All entries by this author

Our Banner: No Consensus for Loonies

Sep 5th, 2003 5:15 pm | By

Here’s an item for all you students of artful rhetoric: an article about pagans, Wiccans and other ‘alternative’ groups and the use they make of Stonehenge and similar sites. Pure wool from beginning to end – enough wool there to make jumpers for the entire Butterflies and Wheels staff.

Spiritual site-users, specifically Pagans and Travellers, have traditionally been negatively represented by the media…However, this report outlines the growing need for recognition of the rights of Pagans, who come from all walks of life…Pagan and other spiritual site-users believe that the spirits and energies of the land can be most strongly felt at sacred sites enabling connections to be made with our ancestors.

Yes, and? So what? What if I believe … Read the rest

Calls to Make Hard Choices *

Sep 5th, 2003 | Filed by

They may be a mask for strategies no one wishes to acknowledge.… Read the rest

How Embarrassing *

Sep 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Archaeologist’s worst nightmare – that 2000-year-old carving was done by one Barry Luxton in 1995… Read the rest

The Myth of Repressed Memory *

Sep 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Wendy Grossman interviews Elizabeth Loftus.… Read the rest

Psychology and Psychiatry

Sep 4th, 2003 9:29 pm | By

We had a discussion/disagreement recently about the validity or otherwise of psychiatric diagnoses or labels, designer drugs, and the DSM [see Comments on the N&C ‘Opinion’ on 26 August if you’re interested]. I was browsing my disorderly collection of printed-out articles this morning and so re-read this article by Carol Tavris that I posted in News last March. What she says is highly pertinent to the discussion/disagreement. In fact, it raises a whole set of questions that are very much B and W territory: what is science and what isn’t, what is pseudoscience, what kind of evidence is reliable and what isn’t and why, what kind of harm can be done by taking shaky evidence as more reliable than it … Read the rest


Sep 4th, 2003 8:23 pm | By

Erin O’Connor says some very interesting things in this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. They’re things I’ve been thinking for some time myself.

But almost everyone agrees with the astounding premise that it’s reasonable to use the freshman reading program to stage a political debate…On both sides of the debate, a book’s politics are assumed to matter more than its scholarly merit or literary quality…The tacit assumption by both liberals and conservatives that Chapel Hill’s summer reading program is more about politics than about reading should give us pause. We ought to be asking what it means to read opinionated works as either a confirmation or negation of identity — but instead we are fighting endlessly about whose

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Erin O’Connor on Creeping Illiteracy *

Sep 4th, 2003 | Filed by

‘There is no book worth reading that is not somehow partial to something.’… Read the rest

Ishtiaq Ahmed on Human Rights *

Sep 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Does the adoption of the human rights programme means Westernisation?… Read the rest

Donald Davidson *

Sep 4th, 2003 | Filed by

The New York Times obituary.… Read the rest

Bad Behaviour in Secondary Schools *

Sep 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Occasional violence and routine swearing and rudeness – is it any wonder teachers don’t stay?… Read the rest

People Make Daft Mistakes *

Sep 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

Rational choice theory versus behaviouralists, prospect theory, the endowment effect; economics is not a placid field.… Read the rest


Sep 2nd, 2003 11:22 pm | By

I knew I was right to like ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’! [see N&C August 27 if you care] Drone about stereotypes all you like, but hey, if it pisses off Brent Bozell, it’s right up there with Euripides and Chekhov, as far as I’m concerned.

“I want to vomit,” L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, which monitors TV content, wrote of Bravo’s smash “Queer Eye” in his weekly column last month. “Ever seen a show more dedicated to a ‘straight-bashing’ proposition? … Try this idea for a show and tell me how many seconds it would last in a Hollywood pitch session: ‘A team of five fabulous straight guys teach a masculinity-deprived gay man how

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High what? What brow?

Sep 2nd, 2003 10:55 pm | By

Perhaps this is cruel, or petty, but I think it needs saying. Rather often, actually, because we have here one of those incomprehensibly inflated reputations that the world is better off for deflating.

If NPR is the Promised Land of high-brow book publicity, what do you call an author who snags not one shot at public radio’s upscale, book-loving audience, but a recurring gig to talk about a book that he hasn’t even written yet?

Listen, if NPR is the Promised Land of highbrow anything at all, what to call some author is the least of our problems. (Not to mention the slight oxymoron of ‘highbrow’ [what an obnoxious word] publicity, but never mind that.) NPR (the US’s National Public … Read the rest

Broad Brush

Sep 2nd, 2003 7:39 pm | By

Well, clearly we at B and W take it as our self-appointed mission to say, with varying degrees of mockery and rudeness, when we think our fellow leftists are being silly, but there is a limit. Which is to say we try to do it with a certain amount of precision and accuracy – in fact accuracy broadly construed is the whole point of the enterprise: when ideology or political commitment is in conflict with the truth, it ought not to be the truth that gives way. That applies all around, not just to them there pesky leftist intellectuals. All of which is to say there is a very sloppy article in Prospect that doesn’t worry enough about precision and … Read the rest

Gossip, Gossip, Everywhere *

Sep 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Rather dykey, probably a spy, greasy kitchen, filthy loo – Wilson does Murdoch.… Read the rest

Donald Davidson *

Sep 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

While awaiting real obituaries.… Read the rest

Where Malaria is Treated by Yelling *

Sep 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Religion is mental illness and in Afghanistan the symptoms are florid.… Read the rest

Rupert Murdoch, Post-Modernist *

Sep 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Fox News loves to tease the left: ‘fair and balanced, hahahaha!’… Read the rest

Michael Ruse on Creationism *

Sep 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

‘Scientifically Creationism is worthless, philosophically it is confused, and theologically it is blinkered beyond repair.’… Read the rest

Newton Rules *

Sep 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos theory have not made Newton passé. … Read the rest