Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

At Long Last

Chapter 11: Discussion Lists and Public Policy on iGhana: Chimps and Feral Activists, John Philip Schaefer. Buy this book here.

Academic publishing takes a long time. This chapter started in December 1999, when I turned in a short final paper in JoAnn D'Alisera's course Peoples and Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa. She liked it and got it into a panel at the American Ethnological Society annual meeting in May 2001.

So I rewrote it as a presentation that spring. Around the same time (and I assume with JoAnn's help) I got invited to a workshop in Sweden organized by Kyra Landzelius, who also edited the book. I gave another talk at the workshop, then scrapped several subsequent versions.

I worked on it that fall (2001) some more, got a final version in to Kyra in spring 2002, then another final version over the summer of 2002, before finally getting the final final version done in the fall of 2003. Then it stewed for a couple more years before getting going again in 2005, but the publication date kept getting pushed back.

But at long last, here we are.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Complacency and Apathy

Sasha Baron Cohen (AKA Ali G, King Julian XIII, and Borat) has finally given an interview out of character. In Rolling Stone, he explains his Borat schtick. Why is it so important to show how easily ordinary American folk can be led by a charming foreigner on a singalong to "Throw the Jew Down the Well"?

"I remember, when I was in university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, 'The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.' I know it's not very funny being a comedian talking about the Holocaust, but I think it's an interesting idea that not everyone in Germany had to be a raving anti-Semite. They just had to be apathetic."

And so it is alarming to see that 38 percent of AOL News readers continue to believe that Muslims should be forced to bear a distinctive form of identification in the United States. The number is the same in a recent Gallup poll, which found that 39 percent of Americans are in favor of special identification for Muslims.

Reuters has reported on a recent stunt by Washington-area radio talk-show host Jerry Klein. He began his show the weekend after Thanksgiving by proposing that a special tattoo be put on all Muslims, or perhaps just a crescent added to their driver's licenses. He intended it as a hoax, but before he confessed to the deceit halfway through the show, he was shocked to find a large number of callers defend his absurd proposal:

"I can't believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said," he told his audience on the AM station 630 WMAL, which covers Washington, Northern Virginia and Maryland.

"For me to suggest to tattoo marks on people's bodies, have them wear armbands, put a crescent moon on their driver's license on their passport or birth certificate is disgusting. It's beyond disgusting.

"Because basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen ... We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Measuring Memes

Please link to this page here (not my blog page), which is owned by Scott Kaufman, a graduate student trying to figure out the growth rate and distribution of a typical blog meme.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Baby Pictures

There are baby pictures on Flickr, at the right.