Links von Freitag, 7. September 2018

Never not funny, dieses Bild.

Es geht um dieses anonyme Op-Ed, wie ihr ja alles wisst. Masha Gessen schreibt im New Yorker, wie schlecht sie die Entscheidung der NYT fand, diesen Text zu veröffentlichen:

„Let’s get the obvious points out of the way first: the anonymous Op-Ed published by the Times on Wednesday was a ploy by someone who wants to distance himself from what he perceives to be an imperilled Administration, while capitalizing on whatever credibility and popularity the Presidency still retains. The article added little to the public’s understanding of the Administration—an understanding that has already been shaped by seemingly endless leaks and rumors from within the White House. Only the day before the Op-Ed was published, excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” added to the ever-accumulating picture of chaos, mendacity, fear, embattlement, and contempt for the President even within his senior staff. But, while the content of the anonymous Op-Ed is not newsworthy, in the sense of providing new information, the fact of its publication certainly is.

The article asserts that the country is, to some extent, governed not by the President but by a group of people who have taken it upon themselves to moderate, modify, and even block the President’s actions, or, as the anonymous author puts it, his “worst inclinations.” We suspected as much—Woodward, for one, described how the former economic adviser Gary Cohn swiped documents from Trump’s desk, lest he act on them precipitously. But having this state of affairs described in print further establishes that an unelected body, or bodies, are overruling and actively undermining the elected leader. While this may be the country’s salvation in the short run, it also plainly signals the demise of some of its most cherished ideals and constitutional norms. An anonymous person or persons cannot govern for the people, because the people do not know who is governing.

The Times, however, does know who the person is, which also changes the position the newspaper occupies in this democracy. The Op-Ed section is separate from the news operation, but, in protecting the identity of the person who wrote the Op-Ed, the paper forfeits the job of holding power to account. An anonymous Op-Ed is a very rare thing. The editors at the Times faced a tough choice. They evidently concluded that the information contained in the piece was important enough to justify sidestepping normal journalistic practices and principles. I don’t doubt the editors’ serious intentions, though I happen to disagree—the content of the Op-Ed does not strike me as newsworthy. But that’s not the point. The thing about autocracies, or budding autocracies, is that they present citizens with only bad choices. At a certain point, one has to stop trying to find the right solution and has to look, instead, for a course of action that avoids complicity. By publishing the anonymous Op-Ed, the Times became complicit in its own corruption.“


Das Designtagebuch weist auf einen Podcast über Design hin. Wenn die ihren Job ernst nehmen, sollten sie dringend einen Bindestrich zwischen „Graustufen“ und „Podcast“ auf ihrer Seite einfügen. Denn, Schlachtruf aller Texter*innen, die sich mit Gestalter*innen streiten: TEXTE SIND KEIN GRAUWERT! Rechtschreibung controls the fun!

On the kidnapped African boy who became a German philosopher

Gelernt, wer Amo Afer war. Danke, Arts & Letters Daily.

„In 1707, a boy no more than five years old left Axim, on the African Gold Coast, for Amsterdam, aboard a ship belonging to the Dutch West India Company. In those days, the trip to Europe took many weeks, but his arrival in the Dutch port was not the end of his long journey. He then had to travel another few hundred miles to Wolfenbüttel, the home of Anton Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Anton Ulrich was a major patron of the European Enlightenment. His librarian was Gottfried Leibniz, one of the leading philosophers, mathematicians, and inventors of his era, and co-creator, with Isaac Newton, of calculus; and the ducal library in Wolfenbuttel housed one of the most magnificent book collections in the world.

The child had apparently been offered as a “gift” to the duke, who, in turn, handed the boy on to his son, August Wilhelm; and we first hear of him as a member of August Wilhelm’s household. From his baptism until 1735, the boy continued to receive the patronage of the dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, as Anton Ulrich was succeeded by August Wilhelm, and August Wilhelm was succeeded by his brother, Ludwig Rudolf, in turn. And, as a child, he would no doubt have met Leibniz, who lived, as he did, under their patronage.“