Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Liar and The Blogger

"The vision of Christ that thou does see, is my vision's greatest enemy." -- Nobody, in the movie Dead Man

The line above is taken from a little known Jarmusch film starring Johnny Depp. Its a quirky, funny and at times quite sad Western. Many of my friends think it belongs to the crap genre of movies.

Since there seems to be some discussion on anonymous in blogos, I thought I'll write something. Since I am anonymous. And as I am anonymous, so the dominant discourse says, what I write is irresponsible and criminal. So unread what you read. Because what I write are lies. They are symbols on a black page designed to trick your eyes, play your feelings, deceive you. Because I am a deceitful anonymous blogger.

Lets study the word anonymous. It comes from the Greek word, anonumos, which simply means nameless or more exactly without name. That is the root of the word. The dictionary meaning of anonymous has three different meaning : having an unknown or unacknowledged name. Having an unknown or withheld authorship or agency. Last, having no distinctive or recognisable character.

From its history of meanings, the word "anonymous" has had no ethical or moral value attached to it. From Roman law to its modern tomes, being anonymous is not a crime. To sign off as John Doe or Jane Doe is legally acceptable, at least in some countries. Perhaps if you sign off as X or more recently, V, it is a more sinister form of anonymity. There seems to be a swirling mass of malevolent agendas behind those two anonymous symbols.

But being anonymous has no moral or ethical value attached to it.

No, I am lying because I am anonymous. There has to be a moral and ethical value involved. Being anonymous means you are irresponsible. You are unwilling to stand up for what you assert. You are not honourable. You cannot see the light of day. You belong to the dark side. You are the shadow in the shadows.

But who imputes this moral and ethical value into the meaning of "anonymous"? Is it History? Is it Precedent? Is it Politics? Is it ideology? Is it culture? No. I am spouting more lies. Spinning greater webs of conniving.

Lets have a thought experiment. By putting randomly putting a name "Lionel De Souza" onto an essay means that it is good. It is responsible. It is honorable? Sometimes, a name may have too much power, too much honor, so much so that good judgement is impaired. Remember how MM Lee and PM Lee had to explain in Parliament the problems of property kickbacks because the developer associated the brand name Lee and gave discounts when he should not have done so. Sometimes, having a name brings about irresponsible behaviour too. But that is Lee. How about "Lionel De Souza"? It may be a name but it could be anonymous too because it has no distinctive or recognisable character from whatever it is being spouted by the dominant discourse.

But I am twisting the facts again. Making unsound associations. Because I am anonymous. Because I have withheld authorship and agency in this blog. And this withholding in Singapore is a bad bad thing. Its bad morally because it means I have something to hide. Its bad legally because it means I cannot be held accountable for what I write. Its simply bad that I am withholding my name from you. Bad.

In Singapore, the meaning of "anonymous" is like the meaning of "gay". There are ethical and moral associations which are imposed into the originary meanings of the words. From these associations, a certain degree of criminality is deduced. Unfairly, of course. Its like this : if you spoke to a communist once, you are by default a sympathiser. Because the word "communist" had its associations too. Its like Islam now. Its a slippery slope when we make build bridges across bridges of associations into the originary meanings of words. Good can become bad. Justice can become evil.

But I am of course lying. Because I am an anonymous blogger. Black background. Evil transfigured in my words. When actually I want to be a nobody. No name. Just the words because we remember the words but hardly the Names.

Its not. I am lying again. Being irresponsible.

The associations to "anonymous" in the Singapore context is simple. Strip away the moral and ethical values. Face it in its stark reality. The real association. If you are anonymous, you cannot be held accountable. Accountability. You must pay the price with your Name. Capital politics. To be heard. You must pay the price with you Name. To take political action, you must pay the price to join a political party. So simple. So clear.

but then I am lying of course. Because I am an anonymous blogger.

Quote of the Day --

"Writing is pre-eminently the technology of cyborgs, etched surfaces of the late twentieth century. Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism. That is why cyborg politics insist on noise and advocate pollution, rejoicing in the illegitimate fusions of animal and machine. " -- Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stomping Eye Balls

Memories in Singapore are short. Sometimes too short and there truly are not enough sites of remembering. A sorry situation that thankfully, the Singapore blogging community as a collective, is unconsciously addressing. Lost in physical space but given a place in cyberspace. That is one of the more important roles of the blogos. to help remember.

