Thursday, March 02, 2006

The current issue of Harper's has a couple of articles worth seeking out and reading.

The first is from the inventor of the Flash Mob - Harper's senior editor Bill Wasik - and the article is currently online. The Flash Mob was devised to be the ultimate bait for hipsters - something that was pure scene. Whether something designed to be purely vacuous has evolved to something more more intelligent, say a Smart Mob, is up for debate. It's worth noting that there is no mention of Wasik on Howard Rheingold's Smart Mob site and it appears that smart mobs are still occurring, IMHO.

The second article that really moved me is not online - at least not in its shorter adapted version in Harper's (the full 37 page version as published in the Virginia Law Review is, however, available as a pdf) It's called Liberalism, Torture and the Ticking Bomb and its by David Luban. I love articles that make you completely reassess what you think you know about something. This article helped me understand what torture is, why we put extrordinary emphasis on torture ("Realistically, the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib, Baghram, and Guantanamo pale by comparison with all the death, maiming and suffering in collateral damage during the Afghan and Iraq wars. Bombs crush limbs and burn people's faces off; nothing even remotely as horrifying has been reported in American prisoner-abuse cases"), and ultimately, how torture cannot be justified.

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