Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sunday Reading

Got your shopping done? Me neither, but I have some time, and the important stuff has been done; the long-distance presents have been sent, and I have just a couple of other things left to. This leaves me some time to do some reading.

  • In the New York Times magazine, Jeffrey Rosen has a look at how blogging has effected personal relationships.

    As Web logs proliferate — Technorati, which tracks 5 million blogs, estimates that 15,000 are added each day — the boundaries between public and private are being transformed. Unconstrained by journalistic conventions, bloggers are blurring the lines between public events and ordinary social interactions and changing the way we date, work, teach and live. And as blogs continue to proliferate, citizens will have to develop new understandings about what parts of our lives are on and off the record.

    In 1890, when Louis Brandeis, the future Supreme Court justice, and Samuel Warren, his former law partner, wrote their famous article on the right to privacy, they worried that the press and the camera were threatening the privacy of daily life. In the age of blogs, all citizens, no matter how obscure, will have to adjust their behavior to the possibility that someone may be writing about them.

    There are as many different kinds of blogs as there are human impulses — sex blogs, dating blogs, political blogs, technology blogs and music blogs. But 70 to 80 percent are varieties of personal journals. A few have broken into the Technorati Top 100: for example, dooce, No. 39, advertises herself as ”that girl who lost her job” and ”managed to alienate her family because of her Web site.” (You can click the links to read the nasty things she said about her parents and colleagues that got her into trouble.) Although men and women blog in roughly equal numbers, personal bloggers are more likely to be women than men. And the favorite topic of personal bloggers is sex.

    I hope it will come as a great relief to the readers of this blog that they will never read about my sex life on these pages. After all, I don’t write fiction here.

  • My high school pal Roberta DeBoer, a columnist for The Blade, chimes in with me on the performance by Pawn in Rossford, Ohio.

    Could someone explain the big flap over Rossford schools’ decision not to let a Christian rock-rap band play at a high school anti-drug event?

    This ruckus over the cancellation of Pawn, a band with current and former Rossford High students, reached the point where the band is booked tomorrow on (I’m biting my tongue) Fox News.

    In a story about the avalanche of national attention to the canceled gig, one Pawn member said: “I hope we can get more publicity to take Jesus Christ to more levels and follow whatever His plan is.”


    For the life of me, I cannot understand what’s so unreasonable about asking public schools to provide a secular education appropriate for EVERYONE, and leaving religious expression to take place in churches, mosques, or temples.

    After all, if they don’t want sex education in the public schools, why do the fundies think it’s okay to have religion?

  • Ellen Goodman says this is no time to retreat on gay rights.

    Although the exit poll declaring “moral values” a deciding factor in the election has been much debunked, it also has caused a queasy argument about whether the gay-rights movement was too much, too fast. The conversation is even going on in the gay community.

    At heart are the old questions: Do you wait for people to be more comfortable to make change, or do people only become more comfortable in the wake of change? Do you sacrifice incremental benefits by going for the whole enchilada, or do small changes merely sustain the status quo?

    Today, the map of America looks like a patchwork quilt. In Oregon, 3,000 couples asked the state Supreme Court Wednesday if their marriages are still legal. In California, one assemblyman just introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Two others introduced a bill that would not only outlaw these marriages but strip gay couples of domestic partnership rights.


    There is nothing that the gay community can do to appease its opponents except perhaps disappear. But in one of the exit polls that got less attention, 60 percent of voters favor either gay marriage or civil unions. The younger the voters, the more likely they are to favor marriage.

    That’s not a bugle sounding retreat.

  • Football picks: The Dolphins play the Patriots. Are you kidding? The Lions play the Vikings. Hmm. Two very unpredictable teams. With my luck, the Lions will win because I think they won’t.

    If you live north of Orlando and east of the Mississippi, bundle up. They’re saying we’re due for temps in the high 30’s in the western parts of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties tonight and only getting up to the 60’s on Monday. See, it does get Christmas-y here.