President Donald Trump's announcement that he was pardoning far-right commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance fraud, caught many in Trump world by surprise Thursday morning, but they insisted it was not indicative of possible pardons for Trump allies ensnared in the Russia probe.
The former official said he doesn’t think Trump is playing “the sort of three-dimensional chess people ascribe to decisions like this. More often than not he’s just eating the pieces.”
This certainly gets the prize for the quote of the year concerning Donald Trump.
A definition of #Cybernetics: "Science concerned with the study of systems of any nature which are capable of receiving, storing and processing information so as to use it for control." -A. N. Kolmogorov pic.twitter.com/71I6mFRqT0
...holy crap this stuff [IndieWeb] is great. When I started getting webmentions from social media using Bridgy I flipped. It's like we're in the future!!!
I remember the early days of Twitter when people were excited about what it was and what it could do. Even then I don’t think people were as excited as Chris Beckstrom was when he made what is certainly the IndieWeb quote of the week this morning.
Syndicated copies to:
I’m gender fluid, so I can help out!
–a Girl Scout’s 8 year old brother proudly exclaiming an excuse for helping sister when stopping by the house today to peddle Thin Mints.
Another shift happened a few years ago, when I decided it was okay to develop just for myself, with no intention of ever releasing the stuff I was working on. That led to a new style of product, and a happier developer. I was always doing it for myself, and fooling myself into believing it was for other people. I'm no less a narcissist than anyone else. Once you own that, you get a lot more powerful, I have found.
The furore over Fake News is really about the seizures caused by overactivity in these synapses - confabulation and hallucination in the global brain of mutual media. With popularity always following a power law, runaway memetic outbreaks can become endemic, especially when the platform is doing what it can to accelerate them without any sense of their context or meaning.
One might think that Facebook (and others) could easily analyze the things within their network that are getting above average reach and filter out or tamp down the network effects of the most damaging things which in the long run I suspect are going to damage their network overall.
Our synapses have the ability to minimize feedback loops and incoming signals which have deleterious effects–certainly our social networks could (and should) have these features as well.
Etymologically, the word samizdat derives from sam (Russian: сам, “self, by oneself”) and izdat (Russian: издат, an abbreviation of издательство, izdatel’stvo, “publishing house”), and thus translates as “self-published”.
With exception of the jail portion, these ideas underlie much of the Indieweb movement.
History shows a typical progression of information technologies: from somebody's hobby to somebody's industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel--from open to closed system. It is a progression so common as to seem inevitable, though it would hardly have seemed so at the dawn of any of the past century's transformative technologies, whether telephony, radio, television, or film. History also shows that whatever has been closed for too long is ripe for ingenuity's assault: in time a closed industry can be opened anew, giving way to all sorts of technical possibilities and expressive uses for the medium before the effort to close the system likewise begins again.
It's a story about the vagaries of the writing process and not about the cycle of life, but then again writing is life...
E.B. White’s backstory
Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985) was an acclaimed American writer who contributed to The New Yorker magazine and co-authored the quintessential English language style guide The Elements of Style, which is commonly known as “Strunk & White” ostensibly making him the writer’s writer.
While re-reading Charlotte’s Web and then watching the movie version of Charlotte’s Web (Paramount, 2006) while thinking about the struggling writer in White (and all of us really), I’ve found a completely different theme in the piece as an adult that I certainly didn’t consider as a child when I viewed it simply as a maudlin, coming-of-age, commentary on the cycle of life.
An Alternate Theme
One can think of the characters Charlotte, the heroine spider, and Templeton, the despicable rat, as the two polar opposite personalities of almost any (good) writer. Charlotte represents the fastidious, creative, thinking, and erudite writer that writers aspire to be–which White espouses in The Elements of Style.
Templeton is a grubbing, greedy, and not-so-discerning writer who takes almost any word to get the story written so he can feast on his next meal of left-over slop.
Wilbur, the runt Spring pig desperately wanting to live to see the first snow, represents the nascent story. It too starts out stunted and scrawny, and it’s not really quite clear that it will live long enough to get published.
And so the struggle begins between the “Templeton” in the writer, and the “Charlotte” that the writer wants to become.
Charlotte represents care, devotion, creation, and even life (she not only desperately tries to creatively save Wilbur’s life, but dies to give birth to hundreds), while Templeton is a scavenger, doing the least he can to get by and generally taking advantage of others. Charlotte is crafting art while Templeton represents the writer churning out dreck in hopes of making a buck.
Alas, once the written work emerges to finally see its first “Spring”, one finds that Charlotte has died the death we knew was coming, while Templeton remains–as selfish and dreadful as before–ready to gorge himself once more.
There’s also the bleak and looming fact that Charlotte is now gone and only the vague hope that one of her few progeny will survive to live up to even a fraction of her good name. (Will my next book be as good as the first??)
The Writer takes on the Editor
The other two voices a writer often hears in her head are those represented by the characters of Fern, the doe-eyed youngster, and John Arable, the pragmatic farmer whose sir name is literally defined as “suitable for farming”, but not too coincidentally similar to parable, but without the ‘p.’ The sensible farmer (editor) says kill the runt pig (read: story) before you fall in love with it, while Fern (the creative writer) advocates to let it live a while longer–naively perhaps–wanting to know what results.
Who will you be?
So as you work on your own writing process, who will you be? Templeton, Charlotte, Fern, or John Arable? Whichever you choose for the moment, remember that all of them are ultimately necessary for the best story seeing the proverbial Spring.
Though your story may not win the “blue ribbon at the fair”, the fact that it has a life that extends the winter is a special prize all on its own to the team that created it.
On Why E.B. White Actually Wrote Charlotte’s Web
Now that I’ve sketched out the argument, I suspect that most writers will now know, as I do, why E.B. White wrote Charlotte’s Web.