A lot of links for a windy Tuesday, eh?
Well, now. This is what you might call both inevitable and inevitably depressing:
The Internet, with companies sniping at one another and blithely ignoring major privacy violations, is on the verge of the same fate as the true-blue American industries before it: losing its sense of fun.
Fun? I’d settle for something a lot less. After describing recently reported problems with security breaches of Apple’s mobile-device OS — no more lovely walled garden, but one with thieves coming over the walls — Nick Bilton tosses off an anecdote that simply drives me nuts:
Last week Apple also refused to allow “Stop Selling Dreams,” a new book by the writer Seth Godin, into the iBookstore. Apple’s reasoning: Mr. Godin’s book contains links in the bibliography, he said, which make it easy for readers to buy books from Amazon. (Imagine if a physical bookstore refused to sell a print book because it referred to Barnes & Noble?)
Yeah. He goes on to point out the fun-less atmosphere at Google, et al, and once again — hammer, nail, etc.:
I’m increasingly wary of downloading an app, or signing up for a new service or Web site, for fear that the creator had an ulterior motive. Does Angry Birds really need to take my address book when I install it on my phone? Will I really want to see constant warnings popping up to tell me an app is taking this or that bit of once-private data?
So true. I no longer download Facebook apps unless absolutely necessary, and have deleted 85 percent of the ones I welcomed back when I was a newcomer. So no more watching “SNL” sketches via Hulu for Facebook, and definitely no Washington Post Social Reader, and absolutely positively no Yahoo apps, not when they announce to your whole goddamn network that you were reading about the Kardashians. (I saw that on a friend’s timeline; she said, “I am not ashamed of my fondness for celebrity gossip.” I’m glad someone isn’t.)
I guess what I’m saying is, I’m tired of paying for free things with my information, because I suspect I’m being overcharged. I’d happily pay $5 a month for Twitter and Facebook, if I could actually keep my private things private, or private-ish. And goddamn it, Apple — if you’re going to sell books, but only books that don’t even carry the faintest whiff of maybe acknowledging that there’s another way to sell books, then go sell them to someone else.
Let’s change the subject; how about some levity?
In Laurens County, South Carolina, you cannot run for office with the county GOP’s seal of approval unless you sign a pledge:
…of 28 principles, because the party “does not want to associate with candidates who do not act and speak in a manner that is consistent with the SC Republican Party Platform.”
Among the principles, according to Vic MacDonald & Larry Franklin of the Clinton Chronicle, is standard fare like opposition to abortion and upholding gun rights, as well as “a compassionate and moral approach to Teen Pregnancy” and “a high regard for United States Sovereignty.”
It goes on. And like the kids say, it gets better.
A poignant tale out of western Ohio — the barely there village of Uniopolis, which voted big-time for John Kasich in the 2010 wave. Balance that budget without raising taxes, guvnor! So he did, in part by slashing revenue sharing to municipalities large and small, and now?
This small village of low-slung houses and squeaky swing sets in western Ohio’s farm country has already laid off its part-time police officer and decided not to replace its maintenance worker, who recently retired. To save cash, Mayor William Rolston will propose Monday that the town turn off the street lights, and that Uniopolis disincorporate after more than a century in existence.
I used to drive through burgs like this between Fort Wayne and Columbus, strung along US 33 like afterthoughts. Neptune, Pleasant Mills, New Hampshire, Rockford, Willshire. I probably made that drive every few months for 20 years, and none of the towns got any bigger or prettier in that time. (Although there was one prosperous farm between Rockford and Willshire that was almost spookily clean and neat. I never saw a human being outdoors, but every bush and blade of grass looked like it had been trimmed by the grounds crew at a championship golf course. I always thought of “A Thousand Acres” and shuddered.) On the one hand, there’s really no need for any of them to exist anymore, is there? Change is the nature of the world; maybe it’s time for Uniopolis to join all the ghost towns that populate the earth:
In the Uniopolis post office, run by Link Noykos, a good-natured postmaster with sharp blue eyes and an easy laugh, townspeople shuffle in to buy stamps, pick up mail, and just to chat. Many blame the federal government for the budget problems, accusing it of spending money on bureaucracy and fancy dinners. Others say they want the budget balanced — as long as certain bits of spending remain.
“We need to see the cuts,” said Joe Hornung, a retiree dressed in an Ohio State baseball cap and leather jacket. “I would just hate to see the police go.”
Noykos has heard it all before. He recognizes that the kind of budget cuts that so many in town seem to support could lead to the disappearance of his job — and of the town’s de facto social center. He doesn’t flinch when Uniopolis residents launch into tirades about the size of the federal government, not recognizing they’re complaining about the agency that employs their friend and confidant.
Of course not. Fancy dinners only happen somewhere else.
How many fancy dinners did you enjoy when you were employed by the U.S.P.S., Cooz?
Happy Tuesday, all.