Friday, April 20, 2007

Speaking of time...taking and wasting

According to Trebor Scholz: "MySpace has more than 100 million profiles but not all people who created accounts there are running active sites. Out of all time spent online by U.S. Internet users, 11.9% was spent logged on to This makes it THE website where U.S. Americans spend the most of their time online in terms of a single website". This in a fascinating essay on the myspace/wiki generation and labor which is part of a cluster in Re-Public on the politics of myspace and wikipedia running from the optimistic (Mackenzie wark) to the nihilistic (Geert Lovink). Go here:

But before you do take a trip to south park with Jodi Dean (I Cite) as she describes a tour of Washington, DC's sites:

"The primary visual icons of DC thus seem to be metal detectors, security barriers, and armed guards. People stand around in long lines. It's like an airport. But, I think we got prepared for this quite a bit earlier--Disney prepared us for long lines, for herd-like compliance as the condition for order, security, and entertainment. Don't look behind the scenes, don't ask any questions. Just wait. Peacefully. And submit. Over an over. It's like anal sex--with each submission, it gets easier to take".


Eileen Joy said...

No offense to anyone, but as native of D.C. who spends time there each year, Jodi dean's comments are kind of stupid. Metal detectors, for example, have always been all over the Capital, including the Library of Congress and other museum-type sites, long before 9/11. There have always been long lines. Long long long long lines. I don't know; maybe I'm jyst cranky this morning, but give me a break.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

I would call it lazy writing.

The Holocaust Museum, for example, has had metal detectors and bomb-deflecting barricades since it opened in 1992.

I visit the Smithsonian museums frequently; none of the guards there has ever been rude ... in fact they can be inexplicably cheery considering the monotony of their jobs.

The closing of Pennsylvania Ave was done under Clinton (if I remember correctly, as a reaction to domestic terrorism, the Oklahoma bombing). I like the area around Lafayette park a lot better now that you don't have to hear four lanes of traffic speeding through. People use what was the road as a park. It also gives a much bigger space for protests.

That's not to say that there aren't many more security balustrades than there were before 9/11. It's also not as easy to gain access to places like the White House as it used to be. But the generally cheerless picture painted in the piece of DC is very far indeed from what it is like here -- especially at this time of year, when the mixture of marble, neoclassical architecture, flowers, verdant nature, and people just happy to be outdoors in shorts cheers (almost) all of us -- no matter who is skulking about in the White House.

Eileen Joy said...

Here's my favorite Holocaust museum story: I regularly make a pilgrimage there each fall and when I was there about two years ago, we were all herded into the bookstore [which is fairly small] because someone had left a backpack next to one of the elevators and it was assumed to have an explosive device inside [it didn't]. After that, I went to the Museum's cafe, which has a separate entrance, and where there is also a security guard and metal detector. The security guard was asleep--sitting on a stool!--and most of us just ran our articles through the detector without bothering her and went on to eat our sandwiches. It was all very placid and funny and no one seemed to mind.