I have been been remiss in my blogging. And in my absence, a new cyber-presence was born. STOMP. Such a name of power. Multiple reverberations. stomp, stomp stomp. The Broadway, the dance, the musical. stomp. An old alternative band in Singapore, stomping ground. Alternative. Emo. INdustrial. angst. Beyond the mainstream. Edged and edgy. do not fuck with me.

But STOMP is not a new baby. It is a resurrection. A dead ghost given life. again. Its cyber traces gathered, packaged and resurrected. given life, granted mortality, yet again. Again. a ghost that forgot why it died, how it died. and hence, re-born with a blank slate. to make the same mistakes again?

Project EyeBall. Remember?

"Forget Project Eyeball and its brash exclamations about being the "voice" of the digital generation - if we wanted something nobody read, we'd buy a road map of the North Pole, thanks. And let's not get started on the dailies." -- Talking Cock

"If any site with any political content is considered 'political', then all newspaper sites are also political. And if sites like TalkingCock or Sintercom are regulated, so should the Straits Times, The New Paper, Project Eyeball and Young PAP." -- Talking Cock

"SINGAPORE'S dominant newspaper company hopes to coax many of the country's cyber-surfing free spirits back into the fold of its mainstream media with the launch August 12 of an online-and-print daily newspaper." -- AWSJ Aug 11 2000

She reckons that the government will allow Project Eyeball more freedom, largely because it will have a smaller readership consisting of well-educated, cosmopolitan readers ... Ms Henson's target readers are "tired of the Straits Times" and "tired of listening to the government," according to Project Eyeball's readership profile." -- AWSJ Aug 11 2000

Its the same record, a re-sampled song. If geek was in then, goth, ghet-o and emo is the tune to call now. The aim is the same still. Fearing a turning away of the young to those horrible and irresponsible political websites (so archaic a term now), Talking Cock, Sintercom, ST launches its salvo to stay with the flow, maintain its grasp on the pulse of the young. STOMP baby STOMP.
Project EyeBall. to be the 'voice' of the digital generation. Echoing Messiah. So the interactive paper tackles "tough" issues : sex change, gay rights, teen suicides. Under feisty Bertha Henson, it promised confrontational and in your face journalism. to resonate with the heart of young Singaporeans who are groing disillusioned, disenchanted and finding their space in cyberspace.

"I think sometimes the government simply has to hear from the people about what they think on issues. It's silly to ignore views. It could lose them the GE (general election)." -- Bertha Henson on why Project Eyeball in AWSJ.

So the wheel turns. The blind ghost has been hovering, it did not die off. In Jun 2006. STOMP is re-born. Front page ST no less. Glittering array of "stars". Lets tackle entrapment. Massage parlours. Parental bribery into "fave" schools. Tough issues, in your fucking face style again. STOMP in capitals.

What is the matter with the management of SPH? Time and again, these highly influential people continue to insult the intelligence of Singaporeans young and old. Singaporeans are not ghet-o hip hop gangstas or My Immortal goths. They may like the trends, they may follow the trends but when it comes to discussing Singapore, dressing up the issues in some kind of chill-funk lingo is more distracting and irritating to this group of Singaporeans they are losing rather than "connecting" with them.

Singaporeans are not dumb. Simple blogs like Mr Wang, like Molly Meek, like gayle, connect with young Singaporeans because they do not treat Singaporeans as idiots. They do not need to be Ali G and they not pretend to be. You can say the same for mb and miyagi. And most importantly, you can say the same for their readers. Its about keeping it simple and more importantly, calling the issues as they are. Content over style. And Singaporeans are smart enough to see that.

As with Project Eyeball, its the same story again. Probably the same thought processes. To solve the problem of the damned Internet. Just launch a portal, hip and cool, be the "vooice" of the digital generation. And the damned political blogs will be gone.
The traces are all there. In Google History. Relics of eyeballs littered in the wash of Singapore cyberspace history. Its important to remember. And then reflect on why History returns. These ghosts that keep coming back.

Entrapment case. Let the community court have its first acid test. Let the accuser take the stand and explain under oath, swear to his heart, that he lodged the complaint against "char" not out of some selfish personal vendetta, a flamewar, but because he truly felt that what "char" put on his blog could destabilise Singapore and cause religious disharmony in Singapore between different classes of peoples.

