"Fight Different," our cover package on how technology is changing politics, elicited strong reactions across the blogosphere.
Jay Rosen of PressThink commended our interviews with various politicos and netizens as "a tour d'horizon for how the Web is changing politics." He was not so thrilled with the framing of the package, which he felt set up a false tension between the notion that politics 2.0 will change everything and the view that it's just more of the same. "To me there is no tension because they are fake alternatives to begin with," he wrote, "just off-the-shelf bipolar hype-speak from Mother Jones." Many commenters agreed with Rosen. Others, such as journalist Adam Weinstein, defended the framing: "Grab a reader, pull her in by playing on her expectations, then entertain and inform her by showing all the subtleties in the terrain." K. Daniel Glover of National Journal's Beltway Blogroll—and a source for "Meet the New Bosses," a story about netroots power brokers—saw Rosen's point as "a legitimate criticism," noting that our piece didn't reflect his argument that "there is no Boss Tweed of the blogosphere, and I don't think there ever will be." On the other hand, "the negative reaction from bloggers is pretty consistent with my quote in the article: 'I've been surprised at how thin-skinned bloggers can be....When anything at all is said about the blogosphere, they go off half-cocked.'"
Why in "Fight Different" did you give a platform to a dishonest hack, Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit.com, when there are so many better bloggers out there? Reynolds supports torture, is an Iraq War dead-ender, and is an apologist for the Military Commissions Act. If the real Mother Jones read this interview, she would give Reynolds, and the staff at the magazine that bears her name, a good swift kick in the ass. For shame.
I have been a subscriber to Mother Jones almost since its inception, and now I find myself canceling my subscription. Why? Here I am, at my desk, flipping through the July/August issue, and my eye falls to photograph after photograph of shocking and saddening images of humans dead, tortured, or starving. What really irks me is that I found my seven-year-old daughter looking through the magazine before I had even had a chance to leaf through it. My daughter and I then spent hours talking about the world and its foibles—which is always good—but I would rather have been the one to gently introduce her to the pain and suffering of the world in my own way.
Save the World
I laughed when I read "No Sex Please, We're Organizing," but as funny as it is, an underlying reason Americans hoard isn't mentioned. We've been brainwashed to be consumers, enough so that we keep a couple of nations' economies going with the newest gadgets that "you just can't live without." I'm trying to deprogram myself—I force myself not to purchase on impulse, not to buy the newest gadgets, and not to get a new wardrobe each year. The hardest part is getting rid of the stuff I have now. It still represents the money I spent.
Cameron Scott's "Hot Air on Hot Air?" summarizes several ideas to reduce global warming by geo-engineering the climate or bioengineering organisms. I'm responsible for the desert cover idea as well as using fighter jets to deliver hydrogen sulfide or sulfur dioxide to the stratosphere to be turned into sunlight-scattering (not -reflecting) aerosols. These ideas seem dangerous, off-the-wall, and distracting to some who lobby for reducing emissions first. But by delaying warming for even 20 to 30 years, these tactics may give us enough breathing room to make some real progress.
Environmental Reference Materials Inc.
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Home Away From Home
I read with interest "Habitat for Hypocrisy," by Josh Harkinson. While well written and factually correct, I fear that it could instigate rather than educate neighbors on our efforts to build affordable homeownership opportunities. In Marin County—where the median home price recently exceeded $1,000,000—there's little chance for schoolteachers, community college administrators, or public transit drivers to buy a home. Instead, people are forced to commute up to three and four hours each day. Unfortunately, the reference to neighbors as "nimbys" does little to elevate the dialogue.
Habitat for Humanity San Francisco