Political Briefs
Mali Journal

Interesting Point Raised by Celebrity Death

Harrison Klein responded to my reflections on a death last week:
I was interested in your comment about Peter Bergman's death, "Is this the world we live in, where news of your departure appears first, not on your own web page...?" I don't know about Peter Bergman, but I think both you and I maintain our own web pages, so I'm quite confident that those pages will never report our own deaths, unless somebody else takes the initiative to find the login credentials and figures out how to modify the content, which might take months in my case.

His point is well taken. I meant for the important part of that sentence to be the part that followed: "or on a newspaper or radio news site (or for that matter, in a newspaper or on radio)." In other words, it is scary to me that an unmediated, frequently hacked, often inaccurate medium (Wikipedia) becomes the (accurate) first place to deliver news, rather than a traditional, competitive, mediated first source  of news--or the horse's mouth, which would be your own web page In a traditional context, an announcement on your web page is the equivalent of . On the other hand, as I reconsider the post, if my theory is correct and a friend posted the change to Wikipedia, it is highly likely the person had no access to Peter's site, and that people who did have access had bigger things on their mind than updating the site.

But as for the "might take months" part, my situation would be different. First, I have a "blog buddy" whom I trust completely, who has my ID and password. More important is another preparation I have made that I highly recommend to all tech-literate persons. There is a loose-leaf binder in my office, entitled "Stuff Only Dad Knows." My wife and both my daughters know where it is. It contains every ID and password, every account number, every recurring bill, every advisor's name and contact information, how to get my email, the features of the house that are not obvious but might make it more valuable when it is sold, the company that services the hot tub, advice on getting my PC unpackes, and so on. I maintain the book meticulously. Every time I do something that I think a) might have to be done again/regularly or b) would be non-obvious (no one is going to call or write asking it to be done), I write it down. There's a lot of stuff I know that no one else knows. If something happened to me, I'd want my family to be able to assist me (or mourn me, as the case may be), without the distraction of trying to figure out how the hell to keep the place running. I recommend this practice to others, and now, to you.