Wandering Eye: Breaking up with Drake, Joe Flacco shows up at the GOP debate, and more

Farhad Manjoo's column in the New York Times discusses a recent ruling by a French court that Google—and any other search engines—are required to "de-link" information that European citizens want buried about themselves, under the continent's "right to be forgotten" law. If upheld, it could mean the end of your ability to easily find useful dirt about fraudsters, or criminal histories, bankruptcies, and scandals about, well anyone. Proponents of the law say that old information about them is not "relevant" and invades their privacy. Carrying around on one's back the sum total of one's publicized deeds and misdeeds is too heavy a burden, they say. But what is "character" but the sum of one's acts? In a "global economy," in which trade partners usually cannot know each others' reputations directly, how but a Google search—augmented by court records and other public documents—can the parties decide whether to trust each other? What about the public's right to know about someone independent of what their publicist or lawyer says? "When we're talking about a broadly scoped right to be forgotten that's about altering the historical record or making information that was lawfully public no longer accessible to people, I don't see a way to square that with a fundamental right to access to information," Emma Llansó, a free expression scholar at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a tech-focused think tank that is funded in part by corporations, including Google, told Manjoo. Privacy proponents say this is really just about removing bank account numbers and revenge porn. They note that Google already removes some content on the request of, say, copyright holders. Google's Larry Page says the problem boils down to the definition of "private." This is a tricky question (and one that news editors confront often). "Is an article about a British reality TV star about a private person, or is it about a public figure that you and I should be able to search for?" Manjoo writes. "That's hard to answer — but a French regulator may soon decide for you, regardless." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

As far as we're concerned, this stupid Drake vs. Meek Mill rap "beef" is really about class. A Canadian child star-turned-rapper using his pop success to take down a grassroots Philly street dude who made his way into the mainstream because the mainstream couldn't ignore his underground success any longer. It's one of the haves terrorizing one of the have-nots and winning because the industry will side with the more marketable have because he's more cuddly and does Sprite commercials. Though yes, Meek Mill totally turfed out with his response track. But even if he had lyrically slayed Drake, he wouldn't have won because the game isn't set-up for Meek Mill types to win anymore. Anyways, over at Pitchfork, Meaghan Garvey approaches Drake's general ickiness a little differently. In "I'm Breaking Up With Drake" she characterizes the way that Drake's obsequious sad-bro rap for a moment there, became increasingly compelling, even as he got more corny, while also diagnosing the way that he has "flipped from corny but ultimately harmless to legitimately toxic," as of late. Namely, that his rhetoric has tilted toward "underhanded misogyny" as he mocks Meek Mill for pretty much being in a good relationship with a strong, interesting woman, Nicki Minaj. "Never mind the delusional mental gymnastics required for a guy who built an empire off projections of sensitivity and simpering anecdotes refusing to let go of a single hook-up of the past decade to declare 'No woman ever had me star-struck,'" Garvey writes. See, Garvey's a Drake fan (full disclosure: I contributed to a Drake tribute zine she put together a couple years ago) so her critiques are stronger than most, and they go big picture too. The piece is, ultimately, a rumination on millennial making-yourself moves, personal growth (or lack thereof), and growing up, and, well, Jesus Christ it ends like this: "[Drake's rhetoric is] about the banal sociopathy of late capitalism, brand over soul, [he's] a charming huckster playing an infinite shell game. It's the triumph of content creation, analytics over everything, the numb acceptance of Sprite as our House of Medici. It's about lying to yourself and the world for so long that you actually start to believe it. Maybe Drake is the ultimate millennial rapper. Look what we've done." (Brandon Soderberg)

 

So much shit happened at last night's Republican primary debate. Donald Trump did Donald Trump things. Chris Christie and Rand Paul argued about hugs (and the Fourth Amendment). Jeb Bush sold out his brother. But did you see who crashed? It was none other than Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Well, not literally. Football blogger PFTCommenter stood outside the set of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" holding a sign that read "Is Joe Flacco a Elite Quarterback?" Anybody who has spent any amount of time watching the inanity of sports commentary shows or listening to talk radio knows the question has dogged Flacco, to the point of it becoming a meme because the idea that such a thing can be quantified is so absurd. Maybe the candidates can weigh in on Flacco's eliteness at the next debate. (Brandon Weigel)

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