July 29, 2013

Reimagine, create new rules, lead the world

We're living through incredibly difficult days. It's painful for everyone, young and old. But especially the young. However, too often we think that the best is past and that we've missed the boat.

Au contraire! We have been given a fit and healthy body: the best and finest instrument you will ever possess. And we live in a world where young men and women are creating multi-billion dollar companies in their bedroom. With that I say, yes there are difficulties, but we are living in an age of immense opportunity. And age in which young and old can take control and actively shape the rules and the world around them.

Read Maria Popova's take on it here:
"We live at a time when we have a rare opportunity to make up the rules, because they haven’t been invented yet. To set the standards and the norms and the honorable way of doing things. And this, I believe, is our responsibility as publishers and curators and consumers of information. Again, it comes down to choice: The normative models we choose today will shape how much our culture will value this form of creative labor tomorrow."

Education's Skills Asymmetry, Ctd You need more than Microsoft Word

The above comes from a feature in Forbes Magazine which you can read in full here.

July 28, 2013

Writing on paper, Ctd Will Self and writing on a typewriter

In an interview with The White Review, Will Self explained how he writes:
"I’d write on screen, print it out, correct the type, rekey it, and then do it again after that. I was primarily writing on a word processor but then bigger, faster computers came in, the internet arrived in about 1995-96, and I began to get slightly technophobic. I wasn’t enjoying the technology much having been quite enthusiastic when I was running this business and adopting all of these machines. I didn’t go completely luddite for a while though. Dr Mukti was the first book I wrote on a typewriter in around 2003. I’ve written all of my books since on a manual typewriter."
In November 2012 the Times of London did a feature with Will Self that followed the closure of Britain's last ever typewriter retailer, Brother. Will Self said:
"I switched to working on a manual typewriter in 2004 (all my previous books had been composed either on an Amstrad word processor or more sophisticated computers), because I could see which way the electronic wind was blowing: dial-up internet connections were being replaced by wireless broadband, and it was becoming possible to find yourself seriously distracted by the to and fro between e-mail, web surfing, buying reindeer-hide oven gloves you really didn’t need — or possibly even looking at films of people doing obscene things with reindeer-hide oven gloves. The polymorphous perversity of the burgeoning web world, as a creator of fictions, seriously worried me — I could see it becoming the most monstrous displacement activity of all time. 

July 25, 2013

Martin McGuinness' Doublethink

When Martin McGuinness appeared on the June 27 episode of BBC Northern Ireland's 'The View', Mark Caruthers and the deputy First Minister discussed a range of topics that centered on Derry/Londonderry and its year as the UK City of Culture. 

As the conversation progressed, Mark asked the deputy First Minister about recent and ongoing dissident activity and the high level threat. McGuinness responded by saying that those involved were a "tiny unrepresentative minority."

July 23, 2013

Newton Emerson on UVF and loyalist paramilitarism

Brian Feeney on the Orange Order and public funding

Christopher Hitchens on Northern Ireland's "parasitic class"

"I eventually came to appreciate a feature of the situation that has since helped me to understand similar obduracy in Lebanon, Gaza, Cyprus, and several other spots. The local leaderships that are generated by the "troubles" in such places do not want there to be a solution. A solution would mean that they were no longer deferred to by visiting UN or American mediators, no longer invited to ritzy high-profile international conferences, no longer treated with deference by the mass media, and no longer able to make a second living by smuggling and protection-racketeering. The power of this parasitic class was what protracted the fighting in Northern Ireland for years and years after it had become obvious to all that nobody (except the racketeers) could "win". And when it was over, far too many of the racketeers become profiteers of the "peace process" as well."

When it's cool to be dumb, Ctd

A UDA ex-prisoner said:
‘When we grew up, ‘Education’s for fruits!’ You know. It was for gays. You know. ‘Pffft, don’t touch that, we want guns! Gimme guns, gimme guns!’’
In full on eamonnmallie.com here. My earlier essay on the Huffington Post here.

SF fixation on Britain is bad for mental health

The importance of the Bell Magazine (the most important literary and cultural journal ever published in Ireland) to public discourse in Ireland and Northern Ireland today cannot be underestimated.

The founder member and editor of the Bell Magazine, Seán Ó Faoláin made some interesting remarks on the 'Irish fixation' on Britain. He said the obsession was bad not just for the nation's political status, but also bad for the whole definition of Irish identity. Seán Ó Faoláin said in his publication 'Eire and the Commonwealth' (of which Ireland was a member between 1931 and 1949) that:
'It is essential for the mental health of Ireland that we should as quickly as possible get to the stage where we do not give a damn about Britain.'

"[Writing] is theft", Ctd 'All art is derivative'

I've referred before to Christopher Hitchen's 2004 essay in Vanity Fair on James Joyce, 'Joyce in Bloom.' In the essay Hitchens notes the parallels, parodies and plagiarisms evident in Joyce's work.

