Bob Schwartz

Turkey Goes Radioactive

Erdogan and Twitter
Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan tried to close down Twitter in Turkey yesterday. Instead it exploded in his face, like a digital trick cigar.

Erdogan is miffed because Twitter is being used to disclose details about corruption, including the broadcast of phone conversations. “Twitter, mwitter,” he ranted as he blocked access.

The world noticed and, of course, tweeted. So did those in Turkey, who circumvented the ban by using an SMS text-based version.

As previous posts point out, Turkey is unlike any country in the world. Its path to modern democracy is unique and apparently unfinished. More than a bridge between east and west, it is a bridge between ancient and very modern. No nation, except perhaps for Israel, has experimented so creatively with making the past present, the past future, and the present and future past.

And, without any particular personal or filial or ancestral connection, it was for me love at first visit.

Also, even if you have no other feeling for it or reason to watch it, watch carefully. Turkey is a bellwether. If democracy and modernism proceed hand-in-hand there, there is great hope for the world, if not necessarily a replicable model. If Turkey cannot pull off that trick, we should all be concerned. Very concerned.

Erdogan has no plans to give up. But when I heard this morning’s score—Twitter 1, Erdogan 0—the song that came to mind was Radioactive by Imagine Dragons:

I’m waking up
I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
I’m radioactive, radioactive
I’m radioactive, radioactive

Thor Gives Birth to Twins

Nobody wants to hear from word nerds. They just stifle creativity and block linguistic evolution with their definitions and rules. Humpty Dumpty from Alice in Wonderland is the man (or eggman): words mean exactly what anybody says they mean.

Except they don’t, or they can’t or shouldn’t. If you tell a doctor you have a pain in your leg, and she examines and treats your arm, because leg now means arm, everybody has a problem.

Here’s the TMZ story that’s been widely picked up:

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky — Give Birth to Twins
Thor’s Got Twins Now!

3/20/2014 4:14 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Chris Hemsworth and his wife are at Cedars Sinai Medical Center right now giving birth to twins … TMZ has learned.

It’s ultra-high security in their hospital suite … we’re told 2 security guards are standing at the door.  Chris is strolling the hallway and is being escorted with a guard.

Chris and his wife Elsa Pataky already have one baby — India Rose Hemsworth who is now 22 months old.  She’s about to have a couple new siblings.

Chris and Elsa were married in 2010.

This led to headlines like this one in the New York Daily News:

Chris Hemsworth, wife Elsa Pataky giving birth to twins

Nobody may care, except for mothers, doctors, and Mrs. Chris Hemsworth, but “giving birth” is not the same as parents having a baby. “Birth” is variously defined as “The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother” or “The event of being born, the entry of a new person out of its mother into the world.”

Chris Hemsworth can be a proud and involved daddy. So can Thor. But neither of them can give birth, no matter what TMZ or the Daily News say.

It’s Spring. It’s Snowing.

Spring Snow
It’s spring. It’s snowing.

It is the most beautiful snow of the year. No wind, big flakes dropping so slowly that it seems like suspended animation. Like being in a snow globe.

But it is spring. Maybe this is saving the last for best.