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Jihadi movement participants, he [al-Awlaki] argues, should also use computers, CD-ROMs, and DVDs to circulate large quantities of jihadi information—in the form of books, essays, brochures, photographs, and videos—in a highly compressed fashion.
I know that in theory, it doesn’t surprise me too much — but visuals like these bring it home to me in a way that reading words never will:
Merchandise — CDs and DVDs, the coin of the info-realm.
While the media are kvelling about “freedom” in Egypt (“protesters” having finally persuaded Mubarak it was high time to am-scray), it behooves us to take a deep breath and consider this: the Egyptians are not like us. The Egyptian concept of “freedom” is an Islamic–not a Western–one. They still hate Jews/Israelis like poison. And you’re talking about a country that is essentially a clitoris-free zone (9 out of 10 women in Egypt being the victims of Female Genital Mutilation).[emp added]
It’s hard to read “clitoris-free zone” without wincing and you should be wincing when contemplating that particular barbaric practice.
And he is correct that too many people forget that Egyptians do have a radically different culture and thus radically different political expectations than we do. A democracy they create will not make the same decisions that our democracy makes. For some reason, the people who scream the loudest about the virtues of multiculturalism seem the least able to grasp this idea.
[ by Charles Cameron -- cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
It’s riveting to follow the tweets on protests in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya or Iran on Mibazaar in real-time to be sure — but mash that capability up with the one Shloky found and Zen just mentioned with video…
As Zen says, I mean, “automatic face-recognition and social media aggregation raises serious concerns about the potential dangers of living under a panopticon state”.
I am, admittedly, very interested in religion, and Christianity has been the mother-lode for me of the imagery, gestures and profound words that can move heart, soul, mind and imagination into a greater depth.
Advertising, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that the best of it plays on imagination, too, but it is generally more of an intrusion upon – via billboards on landscapes, via commercials in movies, or via irritating jingles and catch phrases that subvert my best attempts at quieting the mind – than an experience of the kind of depth that religion at its best can offer.
But if you are interested in religion, and click online in enough of the right places, advertising that has “religious” content will be targeted to you.
And so it is that I went online this morning to check out something about al-Awlaki on Islamic Awakening, an American jihadist forum, and found myself invited to consider, instead, wearing some “bold Christian clothing”.
This was while I was researching al-Awlaki, right? the Muslim jihadist preacher?
a site with its own curious graphics…
And looking closer at that logo, isn’t that some sort of triumphalist armored vehicle I see?
Well, never averse to a pretty girl, and noticing the one in the Bold Christian ad, I thought I’d taker a look at Bold Christian Clothing to find out what sort of fashion sense was popular among the younger Christian set just now, and found I could obtain t-shirts with such comforting images as these…
– this one’s symbolic of our relatively new century, I guess…
which I am praeternaturally fond of since my online moniker is hipbone, with its veiled reference to the Valley of the Dry Bones in that very same chapter 37 of Ezekiel…
and then there’s this masterfully supremacist rendering of a part of the Lord’s Prayer:
which I must admit isn’t the image of Thy Kingdom Come that springs to mind when I personally hope and pray for heaven on earth.
What exactly is it, you may ask? According to the manufacturer, it’s
The Lord’s Prayer — “Thy Kingdom Come” with an Angel holding the cross, Horses, skulls under the horses, and palm trees (with Shield and Pacific Oracle cross logo added)
It’s also “the softest, smoothest shirt we sell” … “made from combed cotton for your added comfort” and gives “a flattering and stylish fit to virtually any body type”.
I on the other hand think it looks more like a photoshopped variant of the Quadringa statue in London that celebrates Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at Waterloo:
In light of all this, I do believe I’ll just wear white – although even that could be misinterpreted, I guess.
-I noticed that the ad for “Alteril” sleep aid ran immediately after the one for “5 Hour Energy”. There may be a message here.
-Dear poet.com: We do not owe you our hard-earned “American dollars”, you sanctimonious subsidy whores. Drop your sense of entitlement and make your product competitive if you want us to buy it. Why should American taxpayers pay off a bunch of lazy rent-seekers, driving up grain prices and making life harder for poor people everywhere, when we can buy our BTUs in petroleum form more cheaply. What do you have against people in Dubai, anyway? Unlike you they don’t get the US Congress to pick our pockets. And their hard-working ethos fits American values a lot better than does your sleazy whining PR attempt to guilt us into buying your overpriced fuel.
-Dear Land Rover: Your car looks like the fucking box it came in. Do you think we’re going to buy it just because you run ads with rock music every ten minutes on CNBC?
-The women in the Yoshi Blade ad are really annoying, especially the big blond chick with the onion. Maybe I shouldn’t say “annoying”, I should say “empowered”.
-Where are Carlton Sheets and Don Lapre when you need them? Today’s get-rich-quick infomercials just aren’t what they used to be, though Jeff Paul comes close.
