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Book Confluence: 1984

In response to the recently passed Government Surveillance Act, aka FISA, for our next Book Confluence meeting, we will be discussing George Orwell’s, 1984.  The book:

is a 1949 English novel about life in a fictional, future authoritarian regime as lived by Winston Smith, an intellectual worker at the Ministry of Truth. Winston is degraded and psychologically tortured after he is arrested by the Thought Police under the instruction of the totalitarian government of Oceania, in the year 1984.

The book has major significance for its vision of an all-observing government which uses constant surveillance and propaganda, both insidious and blatant, to control its citizens. The book had a substantial impact both in literature and on the perception of public surveillance, inspiring such terms as ‘Big Brother‘ and ‘Orwellian‘.

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Centrism, Triangulation and the Netroots

With this week’s Netroots Nation starting today, there will be two viewpoints represented: that of the centrist (aka EEEEEEVIL) DLC (represented by DLC leader Harold Ford), and that of the virtuous, pure, liberal/progressive netroots (represented by Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos).

Or so they would have you believe.

When the “progressive” blogosphere burst on the scene several years ago, I could not have been more thrilled. I was so tired of the corporate media covering up for the Deciderer and his criminal and anti-American activities. Here, at last, with the help of Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos, Huffington Post and Eschaton, I could find like-minded individuals who wanted to know what was REALLY going on and who had the resources to find out. I also could take action by joining Moveon.org and Democracy for America. It was a heady, wonderful time for me, and I thought we were all on the same page.

Then, things began to change.

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Thursday: Radio killed the bloggio star?

If there’s one thing I’ve found really exciting about the new progressive blogosphere it is the degree to which we are not afraid to use new internet features to be heard- literally.  I love to blog but, dangit!, do I always have to be tied to this damn keyboard???  Wouldn’t it be great if I could listen to other bloggers while I am theoretically cleaning my actual house?

In the past month, we have seen a mini explosion of blogtalkradio shows from Sheri Tag’s chatty NO WE WON’T to Larry Johnson’s No Quarter Radio and BettyJean and Pagan’s Morning Q. Darragh Murphy launches one of her own, Meet Me in Denver with Murphy and Friends premiers Saturday at 9:00pm You can see some of the lineup at Piper’s calendar at JustSayNoDeal

But that’s not the only place where we have gone.  Will Bower is a Facebook addict.  Flineo does video.  And there’s something called Lively.com that looks veddy interesting, indeed.  It looks like a version of Second Life with more user creativity involved.  I can only speculate because they don’t have a Mac version yet and apps that touch Windows shall never touch mine.

I have a theory about all of these different media popping up in  recent years.  Well, actually, it’s not a new phenomenon.  People have been trying to find each other for millenia but only in the last 200 years or so has it been able to hook up regardless of geopgraphy.  The internet has accelerated that pace and scope.  With Morse code and telephone, there were fixed endpoints.  The person you wanted to reach was a known.  With the internet, the endpoints have disappeared.  You can virtually roam the world and get to know new people and for some of us, that has freed us from lifetimes of quirkiness.

If you’re the parent of a gifted kid, you see how hard it is to be assimilated in real life.  There just aren’t too many people like my Brook.  She’s not strange, she’s just not normal.  It’s hard for her to identify with some kids.  Some of them just don’t share her interests.  She feels like she’s talking to carrots with others.  There’s nothing wrong with either Brook or her peers.  It’s just that the peers are more likely to find and hang out with kids who live across the street while Brook has to wait for special summer camps to meet people like her.  That’s the way some of us are as well.  We love politics, analysis, idle speculation, snark and satire, freeing our minds from the confines of the rigid suburban thought patterns.  It’s hard to have coffee with the neighbors sometimes.  They just don’t get our passions.  And maybe we don’t get theirs either.  But online, we can find each other.  We’re connecting and our online experiences are becoming richer with each new killer app. Someday, we may have our own Lively place or Second Life at The Confluence where we can kick back after work and have a cocktail party.

It’s all good.

So, what next big thing have you Stumbled Upon?

As for these guys, well, plus ça change…


  • Whoo-Hoo!  Conflucian commenter Janis has jazzed up the ads for The Denver Group.  See the new ad here.  Great job, Janis.
  • Over at Alegre’s Corner, she has a post on the nasty machinations of the Bush admin that is now trying to recategorize certain types of birth control as abortifacients for the purpose of getting them excluded from federal healthcare coverage.  Take your BP meds before reading Action: Tell Bush and the HHS Enough!. (the bastids)  Hillary is on it but who doesn’t need allies?  Oh, and where is the NARAL endorsed candidate on this issue?  Anyone seen him?  Well, THAT’S odd.  Alegre says his website doesn’t mention the rule at all.