Diversity Political


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I have been enjoying the take down of Trent Lott this week. In particular, the Washington Post and a weblogger, Eschaton have done an excellent job of roasting this man’s chestnuts over an open fire.

What really caught my focus about this whole thing was Trent Lott’s statement, and his talk about a color-blind society. We want a color-blind society that every American has an opportunity to succeed… he says, and to a point, I agree with him. But I also disagree with him.

You see, I want a color-blind society, but I don’t want it now. Now I want people to look for color, to see color. I want them to look at those in power and see, really, see, face after pure white face. And I want them to look at photos from conferences and businesses and within state and federal leadership and I want the lack of diversity to sound a jarring note. And I want us to be uncomfortable, and to squirm in our chairs because we know that for all our finger pointing at Trent Lott, all that white isn’t the result of one man’s action, or inaction.

Personally, I think we’ve been color-blind too long.


Humano-Tech Weblogging Conference

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Vancouver, B.C. Canada 2003

con-fer-ence (knfr-ns, -frns)

A meeting for consultation or discussion.
An exchange of views.

I hesitated to use the word ‘conference’ because of its association with the costly, corporate gatherings that have become so common. But conference does mean, among other things, “a meeting for discussion…an exchange of views”, and I can’t think of anything else what describes what I’d like to see happen within the weblogging community.

Is it possible to bring people from around the world to one place, to break bread together, to lift a cup (filled with water or wine) in salute ? Is it possible to gather people from around the world in one place, to meet, to talk, to exchange ideas? To gather together views as diverse as the people themselves?

And to do so without having to have a whole lot of money in advance?

The last is the rub, isn’t it?

The city is Vancouver, B.C in Canada. The time is sometime in 2003. The purpose is to bring together weblogging folks — technologists, philosophers, business people, artists, and writers (which includes all of us) — together in one spot. To meet, to socialize, to exchange ideas and views and knowledge; in essence, to see how far we can take this medium.

And to do so wtihout having to have a whole lot of money in advance.

I know that the Blog-Con organizers were able to do have their ‘convergence’ primarily by focusing their get-togethers within attendance-based social venues, such as restaurants. Without having to rent conference space, the preliminary expenses could be kept down, and the costs would then be absorbed by each person paying their own way.

However, restaurants and hotels rooms only work to a point. You need rooms for ‘working sessions’ for want of a better term. For instance, getting weblogging techies together with consumers to strategize technology advances in the next year or two. To have several ‘birds-of-a-feather’ sessions centered around various topics in individual rooms, in addition to panel discussions amidst an audience that is encouraged to participate.

I’m not talking formal speech, with row after row of tables and chairs, and crews with microphones and lights and canned music. But I am talking about rooms with chairs and privacy and the ability for people to speak out without the clash of dishes and the worry of disturbing other diners. Add to this is the need for some technology to enable communication, both within the sessions, and without — to share the events with those who cannot attend

And sure, we’ll also have time to meet friends never met; to have dinner in small groups and large; to walk about, to see the city, to take a boat ride, and to view the Orcas, because weblogging is more than just ‘computers hooked up via the internet’.

This is all doable, but is it doable without organizational ownership? Can we pull this off by ourselves, using our own ingenuity, and manage to keep the costs down so that those who want to attend can afford to attend?

As a start for ideas:

Could we get enough people interested in attending to fill a conference hotel that will then give us the conference rooms gratis? Are there colleges in the area that would be willing to let us use rooms? How about restaurants — do they have meeting rooms that we can get for the cost of the meals?

For those of us who are driving, are we willing to share our cars for the ride? I’m coming from St. Louis, and I have room for three others in my car.

Dave Winer mentioned ideas for a conference, and he used the term adhocracy in reference to it. We got all excited and managed to push the idea up the Daypop flag pole. Now that we’re all calmer, what do we need to do to make this work, without depending on the traditional conference machine?

Update I don’t want to start up a counter-conference conflict. Dave mentioned in the comments that there people working this already, possibly being held at a university.

I’ll focus on the book instead, with appreciations in advance to those who are working this quietly behind the scenes. However, I do have a suggestion: put the thoughts, efforts, and planning online in a weblog; get others involved.



Comfort Food Posts

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

No matter what our culture or country, each of us has our own favorite comfort foods. These are the foods we eat when we’re not feeling well, or when we’re feeling lonely or sad.

My own favorite comfort foods are quite prosaic: macaroni and cheese, chicken stew with dumplings, chicken pot pie, and egg custard or Crème Brûlée. When all is well with the world there are other foods I love, but it’s these foods that I return to, again and again, when I’m out of sorts.

I was enjoying AKMA’s posting about Mr. Magoo, and the Christmas Carol, and the cartoon adaption of Cyrano, when I thought to myself that I needed to mark this post somehow so I can find it again easily in the future. Then when I needed a little cheering I could go to posts like this one and others like it, to read them again and feel connected to the author and comforted by the writing.

To prevent the loss of such posts, I’ve started recording my favorites in an RDF/RSS file, here, accessed through a page, which I’ll link to my weblog. I’ll be adding to it from time and time as new ones are written, and as I’m able to rediscover ones lost to the past.