-Dear Comcast: If you invested 10% as much in improving your service as you do in slick commercials to lure new customers you might not need the slick commercials. Everyone knows your service is awful. By running these endless TV ads you are really rubbing it in to your current customers. Great, you can simplify my bill as compared to AT&T. Do you think I care about that, given my certain knowledge that switching to your service would guarantee me repeated frustrating phone conversations with incompetent tech people to fix problems your own system caused? Idiots.
So to better serve you, the small wars community of interest, we are in the unpleasant but necessary position of coming to you, hat in hand, in an NPR-like scenario. We are counting on your contributions, coupled with support from grants and foundations, collateral income (advertising and referrals), and volunteer contributions of effort and content, to help us do more of what you seem to value and want us to do.
I learn a lot from the SWJ community and the folks that gather in the comments section. Sort of like the Chicago Boyz community and comments section. Hmm – thanks, CBer’s!
The left seems to think the right is going to be shocked by – what – music videos?
Beck unhinges pretty easily (and yes, for those of us whose family owe their lives to Indian doctors, some rants are offensive). But he’s a hell of a lot more shocked at Bill Ayers. His “unhingement” still retains more balance than the left’s. What’s creepier – posing nude at 22 or acting as Edwards has at. . . , starring in a video (admittedly a bit irritating in that boring 80′s way) in your youth or being Teddy Kennedy in your old age.
Whatever may or may not be true of the Palins and Browns, they appear to have engaged life with zest; one of the balancing acts of their youths – and probably of their lives – have been economic. Perhaps their fiscal care was learned balancing ambition and tuition. The left’s desire to make loans seductive & college a “right”, to featherbed administration and tenured jobs while increasing the load on grad students and adjuncts has had detrimental effects on cost as well substance. Many an academic is critical of Benjamin Franklin, perhaps because he understood debt undercuts integrity, that “it’s hard for an empty bag to stand upright.”
Perhaps such choices came because it’s a kick to pose nude, to see different colleges when a world tour is not easily financed. I like that – some risk taking reflects energy and engagement, they live with it and learn from it. But, most of all, I’d rather people made choices that resulted in videos than a mountain of debt. The left, of course, would rather put those students who don’t buy the books – or read them – at the back of my class, whining they can’t drop because they might lose their student loans. These are students often neither stupid nor consciously dishonest; they are, however, passive and misdirected. They do not value learning but rather the “college experience,” have no imagination to see another path, and, well, have no clue about themselves, education, debt, the world. As they wander through life, they may never get that clue. And this won’t help. Plus, don’t get me started on the theory that “at risk” kids in high school should start taking college-level classes in high school – subsidized by the government of course.
Sharyl Attkisson, CBS, investigates and reports the fraud of swine flu hype and hysteria. This kind of journalism is at the foundation of a free society. When you listen to, or read this, please remember that the President of the United States declared a National Emergency based on things that were not true. Sharyl, thank you. You are a real journalist, and I hope you will inspire others to pick up the old torch. And thank you Dr. Joseph Mercola for your interview with Attkisson and for posting it for our illumination.
Director James Cameron, of Titanic and Aliens fame, has been working away for the last decade developing new technology for a film called Avatar, to be released in mid-December. It will combine digital extrapolations of humans and filmed actors in a 3D projection format. Talk is that it’ll cost $500 million dollars by the time that marketing costs are factored in. News that Rupert Murdoch was “excited and moved” by a sneak peek doesn’t necessarily bode well for adults looking for something more than vision quest fodder for teenage boys.
Trailers have been appearing with increasing regularity as the release date approaches. The latest here on Youtube has an appropriately exotic and violent set of clips to whet interest. For the first time, however, it telegraphs enough of the plot to actually reduce my desire to see the movie.
Let me reach for my psychic hat and do my own “spoiling” after having read little, and seen less, of the promotion for this movie. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my academic advisors used to say that any argument without numbers is a religious one. And we all know how productive they are.
Being a numbers jock and P-Chemist, that statement resonated with me. It still does.
But then I went into business, and for a while my job involved the quantitative prediction of consumer behavior. Entering into the social sciences like that, where there is no ideological bias, just a financial incentive to get the model right, was good for me. It trained me to look at the instrument that was used to derive the numbers. To ask if the questioner was asking the right questions.
Big whoop. After several statistical triple back-flips, we now know that 96 percent of newspaper reading is done in the printed product. That’s like talking about modern transportation by pointing out that 96 percent of buggy drivers use buggy whips. Hello? We switched to cars 100 years ago.
Writing on the Nieman Journalism Lab Web site, Martin Langveld made some valid statistical conclusions about newspaper readership. The problem is that he was asking the wrong questions. It isn’t about newspapers; it’s about news.
Of all the words he’s written on the subject, the most important quote is this one:
When information arrives, how many folks ask themselves: How was this information acquired? Is it complete? Is it accurate? Is it biased. Is it relevant? Is there enough detail? Do I accept it because it reinforces what I think I know, or do I reject it for the same reason? How can I verify it? How can I test it? If I can’t test and verify the information, do I accept it anyway? If so, why?
Those who fail to ask themselves such questions place themselves and those who depend on them, at a significant disadvantage – they will always be at the mercy of those who can observe the universe critically, adjust their worldview appropriately, decide and act.
