Andrew Sullivan can really shine, like here.
I’ll admit that I had a strong and immediate reaction to the video clip of the students from Kentucky seemingly confronting and belittling a Native American elder. I was bullied quite viciously by an older brother (when I was seven he was already an adult, so there was a severe power imbalance) when I was growing up and so I have strong reactions to the sight of someone bullying or picking on another. I know the cruelty of that kind of madness.
In this case, though, it appears all might not have been as assumed at first glance. These two stories are from sane sources – first from Reason, the second from The Spectator — and worth a look. I left Twitter a while back and this was one reason – the online mob is just painful to behold. Even if these boys were as nasty as initially suggested, I don’t think their lives should be ruined. This could be a teachable moment for them – they are very young, and I believe most of us can learn.
Update: another good analysis.
Those awful murders, at Charlie Hebdo and at the Hyper Cacher, happened four years ago yesterday. I repost this piece of mine, which I think if one of my better efforts, and this very important analysis from Spiked Online (a website you should be checking on a regular basis).
From the Spiked article:
Free speech is the right to express one’s ideas without fear of retribution, even if others disagree with you – even if they are repulsed. This right leaves people free to dissent and free to persuade others of their ideas. No political, religious or ideological viewpoint should be allowed a special exception from challenge, criticism or ridicule.
But once the moment of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ faded, prominent voices effectively began to blame Charlie Hebdo for the attack.
When PEN America, a writers’ organisation, decided to give its Free Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo, more than 200 well-known writers protested.
I mentioned yesterday how much I miss my brother (scroll down) – well, all the more so when it comes to these issues. Not a chance in heck he would have been blaming the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editorialists for their own slaughter.
I’ve long been a fan of the Australian critic and writer Clive James and was extremely saddened to learn that he is ill. But here’s an uplifting conversation — of sorts — between James and Mary Beard (another writer and critic I admire).
There is much negative online reaction to this Ross Douthat piece. I can only assume that this is because the people raving and ranting have not read it. I know from personal experience that too often people only read the headlines. It’s a very good analysis and I recommend that you, my dear readers, actually read the whole thing.
That variety of anti-Semitism — which many in the media ignore — is deadly and dangerous, and it is the kind to which certain relatives of mine subscribe, sadly. I had a “discussion” (those don’t really happen in my family) with someone to whom I am related about these ladies in July – she insisted that no, no, no, these anti-Semites would never be elected. Yeah, well, they have been.
…at the Wall Street Journal. Enjoy – if you can get past the subscriber wall.
‘Tis true, what it says in Ecclesiastes. Fittingly then, I am going to re-post here a couple of articles I wrote a few years back, both related to current events: in honour of the World Cup, I give you my essay about attending a Serie A match in Italy in 2013 (though ’twas published in 2014); and not in honour but given that the Calgary Stampede has just started up, I give you this piece from three years back.
Dear readers, I am back from a wonderful trip to Ireland, about which I will be writing here (and in other places) anon. I wanted to start with a picture of myself taken on Whiddy Island, Ireland. I rarely post — and even more rarely appreciate — pictures of myself. But I truly like this photo, because I think it sums me up in a frame. I will write more about this photo later, and in particular this cat, but for now I would just like to thank my colleague Hermann Low for taking and sending it. Danke.