The Column of Lasting Insignificance: December 29, 2007
“Without any meaningful incentive from the US to be friendly, Iran will keep meddling in Iraq and installing nuclear centrifuges. This will trigger a response from the hardliners in the White House who feel it is their moral duty to deal with Iran before the Democrats take over American foreign policy.”
— The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran that the White House doesn’t want you to Know by John H. Richardson in the October Esquire
THE DAY WHEN every one of us will be sending our avatars into cyberspace to live a parallel life is fast approaching, according to Forbes which reports the growing success of Kaneva virtual world which, unlike Second Life, encourages participants to represent their actual selves. Geared to the 18-34 age group (but doubtless to be emulated by other worlds for the rest of us) is “a virtual world version of MySpace,” the mag says, in which “you will walk through virtual malls together and dance the night away at virtual nightclubs,” Kaneva, launched last March, claims to have 800,000 members, compared with Linden Lab’s Second Life of 11 million.
IMAGINE OPENING YOUR bottled soft drink and feeling it getting colder in your hand. That’s what will happen when Coca Cola launches its new technology next year — a mechanism inside the bottle allowing ice cubes to form when the cap is twisted off. The experiment will begin in the U.K. and eventually spread to all Coca Cola brands in the U.S.
CURRENTLY BEING EDITED is the feature-length documentary Give It Up, the first inside look at some of the aggressive papparazi whose aggressively ubiquitous stalking have been helping to turn the American Dream into the American nightmare. It will probably be a revelation to most viewers to realize how many of these in-your-face thugs are former gang members, complete with the tattoos and predatory ways, that have merely changed direction. Give It Up focuses on JFX Direct — one of an estimated 50 LA photo agencies — whose 30-ish partners have traded their 9mm automatics for cameras merely to continue their predatory ways in a different guise on the celebrity-filled streets of Hollywood. Directed by Frank Ruy, the documentary is executive produced by Richard Rubinstein, whose former films have included Dawn of the Dead and Stephen King’s Pet Sematary and Manhattan real estate tycoon Douglas Durst whose company is currently building the $1 billion, 54-story Bank of America Tower.
ANY THOUGHT THAT we were ever planning to leave Iraq has been dispelled by the continuous building of enormous bases throughout the country capable of holding US forces indefinitely says The American Prospect which says the plan marks a return to the discredited imperialistic policies that prevailed a century ago. And then there’s that multi-billion dollar embassy in Baghdad, the biggest in the world. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that $4-$10 billion annually will be needed to pay for our presence in a country more than a three-quarters of whose inhabitants want us to go. Bush’s plan, which apparently is to leave the problems to his successor, “represents a return,” writes John B. Judis “to the imperial strategy that the great powers of Europe — and, for a brief period America, too — followed and that resulted in utter disaster.”
MAKING UP HALF of the voters in the SC primary and as much as one quarter of Democratic voters overall, “it is as if Black voters have become the political equivalent of wallpaper, suddenly torn among all those suitors wanting to dance,” says Essence magazine. Ronald Walter, a U of Maryland professor adds; “We have uncommon power right now and we’re enjoying the attention.” Polls show that 80% of Blacks favor Barack Obama but only 22% think he can win although Clinton can take nothing for granted. “I don’t think this situation (with African Americans) has ever happened before,” says senior political analyst David Bositis, “where whoever is instrumental in choosing the Democratic nominee is likely to be choosing the next president.”
THE DEMISE OF the whacky tabloid Weekly World News that specialized in Elvis sightings and encounters with the Loch Ness Monster was noted by the Skeptical Inquirer whose function is to examine the myths and superstitions that WWN constantly parodied.
“The tabloid that mocked the tabloids” is now only on the Web, wrote David Park Musella, adding: “I always wondered if everybody who was reading (it) got the joke.”
THE WILCOCK WEB: Media critic Jon Fine predicts (in Business Week) that 2008 will be the year when daily papers start to drop their ad-thin Saturday editions…. Who was it decided that a simple majority was not enough to win in the Senate, but that a two-thirds majority was required? And how did they get away with it? And why can’t it be repealed?…. The Village Voice now devotes ten back-of-the-book color pages to hooker ads, mostly under the category of “Asian body work”…. Spreading fast are cashless vending machines which take credit cards instead. Pennsylvania-based USA Technologies already has 20,000 of them in service…. Gastropubs, an idea imported from England, are a growing trend, explained by Ken. D. Friedman of NYC’s Spotted Pig as “Take over an old bar; keep it the same with a better chef….” With Dubai as its first test market, London’s Ad-Air agency is starting to install advertising signs the size of three football fields on the flight paths of airports around the world….”Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” quoth William Arthur Ward…. Harper’s magazine says plants can warn each other of danger…. Contradicting the notion that the 14,000-strong Starbucks chain is putting mom-and-pop coffee houses out of business Taylor Clark’s book about the company says there were 585 coffee houses in the U.S. 20 years ago and now there are 24,000 (10,000 of them Starbucks)…. Of the U.S. Tax Courts’ 450,000 employees and retirees, 5% owe a collective $3billion in back taxes according to the US Senate Finance Committee… Motorola is planning a cell phone that can be recharged via embedded solar cells…. Some say that cell phones are causing the death of the bees by interfering with their navigation…. Cautionary palindrome: Ron I’m a minor. You always become the thing you fight the most. — Carl Jung(1865-1961)