton (@wilw) February 13, 2014   Daniel Gross explains the news of Comcast trying to buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion as “a defensive move—on the part of both companies”: [T]he big cable companies have been losing customers and market … Continue reading Comwarnercablecast