The conclusion is that all art and writing is theft in one way or another. In his book, 'Unacknowledged Legislation: Writers in the Public Sphere' Christopher Hitchens even wrote a chapter entitled, 'In Defence of Plagiarism.'

It's an inconspicuous, unspoken but patently obvious habit of the writer and the artist. One that can be hard to describe in plain English.

However Maria Popova of Brain Pickings has encapsulating it nicely. She said:
'All art is derivative.'

July 22, 2013

Bertrand Russell on Protestantism

This comes via Maud Newton's blog which I highly encourage you to read here. In a post (here) she quoted Bertrand Russel from his book, A History of Western Philosophy
“The Catholic Church was derived from three sources. Its sacred history was Jewish, its theology was Greek, its government and canon law were, at least indirectly, Roman… In Catholic doctrine, divine revelation did not end with the scriptures, but continued from age to age through the medium of the Church, to which, therefore, it was the duty of the individual to submit his private opinions. Protestants, on the contrary, rejected the Church as a vehicle of revelation; truth was to be sought only in the Bible, which each man could interpret for himself. If men differed in their interpretation, there was no divinely appointed authority to decide the dispute. In practice, the State claimed the right that had formerly belonged to the Church, but this was a usurpation. In Protestant theory, there should be no earthly intermediary between the soul and God. 

July 21, 2013

EU Youth Action Plan announced, Angela Merkel says youth unemploymentis biggest problem facing Europe

Speaking at a summit of youth unemployment in Europe to the Guardian the German Chancellor said:
"Youth unemployment is perhaps the most pressing problem facing Europe at the present time."
She continued: 
"We in Germany have learned a lot from successfully reducing unemployment by means of structural reform since reunification and we can now bring that experience to bear."
Angela Merkel explained that the Berlin conference of July 3 2013 was about best practice, pointing out that Germany has halved its youth unemployment since 2005. She continued:

Writing on paper, Ctd

Via the Dish (here) I came across this Slate Magazine article entitled, 'I Write All My Blog Posts Out Longhand, and You Should Too'.

Justin Peters said:

"I am a professional blogger, and in many ways I live up to the least flattering stereotypes of the job... But I defy the stereotypes in at least one respect: I write most of my blog posts out by hand before I publish them... 
I've always enjoyed writing things by hand, but I didn't formalize the process until I started blogging daily for Slate. Almost every morning, before the day starts and I start drowning in emails, I go to a coffee shop with a pen and a small Moleskine notebook. There, I try to conceive and write drafts of two separate posts before 10:30 a.m. Then, it’s back to my apartment, where I shed my pants, transcribe, and refine what I’ve written. (One of the nice things about writing my posts by hand is that it allows for a built-in revision process.) 

July 20, 2013

Christopher Hitchens, segregated schools and Northern Ireland

From 43 minutes Christopher Hitchens discusses the segregation of societies through special faith schools, using Northern Ireland as a disastrous example of what can happen. The host began with a question:
"We would distinguish the cowardice of the Archbishop of Canterbury from the murderous violence of Ayman al-Zawahiri - would that be a fair distinction?"
Christopher Hitchens responded:
"No, because the Archbishop has pre-arranged his capitulation to them (Muslims). He thinks they're people of faith. The Archbishop of Canterbury says: 
I don't care if there are schools in England (this is happening now) that are run by al-Zawahiri supporters. I don't mind it. As long as you allow special schools for Christians and Jews and also special different schools for Protestants and Catholics. If you allow faith schools, we'll allow them to have faith schools.

July 19, 2013

Christopher Hitchens, religion, Northern Ireland and its "Barbaric, sectarian party leaders"

[From 4 minutes into video]

At an Intelligence Squared debate from 2007 (held around the same time as the furthering of the Northern Ireland peace agreement) Christopher Hitchens used the province and its capital city, Belfast, as an example of why religion is bad.

In explaining his position he said that the situation was still driven by "barbaric, sectarian party leaders." 

A fascinating observation from an outsider looking in. An outsider whose been to Belfast a good few times; knows people who've been here; knows the history and the context and is just general supremely intelligent. 

And yes I do know that he proclaimed support for a United Ireland. But he also thought Gerry Adams and other killers were depraved scumbags, writing in Slate Magazine here:
"...The main force that opposed it [peace and equal rights] eventually was the Provisional IRA, which gladly accepted the sectarian challenge and which preached the insane idea that Irish Protestants could be bombed into some deranged concept of a Fenian republic."
So the Republican outlet Irish Central was premature to use Hitchens' support for a United Ireland for their propaganda.

