24 February 2004

Contextuality morality

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It’s become quasi-liturgical in its ritual predictability. A Catholic college announces it will stage Eve Ensler’s V Monologues. Outraged alumni write Father President demanding action. Father President replies with the standard two paragraphs of clichés on the need to raise consciousness about violence against women. And of course the inevitable media coverage blitz always works to the benefit of the anti-family crowd.

Well, I have a suggestion for bringing the “V Monologues” to a halt.

You get jock fraternities to put on the play, casting their “little sisters” as the performers. No changes necessary; keep the script intact. Schedule it maybe for Ground Hog’s Day, just to give faculty and admin hacks time after the Christmas break to read the posters and conjure up the mental picture of a roomful of Alpha Delts, all five or six tallboys to the good, wolf-whistling the actresses and hooting in sarcastic glee at the trash-talk.

Overnight, from being a bold and disturbing exploration of emerging values, the “V Monologues” will become a threat to women’s safety and an insult to feminists everywhere. Deans will give interviews against it. Chaplains will denounce it from the pulpit. The women’s studies department will organize candlelight vigils in protest. And don’t worry about the lubricious enjoyment given the frat boys, because there won’t be any enjoyment. Father President will hold a press conference announcing the cancellation, and threatening to suspend the fraternity that disobeys.

On the other hand, the Left now maintains that it only matters who says a thing and what other people think of it, not what was said or what it was intended to mean. So they’d at least be able to avoid the charge of inconsistency.

Posted by orbital at 5:24 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Another blast from the Kerry past

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[…] he [Senator John Kerry] covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.

The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago— shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee’s final report—when he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs.


The stated purpose of the special Senate committee—which convened in mid 1991 and concluded in January 1993—was to investigate the evidence about prisoners who were never returned and find out what happened to the missing men. Committee chair Kerry’s larger and different goal, though never stated publicly, emerged over time: He wanted to clear a path to normalization of relations with Hanoi. In any other context, that would have been an honorable goal. But getting at the truth of the unaccounted for P.O.W.’s and M.I.A.’s (Missing In Action) was the main obstacle to normalization—and therefore in conflict with his real intent and plan of action.

Kerry denied back then that he disguised his real goal, contending that he supported normalization only as a way to learn more about the missing men. But almost nothing has emerged about these prisoners since diplomatic and economic relations were restored in 1995, and thus it would appear—as most realists expected—that Kerry’s explanation was hollow.

This still leaves the question - why were normalized relations with the North Vietnamese regime so important to Kerry? Was it just part of rationalizing his siding with the North Vietnamese against his own country?

Posted by orbital at 5:15 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The needs of the story line come first at the NY Times


Who is George Meagher? He’s an independent! He’s a Republican! He’s the new Greg Packer, the indispensable, universal New York Times man-on-the-street source for this political season. (Why is he so useful? He’s newly anti- Bush!) … If only Meagher had lost his job to outsourcing, Elisabeth Rosenthal would never have to do another interview again! … See Instapundit, though the ‘wingers at Free Republic started it. … Update: A NYT correction treats the symptom, ignores the underlying disease.

From the NY Times point of view, it’s not a disease. The disease is getting caught at it, for which the cure is to get people to ignore the weblogs.

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