1. A hoch-poch …
2. Any inconsistent or ridiculous medley. …
Here’s another hoch-poch, or hotch-potch (though, of course, not a hotchpot) of links relevant to the themes of this blog that have caught my eye over the last while. I’ll begin and end with some stories of censorship, and along the way I’ll mention open wifi, international perceptions of Ireland, typography, mobile phones, broadcasting, and the future of our universities.
First, as a supplement to my post on the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trials, Alan Travis in the Guardian argues that the failure of the Chatterley prosecution secured the liberty of literature in Britain over the past 50 years. By way of a similar supplement to my post on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Akdas v Turkey 41056/04 (15 February 2010) that a Turkish ban on Apollinaire’s Les Onze Mille Verges infringed Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Guardian reports that Turkey is at it again: publisher Irfan Sanci is being prosecuted – under the same Turkish provisions that were found wanting in Akdas – for publishing a translation of another Apollinaire noverl, Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan (The Exploits of a Young Don Juan). To add insult to this injury, the prosecution comes in the week before Sanci is to be bestowed with a special award by the Geneva-based International Publishers Association.
Second, the recent furore over Firesheep reminded me both of the earlier furore over google’s streetview cars grabbing traffic from open wifi networks and of my posts about the legality of open wifi; sections 9 et seq of the Digital Economy Act, 2010 may well have greatly limited the scope of free open wifi in the UK.
Third, the Irish Times reported that Ireland dropped nine places from joint first to 10th place in the 2010 Reporters Sans Frontières Press Freedom Index. Oh, dear. At the same time, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2010, Ireland ranks as the 14th least corrupt country in the world, which is exactly the same ranking as last year, so at least we haven’t dropped nine places on this index. Nevertheless, as Elaine Byrne – author of an earlier report discussed on this blog – points out, there are problems with the TI methodology here, and we should, I suspect, treat the RSF report with a similar grain of salt.
Fourth, belgianwaffle comments on one of my posts about typography, that “… Jon has a post about how to create your own font”, referring to YourFonts.com, an online font generator that allows the creation of OpenType fonts within a couple of minutes. They suggest generating a font from handwriting, but I’m not about to do that with my dismal handwriting!
Fifth, regular readers will know that I dread and deplore mobile phones going off in class, theatres, cinemas, etc, so much so that the entries have their own tag: phones in class. In his inimitable fashion, Frank McNally has a take on this in the Irish Times:
… I suspect that theatres are fighting a losing battle in their current stance on phones. Indeed, if only because of the shrinking attention spans of modern audiences, I foresee a time when communication devices may have to be tolerated, or even encouraged. Soon, perhaps, people will not go to plays unless they can tweet about the action regularly. And theatres may welcome such publicity. It could, after all, prevent worse distractions. At least if audience members can hold their phones openly, they’ll be less likely to forget to have them on silent and there’ll no rummaging in bags when they ring. …
Sixth, the recently-established Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is seeking responses to its first draft Strategy Statement. Amongst its suggested strategic goals, the BAI says it wishes to provide a diverse range of broadcasting services and content and ensure plurality in Irish broadcasting, as well as holding broadcasters to account under statute and contract and promoting responsible broadcasting.
Seventh, in my previous post on whether it is unthinkable that an Irish university could go private, I repeated a newspaper’s claim that the LSE was considering doing just that. However, the BBC subsequently reported that the LSE rejected such claims and says it has not developed any plans to alter the way it is funded, which was welcomed by Prof Mary Evans in the Guardian. She pointed out that
there is a lack of clarity about exactly what privatisation would mean. … A second point that seems not to have occurred to this government in its policy of the prioritisation of science subjects over the humanities and the social sciences is that many (although not all) universities find it difficult to attract well-qualified students to study the natural sciences. … But these pragmatic arguments about privatisation and prioritisation are perhaps only as important as those other arguments about equality of access to higher education, the endless disruption of universities and the fanciful freedoms suggested by the word “private”.
Eighth, the Sunday Independent reported that Offaly County Council invited local photographer Carolina Gustavsson to participate in an exhibition planned for the foyer of the Council’s offices, but then declined to exhibit her work, as it feared losing State support if it displayed photographs and text critical of public policy. This effectively proved Gustavsson’s point that Ireland is still too small and inter-connected to address the issues facing us properly. This reminds me of the cancellation by the Corcoran Gallery of Art of an exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe for fear of imperilling funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. This censorship was shameful cowardice masquerading as concern for public sensibilities, and the actions of Offaly Co Co are rightly criticised by Padraig Reidy on the Index on Censorship Free Speech blog:
… Is there any point whatsoever in staging an exhibition about ordinary people and their opinions and then asking that the opinions be changed? More importantly, what does this achieve? …