What To Do About Larry


Should Google Tweak the News? asks the New York Times.

Count me Horrified. Can the Times retract the question?

“Should Google play an editorial role in presenting readers with news?”

That question was a matter of debate at Zeitgeist, a Google conference this week in Paradise Valley, Ariz., where Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and chief executive, said that Google had a responsibility to improve media.

The question came up when Ted Koppel, the longtime broadcast journalist, complained that too much news was drivel.

Yea, Ted.

“I see this as our responsibility to some extent, trying to improve media,” Mr. Page said. “… we have a responsibility to … get people focused on what are the real issues, what should you be thinking about.”

Larry Page? The guy who invented, along with his college pal Sergey, BackRub, which became Google?  And one used to feel so good about Google. The insanity seemed to begin—or if not begin, to be officially blessed—when Larry became CEO. Is this not a mistake? Is a however-brilliant engineer the same as a CEO? Qualified in the tiniest?

Or perhaps he has come to think of himself as Having Anything To Say, and Google as a force to shape us—the bloated ego never fails to amaze me. The past two years or so has seen Google search results so clogged with ads-as-pages, quasi-web pages. Although all that so called “content,”  faux blog posts that make the teeth ache. As does any complete and total nonsense. Get the fuck out of my way, I’m looking for something.

Okay, often I’m looking for an item to buy, the sort of search that starts spammers drooling. But what poor souls, what non-native English speakers click on not only the links on those junk pages, but while we’re at it, on Google text ads.  Do you even see Google ads anymore, or are they just blots of busyness fucking up the page layout? Raise your hand.

I don’t care who Google hires, in this new drive for—importance? Hipness? Social? Google is stuck in ugly. This is not news, any more than is Larry’s fatuousness. What’s amazing is that people who should know better—well, that isn’t news either, everyone bows to money. Nowadays.

Not so long ago, there were forms of power that couldn’t be calculated in hits, or page rank. It’s important to remember that it’s the tools that have gone rotten, and the way people think. Money corrupts—and has, as long as we participate in that thinking, corrupted us.


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Shut Up

Farhad Manjoo has some excellent advice for the President. About these “death panel” and other idiot rumors? Just shut up.
True Enough

… the dilemma Obama faces in trying to debunk the lies surrounding the health care debate. In True Enough, my book published last year, I argued that despite techno-utopians’ many high hopes, modern communications technology—talk radio, cable TV, and the Web—have fractured society along ideological lines.

Which is frightening enough right there. Continue reading “Shut Up”

Through The Looking Glass

… until the rhetoric is wrested from the frighteningly capable hands of those who use it towards their own ends

Michael Tomasky, guardian.co.uk: “If you spent three years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a constitutional lawprofessor, spend eight years as a state senator representing a district with more than 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.

On the other hand … Continue reading “Through The Looking Glass”

God Bless The Child

Nick Carr, in Rough Type: “I’ve been reading a short book—an essay, really—by John Kenneth Galbraith called The Economics of Innocent Fraud. It’s his last work, written while he was in his nineties, not long before he died. In it, he explains how we, as a society, have come to use the term ‘market economy’ in place of the term ‘capitalism.'”

I wondered where that word went. It’s one of my favorites, difficult to harangue without it. I mean, Marx, Hegel and … the market economy? Sounds like you’re talking about the Gap. Would you like some Dockers with that? Continue reading “God Bless The Child”

No Way Out

Hillary has internalized what most Democrats of her generation have internalized: They suspect that the majority is not with them, and so some quotient of discretion, fear, or plain deception is required if they are to advance their objectives.

Andrew Sullivan wrote these striking words late last year. The flailing, the jokes, the mad, red-faced finger-pointing of President Bill … it’s all here.

And so the less-adept ones seem deceptive, and the more-practiced ones, like Clinton, exhibit the plastic-ness and inauthenticity that still plague her candidacy. She’s hiding her true feelings. We know it, she knows we know it, and there is no way out of it.

The beauty of small sentences. Beauty and terror, I suppose … depending on who you are.

Not This Girl

Women Settle for Mediocre Sex: “Not knowing why they feel so deflated after sex, women assume it’s their fault or they just don’t bring up the topic to their partner.”

Yeah, right. Or how about the actual truth. How about some tips on telling your man he can’t fuck worth shit. Tactfully. No such thing. Easier to suck it up the way women do with whatever’s wrong, and no idea the price they’re going to pay later on. Lies take it out of your hide. Lying out of fear, out of misguided compassion, or that terrible admixture of both.

How about let’s back up a step. 1, How many men do you know (this one’s for the gals out there) with a clue. Who like women’s real bodies. To whom sex is one big juicy mutual act. To wit, if he won’t go down, honey, he’s curb material, and you’re a fool if you don’t start kickin.’

2? Don’t think so. Not today. Don’t want to start missing the man who did adore me—not the one I’d married. (Give me credit, the ex already languished curbside.)

Some other time. You learn, over the years, Truth, she is a sad but beautiful creature.

Simply Irresistible

Reuters: “Campaigning on Saturday, in Mississippi, the former president was quoted as saying his wife and Obama would be a dynamic duo, ‘an almost unstoppable force.’”

Hm, yes. Especially since they will be running against a man in a (well-deserved) coma. (Has anyone the sense that John McCain wants to be President? Lusts after four years of epic work and nothing but hassle? I see the word Retirement writ large on his face.)

The question for today is, How screwed up are Hill and Billary—I mean, Bill and Hillary—really.

We’re looking for signs of grace, folks. Humility. What have you done with that grotesque ambition of yours, and can a beast like that ever be whapped down to size. Does it happen.

Can Bill and Hil even conceive of themselves as vice-president of anything.

It’s clear he was a spoiled-rotten kid, the kind who deploy their considerable charm and charisma in the interest of just plain survival. Has Bill gotten a grip on himself—or is he still in addiction’s grip.

A glib little sentence, but no small question. For make no mistake, Monica-gate was total addict behavior. Something Bill Clinton absorbed at his mama’s knee. The belief that people are objects, to be arranged at will. A deeply mechanistic view that cannot, by definition, ever approach the Moral, which is so Golden Rule: treat others as you would be treated. Far too fluid—and rather rules out that primary drive, to get.

My guess is that their lives, that family, are shot through with ordinary lies … that they are nice folks, but are textbook Dysfunctional  I mean, Where the fork are her tax returns? Things like that.

It’s a Shakespearean drama, unfolding on the national stage. What does the woman do when the Unstoppable is not her queenly, entitled self, but this Dark Prince out of nowhere, with all this Honesty crap, and you really cannot grasp the attraction. And people are watching.

Hillary genuinely strikes me as a born Vice-President. Just saying.