So, the magazines to which I subscribe are coming out with their gift guides lately. Because it's almost Christmas, the season of spending beyond one's means! (Praise Jebus.) In any event, as has been happening every year or so, I get captivated by a single gadget and, well, beg Ms. Claus-Hickey to spend beyond the logical means for a toy. This year, it's the Kindle, Amazon's $350+ digital reader.
Though the article's not yet online, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knocks down crit that they're leading the way toward illiteracy and book-death by saying, "I think people will read more, not less," in the December issue of SmartMoney. (The issue also rates Toll Brothers stock as a "Buy" because, "with $1.5 billion in cash and no debt due until 2011, Toll Brothers is well positioned to get ahead of competitors by buying up land at fire-sale prices..." I wonder if that means Senor Toll will be investing more in the newspapers in which he invested, bolstering his dedication to what amounts to a public trust. I mean, $1.5 billion on hand is a lil bit of cash, no?)
Oh, the Kindle. Well, yeah, I think it'd be cool to load that thing up with my magazines, and perhaps "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (since I can't finish the damn thing, as much as I want to, in an attempt to determine how it tolls for thee), before my next flight to Vegas. But I also think I still kind of like the feeling of book in hand.
Yes, I'm conflicted, but it's a cool toy and I like it, even if it's another step toward the death of print, which I love, trees be damned since my street's tree-lined.
A long walk to get to my point, yes, but here it finally is: Even though they've killed off their print version (coming soon to a paper near you), the Christian Science Monitor has a hell of a story today that I noticed onaccounta of (hat-tip for) activist Mary Shaw's link on Facebook (my favorite pre-Kindle toy). The headline: "After Obama's win, white backlash festers in US." (It says the same thing as a link from the weekend reading roundup, but bears repeating.)
The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.
Most election-related threats have so far been little more than juvenile pranks. But the political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there's even talk of secession.
"Most of this movement is not violent, but there is a substantive underbelly that is violent and does try to make a bridge to people who feel disenfranchised," says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. "The question is: Will this swirl become a tornado or just an ill wind? We're not there yet, but there's dust on the horizon, a swirling of wind, and the atmospherics are getting put together for [conflict]."
I think I speak for all of us evolved folk when I say, "If you want to go all secession on us, please do. Your services are no longer needed in New America."
Apparently, we still can't, Rodney.