The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, June 27, 2017, Page 6A, Image 6

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Founded in 1873
DAVID F. PERO, Publisher & Editor
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
JEREMY FELDMAN, Circulation Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
Election meddling
isn’t a partisan
issue or problem
eports of Russian interference in an American election
should be concerning to everyone in this country, regard-
less of their political affiliation. A foreign government
meddling in our sovereignty and independence is not a partisan
And multiple nonpartisan U.S. intelligence agencies, as well
as intelligence agencies of some foreign allies, have reported that
Russia attempted to influence our democratic process during the
2016 presidential election.
It doesn’t matter who won the election. Outside interfer-
ence is an affront to our way of life. It undermines the belief that
Americans have in our institutions and our government.
Almost as scary as the fact that our country has been under
intense, sustained cyberattack is the fact our population has
become so polarized that some are willing to see their neighbors
as enemies, rather than a foreign power actively trying to manip-
ulate our country for their benefit.
This is something that should bring us together. In the face of
a real enemy, we should remember we’re all on the same team,
hoping to make our country as safe and prosperous as possible.
We should all want to know exactly what happened during the
run up to the 2016 election. We should all demand the truth so
we are better protected from interference in future elections.
Questioning and condemning a foreign country’s involvement
should not be conflated as an attack on our president. Unless an
investigation determines a member of Donald Trump’s campaign
colluded in the interference or that the president obstructed jus-
tice regarding the investigation into the matter, he should be pre-
sumed innocent. No evidence has yet been presented that either
There is ample evidence, however, that Russia attempted
to influence our election and undermine our democracy. That
should be concerning to everyone, including the president, both
political parties and every elected official.
During his testimony before Congress, former FBI Director
James Comey was clear he believes this will happen again and
again. Russia and other enemies will look for any means they
can to disrupt our nation’s free election process, and cyberattacks
are the most efficient way to do damage covertly.
Election interference is not a party-line issue. It is a threat
to all Americans. We should demand answers from our intelli-
gence agencies, and implore Congress to get to the bottom of
what happened and figure out how we can stop it from happen-
ing again.
Scholarships are a
show of confidence
in high-schoolers
dmittance to college and then financing that education
isn’t easy, especially in an era where college tuition and
room and board has steadily increased.
For any student or family, that affordability is a great chal-
lenge, and sometimes overwhelming, preventing them from con-
tinuing their education. That’s exactly why scholarships play such
an important role in the process of students moving from high
school to college.
In that regard, Astoria High School Scholarships Inc., plays an
extremely important part of our students’ future. Established in
1976, the fund holds a principal of about $7 million. At this year’s
honors night, 87 students received $240,500 in scholarships
from AHS Scholarships, which coupled with more than $70,000
from businesses, groups and individuals, the students received
more than $300,000 in aid for their coming college years. In all,
Astoria’s graduating class, the largest in the region, received more
than $1.3 million in scholarships from its annual honors night and
from financial aid from colleges and universities.
AHS Scholarships Inc., is a collection of more than 50 funds
that have been established by a variety of alumni and friends of
the school, and a dozen companies give scholarships annually.
Warrenton High School’s scholarship funds are also signif-
icant and the community provided more than $300,000 in aid
to its graduates, while Seaside High School students received
scholarships that totaled $147,000 to continue their education.
Knappa High School’s scholarship funds and college aid provided
$72,000 to its graduates.
No matter the amount to each, scholarships to deserving gradu-
ates show a vote of confidence in their future, and in ours as well.
At a time when we need an educated work force and citizenry,
those who give and award that aid are wisely investing in our col-
lective future.
How Twitter pornified politics
AP Photo/J. David Ake
President Donald Trump’s Twitter page with his tweets about not recording his conversations with for-
mer FBI Director James Comey on Thursday.
New York Times News Service
his is the column in which
I formally forswear Twitter
for good. I’ll keep my
Twitter handle,
and hopefully my
followers, but an
editorial assistant
will manage the
account from now
on. I’ll intercede
only to say nice
things about the writing I admire,
the people I like and the music I
Why now? Because, while
reading a cover story in New York
magazine, it occurred to me that
Twitter is the political pornography
of our time: revealing but distort-
ing, exciting but dulling, debasing
to its users, and, well, ejaculatory.
It’s bad for the soul and, as Donald
Trump proves daily, bad for the
The story, by Maureen
O’Connor, makes use of a decade’s
worth of big-data analytics from
the website Pornhub, which attracts
75 million visitors a day. The
result is what she calls “the Kinsey
Report of Our Time” — an unvar-
nished and unfiltered portrait of the
unchecked libido.
