A not-so-brief history of violence

by Henry Farrell on October 27, 2010

Public health warning: much much more McArdle-blogging beneath the fold. But take heart – this may possibly be my last and most definitive statement on the topic. I certainly can’t imagine that I will want to write at length about this any more.

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If There was a March for Useful Incivilty, I’d Be Going

by Henry Farrell on October 27, 2010

More on McGarble later – Lemuel Pitkin and norbizness are hereby _strongly advised_ to avert their eyes from my next post. But in the meantime, I wanted to point to “Scott’s great column”:http://www.insidehighered.com/views/mclemee/mclemee311 today (which is quite apropos in any event).

bq. The Stewart-Colbert rally is bound to draw young people filled with unhappiness about how the world is going, and I’m not about to begrudge them the right to an interesting weekend. But the anti-ideological spirit of the event is a dead end. The attitude that it’s better to stay cool and amused than to risk making arguments or expressing too much ardor — this is not civility. It’s timidity.

bq. “Here we are now, entertain us” was a great lyric for a song. As a political slogan, it is decidedly wanting. If someone onstage wants to make Saturday’s rally meaningful, perhaps it would be worth quoting the old Wobbly humorist T-Bone Slim: “Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.”

Academic prestige has some social value

by John Q on October 27, 2010

Having written a series of hit pieces on people who perform the traditional journalistic function of revealing facts that those in power would like to keep secret, NYT “reporter” John Burns copped a hit in return from Glenn Greenwald, and then got some hostile emails. Water off a duck’s back, you might expect, except that

his email inbox has been full of denunciations from readers and a number of academics at top-tier schools such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT. Some, he said, used “language that I don’t think they would use at their own dinner table.”

So there you have it. “Reporters” who are happy to act as propagandists and stenographers for the Pentagon, can still be shocked by coarse language from academics at top-tier schools. Sad to say, uq.edu.au doesn’t pack quite the same punch, but it’s nice to know that academic prestige is still of some use. CT readers with appropriately prestigious affilations should take note.