Bill Keller in The New York Times on combating piracy As other tech companies think increasingly corporate, Wikipedia has maintained "the public-service spirit of the wide-open Web." "So as I followed the latest battle in the great sectarian war over the governing of the Internet — the attempt to curtail online piracy — I was startled to see that Wikipedia's founder and philosopher, Jimmy Wales, who generally stays out of the political limelight, had assumed a higher profile as a combatant for the tech industry," writes Keller. He recounts the political fight over bills he says had the noble purpose of applying copyright laws to overseas pirate sites, but had muddled and overreaching applications. He argues that the tech world showed its political muscles, but now leaders like Wales must use them to support copyright law in a way that doesn't unneccessarily burden or punish non-law breakers. "[O]nline companies would be crazy to let piracy kill off the commerce that supplies quality material upon which even free sites like Wikipedia depend."
James Carroll in The Boston Globe on television and public debate On the surface, modern politics seems to prevent serious or complex weighing of issues. "The entertainment we choose provides a better window into our real anxieties than our public dialogue does, even - or maybe especially - when the stakes are high," writes Carroll. He focuses on three of the most popular PBS programs in the past few decades, and describes the way each of them spoke to a political movement. Ken Burns' The Civil War, he says, romanticized the conflict as we considered Desert Storm. Brideshead Revisited reckoned with "moral dislocation" post-Vietnam and prefigured a new acceptance for gay men in the AIDS crisis. Today, as the upper class in Downton Abbey struggles, probably futilely, to keep their legacy intact for future generations, they speak to a recessionary America concerned with the country it will leave its children. "The beginning of the solution to an apparently insoluble problem is to feel the pain of it, and Downton Abbey is helping us do that."