aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, May 08, 2006
Never forget: C-SPAN is a cable company
If it were a different kind of non-profit, it might have behaved differently:
On Wednesday, C-Span, the nonprofit network that first showed Mr. Colbert’s speech, wrote letters to the video sites YouTube.com and ifilm.com, demanding that the clips of the speech be taken off their Web sites. The action was a first for C-Span, whose prime-time schedule tends to feature events like Congressional hearings on auto fuel-economy standards.
“We have had other hot - I hate to use that word - videos that generated a lot of buzz,” said Rob Kennedy, executive vice president of C-Span, which was founded in 1979. “But this is the first time it has occurred since the advent of the video clipping sites.” [...]
[A]s became clear later in the week, this was a business decision, not a political one. Not only is the entire event available to be streamed at C-Span’s Web site, c-span.org, but the network is selling DVD’s of the event for $24.95, including speeches and a comedy routine by President Bush with a President Bush imitator.
And C-Span gave permission to Google Videos to carry the Colbert speech beginning Friday.
Welcome Guest Bloggers!
I am thrilled to introduce my terrific guest blogger line-up:
Basil of Basil’s Blog: Basil and I probably don’t see eye to eye on many political issues, but he somehow stumbled on to my little blog very early on and has been its biggest booster ever since. I’ve referred to him as my blogfather for he has taught and guided, encouraged and chided and, more than he knows, kept me going. Basil is returning for his third guest blogging stint.
Harry of The Kudzu Files: I found The Kudzu Files before I started blogging; his was an inspiration that got me going. You’ll find his Care and Feeding of a Blog in my sidebar. A thoughtful writer on his own blog and a regular commenter here, Harry and I are probably pretty politically close on the major issues of the day.
Rachel of Tinkerty Tonk: I’ve become familiar with Rachel through my honorary membership in the Raging RINOs. She’s a librarian and I’m a librarian groupie (I work in a university library). I share her love of words! Check out her Blog Interview at BasilsBlog. My blog and hers were both launched in the same month, so we share a blog birthday.
Augusto of Queer Beacon: Augusto lives in Seattle but is visiting home in Brazil so will start out his guest stint blogging from there. A relative newcomer, he began his blog in February (another February blog baby!) and has been the source of many a good post here. He’s married under Canadian law to a New Yorker of Irish descent. Both he and his husband are lawyers, but Augusto, like me, is planning to go back to school to become an academic.
I’m leaving on a jet plane
But I do know when I’ll be back again: June 1.
I’m off to the Czech Republic accompanying students to do various video projects on a study abroad program. We’ve got cameras, microphones, a light, an audio mixer, laptops and a big ol’ firewire hard drive.
One of the projects is a video blog using blogger and YouTube. We’ll do a photography project using Flickr. We’ll also do more formal documentary work and compare and contrast our experiences with each of the various projects.
One of the goals, beyond developing their skills and documenting the experience from a student perspective, is to come up with a template to help interested faculty incorporate these technologies into their study abroad programs.
I’m not sure what the Internet access will be like in the various places we’ll be visiting, or if I’ll have the time to pop in here and post from time to time. If I do, I will. If not, please enjoy the guest blogger line-up and I’ll look forward to be back blogging full-time again in June!
60 Minutes on Sally Mae’s student turkeys
Everything that’s wrong with government is demonstrated in this piece on Sallie Mae.
They “privatize” student loans and gift a company protection from both competition and default, and do it all in the guise of educating students when, in fact, they are indenturing them. The closing lines:
It’s a system that Congress created with good intentions, to help kids go to college, but it has ended up saddling hundreds of thousands with debt while guaranteeing that a lender like Sallie Mae can become what Fortune Magazine says is one of the most profitable companies in the world.
“How do you lose in a game like that? It’s a great business model. I win from here; I win from there. It’s the protected market,” says Elizabeth Warren.
“It’s not a free market?” Stahl asks.
“It’s a market in which the protection goes to the lender,” Warren replies. “And the students get served up like turkeys at the Thanksgiving dinner.”
Students on Kaavya Viswanathan
As spring semester winds to a close on Harvard’s campus, the disgraced sophomore is generating as much chatter as are final exams and summer internships.
Many students express sorrow for Viswanathan, saying her actions appear as naive as the book-smart but clueless protagonist of her novel.
Deena Shakir, a sophomore who befriended Viswanathan during their freshman year, describes the daughter of Indian immigrants as unassuming and outgoing. “She’s intelligent and mature beyond her age,” says the 20-year-old from San Jose, Calif. “You could tell she’d been brought up by parents who taught her well.”
Yet there’s also ample disdain. Some students believe Viswanathan was caught short-stepping a calculated effort to parlay her Harvard status into the latest hot young “chick lit” novelist. Some also worry the incident could seriously sully Harvard’s reputation.
Moreover, at a school where super overachievers are the norm, jealousy over Opal’s release has given way to considerable schadenfreude over Viswanathan’s troubles. “Most people who have judged her think she’s guilty,” says YiDing Yu, 21, a junior and economics major from Orlando. “The evidence is pretty condemning.”
In the article Peter Osnos says she’s an “immature and misguided teenager who got swept up in a race she wasn’t ready for.” I’m not so sure she’s even that.
She’s a product (victim?) of our media machine that likes to report her (alleged) half-million dollar contract and wants a young genius author and, as I said when noting Malcolm Gladwell’s coming to her defense, she’s a cog in the machine that produced this book.
The cause I suspect is hinted at by Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, a recognized world leader in the study of personality, and author of Mindset—The New Psychology of Success in this outstanding Tech Nation podcast where she comments on our misguided model of self-esteem:
[clip]:Self-esteem per se is just fine, but I think we have a misguided model of what it is and how to promote it. We think it’s something that you can just pump into a child the way you inflate a tire. And we think we can do that by telling them how great they are. That’s the misguided part… [it] tells children the name of the game is to look smart. So that when we then offer these students a chance to do something that stretches them and would help them learn, they say, “No thank you. I’d rather keep on looking smart.”
We also showed that when they then got something that was more difficult, they crashed. They said, “I guess I’m not smart after all.” They lost their enthusiasm for the task and their performance went way down. Incidentally this was an IQ test, so praising their intelligence made them less smart.[...]
[clip] There are these famous cases of Janet Cook and Stephen Glass, famous young reporters who made up stuff. Had to give back a Pulitzer Prize. Had to leave the New Republic in shame. What was that about? Were they just cheaters with deep down bad qualities? I think they were like the children in my studies who received lavish praise for their intelligence or talent and then didn’t feel that they had the luxury of learning. Maybe Janet Cook and Stephen Glass felt they had to be brilliant right away. They couldn’t take the time to learn the ropes and do the legwork and yes, they came out with these great stories right away, but they weren’t true.