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Web Monitor

17:09 UK time, Monday, 9 November 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Today in Web Monitor: the story behind a presidential sing-along, failing to become nostalgic about noughties brands and snootiness towards airing clean laundry in public.

• Climate change activists have uncovered a particular snobbishness in the US - towards the washing line. Alexander Lee is executive director of Project Laundry List which aims to make air-drying and cold-water washing laundry more widely accepted. Lee explains in New Scientist what he thinks is behind the demise of the washing line:

"Yet clothes lines have become a rarity in the US, in part because draconian regulations make it impossible for many people to dry garments naturally. Around 60 million Americans live in homeowners' associations such as condominiums, retirement communities and mobile home parks. Most of these ban or severely restrict the clothes line.
Why? Clothes lines evoke a negative emotional reaction from many Americans, who view them as flags of poverty. Property owners often fear that a clothes line in their neighbourhood will lower the value of their house."

• Noughties Nostalgia is well underway and bloggers are sticking their oar in too. A list of brands that defined post-war Britain has inspired cultural historian Joe Moran to see if the noughties brands could evoke similar feelings. He thinks not:

"Activia single pots, Jamie Oliver, Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor, Kettle Chips, Innocent Smoothies, KFC Bargain Buckets, goatee beards, low-slung jeans, Ugg boots, peasant skirts, iTunes, Amazon, Boden clothes, beanie hats, Who Do You Think You Are, iPlayer, Twitter, wristbands, full-zip hoodies, Caffe Nero, farmers' markets, 3 for 2s at Waterstone's, Radio 2, Cath Kidston tents, VW Kombi camper vans, Nintendo Wii, Doctor Who, High School Musical, Festivals, carveries, Top Gear, Ant and Dec, misery memoirs...

No, it doesn't really work."


Johnny Cash• Johnny Cash may not be best remembered for supporting Native Americans. But in 1972 he sang to President Nixon "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" a protest song about a Native American marine who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. In Salon Antonino D'ambrosio looks back at why Cash was passionate about their cause:

"Raised in rural poverty on the margins of America, Cash empathized with outsiders like convicts, the poor and Native Americans. But his identification with Indians was especially deep - even delusional. During the depths of his early '60s drug abuse, he convinced himself, and told others, that he was Native American himself, with both Cherokee and Mohawk blood. (He would later recant this claim.)"

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