You want what you see
Since this is a family newspaper,
readers will have to learn the more
salacious details of O’Connor’s
article by consulting it for them-
selves. But one important point
stands out. “Pornography trains us
to redirect sexual desire as mimetic
desire,” she writes. “That is, the
sociological theory — and the mar-
keters’ dream — that humans learn
to want what they see.”
Steve Jobs expressed a similar
thought in 1998: “People don’t
know what they want until you
show it to them.” Technology
doesn’t merely service needs. It
also teaches wants. You never
thought you’d need an iPhone, but
you do. You didn’t know you were
into kinky massage videos, but you
are. We discover our innermost —
and bottom-most selves — only
when someone else opens the
basement door.
That is what Twitter has been
for our politics. Short-form writing
can be informative, aphoristic
and funny. Twitter is terrific when
tailored as a personalized wire
service and can be a useful way to
communicate with readers. And
where would our literary culture be
without @WtfRenaissance or @
But Twitter’s degrading uses
tend to overwhelm its elevating
one. If pornography is about the
naked, grunting body, Twitter is
about the naked, grunting brain. It’s
whatever pops out. And what pops
out is altogether too revealing.
Ugliness on Twitter
Another insight from
O’Connor’s article: “Porn has
always been a place for indulging
irrational, secret and socially unac-
ceptable desires — which makes it
a place where people feel free to let
their racial prejudices and fantasies
run wild, too.”
Twitter is no different. Bigotry
flourishes on Twitter, since it offers
the bigot the benefits of anonymity
along with instantaneous, uncen-
sored self-publication. It’s the place
where their political minds can be
as foul as they want to be — with-
out the expense or reputational risk
of showing their face at a Richard
Spencer rally.
Twitter doesn’t merely amplify
ugliness. It erases nuance, coarsens
thought, turns into a game of
“Telephone” in which original
meaning becomes hopelessly
garbled with every successive
retweet. It also facilitates a form of
self-righteous digital bullying and
moblike behavior that can wreck
people’s lives.
Ask Justine Sacco, a PR exec-
utive who in 2013 sent an ironic
tweet to her 170 followers just as
she was about to step on a flight
to Cape Town. “Going to Africa,”
she wrote. “Hope I don’t get AIDS.
Just kidding. I’m white!”
She emerged from the plane to
discover that what she had intended
as a mordant observation about
white privilege hadn’t been read
that way, and that in 11 short hours
she had become the poster racist in
a worldwide shaming campaign.
She lost her job. Twitter, as the
author Jon Ronson has noted, is the
21st century’s answer to the pillory.
That, too, is part of the por-
nography of Twitter: pleasurably
bearing witness to the mockery or
humiliation of others. Things we
would never say in person, acts we
would never perform, become safe
to indulge thanks to the prophy-
lactic of a digital interface. After I
took this job, one wag on Twitter
wrote that he hoped I’d be “Danny
Pearl-ed.” He must have found it
funny. My 11-year-old son didn’t.
No discussion of the evils of
Twitter would be complete without
trying to understand the 45th pres-
ident’s fondness for it. It should be
no surprise that he’s a keen user,
since it’s the reptilian medium for
the reptilian brain.
But it’s also ideally suited for
his style of crowd politics: unmed-
iated, blunt and burstlike. It’s how
he escapes the softening influence
of his advisers and speechwriters.
It’s how he maintains the aura of
charismatic authenticity that is the
prerequisite of populist politics. It’s
how he pretends to mingle with his
followers while increasing his dis-
tance from them. Juan Perón would
have loved Twitter.
Politics, like eros, can open the
way to the elevation of our souls.
Or it can do the opposite. Time for
people who care about politics and
souls to get off Twitter.
Letters should be exclusive to
The Daily Astorian.
Letters should be fewer than
350 words and must include the
writer’s name, address and phone
numbers. You will be contacted to
confirm authorship.
All letters are subject to editing
for space, grammar and, on occa-
sion, factual accuracy. Only two
letters per writer are printed each
Letters written in response to
other letter writers should address
the issue at hand and, rather than
mentioning the writer by name,
should refer to the headline and
date the letter was published.
Discourse should be civil and
people should be referred to in a
respectful manner.
Submissions may be sent in any
of these ways:
E-mail to editor@dailyasto-; online at www.dailyas-; delivered to the Asto-
rian offices at 949 Exchange St. and
1555 N. Roosevelt in Seaside or by
mail to Letters to the Editor, P.O.
Box 210, Astoria, OR 97103.