Archive for November, 2007

Victory

Posted on November 30th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

I’m delighted to announce that Judge Douglas Woodlock of Federal District Court in Boston has ruled in favor of 02138 in Facebook’s attempt to win an emergency injunction against the magazine and force 02138 to take down documents from the ConnectU v. Facebook trial. The transcript of the judge’s ruling will be released tomorrow, and since I’m in Mexico I don’t have a complete sense of what happened in court. But I’m told that the judge agreed with our arguments that posting the documents helped show what our article, “Poking Facebook,” was based upon, thus promoting greater public knowledge both about journalism and about Facebook.

Again, since my understanding of the decision is based largely on e-mails and quick phone calls, including one from the bow of a boat headed to the reefs of Cozumel, I should say that further and more specific details will emerge soon. I’ll post ‘em as soon as I’ve got ‘em.

But here is the point: This is a victory for 02138, yes. I’m delighted that the judge decided as he did. But beyond that, this is a victory for the ability of the American press to do its job with some assurance of legal protections, even when a $15 billion company brings its legal guns to bear on you, forcing you into court 36 hours after notifying you of its discontent. And with brand new lawyers, by the way; our guy was conflicted out when he realized that a different part of his firm represented Facebook, and, well, let’s just say that Facebook’s a considerably bigger client of his firm than 02138 is.

We’re working on the next issue of 02138 now. I hope that there won’t be anything in it that lands us in court again. But if there is, and if we believe that we were right to publish it, we’ll fight it again.

Thanks for your interest and support.

Dispatch from Mexico

Posted on November 30th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

I’m on vacation, but this is important: Facebook is trying to use legal pressure to stop 02138 magazine from disseminating information about the contested origins of Facebook.

From the Wall Street Journal
:

Facebook Inc. filed two legal motions aiming to force an independent magazine to take down from its Web site documents related to a suit over the social-networking site’s origins.

Early yesterday, Facebook’s lawyers notified 02138, an independent magazine geared at Harvard alumni, of two separate emergency motions seeking the removal of the documents from its online edition.

The documents are still available online here, but Facebook has a lot of lawyers….If you’re interested, take a look at these documents. And spread the word that a company that plans to collect and sell personal information about 50 million users doesn’t want one magazine to conduct reporting about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg….

Hasta Pronto

Posted on November 29th, 2007 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I’m headed to Mexico in about an hour, so posts will be scarce (though I’ll try) for the next few days. 

Meantime, I urge everyone to take a look at the piece on Facebook just published by 02138; it’s called “Poking Facebook,” and it’s getting a lot of buzz on the web…

The Bomb is Back

Posted on November 28th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

H Bomb, Harvard’s twice-published sex mag, has regained its status as an official student organization and plans to publish again this spring, according to the Crimson.

That should be interesting….

Columbia: Onward, Upward

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

The New York City Planning Commission has approved Columbia’s plan for a 17-acre expansion into west Harlem by a vote of 10-1, with one abstention.

As I stood on the open-air subway platform at 125th street this morning, looking north and west over the dreary parking garages, storage facilities, paint shops, and so on that make up the area in question, I thought, Good.

There will, of course, be opposition.

“We’ll stand in front of those bulldozers,” said Tom DeMott, a leader of the opposition Coalition to Preserve Community. “This battle is not over by a long shot.”

Mr. DeMott would be better served by working with Columbia to make this plan as conducive to the long-term economic growth of Harlem as possible than by standing in front of the bulldozers. But that would not attract him nearly as much attention….

Ted Kennedy on Himself

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The Globe reports that Ted Kennedy has sold a memoir to the Hachette Book Group for $8 million. Good for him—let’s hope he tells an honest story. He could tell a fascinating one.

I have some small insight into this news. Back when I was writing my book about John Kennedy, I took a lot of heat from some people who thought it was a bad idea, including Caroline Kennedy. (Though you’d never be able to find her fingerprints on it—everything she did was through surrogates. A careful woman.)

But not Teddy. His representatives were, if not supportive, quietly cooperative throughout, and I got the feeling that the senator knew well that such books about his family helped to build its mythology and thus had a certain social and political value. Also, he obviously cared about John very deeply, and I don’t think he minded so much the idea that an admiring colleague would remember his nephew in a book.

While Caroline Kennedy never acknowledged the letters I sent to her in which I explained the nature of my book—what it would be, what it wouldn’t be—I spoke to a Ted Kennedy aide on several occasions, and those people were always perfectly civil and decent about the project. Before the book was officially published, I made sure to send copies to the senator.

So when people would say to me, “How do the Kennedys feel about your book?”, I would respond, well, the Kennedys aren’t a monolith; you can’t speak of the family as if it has a collective brain. Most of the time, I got the feeling that that wasn’t the answer people wanted to hear, but it was the true one.

All of which is a long way of suggesting some small insight into why Teddy might be writing his memoir now, other than the $8 million—because he believes in the power and merit of books, believes in the telling of history, rather than trying to squelch it.

I would also note something that the Globe does not pick up (shocker): Hachette Book Group is, of course, an arm of Hachette-Filipacchi Media, the publisher of George magazine. So there is an emotional connection involved that the Globe missed. Senator Kennedy’s memory appears to be longer than those who write about him, which bodes well for his memoir.

Yale on the Mend

Posted on November 26th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Beinecke Library at night

The New York Sun has a nice piece on how Yale is rebuilding its modernist architecture, including some truly lovely buildings—the Yale Art Gallery, Ingalls Rink, and Beineke Library, all of which, in my opinion, are distinctive and beautiful.

(Yale’s architecture may be more interesting and daring than Harvard’s as a result of its being in much-maligned New Haven, and thus less tradition-bound and freer to experiment, than Harvard in Cambridge. A silver lining of life in a post-WWII city, I suppose.)

Yale is also restoring one building that it is hard to believe will ever be anything but a monstrosity—the cold and Soviet-style Art and Architecture building, by Paul Rudolph. Well, let them try; it can only help. At the very least, they’ll put some air conditioning in the thing.

Quote for the Day

Posted on November 26th, 2007 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

“We meet at a time of crisis in our democracy, a time of deep stalemate and frustration — a time when many Americans are losing confidence not only in our present leadership but in our institutions and even in the future of our nation itself.”

—Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in a speech written for George McGovern

How Completely Great

Posted on November 26th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A poster below tips me off to the fact that there’s an entire blog devoted to deconstructing Maureen Dowd—the Dowd Report. It’s brilliant.

Dartmouth v. Harvard

Posted on November 26th, 2007 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

InsideHigherEd reports that a Dartmouth trustee, Todd J. Zywicki, has given a speech in which he attacks the culture of higher education and, more specifically, Harvard.

Those who control the university today, they don’t believe in God and they don’t believe in country,” he continues. “The university is their cathedrals…their entire being. Both those who fund it and those who teach within it are tied up in the university.”

[Blogger: The university is their cathedrals?]

Commenting on campus culture as a whole, Zywicki told the audience, “We have the Spanish Inquisition, and you can ask Larry Summers whether or not the Spanish Inquisition lives on academic campuses today.”

The Spanish Inquisition? Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I know I should take conservatives more seriously about such things—a Dartmouth alum calls for Zywicki’s resignation—but they’re so over-the-top and ill-informed, it’s hard not to get a good chuckle out of them. Problem is, they are enormously good about getting the message out on such things; their sense of grievance is powerful. But, my gosh, they sound so unhappy.

In any case…speaking of Larry Summers, anyone know how that book of his is coming along?