May. 27th, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
Crash was a bit of a frustrating film for me. Certainly there's plenty of sociological insights, though since I've never been to Los Angeles I can't tell if it's true or not that whites don't like Hispanics who don't like Asians who don't like blacks who don't like Iranians (who aren't Arabs). The script of Crash just seemed so contrived, from the opening line about car crashes as a substitute for human relations to the convenient choice of the blanks. There's still more than enough watchable material in the film for me to have enjoyed the viewing experience, even for me to think fondly of it in retrospect. But would I have given it Best Picture? Hardly. Brokeback Mountain gave the attention to the fine detail of lived reality that Crash didn't.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
This discussion at alt.history.future on the future uses of Wikipedia seemed a bit off-base to me. When I'm looking for a quick and easy link, yes, I do normally turn to Wikipedia. I don't do so because I think that the Wikipedia article is necessarily good: Wikipedia articles are frequently quite good indeed, and can often cover obscure areas, but, as The Miami Herald's documentation of the controversy over Cuba's wikipedia article demonstrates, hot-topic issues can frequently distort articles.

Why, then, do I use Wikipedia if its articles can be prone to error? Although there can be distortions and lacunae, only a few of the articles tend to be as contentious as the Cuba article described above. Besides, almost as important as the actual content of the article are the articles links, to other Wikipedia articles and to external websites. For all of its stiff competition with the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia for me isn't an encyclopedia so much as it is a portal. Expecting it to be something different, given its open-source model, is unrealistic.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
As [livejournal.com profile] angel80 notes, the ongoing civil violence in East Timor was precipitated by the sadly typical of newly-decolonized states, with tensions between factions of the ruling party and a profoundly dysfunctional economy encouraging violence and rancour.

You know, we on the outside had a chance to help East Timor avoid this fate, both in 1976 and in 1999. What a pity for the East Timorese that we opted to do nothing, or--at best--not enough.
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