Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ryan Lawler is a terrible human being. I gather you know how I feel about the quality of American political journalism. But American technology journalism is even worse. Consider the case of Ryan Lawler, which is currently being secretly prosecuted by Ryan Lawler in the form of a post he better hope he never finds out he’s written. It concerns a party held last night in honor of what seems to be as laudable as something called “an app” can possibly be: a ride-sharing app called Lyft. What horror befell Lawler at this party? There was beer and wine and a little bit of food. There was cake. Somebody drove a car with a pink moustache on the front into the middle of the office and some people hopped out and talked about their experiences with users. It was a joyous occasion, a time for everyone to relax and celebrate all the hard work they had been putting into it, to breathe a little, let loose … After the launch party concluded, I went to another event, and blissfully ignored all RSS feeds and emails. It was a good night. I got drunk. I danced a little. I went home and passed out. The horror! Wait—the title of Lawler’s post is “Exclusive: Startup Launch Ruined By Careless Blogger.” Where’s the ruin? Then, an hour later, someone posted about the event and the upcoming launch, and shit went sideways. That person must’ve written something really horrible, right, if the “shit went sideways.” What did they write? I didn’t realize the embargo was broken until about 12 hours later … I searched Google, found the offending post, and realized how late it was to follow up. It wasn’t like the thing had just been published. I would be following someone else’s story half a day later, and no one wants to do that. They just wrote about Lyft before Lawler did. They weren’t supposed to mention it until next Tuesday but they did. Meaning that while Lawler “got drunk,” “danced a little,” and “went home and passed out,” some other journalist didn’t get drunk, danced very little, and went home and filed a story. And because that other journalist did, Lawler can’t write about Lyft now. He can’t. Even though it’s become really popular among the TechCrunch staff. Alexia, Josh, Kim, and I are all users. We all love the service, love what these guys are doing. He can’t write about it, because someone else announced the launch before he did. He loves the service, but someone else wrote about it before he did so now he can’t write about it. He really wanted to support them and get the word out. Sometimes you’re ambivalent about a startup, and so it’s not a big deal to just let that one go. But this was a product and a team that I like. I want them to succeed. So he really wanted to support a company he loves, one that wined-and-dined him a mere twelve hours earlier, but now he...
RNC delayed by one day. Since when do Republicans pay attention to climate models? Everyone knows that predicting the future is incredibly easy, whereas explaining the past is incredibly difficult. For example, in 1933 everyone in the entire world could foresee that Hitler's rise to power would lead directly to the Final Solution, whereas today, it's impossible to prove that the Holocaust even happened. Similarly, today everyone in the Republican Party can look at the meteorological maps and foresee that delaying the convention by a day is a prudent idea, whereas a decade hence, they won't even be able to prove that a "Hurricane Isaac" delayed their trip to "Tampa Bay" to nominate something called a "Mitt Romney" to represent their "Party" in the "White House." It'll be called "Convention Theory" and will, of course, merely be a "theory." Just like global warming and the Holocaust. If ever there were a time to slam conservatives for their selective belief systems, it is now. If they truly don't believe in that scientists can accurately account for climatological events, we should hold their feet to the fire and demand mandatory attendance for all planned speakers. Doesn't matter if Jindal wants to stay in Louisiana, because by the standards he otherwise champions there's no proof that Hurricane Isaac will hit New Orleans. It's only a "theory." If Isaac does hit New Orleans, it won't mean anything other than weather. Pat Robertson won't go on national television and declare that Isaac's landing is God's Punishment. The optics of Republicans partying at their convention while New Orleans drowns again won't be indicative of the Party's disregard for Americans who are poor or black, it'll be a creation of the liberal media intended to make the Republicans look callous. "We'd planned this convention for months and removing Obama from office is paramount to the plight of an already drowned city," not a single one of them will say. But some conservative bloggers will note -- as they did during Katrina -- that New Orleans deserves its death because it's low-lying and within a common hurricane track, and they'll base their conviction on solid evidence, by which they'll mean the same geological record and climate modeling that relegates global warming to the status of "theory." Just like the Holocaust.

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