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What the fox learned from the prophet.

I’ve been a fan of K’naan for a couple years now and was heartened to read that he is cognizant of the change in his music that in the last year that didn’t quite turn me sour to him but gave me reservation.   Best lines in his NYT editorial:

“The fox, they say, once had an elegant walk, for which the other animals loved him. One day, he saw a prophet striding along and decided to improve on what was already beautiful. He set out walking but could not match the prophet’s gait. Worse, he forgot his own. So he was left with the unremarkable way the fox walks today”

and

“If this was censorship, I thought, it was a new kind — one I had to do to myself. The label wasn’t telling me what to do. No, it was just giving me choices and information, about my audience — 15-year-old American girls, mostly, who knew little of Somalia. How much better to sing them songs about Americans.”

Sample of lyrics of K’naan when he was a fox:
LYRICS:

Picture the morning taste and devour
We rise early pace up the hour
Streets is bustling hustling their heart out
You can’t have the sweet with no sour

Spices herbs the sweet scent of flower
We came out precisely the hour
Clouds disappear the sun shows the power
No chance of a probable shower

I fell in love with my neighbors daughter
I wanted to protect and support her
Never mind I’m just 12 and a quarter
I had dreams beyond our border.

Is it true when they say all you need is just love,
Is it true
What about those who have loved
Only to find that it’s taken away
And why do they say that the children have rights to be free
To be free
What about those who I’ve known
Whose memory still lives inside of me.

Fatima,
What did the Young Man say
Before he stole you away
On that fateful day Fatima
Fatima,
Did he know your name
Or the plans we made,
To go to New York City, Fatima

And after school we studied the lessons
I ask God to slow down the seconds
He does the opposite that’s what I’m guessing
I better chill and count my own blessings

Fatima, Fatima what is the matter
How come you ain’t come up the ladder
So we can be like there’s no tomorrow
Damn you gonna make me wait until tomorrow

She spoke Arabic and Swahili
She’d say Upendo (Swahili for love) Anta Habibi (Arabic for, you are my love/dearest friend)
You so bright, you shine like my TV
Then one day she never came to meet me

Is it true when they say all you need is just love,
Is it true
What about those who have loved
Only to find that it’s taken away
And why do they say that the children have rights to be free
To be free
What about those who I’ve known
Whose memory still lives inside of me.

Fatima,
What did the Young Man say
Before he stole you away
On that fateful day Fatima
Fatima,
Did he know your name
Or the plans we made,
To go to New York City, Fatima
Fatima,
What did the Young Man say
Before he stole you away
On that fateful day Fatima
Fatima,
Did he know your name
Or the plans we made,
To go to New York City, Fatima

If beauty was in the eyes of beholder
how come everyone hushed when she walked by
How come girls would look just to scold her
How come the angel wanted to hold her?

Fatima, Fatima I’m in America
I make rhymes and I make them delicate
You would have liked the parks in Connecticut
You would have said I’m working too hard again.

Damn you shooter, Damn you the building
Whose walls hid the blood she was spilling
Damn you Country so good at killing
Damn you feeling, for persevering

Is it true when they say all you need is just love,
Is it true
What about those who have loved
Only to find that it’s taken away
And why do they say that the children have rights to be free
To be free
What about those who I’ve known
Whose memory still lives inside of me.

Fatima,
What did the Gun Man Say
before he took you away on that fateful day
Fatima
Did he know your name, or the plans we made
To go to New York City

Fatima,
What did the Gun Man Say
before he took you away on that fateful day
Fatima
Did he know your name, or the plans we made
To go to New York City

Fatima..

(Spoken)
Now I just want to make it clear, I don’t want you to shed a tear.
Because this here, is a celebration, We’re not mourning, We’re celebrating
Yeah
So baby don’t cry, Please don’t let the tears fall
So don’t cry..

Sample of ‘Is there Anybody Out there with (Nelly ’15 year old American girl anthem singing’ Furtado)

[Nelly furtado]
i don’t wanna be left
in this war tonight
am i alone in this fight?
is anybody out there?
don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
say you’ll run to my side

[k’naan]
something ’bout Mary
never won a pageant
never felt pretty
never looked like Cameron
Diaz was her last name
always been abandoned
keep your head up
baby girl this is your anthem

there goes Hannah
showin’ off her banner
rocking that crown
make them boys go bananas
when you’re insecure about yourself
it’s a fact

you can point a finger
but there’s three pointing back
i can see her crying out, yeah
is there anybody out there?

she’s really counting on your love
still struggling uphill
but you act like you don’t care
right now she could really use a shoulder
hanging onto the edge til it’s over
she’s crying for your love tonight
loneliest heart to survive, she said

[Nelly furtado]
i don’t wanna be left
in this war tonight
am i alone in this fight?
is anybody out there?
don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
say you’ll run to my side
is anybody out there? yeah, yeah, yeah
is anybody out there?
(somebody, anybody)

[k’naan]
his name was Adam
when his mom had him
dad was a phantom never took a look at him
grew up mad and antisocial
hated outdoors, always in playing madden
Adam was lonely
drugs were the only
way out of his own life
[From: http://www.elyrics.net%5D

now he’s slowly losing his fire
close to retire
with one last hope he puts his arms up higher
i can see him crying out, yeah
is anybody out there?

he’s really counting on your love
still struggling uphill
but you act like you don’t care
right now he could really use a shoulder
hanging onto the edge til it’s over
he’s crying for your love tonight
loneliest heart to survive, he said

[Nelly furtado]
i don’t wanna be left
in this war tonight
am i alone in this fight?
is anybody out there?
don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
say you’ll run to my side
is anybody out there?

