Presented without comment #19

Marriane Bertrand quoted in ‘Rightist Extremism: My Right To Say Abhorrent Things‘ at The Economist.

Perhaps the most devastating problem with subjective [survey] questions, however, is the possibility that attitudes may not “exist” in a coherent form. A first indication of such problems is that measured attitudes are quite unstable over time. For example, in two surveys spaced a few months apart, the same subjects were asked about their views on government spending. Amazingly, 55% of the subjects reported different answers. Such low correlations at high frequencies are quite representative.

Part of the problem comes from respondents’ reluctance to admit lack of an attitude. Simply because the surveyor is asking the question, respondents believe that they should have an opinion about it. For example, researchers have shown that large minorities would respond to questions about obscure or even fictitious issues, such as providing opinions on countries that don’t exist.

Why did Rachel Webster have to die?‘ by Martin Aggett at F.O.R.C.E.

Another potential contributer to Rachael’s fate might have been the controversy surrounding the video game blogger community not realizing she was fictional.  I don’t think it was ever Rachael’s intention to hide her true fictional nature.  It’s just not something us fictionals are comfortable talking about until we get to know you better.  If you’re Catholic or a Democrat or not a natural blonde you’re not compelled to blurt out those details at the beginning of every conversation or put a note at the bottom of every email you send.  The same can be said for those of us who are very much alive, but not “living” in the strictest sense of the word.  In Rachael’s case, if her creators were upset enough to kill her over the initial problems with the video game blogger community they would have taken her out much sooner.

Mute’s 100% cut by ACE – a personal consideration of Mute’s defunding‘ by Pauline van Mourik Broekman at MetaMute.Org.

We regard the process of being placed in competition with other arts organisations as poisonous and distracting: while we will privately question the sizeable uplifts granted to large, established organisations (which, in the greater scheme of things, need further funding about as urgently as Paris Hilton needs another handbag), in the end we recognise it as a familiar part of the divide-and-rule principle that has long marked the operations of support agencies like ACE, where a chronic reliance on the parent body for the basic apparatus of organisational reproduction nurtures fear among the ‘dependents’ – slowly but surely stripping them of all sense they can do anything for themselves, let alone together… The spectacle of slavish gratitude for the spoils of public funds, in which even organisations cut or killed felt compelled to reiterate the basic tenets of ACE’s funding paradigm (excellence, innovation, global leadership and creativity), were truly depressing in this regard – not one voice standing out for offering a different vision or lexicon of practice.