An image can be spun in different ways by different interests.

I can imagine this image being used in the 1960's as part of the Black is Beautiful campaign. But in this case, it is part of a poster used in Thailand to sell donuts.

I've seen a number of articles posted about it on Twitter this week. All the ones I saw were written by the Western media. The CEO of the Thai company that produced the advertising campaign in the first place seemed mystified that there had been any objection to it. It was the parent company in the West that killed the campaign.

The media said, "The advert caused consternation on Friday morning, after Human Rights Watch said it would cause 'howls of outrage' if it ran in the US." Well, perhaps. But it didn't! It ran in Thailand. Get over it. In the eleven weeks I've spent in Thailand, I observed the Thai people to be very open to diversity of all kinds, much more than in my own country. They seemed open to people of all kinds and not because they had been taught to act that way from "diversity training." I don't think that would have been needed, they just like all people.

My guess is the Thai people who developed the campaign saw an image of a striking, attractive woman who might help them sell chocolate donuts. I can't imagine that they had racism in their hearts or at the back of their minds with the campaign. It's the color they wanted to position against their donut. In the West, blackface became associated with stereotyped caricatures of black people. Was it the case in Asia? Not that I know of.

Would it have been better to cover her face with whitening cream, products that are heavily promoted in Thailand? Would that be more acceptable? Would it sell more donuts? No, but that wouldn't be acceptable to the Western media either.

Thailand has its own unique culture, going back further than the one in America. They are rightfully proud of their culture and its traditions. I hope that can continue in the face of the Westernization of thought that the Internet could bring its way, along with commerce from the West. I cringe every time I see a KFC or McDonald's store in a mall there. Do we really need to bring this into their country?? Ummm, not to mention donuts!


Rick Moran at PJ Tatler published an article today arguing, as I did, that this advertising campaign had no racist intent at all. He also makes the interesting point that the image was intended to look like a charcoal drawing (not blackface) to position it against their product, a charcoal donut. I'm pleased to find someone else who didn't just accept the misguided complaint from Human Rights Watch, which he says was just an attempt on their part to garner some free publicity. And I really like his position that the intent in communications actually does matter!

08/31/13; 04:15:10 PM

Unlike in the "Land of the Free," the Thai government isn't trying to do this secretly. "The Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) recently announced that it plans to 'monitor' conversations on LINE as well as other social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp to remove 'threats' to the national security."

The same reason is given as in the US, national security, but with no prevarication about what they intend to do.

When I was there in June, the Line was a hot new messaging system that Paula's friends were using. Her phone didn't have the app, but others with newer phones were excited about it. We looked at some new phones and she only wanted one that included the Line.


And now the commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division has said that they already monitor the Internet for "messages with words that pose threats to national security, such as coup, monarchy, lese majeste, drugs, counterfeit goods and prostitution.”

08/18/13; 11:32:55 PM

I've added a lot of links to my public outline, pointing to some of my favorite music, as well as to my writings about Bob Dylan, and my Thailand blog. It is becoming very useful to me, if no one else, as a central place for finding much of my stuff that is scattered all over the Internet.

I have a lot more to add, but I decided to try the Presentation feature in Fargo to walk new visitors through a tour of my site. It was fun and easy to build. I fancied it up some by figuring out how to include some links and with a picture at the end. And I figured out where to put it in the outline, to have it show up as a Start Here page.

So my public outline is progressing nicely and developing into something that is both useful and independent of the usual social networks where much of my writing has been posted.


08/17/13; 07:52:49 PM

Today I began to use the Fargo outliner to create an annotated Table of Contents for my blog about Thailand. I'm no longer struggling with how to get my Fargo website to look the way I want. Now it's just a matter of stuffing it with the content I want it to organize. It's actually very simple and is making it really easy for me to organize links to what I have written over many years, that is scattered all over the Internet. Before long, anyone (including myself) will be able to come to to discover what I've written and posted to Usenet, my own website, my blogs, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, You Tube, and other places since the early 90's. It won't be thoroughly indexed and cross referenced the way Google or the NSA might organize it, but it will be straight forward and easy to use.


08/12/13; 05:56:38 PM

GGG [Fix this by looking up a backup. Dylan quote.]


08/10/13; 10:45:32 PM

Tonight I succeeded in figuring out how to force a link to open in a new tab in the browser, rather than in the same tab. I had previously asked how to do this at the smallpicture-web support site and in the comments to some Fargo River postings. But no one had revealed the secret to me. I'm no programmer, just a Fargo user. Perhaps the answer was too obvious to those who are programmers, so no one bothered to answer.

No problem. I finally figured out how to do it on my own! I decided to try just using the standard html for a link with a target attribute of target="_blank". I didn't use the suitcase to enter the link and target attribute. I just plopped it onto a line, indented under a header line.

I found out how to do that at the website, on its page about HTML Links, section titled HTML Links - The target Attribute. I literally just copied the example they gave and plopped it into my outline, saved it, reloaded my webpage, clicked on the link that appeared and it opened up their website in a new tab. I'll do it right here so you can see:

Visit W3Schools!

See, that works, opening their website in a new tab. So I now had the format that works! Then I adjusted it with some links to my own content, but still using that same target attribute of target="_blank". They worked too.