[bridge]
if you feel the way i feel
like you’ve been talking to yourself
well this one’s for everyone who’s felt invisible
lonely in a crowded room
searching for someone like you
can’t do it all alone (no one can baby)
can’t do it all alone (no one should baby)
is anybody out there?
(somebody, anybody)
is anybody out there?
i’m right here for your
is anybody out there?

[outro]
i don’t wanna be left
in this war tonight
am i alone in this fight?
is anybody out there?
don’t wanna be left left in this world behind
say you’ll run to my side
is anybody out there? yeah, yeah, yeah
i don’t wanna do it all alone
i need your love to take me home
no one said you should be all alone
i’m right here
i’m right here
is anybody out there?

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Politicians dance with Mother Nature and trip or Kanye was right?

I haven’t posted in a while but Papa Suvarnakar and I were talking about how Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama are getting criticized for over preparing for Hurricane Irene.  I came across this stuff mostly because in Haiti, we have been largely isolated from the 24-hour news cycle.  The first article is from the Economist and basically says that the media coverage for Irene was as much as it was for Gustav but that the overhype basically did its job. The link is here
The other interesting link is an abstract from research relating to the correlation of natural disasters and how politicians are viewed in the aftermath.  The conclusion of the research was that if it was disaster was bad enough (Katrina-level), it didn’t matter how much federal aid a state got afterwards, people still blamed the President or Governor for ‘an act of God’.  The link is here
Conclusion: Pretty much if you are a politician, it will always be better in the long run to over-prepare and eat crow if your wrong because if the natural disaster is really bad, no amount support after the fact will help you get votes. Also that Kanye was right sort of.
Lastly, here, here and here are places you can help and no one will accuse of being a johnny-come-lately politician.  Our thoughts are with victims.
-n

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Tara Brabazon: The Rice-A-Roni Paradox

Can a person use Wikipedia, Google and every other social and digital tool out there and still be critical of it? I guess I am partly one of those born before 1980 whom Clay Shirky writes about (p. 303 of 2008 hardcover edition Here Comes Everybody):

One reason many of the stories in this book seem to be populated with young people is that those of us born before 1980 remember a time before any tools supported group communications well. For us, no matter how deeply we immerse ourselves in a new technology, it will always have a certain provisional quality.  -Shirky

That is closely the vantage point I am at: the doubting user who doesn’t see online status updates as a birthright.

In researching for a future Wikipedia post, I came across a critic of Google and Wikipedia that doesn’t strike the same cord as anti-Wiki or anti-Google crowd, I’ve come across.  Tara Brabazon doesn’t take the kind of evil empire approach that makes mountains out of molehills but she does take a exception to Google and Wikipedia becoming the default position for young scholars in-training and particularly on Clay Shirky’s book regarding accessibility and, ‘his assumption that “we” can learn about technology from technology.’  She is no anti-social media demogogue.  Her credentials include: Professor of Media at the University of Brighton, United Kingdom, Visiting Professor at Edge Hill’s SOLSTICE CETL, Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA), Director of the Popular Culture Collective and Programme Leader of the Master of Arts in Creative Media.

Below is video of Brabazon talking about her recent book: The University of Google

From Product Description

Information is no longer for social good, but for sale.Tara Brabazon argues that this information fetish has been profoundly damaging to our learning institutions and to the ambitions of our students and educators. In “The University of Google”, she projects a defiant and passionate vision of education as a pathway to renewal, where research is based on searching and students are on a journey through knowledge, rather than consumers in the shopping centre of cheap ideas.Angry, humorous and practical in equal measure, “The University of Google” is based on real teaching experience and on years of engaged and sometimes exasperated reflection on it.

So not anti-social media, just against social media technology replacing the role of teachers.  Her critique of Here Comes Everybody is something that I’ve thought about but have never written about here.

They are shielded through the flawed assumption that if more “people” (and as a visitor to Second Life, I use this word advisedly …) are involved in doing “something” then it becomes important. When we were at high school, this was called mob rule. Now it is called social networking.  . . Older citizens, the poor, the illiterate and the socially excluded are invisible in Shirky’s “everybody”. Once more, the US, and occasionally the UK, is “the world” in the world wide web. The hypothesis is clear: the internet/web/Web 2.0 changed “everything”. The question remains: for whom?

I think she makes some valid points, and merely to assume that those indirectly affected by social media are some how a part of it (as a sole commenter of the post does), is in my opinion careless.  If information is power, and access to information is necessary to gain power, inaccess is connected to powerlessness.  The irony of this is that I was ready to buy up one of 10 books by Mrs. Brabazon, but found that they were too expensive for me to purchase.  I understand that a writer has got to eat, but does that mean that the price of admission is more risotto than rice-A-roni?

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MORE BOOKS THAN EVER BEFORE

I was looking at the big stack of books that is assigned for the social media class and it made me think of a conversation I had with my mother about how when she and my father were studying medicine in India, they had maybe one or two books. They cherished them, read them repeatedly, and could quote them verbatim. There is no quintessential reading about the online world. Everybody is mostly guessing like cooks with a dozen ingredients and a cursery understanding of what tastes good together.  Shirky’s ‘Here Comes Everybody,’ comes close to being a sous chef, but for the most part, the reader need only partially digest the media around them, crap out 140 character response, and move on to the next meal. I am not fighting this trend-never in history have so many had access to so much. Flatulence is a symptom that some things just can’t be digested. That is origin of the name of this blog and with faith, the theme of this blog. Cryptic? maybe. Self-indulgent and infantile? yes. Welcome to social media. Have you not been? More to come.-ns

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