aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Courtesy is common in New York
Colleagues were quick to tell me they heard on the news that southern hospitality can’t hold a stick to polite New Yorkers:
Outscoring large cities in 35 countries, New York proved best in three tests of courtesy, according to the survey by Reader’s Digest.
Reporters for the magazine conducted a “door test,” to see who would hold open a door, a “document drop” to see who would help pick up dropped papers and a “service test” to measure if salesclerks said thank you for a purchase.
Four out of five New Yorkers passed the courtesy tests, the magazine reported… Specifically, 90 percent of New Yorkers passed the door test, 55 percent passed the document drop and 19 out of 20 clerks passed the service test.
Trouble is, New York was the only US city! I bet those numbers would be even higher here in the South where holding the door open is practically the law of the land. Other tidbits:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ People under 40 were more courteous than over-40s, with senior citizens the rudest.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Rudest region: Asia, where eight out of nine cities tested (Hong Kong the exception) finished in the bottom 11. The study found that door-holding was virtually unheard of in Asia. The world’s most discourteous people, says the study, are in Mumbai (Bombay), India, where Reader’s Digest circulation might take a dip.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ In Europe, Moscow and Bucharest ranked as the least polite. London tied with Paris as 15th most polite, which is a real slap in the face to London. Conversely, the French have their own shattered self-image to deal with: Despite their reputation for being surly and unhelpful, Parisians have to face up to the finding that they are nicer than people in half the cities tested.
DRM by asking nicely
I have decided to remove the Unofficial This American Life podcast at the request of TAL’s webmaster Elizabeth Meister. Contrary to posts on Boing Boing and elsewhere, Jon Udell and I did not recieve a “nastygram” or formal ceast and desist letter. Rather we received friendly emails from Ms. Meister, This American Life’s webmaster, making a request to take down the hyperlinks and RSS feeds, or she’d regrettably have to get lawyers involved.
While Ms. Meister did miss the mark by accusing us of copyright infringement without a clear understanding of what we were actually doing, or what copyright law allows, she was trying to be polite and friendly which I appreciate.
To be clear, I was not storing or making any copies of their work, I was simply providing links to publicly accessible MP3’s hosted on This American Life’s own servers. It is my position that hyperlinking to publicly accessible MP3’s is perfectly legal (see Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com) and fundamental to the existence of the web.
While I am confident that I am breaking no law, I am respecting TAL wishes by taking down the podcast and archive page which points to their MP3’s. This American Life has decided to take the bizarre approach to Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) by asking nicely… which I suppose is better than using some Windows only Microsoft Media Player DRM or Sony Rootkit DRM.
Jared is taking exactly the right tact, including naming examples of how free Internet distribution helps rights holders make money, and ending his post with the suggestion that we donate to This American Life.
I’m clearly and completely on Jared’s side of the argument. If This American Life disappears it will be too bad, but I won’t miss it. Just as right now the show does not miss having me in its audience.
The Nampa Public Library Board has decided not to remove a sexually explicit book - “The Joy of Gay Sex” - from library shelves.
Some residents wanted it banned because of its content.
Library Board Chairman Sharon Brooks says the issue is not about the contents of one book, but about whether individuals should be able to remove material they don’t like from a public library.
In yesterday’s meeting, the board did approve putting that book and about 60 other sexually oriented books on top shelves.
Bruce Skaug is the only library board trustee who wants the book banned.
This is democracy?
The fact that they’ve stalled the extension of the Voting Rights Act indefinitely is bad on its face, but this line merits emphasis:
Several lawmakers said it was uncertain whether a majority of Republicans would back the legislation without the changes sought by critics, and under the House leadership’s informal rules no bill can reach a vote without the support of a majority of the Republicans.
No bill. None. Nadda.
“A lot of it looks as if these are some old boys from the South who are trying to do away with it,” said Representative Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, who said it would be unfair to keep Georgia under the confines of the law when his state has cleaned up its voting rights record. “But these old boys are trying to make it constitutional enough that it will withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.”
Wonkette points out that Westmoreland, who has yet to sponsor a Bill, can now claim credit for helping to kill one.
I’ll point out that last year “cleaned up” Georgia passed a law called a new poll tax by the New York Times which was subsequently struck down as such by the courts (then reintroduced and approved again, this time making its way through court scrutiny, but still part of what can only be seen as a block the vote effort).