The page that told me how to do it is here:

HTML Links

So finally I am on my way. I can start populating my Fargo website with links to my writings, but with links that open in a new browser tab. The first two I put in are at the bottom of the Bob Dylan section of the Writing menu; one about a Dylan mural and the other about a review of his Tempest album, both of which were originally posted to Facebook.

Maybe that's not how you're 'sposed to do it in Fargo. But it works. So I posted it here, in case there are other Fargo users who are as clueless as I was.


08/08/13; 10:18:23 PM

I succeeded in adding a link to my Excel file in dropbox that gives the breakdown of the 50 setlists in the just completed Bob Dylan US tour; 32 different songs, arranged in 18 different set list variations, chronological order from left to right, most current on the left. It resides in the Bob Dylan section under the Music menu at the top. Click the link and download the file.

Or here it is now.

I also posted my comments about the Shoreline concert last night, the last concert on the tour. I link to that in the Bob Dylan section of the Writing menu, but also shown here, next.

That article is on Facebook, in the EDLIS Café.


08/05/13; 07:37:09 PM

Today Andy DeSoto helped me a lot by revealing how to get a picture to appear in my Fargo outline. As a result, I now have my picture on the About page. It's one that Paula snapped in the truck one day, as we were stopping along the way to get pictures of the birds of Chianat, Thailand. Between birds she took three seconds to snap one of me and it turned out very nice. The thing I like about it is that a stranger could look at it and imagine a huge pile of curly hair on top of my head.

Inspired by that, I then added a number of links to the Music menu, including videos of performances by Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, and others. In the Writing menu, I added a number of pieces I've written about Bob Dylan's music, including the one that was published in book form in 2011.

These links all open in the same browser tab. In the browser, one can ask for any of them to be opened in a new tab (right click and select), but I would prefer the default to be to have the links automatically open in a new tab. But I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

There's a lot more to be done, but this is good progress for now.


07/24/13; 10:39:44 AM

My next baby step with Fargo, accomplished today, was to get a preliminary About page working, largely by copying much of what dave2 did in his Fargo outline. The key was to set the attributes for the About item, as described by dave2 in his blog posting of 7/12/2013, [type = outline, name = About, flDisqusComments = false]. I was unable to get a picture embedded on the page, as dave2 was able to do. For now I just have a link to an image on dropbox and will have to look into how to get the image properly embedded on the page.

I have default listed as an item directly under #menus. This may be a mistake, as a Dave Winer comment in his blog posting (of 7/12/2013; 8:37:02 AM) suggests that this might limit me to only one menu. I want many menus in many vertical tabs, so I will need to sort out what I should be doing, instead of default.

Once I figure out how to get menus working under other vertical tabs, then I will begin filling up the outline with a lot of content, bringing together links to things I have written and posted on websites scattered all over the Internet. The hope is to be able to make this the central repository of the best content I have contributed to the Internet, which is now scattered in many places; four of my own blogs, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and others. This will be a convenience to me, giving me one place to look for content that I value the most, and perhaps there will be others who find some of this content of interest or use.


07/14/13; 10:26:28 AM

Click on the big Plus button on the left, then type text next to the page icon that comes up and that is the title, in orange. It will be date stamped after the horizontal line at the bottom of the blog posting.

Then hit enter, then tab, and type the text of the article to the right of the right pointing carat. Note that the icon on the left has changed from a page icon to the carat for these lines in the body of the text in the blog posting.

Hit enter for each new paragraph in the body of the blog posting. And it must be the Enter key on the main part of the keyboard to get a new paragraph. The Enter key on the numeric keypad doesn't give you a new paragraph. Instead it highlights that full line in black. A blank line next to the carat will produce a blank line in the output, which will produce a slightly bigger space between paragraphs, than what you get by just starting a new line of text with the next carat.

See how the space just above here is more than the space between the first three paragraphs? That's because a blank line was added in Fargo to make the space bigger. The time stamp remains the time of when the title was posted, as you add more lines to the text. And the lines will automatically wrap if you just keep typing away on the same line.

If you click on the Eye icon on the left side, you will get a view of your article in a new tab. But there is a way to make this just be a look at a draft and not a completed posting, until you click on Toggle Comment in the Outliner menu. To make it work that way, go to the Settings in the menu on the right side, and select the Insert tab. Then check the box next to the line that says "Newly inserted items are comments" and click on OK. With this configuration, you start in draft mode and clicking on Toggle Comment is like clicking on Publish, which you do only after you're totally happy with what you've written and want to send it out onto the River. At least that's how I understand Dave's posting of 7/12/2013; 9:49:32 AM.

So we now have the capability of writing and posting a blog entry. But now we need to figure out how to post static pages, like Andy DeSoto has on his Fargo outline, such as his Curriculum Vitae and other entries in the other vertical columns of his rendered outline. No such luck with that, so far.

Commentary. . . Fargo is certainly a flexible and powerful tool. I was gonna say neat and then cool, but I thought those words might make me sound too much like someone from ages past. As it stands now, I think the tool is likely to be used more successfully by those who are clever and willing to play with it to get it to produce the sort of output they want. So those with a lot of experience with techie activities, such as Andy DeSoto, are generating impressive looking results. Whereas those who are more newbies, like myself, will have to take baby steps and be satisfied with more ordinary results at first. And then there are those who can't even get those kind of results. I suppose they will go back to far less powerful tools, such as Facebook.


07/13/13; 02:59:33 PM

Last built: Wed, May 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM

By Ron Chester, Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM.