Thursday, July 16, 2009

Odds and Ends

My Blog Fodder file is backing up, and I need to start moving things out of it while they're still timely. Today, I have a few random things to offer - each worthy of a full post on its own, but I only have so much time. Sigh.

1. Where's the Outrage? As China cracks down on the Uighurs, Foreign Policy magazine asks an interesting question: why isn't the Islamic world reacting with its usual outrage? When Danish newspapers published cartoons Muslims found offensive, the result was incredible: embassies and churches burned, priests and nuns murdered, calls for boycotts of Danish goods by Muslims, and angry fatwas demanding death for the cartoonists. In China today, Uighurs suffer discrimination, loss of their lands and culture, and even death ... and where is the level of outrage caused by a few stupid cartoons? Good question.

2. Putting It All in Perspective. Things seem to be back to "normal" in the news world now that the All-Michael-Jackson-All-the-Time spasm is over. On July 5th, a lady named Martha Gillis wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post in which she noted that her nephew Brian Bradshaw was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on the day Michael Jackson died. Ms Gillis asks, "Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media. Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?" Good question. Read on to the next item...

3. A Soldier Comes Home. Yesterday, the Washington Post published, with the permission of the Bradshaw family, a letter the family received from the crew of the military aircraft that took Brian home on his last journey. I literally cried when I read it. You will, too. No matter what you think about our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have to honor the sacrifices of those who serve there.

4. More Thoughts on Passwords. The other day I wrote about the Password Fandango - the mess we all go through all the time with the endless parade of logins and passwords we need to get access to websites and networks at home and at work. There are actually people who think about this stuff for a living...here is a semi-heretical article on the topic: Do Strong Passwords Accomplish Anything? The authors' short answer is ... sometimes. The article is interesting, even though it does contain Greek letters and math and stuff.

And finally for today ...

5. Visually Pleasing Destruction. This is an expression I heard some years ago in the context of the joy one feels when watching a really bad guy meet a really bad end in a huge and theatrical explosion. We see VPD in the movies all the time - remember the destruction of the White House in the film Independence Day? This is an interesting article from Slate.com on how famous landmarks get blown up in the movies...complete with video clips. You'll love it.

And that's all for today. Time to go to work. No comments, Mike.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

7 comments:

Leslie David said...

I see what you mean about the letter.

fiona said...

The letter did indeed make me cry...

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I think there is a lot of VPD in the new movie 2012

John said...

another fine post from Bilbo

Mike said...

And the fine will be $100. Cash only.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I'm sure if Elvis had died when the Vietnam war was still going on the same thing would have happened. Sadly the masses care more about a pop star than a soldier. All the letters in the world won't change that. However I doubt we'll have another pop star of the magnitude of MJ's caliber or for that matter The Beatles or Elvis. So this is probably the last media frenzy death from the music world...for one too young to be dead.

SusieQ said...

Number 3: A Soldier Comes Home. It surely makes me sad when some of our military men and women come home either dead or maimed. I wish our govt. would do much more to compensate these men and women and their families when they suffer such losses. We do not do nearly enough for them.