“Fake News”

It’s the hip new PR trend of 2017! I present to you “Fake News”: the miraculous magic wand that can make any inconvenient or embarrassing public revelation disappear in a flash!

Yeah. Bad trend. I hope I’m not just being optimistic when I observe that it only seems to work on people who just want something to stick in their earholes before they clap their hands tightly to the sides of their heads and start humming loudly. To everyone else, it comes across as an act of eye-rolling desperation.

That’s not to say that “fake news” (let’s define it as “clearly non-newsworthy reporting, crafted in the service of impact and manipulation rather than actual journalism”) doesn’t exist. But the more powerful and influential you become, the less entitled you are to use “fake news” as a two-syllable dismissal of reporting. Continue reading ““Fake News””

Why ALMANAC #2 is super-crazy-late

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful reaction to the first episode of my new podcast, “Almanac“!

It’s intended to be (and will be) a weekly-ish show. So why has it been a month already and now Show #0002?

While Almanac isn’t going to be an “Andy spouts off about what’s on his mind at the moment” show (well, not primarily, anyway), I feel like the next show has to focus on my reactions to the election. Because, truth be told, I’ve been thinking about little else. Continue reading “Why ALMANAC #2 is super-crazy-late”

Just a coffeeshop post

Greetings, fellow sensation-seekers!

I’m at a coffeeshop, armed with my favorite tactical field language composition and deployment vector (iPad Pro, Logitech K811 keyboard, 1st-gen TwelveSouth Compass stand) and with a Diet Coke serving as my phosphoric acid delivery system. I’m navigating that sensitive inflection point between “ready to start writing” and “ready to start writing something that will make me some money.” This translates to “How about a blog post?”

Congratulations to the #BringBackMST3K campaign, which raised so much money that the group had to keep adding on bonus incentive episodes just to ensure that the taps stayed open until time ran out. I’m pretty damned pleased that my pledge will help to bring digital downloads of 14 new shows, including a Holiday episode.

As promised, I will unbox the Cask Of Ancient Fandom. I wanna do it when people might be home to watch it on Periscope; given my schedule this week, that’ll probably be Tuesday night. I’ll record it for posting on YouTube. And just a reminder: I’m as keen to see the inside of that thing as you are. As you might be. Okay, I’m probably more keen, as I have a personal emotional investment.

Meanwhile, WordPress has released their annual update to their default blogging template. This one is a conventional one-column layout. I’ve played with it a little bit and it looks…nice. I might switch to it after making some tweaks to it. Ever since the Univision offer to buy this site fell through, I’ve remained convinced that the best solution for this blog is to let the good women and men of Automattic be my WordPress developers because I think they’re looking out for the best interests of the Web.

(Whereas all I’m looking out for are cheap and effortless ways to rip off Sixcolors and other tech blogs whose professionalism and value to readers consistently inspire and annoy me.)

You might have noticed a few recent blog posts that started off with Getty Images photos. I’ve decided to stop using them, despite how much I like that service. Their news and stock photo library is chockablock with great content. It’s easy to search, and embedding an image in a non commercial site like this one is free. Aha, but the free photo comes with a couple of ad trackers. Believe me, Gentle Reader, I will happily sell you up the river if it’ll put a Tesla in my driveway and I look forward to proving it in the fullness of time. But loading up the site with ad trackers just for a free photo or two seems like a bad deal for both of us.

I guess I’ll just have to make these posts more attractive by increasing the quality of the writing. Thus, I’m calling back the folks at Univision and seeing if they’re interested in making another bid to buy me out.

I’ve cooled off considerably since T* farted out his racist screed on Monday.

Jeez. I had had a wonderful day in the city. The weather was beautiful, I had a good meeting with interesting people, I got to go places in Boston I’ve somehow never been before and I took some great photos.

It was such a wonderful day that I chose to extend it a little. My meeting happened late in the afternoon and the location was just a block away from the second stop on the MBTA’s outbound commuter rail line. On top of that, I hit the streets at the perfect time to make the next train home. And yet, I decided to catch a later train departing from South Station, a mile or two away, and enjoy a nice walk through the Public Garden and the Common while the sun was setting and the holiday lights were coming on.

The last thing I did before boarding my train was to buy a bottle of soda from a woman who wore an eggshell-blue hijab. I sat down, snapped open the news app on my iPad, and read T*’s declaration that all Muslims at home and abroad were worthy of suspicion, based solely on their religion.

I really wanted to post something then and there. The words came quickly. I deleted them one more time than I typed them. I realized that I was speaking in anger, which would have been mighty hypocritical of me given what I’ve written and said in the past about the worthlessness of anger, and doing things just because it’ll make you feel better.

So. It is now a calm Andy who says that T* isn’t funny any more. He’s actively dangerous. Whether he actually believes this stuff or not is immaterial. I remain convinced that there’s zero chance of his ever being elected. What makes him dangerous is the Andrew “Dice” Clay effect he has on a certain segment of America: the kind who never find the courage to say what’s in their hearts unless they’re at a rally of some kind. The ones who won’t spray paint something threatening on a house of worship until they’ve seen that special act of craziness validated before, on the news.

That is, T* is a bozo. He’s done. He traded away a marketable B-list celebrity status for a year of cheers and the veneer of actual respect. I hope he’s enjoying his time at Disneyworld because we’ve seen this play out before. T* will go the way of all political celebrities who lack the skills, and the will, to become actual public servants. It’s a path to oblivion that winds its way through many stops at increasingly shabbier convention halls and political dinners, to diminishing crowds of increasingly crazy people, for diminishing paychecks.

(Oh, T*? The bill feeder in the oblivion breakroom soda machine almost never works. Stop by Rudy’s or Sarah’s desk…one or the other usually has a jar of quarters.)

But he’s energizing the types of yahoos who organize to prevent a mosque from being built in their county (mostly by showing up at public meetings and yelling). He’s emboldening politicians who will endorse any damn-fool idea if they think it’ll play.

I’m not even afraid of the people who genuinely hold opinions that I see as abhorrent. I worry about that category of folks who seem to exist as a flailing ball of anger with a Social Security number. The rage has to go somewhere other than inward, and it’ll latch on to whatever’s handy. They don’t believe in limiting access to immigration as a policy to preserve resources for existing citizens, or any reason that (right or wrong) at least sounds rational. They’re looking for something to be mad at or, better yet, someone to blame. And here’s this guy in a nice suit that everyone seems to be listening to. He seems to have done well for himself. And if he’s pointing the finger at a group of people, then the target must be a good one, right?

I can only hope that T* is having a different kind of influence on a different kind of people, in the same way that a terrible parent screeching at and belittling their kid in public inspires other overstressed parents in that same situation to dig deeper and find hitherto untapped reserves of patience. I hope that other candidates will see T*’s rhetoric for what it is, and recognize that this is not the person they want to be. And those aren’t the sort of voters they want to appeal to.

Okay. The clerks at the coffeehouse are bringing out brooms and dustpans. This is the first stage of communicating “You don’t have to work at home, but you can’t work here.” Time to pack up Lil and prepare for the remaining leg of my daily Constitutional.

I’ll only say this: I’m never writing the name of T* ever again. After all this time, I think I know that the only thing that can piss off a man like that is to not help put his name out there.

I’m also afraid that there might be a “Candyman” sort of thing where if I write his name a certain number of times in a row, he’ll manifest here. I don’t think I can stand the smell of that much cologne.