Archive for March 2003

Aggressive Contempt for Popular Opinion *

Mar 31st, 2003 | Filed by

But what makes the journo think he has a right to look at the kitchen when he’s been refused permission? Which is the rude one here?… Read the rest



Complacent superiority

Mar 31st, 2003 | By

"When asked "How often do you have sex?" Horne replied, "Every
orgasm is a sacred offering to the universe." When asked if she believed
in life after death, she replied, "The energy that we are has to go somewhere."
A witch’s wisdom or wacky Wicca waffle? I’ll let you be the judge."
Julian Baggini, Bad Moves: The Is/Ought Gap, butterfliesandwheels.com

Who do we think we are, we guardians of good sense and rationality? In this
series, I claim to "detail the various ways in which arguments or points
are made badly, but often persuasively." Presumably, that must mean I think
my own arguments are made well. Is that confidence or arrogance?

Butterflies and Wheels itself risks hubris when it sets … Read the rest



Some Opinions

Mar 30th, 2003 10:15 pm | By

The war is in its 11th day, and it’s clear that the cheery expectation of a Blitzkrieg was ill-founded. Apparently shock and awe have succeeded only in turning Saddam Hussein from a hated tyrant to an admired resister of the invaders, a result fraught with horrible implications for the future, including the future of Tony Blair. It is a profoundly dispiriting thought that this war could well end up entrenching the ignorant callous provincial talentless Bush more firmly in power than ever while it undoes the vastly more worthwhile Blair. Jonathan Freedland comments here on Blair’s backbreaking efforts with the UN and Bush’s smug indifference to the whole matter. There is something intensely degrading about watching a person of Bush’s … Read the rest



What Does Porn Do?

Mar 30th, 2003 6:24 pm | By

Well, here’s an intriguing little item by way of a break from war news. The abundance and popularity of porn on the Internet, and what that may do to men’s attitudes to women, and how strangely little attention the subject gets.

For a political perspective you would have to search to the very margins of feminist debate. It is as if an entire generation of research into the emotional effects of porn has simply been forgotten, leaving us with porn galore and not the faintest idea what it does.

The most sinister aspect of the whole subject is how inextricably confused lust seems to be with hostility, at least in this kind of pornography. (And is there any other kind?) … Read the rest



Cultural Relativism

Mar 30th, 2003 | By

There are times when, do what we will, we are confronted with goals, values, moral preferences, that are in flat contradiction. We have to choose one and reject the other. Much as we would like to, we can’t blend or compromise or harmonise or take a little from this pot and a dab from that and come up with a nice mix. Doing one thing simply rules out doing the other and that’s all there is to it. Digital not analog, yes or no.

So for instance reasonable and desirable goals of tolerance, understanding, cosmopolitanism, and cultural relativism can clash with equally reasonable and desirable goals of preventing harm to others, criticising unjust laws and customs and traditions, exposing exploitation … Read the rest



Can a Pre-emptive War Be Ethical? *

Mar 30th, 2003 | Filed by

It can, says a BBC panelist familiar to our readers.… Read the rest



Mismatch? Growing? Gulf? *

Mar 30th, 2003 | Filed by

Carol Tavris asks a great many skeptical questions of a new book on the gulf between women and men, and whether the cure might be worse than the disease.… Read the rest



Scientific American on DU *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

In a careful account, SciAm concludes that DU is somewhat toxic but no more so than other kinds of ammunition.… Read the rest



Depleted Uranium *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

A January, 2003 report by the World Health Organization on the health effects of DU.… Read the rest



Gulf War Syndrome? *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

Elaine Showalter on an elusive disease or syndrome that generates a lot of scare headlines and not much evidence.… Read the rest



Pompously Fondling his Crucifix *

Mar 28th, 2003 | Filed by

The Bishop versus the Pythons. The Bish couldn’t be bothered to do his homework, and the Pythons were better-behaved.… Read the rest



Affirmative Action and the War *

Mar 27th, 2003 | Filed by

Yale Political Scientist Jim Sleeper on the complexities and contradictions of identity politics.… Read the rest



Hans Morgenthau on Killing Civilians *

Mar 27th, 2003 | Filed by

An excerpt from a book by the late scholar of international relations, on the history of the status of civilians in war.… Read the rest



Fear and Confusion *

Mar 27th, 2003 | Filed by

It is fear of the Fedayeen Saddam, not nationalism, that is keeping Iraqi civilians on the sidelines, says this reporter.… Read the rest



Eurosneering *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Cowboys on one side of the pond, castrated girly pacifists on the other.… Read the rest



Sauce for the Goose? *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Correspondents to the Guardian wonder how the US can appeal to the Geneva convention.… Read the rest



Analysis of Impunity Agreements *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Why would a country seek blanket immunity from the international criminal court? … Read the rest



The Awkward Squad Asks Sharper Questions *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

Staging, spin, starstruck questions from US journalists, rationed information. But then Chinese and Arab journalists may have their own blinders.… Read the rest



Blackburn contra Rorty *

Mar 26th, 2003 | Filed by

If Truth and Reason are over, what about the maps and timetables you used to get here to say so?… Read the rest



Sectarian Slaughter in Kashmir *

Mar 25th, 2003 | Filed by

The body-count is 24 in the latest chapter of Hindu-Muslim fight over Kashmir.… Read the rest