YouTube: Censorship is good business. When information becomes unavailable on YouTube, it’s interesting to notice, and to wonder what principles govern the decision to remove material at the request of a complaining party (Two recent examples of YouTube takedowns: an Air Force recruiting video, and a video of Sarah Palin’s church). Private censorship is perfectly legal; none of us owes YouTube anything, and they can post or take down whatever they want. The objective is to make as many people happy as much of the time as possible, with the ultimate goal of making as much money as possible for as long as possible. Nothing wrong with any of that, but we shouldn’t get carried away with grand thoughts about “digital democracy” and the “triumph of popular culture.” — Blown to Bits [via Antony Lowenstein]

Why it’s dangerous to be a witch in a recession. Why did people murder suspected witches in Renaissance Europe? And why do they still do so today in sub-Saharan Africa? As someone whose main source of information about witch trials is Monty Python and the Holy grail, I was fascinated to learn that witch-burning has its own grim economics. — Slate

Stuck in Afghanistan? It seems an age since Donald “Stuff Happens” Rumsfeld declared, “A government has been put in place (in Afghanistan), and the Islamists are no more the law in Kabul. Of course, from time to time a hand grenade, a mortar explodes – but in New York and in San Francisco, victims also fall. As for me, I’m full of hope.” Oddly, back in the Eighties, I heard exactly the same from a Soviet general at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. — The Independent

Baby fur not very becoming. If you’re going to piss off animal activists PETA, may as well go the full hug, a la Giorgia Armani. PETA’s upset that Armani used fur in his fall collection after he told them he wouldn’t, according to the New York Post. And it’s not just a fur collar here and there — Armani designed floral-printed fur coats, fur-hemmed skirts, and fur-trimmed jackets. But the best part of his collection? Fur coats for babies. It might seem impractical to drape fur over a person who could spit up or drool at any moment, but let’s be real — they’re warm, and those plastic stroller bags are terribly unbecoming. — New York Magazine

Peter Fray

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