Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shadow Empires

Cold River: This book which you have been slaving away at for so long is also what has been keeping you going.

Nothing delights me more than seeing the thin veneer of literary civility collapse into mob hostility during the Q and A sessions. For many festival-goers, the overflow or viewing room may as well be called the groaning room, for the difficulty it presented older patrons getting in and out of the ground-hugging deckchairs. Some had given up trying to get out, preferring to rest their eyes before tackling the next book ... According to Andrew Tink this year more than 80,000 visitors attended one of the festival's 300 events, showcasing the works of 400 authors, including 50 international writers. Former Bulletin's editor, Peter Coleman seemed to be everywhere. Antony Loewenstein renewed, refreshed and revitalised audiences with a topic few pay much attention now Afganistan The Sydney Writers Festival

What happens when you finish a book, or a symphony, or the last painting in an exhibition, or any major project you have been working on for two or three years? Do you feel relieved, triumphant, blessed with great expanses of free time? Or is the blessing a mixed one, tinged with other feelings – of loss, regret, even sadness?

Perhaps the most famous description of finishing a book comes in Memoirs of My Life, the autobiography of Edward Gibbon, author of the six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “It was on the day, or rather the night, of the 27th June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden,” Gibbon tells us, before describing his feelings: “I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.” The passage is made memorable by the extraordinary precision of time and place. We are given some details; imagination supplies others ; Harry Eyres All of us can recite a few one-liners from famous movies, but what is more surprising is that many of us recall the same quotes. What makes a particular movie line memorable? Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Developments in British phone-hacking scandal The notion of 'a new low' is in fact bottomless: Watson book calls Murdoch empire a "shadow state"

The phone hacking scandal that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s British publications has thrown light on the methods used by some journalists to get stories, and raised important questions about what redress citizens (and even politicians) have when they are spied upon by the media. While the Leveson inquiry is likely to make findings on the extent of the phone hacking, and to recommend sanctions, how should Australian journalism deal with the issues of what’s fair in the pursuit of news? Mark Colvin, Robert Manne and David McKnight explore the options. They talked to Mark Colvin and Mark asked his own questions as Radio National’s Richard Aedy was sick. - Mary Ellen Field - Elle McPherson

Former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has told the Leveson Inquiry how having her phone hacked made her feel as if she was going "slightly mad". The phone-hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's global media empire and hit the heart of the British government began quietly on a Monday in 2005, when aides to the British royal family gathered in a palace office to air suspicions that their voicemail messages had been intercepted. Seven years and dozens of arrests later, the day after the latest criminal charges were brought, information from the police, prosecutors and investigators indicated on Wednesday that the investigations are likely to go on for years, with no obvious end in sight. Rupert Murdoch sowed the seeds of the phone hacking scandal that has tarnished his reputation by forcing Britain's most respected newspapers into "a Faustian bargain" … Perhaps the central revelation of the phone-hacking scandal is that, when it come to News Corp., the notion of 'a new low' is in fact bottomless

• Murdoch's Black Widow The Princess of Darknes ; News Corp runs like a medieval court, with princes falling in and out favour [Rocky' producer to make Rebekah Brooks film about the famed news exec's downfall Rebekah Brooks née Wade; born 27 May 1968 ; The revelation of close ties between Mr Straw and Mrs Brooks came a day after the latter, the former chief executive of News International, was charged with perverting the course of justice for allegedly conspiring to conceal evidence from police investigating phone hacking and corruption of public officials by journalists. Straw swapped regular ‘gossip’ with Brooks ; David Cameron is a good ally to have in a tight spot: that is one obvious conclusion to be drawn from his performance over the last 50 minutes in the House of Commons. The relationship between politicians and the media has been too close for decades…look for one moment at the number of meetings that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had with Rupert Murdoch when they were prime minister The relationship between politicians and the media ; ; Developments in British phone-hacking scandal]

• · Dial M For Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain" is among the more provocatively titled books about Rupert Murdoch, the controversial head of global news conglomerate News Corp, owner of FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and other media brands. Dial M For Murdoch:; Phone hacking scandal reference lists ; Four private investigators jailed for 'blagging' - ; In April 1987, Rees was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Daniel Morgan but was released without charge. Jonathan Rees

• · · you Must Have Something To Hide

The Sydney Writers Festival starts in earnest today, so I thought I’d do a bit of a preview. Earnest is a good word because the festival’s artistic director, Chip Rolley, is a man interested in the Serious Issues Sydney Writers Festival; for those who unironically believe in feelings and stuff and are willing to put in a bit of time, such fine ladies and gentlemen are directed to proceed to Poetry in Cathedral Cave

• · · · In the vast universe of blogs, only a select few can be named the best. And that decision is now up to you. The original Weblog Awards are now in their twelfth year, and it's time to decide who is Bloggie-winning material. Who will your vote go to? The Rise and Rise of the Bohemian Blogger; Promise. The key differences between 2011 and 2012 are: – Consumers have fallen out of love with brands! There is a strong ‘us vs. them’ mentality

– Facebook and Twitter find their places in our lives – the relationships settle, cement and rebalance

– Technology dominates the dialogue – this is the first place that people go to talk about change. Expectations are sky high

– Tablets and smart phones tip into mass, mainstream use (although there is a heavy city bias here)

– People are desperately looking to fill gaps in their day. Free time is no longer a commodity, it is a vacuum The Key Insights for 2012: What do your customers think the year ahead is going to hold?

• · · · · You probably don't know as much as you think you do. When put to the test, most people find they can't explain the workings of everyday things they think they understand. Don't believe me? Find an object you use daily (a zipper, a toilet, a stereo speaker) and try to describe the particulars of how it works. You're likely to discover unexpected gaps in your knowledge. In psychology, we call this cognitive barrier the illusion of explanatory depth. It means you think you fully understand something that you actually don't Do You Know What You Don't Know? ; The report has a US military focus but includes some chapters around security issues that may be of interest. 2012 Global Forecast: Risk, Opportunity and the Next Administration

• · · · · · The moral to the story – its really hard to do. How to delete yourself from the Internet; The distance between any two people is shrinking as the number of network connections continues to proliferate. I’m sure you’ve heard at one point or another, that the distance between two people in an offline world is six degrees. It’s a Small World After All: The Top Global Web Trends ; One way to dig up details on a rival is to mine its link-building strategy. You want to look at inbound links, which are links coming to that website directly from outside sources. NB: You can do the same kind of thing using Google. A Clever Way to Spy on Your Competitors