Quote of the Day --

"so donĀ“t tread on me
Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail
once you provoke her, rattling of her tail
never begins it, never, but once engaged...never surrenders, showing the fangs of rage
so don't tread on me
so be it threaten no more
to secure peace is to prepare for war
so be it settle the score
touch me again for the words that you'll hear evermore...
don't tread on me" -- Metallica


Thursday, June 08, 2006

What is the Time in Singapore?

Having imperfectly explored space in Singapore and its conceptions. It is logical to talk next about Time, Singapore Time. Or more accurately, the lack thereof. To do this, I enlist the aid of one of my preferred theorists. Walter Benjamin. He, who died before his magnus opus could see the light of day.

There is a concept that Benjamin explores -- Trauerspiel. Its a German way of saying tragedy. But he makes a very important distinction between tragedy and Trauerspiel. And the distinction rests on Time.

For tragedy, there is always an eschatology. This means that Time in a tragedy is time as we normally associate with. It moves. In the morning, the tragedy begins, in the afternoon, the tragedy unfolds. And at night, the tragedy ends. Tragically, of course.

There is a linearity of Time in the tragic narrative. With an end-time, a promise of a final judgement, a final destination. Tragedy is like the World Cup. There is a fixed progression in the fixtures. It reaches its climax and for the peoples of 31 countries, the outcome is a tragedy.

Tragedy is thus, a movement, a movement in Space, a movement in Time. Most governments like to call this movement, progress. Of course, most governments never see the story of their nation as one of tragedy. It is always seen as a heroic narrative; what is commonly referred as History. National History.

But historians of the National always encounter a critical problem. Having brought the nation across Time, from the Past into the Now, they are left with unwritten pages. A blank script. This is when historians of the National, with the aid of the politcians, write the History into the future. So the story proceeds into Future Time. The History of the Future is never so factual, it is wrought with more uncertainties, more hidden enemies, more shadowy vulnerabilities. But undeniably, the movement of Time in this History into the Future is present still. And its always a progressive movement toward a Utopia. A movement from the Third to the First.

Orchestrated History in orchestral reverse.

What then is Trauerspiel? It is actually more tragic than tragedy. Because in Trauerspiel, Time does not move. Time is in fugue, at rest. Stagnation. In Trauerspiel, the narrative takes place only in space. There is an "end" but the "end" is eternally deferred. So to use the same analogy, Trauerspiel is akin to a World Cup without a Final. The teams are always playing for a supposed Final, but the Final is always deferred. So Time is in stasis in a Trauerspiel. Everything else remains the same. You get drama, you still get movement in space. But Time itself has stopped or even slowed.

If citizens dreaming of elsewhere is one nightmare of Government, Trauerspiel is the other nightmare. Its dreaded Twin.

In his comments to the cost of leaving entry, Parkaboy articulates what I believe is Trauerspiel :

"alienation of stagnation"

"It's not just frustration at Singapore's political situation that turns the trick: it's everything that follows on from the deeply straitjacketed politics. The social narrowness, the cultural bogwater, the tepid lifestyle."

This is the real problem in Singapore. It is the problem that the Government is able to sense. This is the discomfort, the dissonance that Singaporeans feel. As they articulate their frustrations in anti-PAP rhetoric, as they embrace the anti-establishment, as they chafe at the restrictions, as they leave. It is the "emo" generation being trapped in a timeless fugue-State. Being held in a Trauerspiel, while watching endless stories, endless narratives stream past their consciousness. This the true horror of the Socratic Cave analogy. The narratives streaming past the consciousness alleviates the discomfort of Trauerspiel a little bit, provides the numbing comfort. but in the Cave itself, Time stands still. It is no longer moving.

So Time is perhaps, slowing down in Singapore.

Despite the Government's efforts to move Time in Singapore. In 5 years time, the education system will be this and will be that. In 3 years time, a Casino opens. The future is filled with challenges which the Government will have to address. The people must stay together with the Government, united in spirit, forging into Utopia. There will be change, change and still change. So the Singaporeans upgrade, re-skill, re-position, re-tune. So that we can walk in the future. So that we can survive. And so on and so forth, the Government engages us in its stream of narratives of a future history now.

But then, when Time stills, when it slows, its disconcerting effects ripple in our restless minds, our uneasy hearts, our silhouetted dreams. Especially when we perceive movement elsewhere, and the opportunitiy for us, for me, to participate in this movement.
What happens when Time slows and stills into a Trauerspiel? Like the story of a story in the previous entry. What then?