I have an affinity for that type of inquiry because I am an accredited professional in information warfare – I hold an MBA with a subspecialty in marketing. Some segment of society wages information warfare on the individual practically every day of his or her life. And the individual wages it right back. Read the rest of this entry »
This morning on the radio I heard a promotional advertisement for Feed the Pig. I have heard things about this site before and decided to check it out. It is outstanding. They have calendars so you can see ways to save money throughout the year, and there are many tips on how to pinch pennies.
Basically the concept is to teach people how to save, knock down their debt, and generally help them to not waste money (things that many modern day Americans are horrible at). I can’t really see a downside to this. The site is sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs. I am not sure why they put up the site, but I wholeheartedly support it.
I give the site a big thumbs up, but think I will give their choice of advertising venues a small thumbs down. I was reminded this morning of Feed the Pig while listening to Bloomberg Radio on XM on the way in to work, getting my business news for the day.
**Quick aside: I have three choices of business news to pick from on XM: Fox Business, CNBC and Bloomberg. I choose Bloomberg because it is just the facts, with interviews sprinkled in – and the interviews are with interesting and smart people. In addition, the interviews are always respectful and low key even if people are disagreeing, unlike some of the other places where there are a bunch of idiots yelling and screaming at each other. In other words, Bloomberg Radio seems more professional to me.**
I really don’t think that anyone who seeks out Bloomberg Radio doesn’t understand the simple concepts of saving and debt that Feed the Pig is trying to teach. I just think that these are wasted advertising dollars. A better target IMHO would be radio stations, magazines or TV networks that reach places where the people are perhaps not educated or are unaware of the concepts that Feed the Pig is educating people on.
It is almost like putting ads up for scrap booking during an NFL football game. Not the right demographic.
My friend Nathan and I differ greatly in our perspective of how and when film crews ought to be allowed to close off parking in the maze that is Manhattan’s Chinatown. You can catch some of our debate here and here.
What it comes down to for me, as a libertarian, is that the film studios are using the coercive power of the state to force (see if the police won’t clear away any protests before you object to my use of the word “force”, especially if the protestor is a lone businessman) the neighborhood into accepting something that will benefit the private film company, and a minority of the businesses there. The difference from the Suzette Kelo case is only a matter of degree. Read the rest of this entry »
Tony Ryan, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, writes: “LEAP’s first ever billboard – now showing at 108th and I street in Omaha, NE. It is up high, where many can see it, and it shows a new website for us which we can use to measure response and effectiveness.”
Cross-posted at the Explorers Foundation blog [link].
The British military expressed cautious optimism at the progress. Major Tom Holloway, a spokesman, said: “The Iraqi security forces have made a real difference; this is going to be a long operation by its nature. However, rule of law is returning to the streets.”
Perseverance pays off and long operations require a core optimism. But perhaps it’s all nurtured by a bit of black humor, a bit of irony. After all, WWII was won by people who invented the term SNAFU. So, here’s some merchandising – the question is, does it toughen us or lead us to despair or, well, merely, make us smile? Whatever – I want that mug. There may well be a providential order, but today things look screwed.
And, longer term, perseverance isn’t just a trait, it’s a duty. And so Wretchard follows that story with this one by Wretchard.
If the marketing class will come to order, we have an interesting case study today. We’re going to focus on a product, the market penetration of which is being limited by an attribute that–on first glance–would seem to be a good thing. Read the rest of this entry »
That being said, I will offer my two cents anyway.
One point of agreement across the political spectrum and that of informed opinion is that the USG has not done a particularly good job of managing “the war of ideas” in the conflict with Islamist terrorism. Or against state adversaries. Or with persuading neutrals and even our own allies to our point of view. When you are having difficulty drawing even in global popularity contest with a crowd of bearded fanatics who put beheading videos on the internet, it’s time to admit there’s a problem.
I remember in the late 80′s when Montgomery Wards was having financial problems. They embarked on an advertising campaign called “Brand Central” where the front entrance of the store featured the names of all the brands inside, prominently displayed. My first thought was, wow, Montgomery Wards must have NEGATIVE brand equity. They felt that their name was driving away customers, and instead they put up the names of their products. Montgomery Wards went bankrupt, as everyone knows, and now their former HQ in River North is a chic high rise called the “Montgomery” and hipsters hang out in the remodeled former catalog facility nearby, which has high end restaurants and a health club.
This sign, broadly defined, signifies the same damaged brand name – in this case, AT&T. Comcast is using AT&T as a synonym for poor service and high prices – assuming that leaving AT&T would be a “plus” for their customers. I won’t comment here on the irony of Comcast as the pot calling the kettle black… Read the rest of this entry »
Shannon’s post set me thinking about the odd & perhaps correct clock maker. And it took me back to 1983. We decided to computerize our typing service; my sister visited with the salesman (she ran the business while I had my middle child). As in so much, I think she made the correct choice: we both liked the TI models better but went with IBM, which appeared more flexible and accessible. We needed equipment that several part-time typists a day would work on, typists who came and went for a semester or two.