In this edition: the blogosphere comments on the discovery of a car bomb in Times Square, an illegal immigration law in Arizona sparks controversy online.
CAR BOMB IN TIMES SQUARE
Disaster has been avoided in New York. On Saturday night, the area of Times Square, at the heart of the city, was evacuated following the discovery of a suspected car bomb. It contained propane tanks, petrol and a timing device. Police officials have said the bomb quote “looked amateurish”.
And on a weekend evening, this area, that includes the district of Broadway, was very busy, notably with tourists and theatre goers. Many filmed or photographed the scene whilst police cordoned off the zone. These videos and photos were immediately posted online.
Others are wondering who the culprits are and what their motive could be. One rumor in particular in circulating through the blogosphere. It says the car bomb could be a message for Viacom, the company that brings us the animated series “South Park”, and whose headquarters are near to Time Square.
The rumor might seem bizarre, but is not totally without foundation. Last month, an US based Islamist group threatened the authors of South Park. The threats were made after an episode was broadcast depicting the prophet Muhammad in a bear suit.
A law adopted last Wednesday in the US state of Arizona has sparked controversy in the country. The declared aim of the law is to combat illegal immigration and the bill gives security forces the right to arrest anyone suspected of living illegally in the State. There has been much condemnation of this initiative on the web.
As these many online videos illustrate, several demonstrations were organized throughout the weekend all over the United States, to protest against the adoption of this law, deemed racist by some. During these rallies, you could hear angry citizens shouting slogans like “Boycott Arizona” or “Arizona, shame on you”
And despite the adoption of the law, online mobilisation to convince Arizona to change its mind has strengthened. The extremely active site “Alto Arizona” has posted, amongst other things, posters made by critics of the law. Web users are also invited to send a letter to president Obama asking him to suspend the application of this law as soon as possible.
Several well-known members of the Hispanic community that feels particularly targeted by this law, have also taken up the cause. The former leader of the group rage Against the Machine Zach de la Rocha, and also the Colombian singer Shakira have spoken out against this legislation that they feel is dangerous, and in their opinion, legitimizes racial profiling.
Finally, one web user has decided to create this fake video game to denounce the absurdity of the law and to imagine what will become of Arizona if the law remains in force. A world in which racial profiling is a given, and all immigrants are pretty much suspects.
The Chinese are finding virtual tombs appealing. On the site 1000soul.com, web users can create a cyber-tomb for just 10 Yuan, that’s one euro. It’s an economical way to perform the rituals without having to go anywhere. In fact, after having signed up, by choosing a region, entering your name, the name of the deceased and choosing the tombstone, there are several icons offering you numerous ritual possibilities, including waving incense sticks, lighting candles or leaving flowers.
Explore art, creation, identity through theatre. This is what this Venezuelan project aims to do, and the activities are recounted on a blog. The team works with youth in Caracas to encourage the use of art and promote the diversity of the Venezuelan population. Web users can follow their work via podcasts and a Facebook group.
On the now famous “Chatroulette” we can sometimes meet some surprising people. The author of this video is in fact an artist who paints web users he talks to on the said site very quickly with the help of drawing software. The result is pretty successful.