And so I ask :

what is the Time in Singapore?

It is always four minutes to midnight.

Quote of the Day --

"In Opus 110, nothing completes itself without perishing. For instance, that flash of prettiness near the end, perfumed by Elena Konstantinovskaya, affords the listener scant relief, it reminds us that D.D. shostakovich is dying with his eyes open. He knows what happiness is. He knows that he'll never possess it ... because Opus 110 is no progression, only a prison, and the prisoner has now paced the walls right back to his starting point. He's at the center of the world, you see." -- Europe Central, William T. Vollmann

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Story

Let me tell you a story.

There was once a village. It was self sufficient. It survived comfortably on trade and for the various crafts which the village offered to the world at large. Every night in this village, an old man, the enlightened leader of the village, gathers his folk around the village center for his story-telling. It was a wondrous affair. something the folk looked forward to every day.

The old man clears his throat. And speaks. A voice steeped in history, blended by experience.

"There was once a small and rich kingdom, Xarnia. It was surrounded by other kingdoms which were envious of its riches. So these other kingdoms always sent spies to destabilise Xarnia. To cause its downfall. One of these spies was Nyte. He had a simple goal. To win the heart of Xarnia's sole heir-apparent, Princess Aeryie. And through this deception of the heart, gain the heart of Xarnia.

So Nyte worked his charms. First, he became famous in Xarnia's social circles. An ounce of gold here, a hidden kiss there, he won over many admirers. Here was a man of talent, they said. And so, like a circling serpent, Nyte's connections brought him to the Court. And then to his prize, Aeryie herself. But Aeryie had a gift. She can see through deceptions as a conoisseur sees that deceiving solitaire glittering amidst its truer brethren.

So Nyte had a problem and changed his deceitful plan. He will still get the heart of Xarnia. But now he worked on the Court, he worked on the people and most loquaciously, he worked on the King. The people, the Court and the King loved Aeryie dearly. But they worried for her solitude. They wished a companion for Aeryie. it was the way of tales, a lovely Princess, an ideal Prince and the kingdom will prosper.

But Aeryie remained cold to Nyte. She alone saw the deceit in Nyte's love. She tried to speak. But her words were silenced by the deafness of an enamoured King, court and people.

Aeryie had her secret but doomed love. An Elf, Daemon. An Other kind. So he enlisted the help of the magickal creatures. The faeries, the imps, the ogres. In answer to his call, the magicked left signs throughout the Kingdom. Signs of the deft deceits of Nyte. His slippery lies, his nefarious webs. But they failed still. Rejected as the supernatural. Creatures to be distrusted. And the silver tongued Nyte whispered about Daemon. Magicking the Princess. A sinister design on Xarnia by this Other.

And so the King set his soldiers into the forests. Hunting the helpless elves down. And so Daemon was killed in a valiant battle. And The Princess, consigned to her chambers, to recuperate. And despite her protests, Aeryie suffered the fate of most women in History. Her fate was decided for her. The day for the royal wedding with Nyte was set.

And fully alone now was Aeryie. She saw the inevitability of her future, Xarnia's future. Pacing in her room, high in the tower, she pondered. Outside a gale was apporaching over the sea. And she chose freedom beyond enslavement. As the first drops of rain fell, so she fell too, leaving behind a chamber of broken hopes and emptied desires.

The kingdom grieved. None grieved louder than the silver tongue. None wept more than Nyte. In the kingdom's grief, Nyte became the surrogate of their tears, the silhouette of their shadows.

And so Nyte became the king's favourite. And in time Xarnia was no more but another relic in the tragedy of History."

Murmurs from the entranced villagers. Some moist eyes. A perceptible shake of the head. A gentle sigh at this tragedy and the danger of the silver tongued. The old man sat on his chair, silhouetted by the dying embers of the village fire. the villagers trudge off. Time to sleep. Tomorrow is another day of work. Another story.

There is a point to this entry. Sparked by Parkaboy's comments in an earlier entry. But it will have to wait while I solve a problem at work : getting the opening match of the World Cup into a disaster zone.

Quote of the Day --

"Given the complete disenchantment of the world, art that is beyond the alternative of lightheartedness and seriousness may be as much a cipher of reconciliation as a cipher of horror." --Theodor W. Adorno

Monday, June 05, 2006

For What Its Worth

In the recently concluded IPS forum, many points were made, surveys were flashed, addresses were spoken and future plans were outlined. Coming right at the end of the forum, IPS researcher, Tan Tarn How, flanked by NTU's Cherian George, gave his prognosis of the Internet and GE2006. I think their assessments were mostly accurate, my only point of deviance was really at their projection into the future.

