Hundreds of us gathered last Sunday night in Prague, to conjure the spirit of Vaclav Havel at the first Forum 2000 conference in 16 years that he wouldn't attend himself. Olda Czerny, who faithfully served in Havel's cabinet and ran these conferences, also died last year. We were feeling sad about all this when Jan Urban, the journalist who taught us how hard it is to "teach old cats to bark," introduced a video of Havel onstage, carrying a guitar.
Central European University http://www.ceu.hu is a unique place, a gem. It is fragile. What happens here is extremely difficult to do. CEU takes people from damaged countries and helps them work for a better world. It encourages critical thinking, and seeks an honest engagement with history. It has no dominant nationality; students and faculty are drawn from over 100 countries. They embrace change, but work to channel it in positive directions...
OK, I understand how Hilary Rosen feels about women and work, and also why Ann Romney is stirring the sympathy vote: "Democrat Says Ann Romney “Has Never Worked A Day In Her Life” http://politi.co/HBPadI If truth be told, I got into the same fix myself years ago, when I went back to my high school to give a talk, and said that I couldn't be "just a housewife, raising kids, baking cupcakes and tending my garden" when the world was in flames with the civil rights, anti-war and other movements. There was an audible gasp.
So how far should real journalists go in saying that someone is “misstating” the facts, i.e. lying? This was raised recently by the NYTimes ombudsman. http://t.co/rn2GLZrx ...Everyone came down on the poor fellow to say DUH, of course, that’s what real journalists are supposed to do! But it’s not so simple. Most politics is entirely faith-based. Why else would someone listen to those blow-hards on radio and tv, who lie day after day to paint a scary world full of conspiracies?
Report from Budapest
It was a bit dizzying to have both Larry Lessig, who loves the Internet and social networks, and Evgeny Mrozov, who doesn’t, in town the same week. Larry held forth Monday on how money drives the legislative process in Congress, and Evgeny gave us some dark thoughts on Friday from his Net Delusion book about how slacktivism can divert us from genuine civic activity, even as dictators effectively nail folks down with heat-seeking propaganda tools and tracking technologies.
The quote of the day comes from, of all people, a GOP President of long ago: "Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this--in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it.
Why should we worry about the death of newspapers?
Reading any newspaper is pretty much a two-dimensional, impersonal, top-down, one-way, and often stupefying experience. News reports are infuriatingly self-referential and incomplete. If they stir us up they don’t give us any place to go. Is this civic engagement? The endless stream of revelations and problems, celebrities and disasters, seems disconnected from our own personal choices and public solutions. Too often, newspaper readers feel like “passengers in the back seat of the car, howling at the driver,” as MIT Prof.
…MIT Prof. William Uricchio observed that old media make us feel like “a passenger in the back seat of the car, howling at the driver.”
…Phil Balboni debated a skeptical MIT student about news “objectivity” at Balboni’s new online GlobalPost venture.