Rameses the first war blogger?

· Weblog Concepts

David D. Perlmutter writes in his Policy by Blog weblog, in an entry called Blogs of War: Then and Now:
> In c. 1300 BCE, the pharaoh Rameses II and his army fought a battle against a Hittite army at Kadesh, in what is now Syria. The battle was a draw; in fact, the Egyptians ended up retreating. But Rameses’ memorial temple–an instance of massive communication–shows on its 100-foot walls pictures and hieroglyphics of the great ruler as victorious. As originally painted, Rameses is bronze skinned, broad shouldered, long armed, resolute of face, wearing the twin crowns of upper and lower Egypt, and many times larger than the Hittites and his own men–a superman in the anthropological as well as comic book sense. (Rameses became the “Ozymandias” who, in Shelley’s poem, demanded that all “look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.”) In the written records accompanying the images, Rameses boasts that he personally routed “every warrior of the Hittite enemy, together with the many foreign countries which were with them.”
> In contrast, the pharaoh blames his own men for early problems in the battle: “You have done a cowardly deed, altogether. Not one man among you had stood up to assist me when I was fighting. . . not one among you shall talk about his service, after returning to the land of Egypt.” In other words, here was the mighty-thighed Pharaoh announcing that his own men were cowards and he won the battle single-handedly. I have often wondered whether some veteran of Kadesh, walking by the tableaus, did not squint up, shake his head, gnash his teeth, and growl to his wife, “The lying bastard, it was his bad generalship/leadership that lost the day, not our cowardice.” But of course we don’t know; foot soldiers in Pharaoh’s army didn’t carve or write their campaign memoirs; and no scribe or stonemason interviewed them.
By contrast today’s (real) war bloggers are the men and women in country, on bases and in forward positions.
The reference to Ozymandias reminds me of one of my first websites, which ain’t what it used to be.

b!X's postmortem on Portland Communiqué

· Journalism

The One True b!X shuttered his citizen journalism site in September of this year (it launched in 2002). In Coda he looks back on that decision and elaborates on three major motivators:
* Growing weariness with the prominence of demagoguery.
* Major local stories looming on the horizon.
* Inevitable future dominance of the financial issue.
(See also his article in the Oregonian on the same subject.)

Lots of little MT admin issues

· Movable Type

I’ve been trying to refine my Movable Type setup lately and I have run into a number of little problems for which I can’t find easy solutions online. For example, there appears to be a bug in MT 3.2 that permits junked trackbacks and/or comments to show up on a blog. The workaround seems to be to delete them, but I don’t see this listed as a known problem.
Another issue that’s been plaguing me for some time is that when I post an entry generally on the first build, the category for the item does not appear. It will appear on subsequent rebuilds, but again I don’t see this listed anywhere as a known problem and I don’t have a workaround for it short of rebuilding each time I post a new entry, immediately after posting (which is a pain).
Another thing is I added Brad Choate’s MT Authors plugin recently so I could list the contributors to a blog more easily in the sidebar (the blog in question is Uncle John’s Blog). For some reason, though, the tag lists authors from my installation who have never contributed to that blog. They’re not associated with it in the database, so I don’t really know how to track the error.
Finally, I recently decided to repurpose my Above the Fold test blog as an announcement site for people blogging on my system. I set up a “newsbox” index modeled after the output that appears in the MT interface (here’s the raw output), and I changed my configuration to specify that URL as the newsbox content, but MT refuses to grab my cotent and insists on showing the MT newsbox instead. Curiously, if I set the configuration option to disable, that does work, so the system is responding to the setting, but something is preventing it from superseding MT news with Mediajunkie/Above the Fold news. I’m stumped.

Boing Boing publishes hearsay

· Nanopublishing

Over at Uncle John’s blog we’ve been covering the recent Deadhead controversy in a teapot concerning the removal (or rather, prevention of downloading) of 2300 Grateful Dead shows from the Live Music Archive.
There are many theories and suppositions floating out there about what motivated the change in policy, as well as a fair amount of disinformation (for example, the music will remain in the archive for perpetuity, but for the time being the soundboards can no longer be freely downloaded or listened to via the site).
In covering the story, Boing Boing quotes an anonymous reader and accepts that person’s theory about who is behind the policy change and why: Boing Boing: Greedy Grateful Dead widow burns down online show-library.
It’s traditional in rock ‘n’ roll to blame the wives and widows (see also Yoko), and this kind of explanation also serves to let the heroic rockstars off the hook for what their handlers decide on their behalf.
While I’m in general sympathy with Cory Doctorow’s philosophy regarding the sharing of the Dead’s music and free culture in general, it appears that he didn’t bother to do any original reporting at all. If he had he would have learned that the Deadheads are still free to trade recordings as they always have, “acting as unpaid, volunteer evangelists for” the band.