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NOW Atlantic: Smart thinking for a changing world
Cheers: to armchair quarterbacks everywhere. Former Conservative Peter MacKay chided his own party for its failure to make inroads in the last federal election, saying to a crowd at the Canada Institute in Washington, “Yeah, to use a good Canadian analogy, it was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.” Here’s another, less-familiar Canadian analogy: “It was a bad play, says the guy who didn’t even bother to put on his skates.”
Jeers: to the ever-more-dangerous selfie culture. A Japanese man solo-climbing Japan’s Mount Fuji during a period when the mountain’s trails were closed because of snow apparently live-streamed footage of himself falling to his own death. There are no words.
Cheers: it was the best of tools, it was the worst of tools. An Ontario judge, sentencing someone in a child pornography case, starts out by waxing lyrical on the nature of the internet as a whole: “It is the antithesis of everything that it is. It is a remarkable resource and a calamitous curse. It is as wondrous as it is hideous. It connects families across oceans and tears households apart. It is an engine of enlightenment, advancement and the free exchange of ideas and it is a cauldron of hatred, repression and demagoguery. In the hands of people of good will, it is an unequalled tool for public betterment and, in the hands of the malefactor, it is a Hydra threatening us in ways as numerous as they are terrifying. ‘It’ is the internet and it is one of the reasons behind these reasons.” OK then. We’re already tired.
Jeers: but the judge continues. “Among the internet’s many and most maleficent manifestations, the spread of child pornography must rank at or within a hair’s breadth of the apex. An evil the spread of which once required that the offender stir from the comfort and security of his home and seek out perverted purveyors of profound personal pain down dodgy back alleys, now spreads its tentacles across the globe in an instant, with no more effort required for its dissemination than a few computer keystrokes.” Absolutely appalling alliteration abounds. (One writer to another? Don’t give up your judicial day job.)
Cheers: To altruism. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced the social media site will no longer accept political advertising, saying, “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” adding, “A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”
Jeers: to Mammon. The much-larger social media site Facebook, meanwhile, not only will continue allowing political advertising, but will also allow political ads that are demonstrably false to stay online.