aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Opens Friday in Atlanta: Don’t miss it!
Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? follows the 2004 Missouri Democratic primary to replace retiring 28-year veteran and former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt. Told from inside the campaign of Jeff Smith, a 29-year old adjunct political science professor, the documentary begins a one week run Friday at The Plaza in Atlanta. Today it’s reviewed in Creative Loafing:
The absolutely engaging, edge-of-your-seat political documentary Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? wonders whether things like integrity and underdog chutzpah aren’t automatic liabilities in the dynasty- and money-oriented playing field of contemporary politics.
With his unpretentious, lisping delivery and clean-cut looks, Smith is a lamb in a wolf’s game. But the 29-year-old Missouri teacher and congressional candidate also has an idealist’s energy and an all-volunteer staff of apple-cheeked kids in their early 20s with no campaign experience but an impressive belief in the ideals that Smith represents.
There has been a lot of bad news in American political documentaries as of late, but Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? is a rare breed—restoring faith against all odds—in a deeply flawed political system dominated by generic gray men coasting on a tailwind of false promises and insincere beliefs. At its most discouraging, Can Mr. Smith reveals an entrenched cynicism about the American political system. No longer voting for idealistic underdogs and people who share their beliefs, voters have begun to bank on the sure thing, supporting who they think will win.
And by the pins-and-needles climax of Frank Popper’s exceedingly well-crafted film, the very future of America seems to ride on the symbolic victory or defeat of Jeff Smith.
Youtube, we hardly knew you.
By the end of the year, professional content creators, including record labels, TV networks and movie studios, will have the opportunity to authorize the use of their content within the YouTube community by taking advantage of YouTube’s new tools and architecture. YouTube has been actively working on the operational details and building the infrastructure for this innovative new framework, which will offer media companies the following:
-- Sophisticated tools to help content owners identify their content on the site;
-- Automated audio identification technology to help prevent works previously removed from the site at the request of the copyright owner from reappearing on the site;
-- The opportunity to authorize and monetize the use of their works within the user-generated content on the site;
-- Reporting and tracking systems for royalties, etc.
I’m still hoping Mark Cuban’s wrong about the coming dramatic decline of YouTube.
LATER: Cuban’s at it again.
We turned down a position at Ohio U and chose instead to come here:
When the fall quarter began at Ohio University here, university officials hoped to put the troubles of last year behind them. Those troubles included accusations that more than 20 mechanical engineering students, some of whom had graduated nearly 20 years ago, had plagiarized their theses; a series of computer security breaches; faculty layoffs; and a no-confidence vote in the university’s president, Roderick J. McDavis.
“It’s unfortunate that all these problems happened at the same time,” Dr. McDavis said in a recent interview. “But now our university is presented with great opportunities for positive change.”
But it seems that as soon as Dr. McDavis reacts to one scandal, a new one emerges. Last week, as university officials prepared for tomorrow’s “Day of Discourse” to address ways to prevent plagiarism, new accusations were made in the student newspaper against its business school.
The perfect storm of biased samples
The name of that game is image management, and many professors are playing it.
“The main form of capital that a professor has is his or her reputation, his or her credibility as a knowledgeable, truthful person,” says Kenneth Westhues, a professor of sociology at the University of Waterloo, in Canada, who has studied RateMyProfessors. “And so professors very attentively guard their reputations. That’s why they are so interested in RateMyProfessors.com.”
He says the practice of padding one’s ratings is rampant among professors. While conducting research for his 2004 study on the site, he found numerous instances of professors at his own institution trying to manipulate their ratings. He says he has never done that himself because he believes it’s unethical. He declined to “out” his colleagues but said it was funny to see how some described themselves.
Patrick Nagel, president of RateMyProfessors.com, says that a recent statistical analysis suggests as many as a quarter of its 2-million visitors each month are professors.
The Daily Mail called it “ill-advised” and “grotesque.” Rolling Stone called it “hilarious” and said it was “the kind of thing anyone might think of doing while stoned and watching VH1 Classic with your friends.”
Hm. I don’t even know if I get VH1.