21 September 2001

Go ahead and kiss your right to privacy (online and off) goodbye, and when you do give a little smooch to the FBI, because they’re obviously capable of managing and interpreting masses of data. Making online speech safe for five-year-olds and the rest of the world safe from them: Ladies and gentlemen, your Federal government.

21 September 2001

17 September 2001

One of the mailing lists I follow asked yesterday where God was on Tuesday. Being both an ethicist and a Jew awaiting the start of Rosh Hashanah tonight, not to mention the kind of person who jumps in where angels fear to tread, this is what I said in response. Your thoughts are welcome:

God was with us. He was with the people who risked their own lives to rescue friends and co-workers; He was with those who wept and prayed. He was with those who asked what they could do; He was with those who did not know what to do and turned to strangers, friends and neighbors with hope and faith that they would be helped. He was with the passengers on each flight who contacted their loved ones; He was with the heroes on Flight 93 who made a decision we can only hope we’d be brave enough to make if we were asked; He was with those for whom there was no goodbye. He was with the survivors; He was with the families and friends of those who did not survive; He was with architects, engineers, risk analysts, disaster specialists, and terrorism experts asking what they might have done to have saved more. He was with rescuers as they scrambled through chaos; He was with reporters as they stood in their newsrooms trying to compile the best and most appropriate coverage they could. He was with the millions who saw the results of this human-caused act and resolved that they would do whatever they could to prevent such a thing happening again, and He was with those who asked what wickedness humans might have done each other to cause us to act so.

The question is not where God was. The question is where

we have been all this time.

L’shanah tovah (happy new year), everyone.

17 September 2001

12 September 2001

I mean to blog. I have much bloggage. But I can’t quit watching the TV, can’t shut off the radio, can’t quit intake. And, like most of New York, I also can’t sleep. So instead of writing just now I will type instead, and leave you two quotes I don’t plan to use in the thing I’m writing. In these troubled times we must use things efficiently. We don’t want The Authorities to institute word rationing, now do we, which is the point of at least one of these utterances:

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

– That’s from Ben Franklin c.1784, who had faced things even worse, in their time, than this thing.

“You killed my people and you fucked up my skyline. I am America. I am half redneck and half lawyer. And I will bury you and everything you love. Your grandchildren will mock your memory.”

– That’s from me, and yet it does not fit with what I mean to say, which says much about the tension of writing it and why it takes so long.

12 September 2001

9 September 2001

A semi-random thought on intellectual property, from an author whose family is one of the most protective of all of the rights to use of their forebear’s work. What would JRRT have made of the DMCA, do you suppose?

“But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story….I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.”

-The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 144-145 (1951)

9 September 2001

9 September 2001

More reasons to never trust the press, and to *really* never trust that segment of the press that believes that writing for the “right” publications automatically makes you exempt from checking your facts: this story from The [London] Times. If you’re a Lord Of The Rings fan, you’ll get the joke. If you’re not a Lord Of The Rings fan and you don’t get the joke, you’re probably one of my editors and ought to get back to work.

9 September 2001