Friday, September 02, 2005

Weak Links & Ethics

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.

Today I will blog not about politics or about kiddie rides or Catch-33 situations. Today, I blog about blogs. Specifically, the issue between Mr Wang and Tomorrow about linking policies.

In blogosphere, there are two types of blogs. Personal and non-personal. The recent NTU study on weblogethics summarises this differentiation neatly. The latter blogs thrive on massive hyper-linking to establish a common network of activism/consiousness. Strength in numbers. The former type blogs thrive on linking too but within close friends, trusted friends. A closed network existing in the mother of all open source networks. It is a closed network not by dint of technology but by dint of content and intent.

If Tomorrow is an aggregator that functions by machine logic, the differentiation as stated above is inconsequential. Machine logic rules, crawler grabs and publishes. But there is a board of editors, humans and bloggers running the show. And there is an assumpton of human logic at work.

Quite way before Mr Wang raised this issue of the linking policies of Tomorrow, citing the cases of the rich girl and the pregnant girl. Blogger supremo, Elia Dodati, had already questioned Tomorrow's logic in putting the blog of the pregnant girl up. He urged sensibility too. Not everyone wants celebrity status.

The argument cited by Tomorrow is simple. Its there, its open, if I do not see it, others will and hence, by extension it should be shown. If we do not do it like this, it is inimical to blogging and the spirit of blogging. Inherent in this logic is of course, concepts of self-censorship, freedom of speech and the ilk.

I can think only of an example of history and the writing of history. In the 80s, there arose this movement in German historiography, which was the unfortunate product of Hayden White's post-modernist application of text and history. The simplistic application of the post-modernist argument that all text is a produced narrative, including primary source historical texts, means that the Holocaust did not happen. The Jews did not die in the manner that had been interpreted. The nihil was a historical narrativist production.

The recovery of this crisis in historical writing lies in ethics. This is the simple but singularly most powerful point in Mr Wang's entry on this blogging issue and he aptly titled his entry as such. It is ethics that saves the historian from the slippage of relativism. There are enough philophies, isms, cliche banners to justify anything in this world. Which is why Holocausts like Rwanda, Yugoslavia still occur. Ethics simple not philosophies simplistic.

In his latest comment on this issue, Mr Wang alludes to something which perhaps, Tomorrow we will know. I XenoBoy, the Political Savant, too have heard rumblings from my little birds in the machinery of Sg Government. The test will indeed come if a blogger featured on Tomorrow gets snared by the Gods and how then the Champions of Freedom of Speech/Expression will react. The pedestals of freedom of speech, freedom of expression are hallowed with the blood of many worthy heroes, do not use them lightly.

I am XenoBoy. I am the Political Savant.

Quote of the Day:"... you try to imagine the word on the screen becoming a thing in the world, taking all its meanings, its sense of serenities and contentments out into the streets somehow, its whisper of reconciliation ... but its only a sequence of pulses on a dullish screen and all it can do is make you pensive" -- Don DeLillo, Underworld


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