Full video from debate here

July 18, 2013

Writing for free

On writing for free, it was Mark Twain who I've long deferred to for counsel when it comes to the sometimes-thorny issue. His position was this (see here also):
"Write without pay until someone offers pay; if nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for."
More recently I read the piece by Genevieve Smith (@gvsmith) in Elle Magazine, with a piece entitled, 'I'm for Sale'on the challenges of writing, getting paid and making it. Then there was also the interesting piece by Noah David on awl.com which had been featured on Andrew Sullivan's, the Dish here. What Noah does is basically explain how he works as a writing and balances the books. A great insight.

"[Art and writing] is theft", Ctd

The above image is a compilation of two images, of which, the one on the right is plainly a "theft" of that on the left. Sourced here.
I've cited Maria Popova numerous times before, including here and here. Another time here. All on the creative process of writing and creating art. Then I featured Alexia Tsotsis here. I've done loads more which you can look around for.

This time it's Maria again. Who, writing here, again explained the laws that govern art:
"All creativity builds upon something that existed before and every work of art is essentially a derivative work."

Combinatorial creativity and networked knowledge

I recently started digging into the concepts of remix culture and combinatorial creativity, concepts introduced to me by Maria Popova on Brainpickings. She's effectively managed to give expression, in plain English, to the suspicions I've been mulling over as I consider the creative process and how ideas and end-products come to completion. This is my second post on this theme, my first being here.

Today I want to sketch and push things out; and to try and get my head around the two concepts in the title. Over to Maria writing here:
"The idea that in order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles.

EU Youth Action Plan, Ctd ROI and NI come together

Following a recent North-South ministerial conference between NI and the ROI, the Irish Times reported on the EU Youth Action Plan:
"Mr Kenny said the Republic and Northern Ireland would work on programmes, and officials and ministers from Northern Ireland would be invited to attend the meeting with the OECD in Dublin in September.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Youth Action Plan would be brought forward on a collaborative basis because “irrespective of whether a young person is unemployed in Derry or Dungarvan or Belfast or any other city in Ireland, what they are looking at is an opportunity to get employment, education training or work experience”.

Britain's Hereditocracy, Ctd

I recently wrote about the foul and filthy stench of nepotism that I experienced post-graduation in an essay for the Huffington Post entitled, 'Britain's Hereditocracy.'

This post is to be seen as an extension that furthers and extends my argument: that it's contacts and who you know that really matters. Know someone in a high place and they can make things happen. That's why I was struck by a New York Observer feature on Ta-Nehisi Coates, a now well known black blogger and author.

Enlightening Loyalism

Before starting a discussion on loyalism, the below quote bears note:
“Periclean Greeks employed the term idiotis, without any connotation of stupidity or subnormality, to mean simply 'a person indifferent to public affairs'."
Veteran Loyalist activist Raymond lavery said here:
"I remember gun battles in my street in 1970 when we had to hide under the stairs to be safe. These young people out here today didn't live though any of that; they can't imagine what it was really like. 
The worst danger is that one of these young people out demonstrating or rioting gets run down by a police Land Rover and is killed or injured. What is important here is that this generation not only get a better formal education but they get a political education too, which there is a serious lack of. Sinn Féin are putting into people's heads that because a flag comes down there is a march towards a united Ireland.

Andrew Sullivan on the "battle for tolerance"

You can read Andrew's analysis from the image above or on the Sunday Times here (£).

Rory McIlroy faces the identity question in the New York Times

Here's what he said to Karen Crouse in the New York Times here:
“This thing goes back hundreds and hundreds of years and there’s wars and battles of all sorts. It’s a tricky situation to be in. If I was a bit more selfish, I think it would be an easier decision.”
I wrote about the problem on the Huffington Post here. Previous feature in NYT on Rory with Karen Crouse here.

Also great article by Fintan O'Toole in the Irish Times here (£) and in the photos below for those who want past the pay wall. 

July 17, 2013

Writing is hard, Ctd "If you enjoy writing you're doing something wrong..."

The late American journalist and author Stanley Karnow said the following of writing in a panel discussion on writing, 'How to Become a Writer' (1997) which you can watch here. He said:
"If you enjoy writing you're doing something wrong."
He was also quoted by the moderator as follows:
"I don't know any writer that thinks that writing is any fun."
He went on to quote Hemingway who told him that:
 "The art of writing is knowing what to throw away."

July 15, 2013

Uzoamaka Maduka and the American Reader

Of all the reading I've done in recent months I was perhaps most struck by the Guardian feature on the revival and emergence of new and exciting literary periodicals.

But of all the new and emerging periodicals referred to it was the American Reader and its founding editor, Uzoamaka Maduka that interested me the most. 

Read a New York Times profile of Maduka here

The history of typography

Check out this cool video on the history of typography via The Atlantic Magazine, as here.

July 13, 2013

Irish health care costs could rise

This is certainly something we should all be mindful of when discussing the subject of Irish unification.

