November 09, 2003

Potpourri

This must be the longest that my journal has gone without a facelift and my blogroll has pretty much stayed the same from the early days when there was some kind of joy to be derived from maintaining it. I hardly use it anymore to keep track of the sites that I read regularly. And my reading list has changed so vastly that I prefer to use the favourites drop down in my browser and that very evil RSS aggregator to get my daily textual fix.

The key to maximising the value of time spent reading on the Internet is to identify points of aggregation that suit your needs. Doing that saves me a whole lot of time from having to trawl through numerous news sites for a ratio of information to junk that might often be as low as 1:10. But sites that provide only links do not interest me, it has to have commentary and participation, so that I can concentrate on possible alternatives when the norm is more than well accounted for.

And that is the beauty of the Internet for information junkies like me. And if you do not know what information junkies are, they are people like me who obsessively read almost every mail header to see which route it took to reach them or even what a system that relayed the mail is called. Armed with the treasure trove called as Google and the invaluable view source button, there is such a lot to be discovered and read out there. But I digress.

My normal reading is a mix of News (Google News, Samachar), Technology (Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, Kottke, The Register, Slashdot, The Inquirer), political weblogs (Calpundit, DailyKos, Tacitus, Atrios), books (Guardian Books) and a handful of personal weblogs. Of particular value to me are the political blogs that has pretty much eliminated the need for me to read most of the media from the US, same goes for the sideblogs at Mark and Kottke's.

Which brings me to a recent post by Tacitus. It is funny how even as person who is politically oriented more towards left of centre I value and enjoy the posts and commentary at his blog, which is more right leaning than a leftie home base like DailyKos. The post in question reinforces my belief about how easily I form the wrong opinions about people I would have no clue about.

The post is also a sad reflection on how even in this so called global village we are meandering further from each other as normal, simple people. After so many wars and strife we are still so distant from going beyond ideology to see the human being behind every action. It is alarming to see people dying being talked of as "cost" that will have to be paid and how it is acceptable for a group to subdue another in the name of freedom or safely. Is this the best we could have done?

One benefit of being in the media is that you learn to listen to people than to talk all the time and I honestly get alarmed by the hawkishness that is thrown about by most people of my generation and the ones that are younger. These are people who have never seen suffering, other than on television, in life. As a generation, most of us have never had the misfortune of having gone through a famine or a large-scale war, the worst we could recollect would be not having a television or something similar.

It is always necessary to have fringe elements in any system, as much as it is necessary to have elements that would resist any change. It is in the counterbalancing of the two extremes that progress and sanity is to be found. These days the fringe is in the driving seat, with no space for dissent or another opinion. The only way to live is to link your own survival to the system's survival and that is how bad it is.