aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Foes of Sex Trade Stung by Spitzer’s Crash
One advocate said of Spitzer, “he was our hero.” NYTimes:
As New York’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer had broken up prostitution rings before, but this 2004 case took on a special urgency for him. Prosecuting an international sex tourism business based in Queens, he listened to the entreaties of women’s advocates long frustrated by state laws that fell short of dealing with a sex trade expanding rapidly across borders.
And with his typical zeal, he embraced their push for new legislation, including a novel idea at its heart: Go after the men who seek out prostitutes.
It was a question of supply and demand, they all agreed. And one effective way to suppress the demand was to raise the penalties for patronizing a prostitute. In his first months as governor last year, Mr. Spitzer signed the bill into law.
Speaking of crashes, Spitzer traffic crashed the Times website beginning at 2 p.m. yesterday:
We asked the NYT if the website trouble was the result of the Spitzer scoop, and spokesperson Diane McNulty confirmed that it was, saying that traffic had spiked shortly after the Spitzer article was posted. McNulty said that the hourly Web site traffic between 2-4 pm was a whopping 60% higher that during the same time frame last Monday; meanwhile, NYT mobile almost doubled its traffic for the same time period. Wow — those are pretty big numbers, especially given that eveything is spiking lately due to the election (recall that last Monday was the day before the Ohio-Texas primaries, and there was tons of interest across the board). [...]
These stories are huge traffic drivers across the board, and here’s another example: The Drudge Report linked to the NY Observer story on its top at around 3 p.m. this afternoon, and the traffic spike temporarily disabled the link and, presumably, has been responsible for site slowness since then (since the piece is still linked in the headlines on Drudge).
Update II: McNulty kindly answered our follow-up question asking if this had ever happened before. Her response: Yes, twice: Once on September 11, 2001 ("we were overwhelmed by the amount of traffic and some people had trouble getting through") and then again on Nov. 12, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Queens (McNulty said they had “load issues” but it wasn’t as bad as 9/11). Said McNulty: “It’s hard to tell how either one compares to today’s event given that we have almost 10 times the bandwidth now.”
RELATED: Talk Left has Jeff Toobin thinking he’s holding out for a misdemeanor with a resignation possible tomorrow.
The idiocy of the mob
To all those claiming that Sarah Lacy should have been able to tune-in to the chatter and hear the feedback in the room, I’d encourage you to get real and remember just exactly what world we’re living in:
In The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet (Yale University Press, 2007), [Daniel J. Solove, of George Washington University] relates the sad story of the “Star Wars Kid.” In November 2002, an awkward and pudgy Canadian teenager used a school camera to record himself acting like a character from Star Wars, wielding a golf-ball retriever as a light saber. Some months later, some students at his school discovered the recording, and one posted it on an open file-sharing network. Within days the image of a geeky teenager playing Star Wars became the hit of the Internet.
Millions of people downloaded the video. Soon many of them used their computers to enhance it, adding costumes, special effects, even opponents for the young man to slay. Hundreds of versions still haunt the Web. Many Web sites posted nasty comments about the teenager’s weight and appearance. Soon his name and high school became public knowledge. By the time YouTube debuted in 2005, the Star Wars Kid was a miserable and unwilling star of what media activists and analysts like to call “user-generated culture.” The real-world harassment drove the kid’s family to move to a new town. He had to quit school. The very nature of software, computers, the Internet, and Google made it impossible for the young man to erase the record of one afternoon of harmless fantasy. But the technology was not at fault, Solove reminds us. It was our willingness to shame others and our ease at appealing to free-speech principles that justified such alarming behavior.
No one made any money from that or the other events that Solove offers in his new book. The problem of humiliation occurs outside the familiar political or commercial spheres. In another notable case, Solove describes the “dog-poop girl,” a young woman in South Korea who refused to pick up after her dog when riding the subway. Justifiably berated by those who shared the car with her and her dog, the woman found her life turned upside down after being publicly and globally shamed by one of those passengers, who posted photos of the incident on the Web. Solove asserts that while the woman certainly deserved criticism, and even traditional measures of local shaming, to enforce the reasonable norm of cleaning up after one’s dog, the level of vitriol and harassment that she suffered was unreasonable and disproportionate to the crime.
RELATED: In a recent ON THE MEDIA interview about his new book Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky said, “The things we’re unleashing into society by having this kind of new group capability are not entirely positive.”
The high level of discourse from our opponents
I woke up to this email response to the high-minded remarks from the elected representative from Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern.
I have removed the expletives, but preserved the grammatical and spelling errors:
The simple fact is that historicly socities that have openly embraced homosexuality have not lasted very long. Look at the Greeks and Romans. I mean why do you think it was forbidden for so long. Because it caused the fall of EMPIRES you dumbasses. in 100 years you hippys are going to try and tell us that incest is ok as long as you use birth control and you dont have any muntant babies. what in the f!@# is wrong with you people. Im talking history here. Not some biblical event.
The sender identified himself as Jack Handy. Are you laughing yet?
SXSW Zuckerberg keynote takeaway
The first thing I have to say is I come away liking Zuckerberg more than I have since all of the last year’s Facebook stumbles. The second thing I note is the irony that it was a woman, Kara Swisher, who has led the charge against the “Toddler CEO” and it is a woman, Business Week’s Sarah Lacy, that fumbled the interview that humanized him for me again.
The irony is that Swisher first came to my attention with her book, aol.com, about Steve Case. And Lacy’s now writing a book on Zuckerberg. So I was pleased to see Swisher come to Lacy’s defense today:
MyBlogLog founder Eric Marcoullier told Wired.com that he thought sexism might have played a role in the SXSW audience reaction. I have to say that I agree. I immediately remembered a very ugly bit of misogyny last year around Kathy Sierra.
If you think my comparison is overwrought, I’d grant you that it may be; but is it really any more so than the reaction to Sarah’s interview?
I am known to admire Jeff Jarvis. It’s all well and good for him to sit there and say of Sarah’s interview that, “It wasn’t tough. It was a privilege and she was blowing it.”
Well, you know what? It is a privilege and it is tough.
It strikes me that that’s why big deal people are jumping out of buildings and that criticism is fair and legitimate but she deserves some of the empathy that Jarvis has for the “shy and nervous” Zuckerberg and the hostile audience.
Zuckerberg’s a smart 23 year-old but he has no business being valued at 15 billion bucks and I question the system that’s put him there. The whole self-important jargon-filled show that seriously thinks they’re going to bring peace to the Middle East by enabling people to communicate and connect on Facebook echoes the last bubble if you ask me.
Here’s the keynote…