What caught my eye though, was this wee bit of an irony. Tan Tarn How spoke about citizen journalism and the importance of performing investigative reporting and whistle-blowing as indicators of citizen journalism. According to him, GE2006 was still disappointing as no substantive issues were vigorously debated are raised from the Net. Cherian George expands on this notion of citizen journalism, in his blog, to include commentaries as well. In his blog, he provides some precriptives of citizen journalism and the way ahead. One of the points he raises is the need for greater links with civil society groups. The implication is that citizen journalism in Singapore was still at pre-natal stage.

The funny little irony is this. In Singapore, ex intelligence officers become journalists while ex journalists become academics. In Malaysia, ex journalists become citizen journalists who progress on to become online journalists.

I am thinking about Malaysiakini. When it first started, I would think it was citizen journalism, even though the term is more closely associated with bloggers and with Jeff Ooi; but Malaysiakini as it started was and still is very much citizen journalism. The spirit of citizen journalism is the spirit which Malaysiakini upholds too.

The Malaysiakini team was small but it was a team of mostly ex journalists led by Steven Gan. Since its inception, it has grown into what it is today, with the customary brushes with the Law, threats of closure, a seizure of their computers/servers : lauded as a truly independent newspaper without party affiliations, winner of numerous journalist awards. Still surviving. As a sign of Malaysiakini's credibility, it now boasts a journalist who joined the team straight after graduation rather than the norm of joining after stints in the paper media.

Why this discrepancy? If we go by the often cited logic, it is that Malaysia boasts a stronger civil activism scene and also a stronger NGO base. This allows an alternative newspaper like Malaysiakini to flourish. Well, this argument has been cited repeatedly but while historically true, does it then damn Singapore without such journalism for eternity? We have Think Centre, we have ArtsCommunity. We hold our candle-light vigils, we have anti death penalty camapaigns. so perhaps this is a historical baggage that needs to be left behind.

If not history, then structure? Singapore has only a handful of publications all owned by the same parent company. So in effect, the talent pool of journalists is too small. There is not enough journalists to set up an independent news entity. I have previously explained that too often, when convenient, we cite our small-ness as a defense against change.

Perhaps, it is really whether there will be not enough "news" for such an online paper to cover? Will the traditional mouthpieces shun the upstart? Will there be "little birds" willing to chirp? Will people speak to the online journalist? I believe the answer to all the questions is a simple "yes". The traditional mouthpieces will shun and probably debunk anything newsworthy by this imaginary online newspaper but so what? There is still "news" to be made.

So we are left with tat dreaded possibility : maybe it is simply just not worth it.

There is a quote by Steven Gan from Malaysiakini "In Malaysia there is freedom of speech but not freedom after speech". In spite of this, he and his friends went right ahead to do it.
Hopefully, there may come a time when a young Singaporean journalist, leaves the SPH, rounds up his/her group of best friends and sets up SgToday. Then he/she can say rather nonchalantly "In Singapore there is freedom of speech but not freedom after speech ... but still we set this up coz its worth it."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

When a Minister Laughs

It is a blessing that Minister Lee Boon Yang will serve only half a term as Minister of Information, Communication and the Arts. His vacillations in public assessments of new media since GE2006 betray a lack of appreciation of his portfolio, belied perhaps by his age, perhaps by the context he has evolved from. In his latest proclamation on the Internet and new media, despite the media slant that there will be a "review" of regulations, the spirit in which the review will be undertaken remains very much in doubt. At least if the same Minister is in charge.

As others have mentioned, the Minister's remarks on Mr Brown's podcast is the undercurrent we have to note. In his assessment, the podcast in question masks the key issue and parodies what was actually a very serious issue of intention and integrity. This is the first point to address.

Mr Brown's podcast which highlights an exchange between a hawker and customer, drives home the message that people make mistakes and that the hawker was being overly belligerent about it. The hawker figure is at once representative of both Elections Department and the army of PAP heavyweights who refused to let the issue go during GE2006. The hawker figure was indeed right in his assessment of the customer's mistake, but the manner in which the hawker went about hammering nails into an already sealed coffin was what turned the favour away from the hawker. A slip from the moral high ground. From a position of righteousness, the hawker is gradually transformed to one of an utterly unreasonable figure because the hawker just refused to let the matter rest. This is directly reflective of how the PAP/ED went about the Gomez issue until it ceased with a stern Police warning.

