Daily Office:
Monday

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Matins: It’s hard to cry real tears over the bankruptcy filing of Tribune Corp, the media empire that, among other things, has imperilled the integrity of the Los Angeles Times.

Prime: At kottke.org yesterday, Jason Kottke took a look at his own early stabs at Web sites. I hope that someone will undertake a comprehensive overview of Web design history, because I’m sure that the lessons taught by evolution would be useful to know. 

Tierce: What’s this? Riots in Greece? Sparked by the police shooting of a fifteen year-old boy? Okaaay… But wait. Why did you say they are rioting in Greece?

Sext: Timely advice from Debrett’s/Telegraph on how to behave at the office Christmas Party. Nothing you didn’t know — which is why you ought to write it out on the palm of your hand.

Oremus…

§ Matins. In fact, the news might be matter for rejoicing: it sends a message that depending upon advertising, whether for your revenue as a publisher or for your news as a subscriber, is economically unsound. Advertising was the great Twentieth Century free lunch, and it will be shown, I’m confident, to have flourished because of economic and social anomalies that won’t recur anytime soon.

It surprises me that no one talks of the moral hazard of advertising. I’m not talking about any impact that advertising might have, subtly or unconsciously “making” consumers buy things that they neither want nor need, &c &c. No — not that. I’m talking about the inverted truth of “you get what you pay for”: unless you pay, you don’t think you’ve gotten anything important. Advertising subsidies have led generations of Americans (and Westerners generally) to expect rather less of their news sources than they might have done if they were really paying the costs of their newspapers. And as for television — ! Many people watch it at no cost at all (beyond that of a TV set), while most people pay simply for access, via cable. Nobody pays, specifically, to watch Meet the Press or Tonight.  That ought to change.

§ Prime. Another site to which Mr Kottke appears to be attached is The Millions, a collaborative Web log whose index page contains, to my eye, a lot of unfocused information. I’ll be trying to explain what I mean by that over the next couple of weeks.

§ Tierce. One has to wade deep into the smattering of available stories to learn that (maybe) this is an old-fashioned conflict between police and “leftist elements.” Students are rioting in Salonika as well as in Athens. 1968 all over again? We’ll have to wait for The Economist. Right now, the story is being covered as “teens run wild.”

Mr MSM, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!

§ Sext. It’s been decades since my last office party, which may be why it only just occurred to me that your unit’s behavior at the party (and afterward!) is probably a terrific barometer of office morale. The happier the workers, it seems to me, the shorter and neater the festivities will be; contented cubicals will be inclined to regard the occasion as a warmup for an evening with non-colleagues. Prolonged, drunken revels are really a form of revenge.

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