URLs du Jour

2022-02-07

  • Watching the Olympics?

    [Police State]

    Me neither. Although I've committed to watching if Mrs. Salad notices that Ice Dancing is on.

    I'm hoping she won't notice.


  • I'd say it's because college administrators are craven unprincipled hacks, but… For a slightly more civil take, use this allegedly free link to read John Hasnas's theory Why Colleges Don’t Care About Free Speech. His example is the denunciation of a (poorly-worded) tweet from Georgetown Law's Ilya Shapiro by the dean of Georgetown Law, William M. Treanor. Followed by placing Shapiro on "academic leave".

    Hasnas notes that Treanor's comments and actions were in violation of Georgetown U's explicit free-speech policy. So?

    Regardless of Mr. Treanor’s political views, he has every reason to do this. University administrators get no reward for upholding abstract principles. Their incentive is to quell on-campus outrage and bad press as quickly as possible. Success is widely praised, but there is no punishment for failing to uphold the university’s commitment to free speech.

    The solution is to create an incentive for schools to protect open inquiry—the fear of lawsuits. First, universities should add a “safe harbor” provision to their speech policies stating: “The university will summarily dismiss any allegation that an individual or group has violated a university policy if the allegation is based solely on the individual’s or group’s expression of religious, philosophical, literary, artistic, political, or scientific viewpoints.” This language would be contractually binding. Second, free-speech advocates should organize pro bono legal groups to sue schools that violate the safe-harbor provision. This would make it affordable for suppressed parties to bring suits over the violation of their contractual rights.

    That's a pretty good idea. Cynical me says it's so good that it probably won't happen.


  • Can our nation censor its way back to cultural health? David French has an answer: Our Nation Cannot Censor Its Way Back to Cultural Health. His essay is long, but very good. And here's a long excerpt:

    I have never in my adult life seen anything like the censorship fever that is breaking out across America. In both law and culture, we are witnessing an astonishing display of contempt for the First Amendment, for basic principles of pluralism, and for simple tolerance of opposing points of view. 

    At this point the cancel culture stories are so common it’s hard to know where to start. In the last several days we’ve seen concerted efforts to fire The View host Whoopi Goldberg for ignorant comments about the Holocaust and Georgetown law school lecturer Ilya Shapiro for a poorly worded tweet arguing for a race-blind Supreme Court nomination. Both Goldberg and Shapiro apologized, but they’ve both been suspended.

    Yet the worst examples of cancel culture don’t apply to famous or prominent people at all. The most haunting piece I’ve read about rising American intolerance was penned by my friend Yascha Mounk in The Atlantic. Called “Stop Firing the Innocent,” it details the ordeals of ordinary people who become involuntarily notorious. At this point cancel culture is so plainly, obviously real, that I’ll just re-quote progressive writer Kevin Drum:

    And for God’s sake, please don’t insult my intelligence by pretending that wokeness and cancel culture are all just figments of the conservative imagination. Sure, they overreact to this stuff, but it really exists, it really is a liberal invention, and it really does make even moderate conservatives feel like their entire lives are being held up to a spotlight and found wanting.

    At the same time that the evidence of far-left intolerance is overwhelming, a few of us have been on a very lonely corner of conservatism, jumping up and down and yelling about the new right, “Censorship is coming! Censorship is coming!”

    And we were correct.

    My only gripe with French's title: back to cultural health? When was that golden era, exactly?


  • I'm pullin' for Palin. And so is Kevin D. Williamson, with respect to Sarah Palin v. the New York Times. (NRPlus)

    After the 2008 election and “The Masked Singer” and all the rest of it — finally, here is a contest Sarah Palin deserves to win.

    The former Alaska governor, vice-presidential candidate, and reality-television clown has sued the New York Times for libel, and she deserves to prevail. The Times editorial page libeled her, straight up, and the court should find in her favor.

    It does not matter what you think of Palin, or what you think of the New York Times. I have had plenty of occasion to criticize both of them over the years and a few opportunities to praise each of them, too. Palin vs. the New York Times is perfect culture-war fodder, but this isn’t a culture-war question. This is first a legal question, one in which Palin has the better case, and then a broader question of how our news media go about their business — and here the New York Times has offered a master class in what not to do.

    At issue is a Times editorial in which the paper blamed the Palin campaign’s political rhetoric for the shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. “The link to political incitement was clear,” the Times claimed. This claim was false — a fact conceded even by the Times itself. In truth, there was no link between the Palin campaign’s advertising and the Giffords shooting, much less a clear one. Even if we were to concede that Palin’s advertisements constituted incitement — which they most certainly did not, being utterly ordinary political material — nobody has shown any link between that material and the shooting.

    Sigh. Now I have to comb through 17 years of posts, looking for libelous statements.


  • Pun Salad, on the other hand, promotes Magic 8-Ball. Jerry Coyne listens to Commie National Public Radio, and is kind of put out: NPR promotes tarot.

    It seems that many venues of the “mainstream liberal media”, like National Public Radio (NPR) and the New York Times, are devoting more space to woo: dowsing, tarot, talking to the dead, astrology, and so on. Now the MSLM has become a bit savvier about this nonsense. It often claims, as in the NPR “Life Kit” article below, that these things don’t really work through magical methods, but they help you get in tune with your feelings and become psychologically more astute. (Any person with more than a few neurons would ask an astrologer or tarot reader, “How come you’re not rich from forecasting the economy or stock market? And people are getting smarter about that.)

    Still NPR, in the article below, walks a fine line between psychology and magic. And if you need psychological support or help in making a decision, there are always friends (preferably women, who are less prescriptive and tend to listen more than do men), or, if you want to pay, there are therapists, who don’t profess any magical abilities.

    The NPR article: Tarot can't predict the future, but it can help you make that big decision.

    Professor Coyne calls this kind of stuff "woo", but I'm old enough where that just reminds me of Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee":

    We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee
    We don't take no trips on LSD;
    We don't burn no draft cards down on Main Street
    But, We love living right, and being free
    We don't make a party out of loving
    But we like holding hands and pitching woo;
    We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy
    Like the hippies out in San Francisco do

    Left as a comment on the post: "Next up on NPR: Researchers say scrutiny of podcasts is overdue."

    Yes, an actual NPR story contained those words. Based on the above, I'd suggest sending NPR folks copies of the Bible with Matthew 7:5 bookmarked and highlighted.


  • Can you stand one more Joe Rogan post? Well, here's one anyway. Ann Althouse looks at a Variety article discussing the decision by India Arie to yank her music from Spotify because Rogan used the n-word a bunch in the past. Ms. Arie objected to his "language around race". Ann:

    If we're going to take the "language around race" seriously and withdraw from group projects that include you with someone who's said something racially wrong, then where can you go? What can you do? And won't we also take the language around gender seriously? All of the machinery of pop culture will collapse.

    And she also points out:

    ALSO: If you search Spotify for the "n-word" (written out), you'll find lots of songs and spoken word. There are artists who use that word as part of their name and at least one who has that as his entire name. And I saw multiple profiles that had just that word as their name, including one whose profile picture is a photograph of a naked, erect penis.

    Yeesh. Well, thanks for letting us know about that, Ann.