July 12, 2013

Writing on paper Ctd

Andrew Sullivan writing here cites Craig Fehrman who talks about writing on paper first and then later on writing on the computer. Read the original post by Craig here.

Read my previous post on 'Writing on paper' with Neil Gaiman here.

Separate the Catholic church from the Irish state says politician

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was drafted in 1777 by Thomas Jefferson and has been of huge import to the healthy development of the United States. Associated with this is Jefferson's 'Wall of Separation' letter to the Baptists of Danbury.

I touched on the above in relation to Northern Irish politics on my essay on NI21 on the Huffington Post here.

Ireland's history on both sides of the border has been hugely determined by priests, reverands and other so-called "men of god". However secular societies have long shown themselves to be the most stable, peaceful and tolerant. So it's my contention that the above report should be given attention and the calls for a full separation between church and state in the Republic of Ireland, should be carefully considered.

I'll leave with a quote from WB Yeats:
"Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution."

July 05, 2013

Why does everyone want to go to Law School?, Ctd 'best [Wall Street]cover letter ever' student wants to go to law school

The Business Insider and Forbes magazine featured what was labelled as the 'best cover letter ever': a direct communication from a student to a big Wall Street exec for a summer internship.

The situation of the student was that he/she wants to be an investment banker. At time of sending the person was an undergraduate finance student planning to do a masters in accounting. 

And get this, and I quote: 
"I am currently awaiting admission results for (BLOCKED) Masters of Science in Accountancy program, which I would begin this fall if admitted. I am also planning on attending law school after my master’s program, which we spoke about in New York."

July 04, 2013

"[Writing and] Art is theft", Ctd

Maria Popova puts it, citing Charles Eames, wonderfully:
'I’m particularly taken with this bit affirming remix culture and combinatorial creativity:
"[Is design] a creation of an individual?No — because to be realistic one must always admit the influence of those who have gone before." 
Read it here.

July 03, 2013

Obtuse and obscure legal journals

I just came across an announcement from Queen's University School of Law that it has published the second edition of the Web Journal or Current Legal Issues, see here.

Funny that. Everywhere I read authoritative voices are saying that the traditional law review, law journal is dying if not dead. 

See comments in LexBlog here, here and the Atlantic Magazine here. Also read comments from a law professor from the University of Denver here. Also on Bloomberg Law here and below:

July 02, 2013

Writing is hard Ctd with Ernest Hemingway

I produced the illustration of Mr Hemingway that you can see above recently with a comforting quote that soothes the disgruntled writer, blogger and other word maker:
"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed."
Powerful and emotive language that tells us even Nobel Prize winning writers struggle to put words onto paper. Then just as I was coming to publish this I came across a Brainpickings blog post by Maria Popova, 'Work Alone: Ernest Hemingway’s 1954 Nobel Acceptance Speech.' The stand out quote was the below. Not only is writing hard; it can be and often is a lonely process:
“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”

Evolution of Marriage Equality in the United States

If you are against gay marriage you are ignorant to the path of history. Time after time, those who oppose the sharing rights and legal protections are overturned.

You can read my essay for eamonnmallie.com on how marriage equality will in the end come to Northern Ireland here. You can also read my blog post that followed the Supreme Court ruling from the United States that smacked down the DOMA legislation here.

The above map comes from Andrew Sullivan, thanks for that.

July 01, 2013

Orwell, clear prose and bad legal writing

Pamela Samuelson, writing in the University of Pittsburgh Law Review in 1984 explained why law students write badly:
"As I have worked with law students on supervised writing projects, I have noticed that lucidity does not come naturally to most law students, perhaps because they have been forced in their legal studies to read so much bad writing that they mistake what they've read for the true and proper model."
You can read Pamela Samuelson in full here.

"[Writing] is theft" Ctd with Maria Popova: 'All creative work is derivative'

As Maria Popova said in Brainpickings:
"Even though in his 1890 book George Washington’s Rules of Civility Traced to Their Sources and Restored Moncure Daniel Conway notes that Washington generously “borrowed” the bulk of his rules from a 1595 French Jesuit book — a testament to the fact that everything builds on what came before — they remain fascinating in their own right as an ideological predecessor to the foundation of America’s democratic and moral ideals."
I repeat what Maria Popova said:
"Everything builds on what came before."

Making lists

See large list on large blackboard on the left of the above picture.
Oliver Jeffers is a mad buck for writing lists as you can see in the image above. On the writing of lists he recently said:
'As you can see, I like to write a lot of things on lists and then take great pleasure in crossing said things off said lists.'
I'm also quite the list keeper, a man of nomenclature who lives by list making and stroking stuff off the said lists. Such a sense of doing comes with making and completing lists that I've always wondered if there is more to making lists than just writing and rubbing out. Maria Popova on Brainpickings has made some beautiful observations here.
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