Thursday, September 20, 2012

Recent links of general interest

• The emoticon turned 30 yesterday. Read about it at the Atlantic (by Megan Garber).
What I find interesting, in a meta way, is that although we can apparently trace the emoticon itself
to a specific date and person, there does not appear to the same kind of clarity about
the word emoticon.

• Thoughtful article by Erik Bleich at Al Jazeera English: "How much free speech do we need?" For me it brought to mind an argument put forward by Michael Ignatieff in Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry: that rights are best thought of in instrumental terms, not as absolutes to be put on a pedestal. This is a difficult insight to translate into any practical prescription, but an important one to keep in mind nonetheless. (Note: Erik also has a very good book, published last year, on this and related issues: The Freedom to Be Racist?)

Ezra Klein points out that Romney really just doesn't understand what responsibility means. And Dante Chinni points out that the people Romney so blithely dismisses are disproportionately likely to be hid voters. Oops! Fortunately for him, they are probably also disproportionately unlikely to be swayed by Romney's now-notorious speech.

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