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Month: December 2003

Graven images

Above the main door of the Cambridge City Hall is a stone bearing these words:

God has given Commandments unto Men. From these Commandments Men have framed Laws by which to be governed. It is honorable and praiseworthy to faithfully serve the people by helping to administer these Laws. If the Laws are not enforced, the People are not well governed.

The asserted motivation behind Roy Moore’s monument to the 10 Commandments was acknowledgement of the law’s moral foundation: namely, the Commandments inscribed on his monument, which are certainly the Commandments referenced in the inscription above.

To the best of my knowledge, there’s been no national outrage about the Cambridge City Hall. One senses a slight dichotomy here.

I think, however, the dichotomy involves the real reasons why Moore’s actions are repugnant. It’s not that Moore’s trying to set religion above the law, because that’s not his real motivation. It’s that Moore is a selfish, greedy, power-motivated man who doesn’t particularly care about God. He cares about using the belief of others to advance his own career. He’s no kind of Christian.

It’s a bad move to allow people of Moore’s ilk to cast this as a fight between atheists and God. You can’t give someone a free ride just because they claim to be religious. The dichotomy only exists if we ignore Moore’s motivations and let him get away with framing the terms of the argument.

Sons of Shut Doors

The Sons of Sam Horn board is still struggling with the price of celebrity.

The Hartford Courant ombudsman, Karen Hunter, more or less apologized for that Jeff Jacobs column. She also said — I think accurately — that journalistic ethics don’t go away just because you’re in an anonymous chat room. It’s a good, balanced column that shows a decent understanding of the issues involved. That one goes in the positives column for the SoSH crowd.

On the negative side, the Sons have drawn the curtains over their boards. If you’re not a member, you can’t read the forums anymore. It’s undoubtedly partially due to the cost of serving all that traffic, but it’s pretty clearly also because SoSH posts are liable to be quoted nationally, even on the AP wire. You can say what you want about the necessity of such a move, but it certainly means that the SoSH can’t be an unfiltered medium for Red Sox players to communicate with fans anymore.

Which is intriguing, since that’s what Curt Schilling said he liked about the place when he called into WEEI yesterday.

Edit: SoSH is open again; looks like it’ll be open days but not nights in an effort to conserve bandwidth. That strikes me as very reasonable.

Books online

The Google/Amazon convergence continues, as Google adds book search to its repertoire. It’s a step. It looks like only short excerpts of each book are stored, but Google implies full text search. There’s more interesting discussion of this, including the revenue model, over on Metafilter.

Speedy repair

Nobody ever blogs about good customer support.

So I sent my Powerbook into Apple to be fixed on Thursday. On Saturday, I checked the repair info page, and the issue was marked as closed. This was somewhat worrisome; I had visions of my poor little laptop lost in Apple’s vast cavernous shipping bays, never to be seen again. So I called customer service.

Turned out they’d fixed it the same day it got there, and dropped it back into the mail. I got it back Monday. Three business day turnaround! Go, Apple.

Monday Mashup #19: Gospels

Unduly influenced by Passion, for better or worse, this week’s Monday Mashup is going to be the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You can do it straight, as an evocation of faith; you can do it cynically, if you’re that kind of person; or you can say “Geeze, that’s too close to the line, I’m not gonna do this one.” I figure if it’s OK to express one’s faith by making a movie, though, it ought to be OK to do it in an RPG. (Also, I didn’t answer WISH 75, so this will have to do.)