This is the point which Minister Lee Boon Yang missed in his address, whether deliberately or not, as Mr Wang astutely states.

The reason why this podcast becomes a "classic" is because it resonated with the people's feelings. When people heard the podcast, they did not dismiss it as a trivialisation of the Gomez issue. They saw it as an accurate depiction. Thats why it became a "classic". Thats why some movies become "classics". Thats why some songs become "classics". Thats why some works of art achieve "classic" status.

A piece of art/artifice, whether in tragic form, whether in comic form, distils the essence of human experience and seeks to convey that experience into its bare form. Mr Brown's podcast did not achieve "classic" status because it was the most funny production in GE2006. It achieved "classic" status because in barely 5 minutes, the podcast summarised the entire Gomez saga and more importantly summarised a significant portion of the people's feelings of the issue into an accessible form. If votes were turned to Gomez, it was not Mr Brown's podcast which did it, it was the failed PAP media strategy of demonising Gomez. The podcast did not "mask" the issue. It dissected the issue into its barest form. Made it clear as day. As how the people saw it. thats why it became a "classic".

From this podcast, Minister Lee arrives at another assessment which is symptomatic of the nature of the Internet. That it is irreverent, that it trivialises, it occludes the important issues, it pokes humour and ultimately, the nature of the Internet masks and obscures the important and serious issues. If this is the nature of the Internet and its symptom, than Minister Lee would do well to leave office now, as he truly does not even understand the concept of media and mediation.

What he really means with this shockingingly ignorant statement, is that the Internet cannot be managed, like how Singapore media is managed -- in a responsible and serious way. Parody exists in all mediums of mediation, it is not only symptomatic of the Internet. His assertion is ironically, a veiled, a masked way of saying that the Internet is such because it cannot be managed. Rather than say that parody is particularly prevalent in the Internet, perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that parody is particularly symptomatic in regimes of totalistic control, but that would be overly seditious wouldn't it?

You cannot laugh. What did your laughter mean, Minister?

It is no laughing matter. So why did you laugh?

Humour and satire cannot mask key issues. But they do not mask, they reveal.

Humour and satire do not mask key issues. What they do is to showcase and illuminate key issues into their essence. Reveal the issues into their essential Form. Comedy is always subversive. The fundamental narrative structure of comedy is to set a not so talented comic hero/heroine against authority figures who are dimwits. In comedies, the not so talented comic hero always wins and the auhtority figures end up as what they are -- dimwits.

You cannot laugh because laughter is fundamentally subversive. In Umberto Eco's book, The Name of the Rose, the main theme which was obscured in the movie adaptation is why the murders in the monastery were being committed. They are committed to prevent a very powerful book from surfacing. Aristle's Book of Comedy. Because this particular book explains and legitimizes the Comedy Form, it gives the philosophical arguments on laughing and laughter. That even God laughs. And the Catholic Church then would not want that. How can God laugh? If God laughed, then why would people fear Him and his instruments on Earth?

"Today I realize that many recent exercises in "deconstructive reading" read as if inspired by my parody. This is parody's mission: it must never be afraid of going too far. If its aim is true, it simply heralds what others will later produce, unblushing, with impassive and assertive gravity." -- Misreadings

Umberto Eco has many observations on the form of parody and what it means. The above quote is the most precise and most apt response to our Minister's assertions of the symptomatic nature of the Internet. And perhaps it should be that he will leave half through his tenure as Minister of Communication, Information and the Arts, as the fruits of parody may come much later with the necessary impassive and assertive gravity that he so craves for.

Quotes of the Day --

"When all the archetypes burst out shamelessly, we plumb the depths of Homeric profundity. Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches moves us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion . . . Just as the extreme of pain meets sensual pleasure, and the extreme of perversion borders on mystical energy, so too the extreme of banality allows us to catch a glimpse of the Sublime." -- Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

" But why doesn't the Gospel ever say that Christ laughed?" I asked, for no good reason. "Is Jorge right?" "Legions of scholars have wondered whether Christ laughed. The question doesn't interest me much. I believe he never laughed, because, omniscient as the son of God had to be, he knew how we Christians would behave. . . ."

"... Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth."-- The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco