July 2007

I rode my new (old) fixed gear to the Oregon Country Fair last night. What a trip. In an attempt to get off of a busy shoulderless thoroughfare I took a back road that headed in my general direction. About two miles into a four mile stretch with no intersecting roads I felt that haunting rumble of airless rubber. Murphy’s law strikes again. I had brought all of my tools, but no spare tube. I walked my bike two miles down a country road with no shoulder or sidewalk through waist high itchy grass, found a target, bought a patch kit, and was back on the road an hour later. I made it to the fair with just enough light to find my campsite and set up my tent.

Not to be outdone, M. calls me after L&L this afternoon to tell me that she too had a flat tire. Hers was on a car, and hence a much less easily remedied situation. But hers is now fixed as well, and we all roll on.

After watch Michael Moore’s new documentary about the delapidated US healthcare system Lauren Turner, a Health Account Planner at Google, wrote on the Google corporate blog that the movie was one sided. I don’t doubt that it was. I also don’t doubt that facts are presented and the viewer is free to do with those facts what they may. In Lauren Turner’s case it turned out to be hawking advertising for Google: “Whether the healthcare industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore’s movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the healthcare industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue,” she wrote.

I beg to differ. If anything of what we were taught in civics classes is true, then paid advertising is probably the worst, most unbalanced way to enter into a public dialogue. It limits access to dialogue to those with large purses. It completely shuts out the great majority of involved parties, the one’s that actually NEED to be heard, but have no access to the forum. There is nothing more traditionally un-American and un-democratic than stiffling the voices of many for the sake of a priveledged few. Then again, given the current state of affairs, there is nothing more modernly American and democratic (US-style) than having a public discourse about public matters, paid for with private money.