Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Around the World Wide Web 21

1. I was watching this video on You Tube and enjoying it enough, despite the poor sound quality, because it featured two heroes of my childhood, John Lennon and Chuck Berry, singing "Memphis, Tennessee," a nice example of Berry's songwriting genius. Then I heard this sound. It was like, like... someone taking a stick out of a duck's throat. Or someone passing gas on a plastic bean bag chair.

It was Yoko. Singing.

It angers me. John Lennon can marry who he wants, and he and his wife can do New Leftist PR stunts, and his wife can even break up the Beatles. That's all fine. But putting Yoko on stage with Chuck Berry -- that's just wrong. You don't insult a man like that.

2. Via Instapundit I came across this piece by John Leo on modern journalism.

If anyone ever starts a museum of horrible explanations, the one-liner by Newsweek's Evan Thomas about his magazine's dubious reporting on the Duke non-rape case — "The narrative was right but the facts were wrong" — is destined to become a popular exhibit, right up there with "we had to destroy the village to save it."

What Mr. Thomas seems to mean is that the newsroom view of the lacrosse players as privileged, sexist, and arrogant white male jocks was the correct angle on the story. It wasn't.

Leo gives many examples, not just the Duke lacrosse players story. The writers with this modern epistemology are so sure their world view is right despite contrary facts that, at their worst, they are willing to make up facts that fit their "narrative." When they don't make up facts, they commit routine bias by ignoring what doesn't fit and selecting to spotlight what fits their "narrative."

3. Literatrix insists, like the guy in that Monty Python movie, that she is not dead. But how does she know? How does she know she is not in hell being tricked by Satan into thinking she is alive? (Sorry, I just finished Robert Mayhew's Descartes's Meditations.)

4. Roger Simon mocks Tommy Thompson's failed presidential aspirations because Thompson insulted Jews, gays and Muslims. Insulting groups of people is generally not a good strategy for politicians who want as many votes as possible. The Jewish comment aside, however, I agree with his statements on gays on Muslims:

[Thompson] was asked: "If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?"

Thompson replied: "I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that businesspeople have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be."

Moderator: "So the answer is yes?"

Thompson: "Yes."

Thompson later blamed the need to go to the bathroom and a dead hearing aid battery for his answer. (Also, he was not wearing the tinfoil hat that he uses to block out gamma rays from Mars.)

Thompson had been a popular political figure in Wisconsin -- having been elected to an unprecedented four terms as governor -- and also was secretary of Health and Human Services.

So what does he do at Ames in what he knows will probably be his last national speech?

He insults Muslims.

"I went to Afghanistan, and women couldn't go out of their homes without a burqa," Thompson told the crowd. "Wouldn't that have been nice today in this temperature?"

As I write this column, the temperature in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, is 95 degrees, which is hotter than Ames was on Saturday when Thompson spoke. And, I guarantee you, women are walking around in burqas in the sun without being as addled as Thompson was without one in air conditioning.

I find nothing wrong with either answer. Employers should be able to fire whoever the hell they want to fire and burqas are ridiculous. I guess politicians can't tell truth anymore.

5. George Reisman on "The Housing Bubble and the Credit Crunch."

6. Hurricane Flossie brushes by Hawaii. I thought they were called typhoons in the Pacific, but I must be confused.

UPDATE: Deleted the gratuitous jab at women. I needn't blame the entire female sex for Yoko's strange effect on John Lennon's musical judgment.


Anonymous said...

The thing to understand about journalism, in a nutshell, is this: the journalism schools teach the false concept of "viewpoint-free" objectivity. Since anyone who thinks can realize in about five minute's work that there can be no such thing -- that this "ideal" is profoundly impractical -- they accept the other mission they are tiven, the practical one: to "make a difference". Don't be mere passive "reporters", but work to push change.

So, of course, the vast majority of journalists are slavishly left wing, and seek to "make a difference" by actively working for Leftist goals. Such is the fate of all the disciplines in this culture that depend too directly upon abstractions.

Anonymous said...


What it sounds like you're saying is that Journalism departments are teaching skepticism. Thus journalists uncritically accept Leftist propoganda which is saturated with altruis. But my question is what is the link between skepticism and altruism. I've always wondered why the skeptics who don't believe in anything believe so passionately that altruism is the moral ideal.

John Kim