Fear of links
BY SCOTT ROSENBERG
Although I would be happy to be a proper coathook for any story Scott Rosenberg wrote,
he might have checked with me before he hung his report on my words.
While it might seem a delicious bit of irony that a Wall Street Journal
reporter who covers the Internet thinks of online reporters as boobs, I am sorry to
say that it is not true. I have huge respect for online reporters and am
impressed on a daily basis by their work.
What I don't like and never will is reporters who do not check something out
before writing it as truth. At the conference, when I used the term
"linkalists," I was referring to putting links for buying things into stories
about products, like reviews. I was also making the point that there was
so much stuff out on the Web that it was harder for the average user to discern
what was quality and what was not, unlike traditional media fare, which is much more
settled (some say atrophied).
I only observed that the easy and sometimes too-seamless links between
commerce and editorial on the Web were something we all should consider carefully. I
did not say links should not happen, but that everyone concerned with the
blurring of the lines should think about it. And that users of the Internet have to
be as discerning as they are with offline media (or not, if they choose).
In addition, the linkalist term was used as a joke (I think it was funny
since people laughed) and I quickly followed it up by saying how much I admired
work at places like News.com and theStreet.com.
I admire the work of reporters online, and I am fascinated and encouraged with the way the Internet is evolving. If I wasn't, I would not be spending my life writing about it.
-- Kara Swisher
The Wall Street Journal
SCOTT ROSENBERG RESPONDS ...
Nowhere in my article did I suggest that Kara Swisher "thinks of online
reporters as boobs." I simply quoted her use of the word "linkalist" as an
example of a mainstream journalist's apparently dismissive attitude ("a
joke") toward those online writers who devote themselves to providing links
to their users, rather than using the Internet as a conduit to deliver
traditional reporting. The value in those linking endeavors was the subject
of my column.
BY RON FEEMSTER
Your article about the humiliating strip-searches that were
routine at New York's central booking jail until a lawsuit was filed, has
only reinforced something I've felt for some time -- that New York City
under Rudy Giuliani is no place I want to visit. It's not
drugs or crime or other big-city hazards that make me feel this way; it's the cops I'm
-- Steve Teeter
Surely you jest when you report Goodman's statements that more than 100,000 strip searches constituted a "bureaucratic" snafu. Nothing like blaming the "system." This
comes from the law-and-order, individual-responsibility cretins that
populate New York "law" enforcement and the mayor's office? Goodman says: "Sure we violated their rights, but they didn't suffer emotional damage. Let's give them a dollar." Such an admission
is as stunning as it is insulting. I think violating citizens' rights is enough, don't you? A few years
ago my sister (a former Catholic schoolteacher and nun) was strip-searched at Miami International Airport. She was devastated.
-- Jennifer A. Bell
Hard to stomach
BY CHRIS COLIN
The oddest behavior of University of California "hunger strikers" that Chris Colin mentions
doesn't appear until the third page: They consume Gatorade,
that is, food. I myself witnessed this at a UC-Irvine protest; it was one
of the many California surrealities that drove me back East, clutching my head.
An equally weird incongruity goes unmentioned by Colin. In Southern
California, the act of relaxing with friends while losing weight will sooner arouse envy than pity or indignation. How much more effective would a "gluttony strike" be -- hitherto svelte
undergraduates, force-feeding each other corn dogs and Klondike bars,
putting on pound after pound of unsightly flab ... why, it would horrify Californians into instant action!
-- Doug McLellan
Sharps & flats
BY AMANDA NOWINSKI
Amanda Nowinski writes: "Unfortunately, Orbital's new record, 'The Middle of
Nowhere,' will do nothing to challenge that old monotony stigma [associated
with techno.]" Well, perhaps not, but I think she's missing the evocative
potential of this Orbital record and the ones that have come before it. Orbital is my favorite band, but I've never really "gotten" one of their records until I've heard it at least 10 or 20 times. After enough listens it's not just music anymore, but rather a carrier of the Hartnoll brothers' ideas.
-- Allen Brunson
Nowinski's review is symptomatic of your magazine's treatment of electronic music. While I'll admit that the album falls short of the duo's glory days, Nowinski's review totally misses the point. Orbital and other electronic groups' music isn't so much about melody as about a contrapuntal relationship between rhythm and sound. It's a misunderstanding typical of rock-oriented critics in popular magazines. The repetitive (monotonous in Nowinski's words) nature of electronic music allows DJs mixing 12-inch vinyl to continuously enhance or break up the track's internal counterpoint (the groove). Dance music is in fact no more repetitive than much modern classical music, which derives much influence from the genre.
Out of curiosity, I made an excursion through your music review archives and found a generally negative attitude toward (and gross ignorance of) electronic or dance music as a genre. Dance or electronic music is a viable, self-perpetuating musical subculture, much like jazz or folk. Perhaps you could have people that like electronic music (and understand it) review it instead of disgruntled rock critics.
-- James Crouch
A mother defends Marilyn Manson
BY NANI POWER
keep an eye on Nani Power's kids if Marilyn Manson is what she is subjecting them to. Don't we have enough horror in this world without someone like that fool glorifying the grotesque
and making a mockery of everything decent? First Amendment be damned; there is a limit
to tolerance of the obscene!
-- LaVonne Otwell