“Today, yet another British citizen is betrayed by the British Government,” she said.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera reported head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, ranked 701st on Forbes’ yearly report of the wealthiest men alive, and worth an estimated $1 billion, today officially thanked United States politicians for making sure that drugs remain illegal. According to one of his closest confidants, he said, “I couldn’t have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama, none of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, Gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you.”
So the Australian government organized a secret meeting, but doesn’t know who attended? If that’s true, it suggests a stunning level of incompetence that ought to require heads to roll; and if it’s not true, then heads should still roll, for being economical with the truth.
But perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the response to the FOI request is the underlying justification for providing a content-free non-reply:
“Disclosure of the documents while the negotiations are still in process, would, in my view, prejudice, hamper and impede those negotiations to an unacceptable degree,” wrote [Attorney-General’s Department senior legal officer] Purcell. That would, in my view, be contrary to the interests of good government — which would, in turn, be contrary to the public interest.”
What this really means is: “All hell will break loose when the public finds out what is being discussed behind closed doors. So what we’re going to do is to come up with an agreement in secret, and then present it as a fait accompli, without offering citizens any options to change anything substantive. By contrast, to release the documents, and allow the public to have a say in how they should be allowed to use a critical 21st-century technology, would be contrary to the interests of this very good government, which by definition is identical with the public interest.”
Print magazines are still a better experience than their digital counterparts.
If you’re going to successfully evolve into a new medium you can’t just add gimmicks, you have to substantially upgrade the user experience. If you asked anyone 15 years ago what the future of music looked like they would have told you that it was about fidelity, listening to an album would sound like you were at a concert or in the center of the orchestra pit. But that hasn’t been the case, in fact the overall quality of the music we listen to has gone down. The experience of being able to fit your entire music collection in your pocket, or stream any song to your phone leapfrogged any fidelity improvements other formats like DVD audio could make.
We never saw this kind of improvement in magazines, if fact the experience has gotten worse. Looking at a magazine on an iPad at its best leaves you wondering if you’ve seen all the content and at its worse feels like your reading a broken PDF. I subscribe to two magazines that have free iPad downloads for subscribers and have never download the digital version, reading the dead tree version is just easier.
How can magazines improve? They are no longer limited to releasing content on a monthly or weekly basis that was necessary with print. They can now put their content out in a format that is really easy to share and build reader loyalty. They can now get back to their roots, magazines like Rolling Stone were founded by people who ate, breathed and crapped music. I’m sure there are folks working there now who love music but we haven’t seen that kind of passion in the magazine in decades.
I know what you’re thinking: we’ve seen all this before, it’s called a blog. Yep, exactly.
It’s taken time, but blogs have become what magazines should have been evolving into.
This is a compelling argument except for the fact that blogging doesn’t generate a ton of revenue. It may be a classic example of Innovator’s Dilemma, but that dilemma isn’t a false one. It’s hard to retool your industry to work on much, much, much less income.
I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada. That’s not us. If we sand down our rough edges and drain all the color, emotion and spontaneity out of our discourse, we’ll end up with political candidates who never say anything but the safest, blandest, emptiest, most unctuous focus-grouped platitudes and cant. In other words, we’ll get Mitt Romney.