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People think first if it’s dangerous 

Dan Gillmor, on weblogs in China:

  When I asked the youthful bloggers what kind of things they wrote about online, the answers reflected today’s reality. “Personal things,” one student responded, and others in the room nodded in agreement. Another student, a computer-science major, also writes about technologies such as software architecture. But politics? Uh, no thanks.
  Don’t be surprised, says Isaac Mao, a 32-year-old technologist, investor and one of the first Chinese bloggers (www.isaacmao.com and www.cnblog.com). Some things are just considered too risky.
  Before posting anything on a blog, he says, “people think first if it’s dangerous.”

The transatlantic divide 

Harry, of Harry’s Place, has a sobering riposte to those Europeans feeling smug about the current direction of the US. An excerpt:

  I’d just ask that when black sportsmen in the Superbowl have to put up with monkey noises and other racist taunts , let me know.
  (You can also let me know when one of their leading sports teams are taken over by a rather dubious Russian billionaire and the response of the press is merely to wonder which star players his club will now purchase).
  Remind me when a member of an American family which enjoys great unearned wealth and influence and not insignificant unelected constitutional import, the son of a woman who is the unelected head of state due to an accident of birth, has the American media in a tizzy about his ludicrous fantasies about modern education methods (of which he has zero experience).
  When a billionaire president of the United States is elected despite being on trial for corruption and fraud and then goes on to change the laws so as to un-invent those crimes, let me know. (Also let me know when the president controls the six main television networks in the States and when ‘uncooperative’ journalists then lose their jobs)
  When the US presidential election provides a choice between a conservative and an anti-immigrant, holocaust-denying fascist let me know.

Like Harry, I’m not particularly a fan of the so-called American model. I’ve long argued that most of the world doesn’t want to be like Silicon Valley — or anywhere else in America. But I’m also that comparative oddity. Someone who has lived a long time in Europe (26 years and counting), and feels very European, but is very fundamentally American and — despite the terrible, current administration — proud of it.

There’s an enormous amount good about Europe, but those who are swift to tar America should — as Harry eloquently suggests — look first at home.

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