June 23rd, 2004

hermione by oatmilk

"You look familiar. Have I threatened you before?"

“Look, Madam,” we might begin, “at the newspapers on your table. Why, may we ask do you tale in three dailies, and three weeklies?” “Because,” she replies, “I am interested in politics, and wish to know the facts.” “An admirable desire, Madam. But why three? Do they differ then about facts, and if so, why?” To which she replies, with some irony, “You call yourself an educated man’s daughter, and yet pretend not to know the facts–roughly that each paper is financed by aboard; that each board has a policy; that each board employs writers to expound that policy, and if the writers do not agree with that policy, the writers, as you may remember after a moments reflection, find themselves unemployed in the street. Therefore if you want to know any facts about politics you must read at least three different papers, compare at least three different versions of the same fact, and come in the end to your own conclusion. Hence the three daily papers on my table. [...] Compare the views, make allowances for the distortions, and then judge for yourself. That is the only way. Hence the many newspapers on my table.”
-Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (Chapter 3)
I was pleased to see that the Winter 2003-04 Smith Alumnae Quarterly focused on international issues; it’s crucial for Americans to learn more about the rest of the world and how we are perceived. However, I was dismayed that the “Faculty Perspectives on America’s Place in the World” were all extremely liberal viewpoints. Where’s the diversity of opinions, which Smith supposedly cherishes?
     Professor Bukovansky’s essay characterizes the United States as acting unilaterally (not true), and makes no mention of the inability of the U.N. to deal with dictators who oppress and torture their people, or to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms to rogue states. Professor Fantasia declares that the United States has “the most brutal and unforgiving socioeconomic order.” Compared to whom exactly? What an absurd statement! Professor White relays the media coverage in Spain during the Iraq war yet never wonders if the Spanish media might be equally slanted as American coverage. The entire tone of that section was quite damning of the United States, with no alternative options offered.
     Aren’t colleges supposed to help students learn to think critically and independently? Couldn’t the Quarterly find one professor at Smith to offer an alternative (conservative) view of international affairs? There are, in fact, many people in the Middle East who praise our intervention in Iraq.
     The Quarterly simply did not provide a well-rounded view on this topic, but instead was a forum for typical leftist ideology. If that reflects the nature of discourse in Smith’s classrooms, then Smith students are being shortchanged.

Mary Beth Hayes ‘80
Chelmsford, Massachusetts

[from Smith Alumnae Quarterly, Summer 2004]
The Weekly Standard talks about "punitive liberalism." My father writes:
There are a lot of things wrong with this article but I think the idea of "punitive liberalism" gets at a real truth about a lot of people (one of the things wrong is the idea that Ronald Reagan defeated "punitive liberalism." On the contrary, it is alive and well, a minority in the country as a whole but a majority in high-powered universities, well represented in non-profits and the major media.).
Slate slams Michael Moore’s latest film in an article worth reading.
tell me a story [lizzieb]

Wow, i think i spent a whole day plus away away from LiveJournal.

Saw Len Warner at the library Monday night. He called me Barbara (my mother’s name; an understandable mistake) and we chatted for a while. I wanted to say, “I see your church is becoming an Open and Affirming church,” to express my pleasure in that fact, but there was never an opening.

Had my first Teen Voices training on Tuesday. Ellyn and i talked a little about how Teen Voices used to review zines during that time when lots of the mainstream media were talking about them. She said i could do some sort of zine project this summer. Woohoo.

Stopped by the library on my way home. Said hi to Beth and met one of the volunteers, Denise, who’s a Smithie, class of ‘87(?). She lived in Lamont her first and senior year, because clearly the world is just that small. We talked for probably at least an hour -- well after Beth had gone home for the day. She said maybe we’d have lunch sometime, since Beth keeps talking about wanting to take her out for lunch. That would be lovely. She also kept talking about wanting to go back and visit Smith (she hasn’t been back since she got married in the Alumnae House, June 23, 2001) and Beth keeps saying she and Margot are gonna come out, so maybe i’ll get yay visity people next year.

When i was complaining to sexonastick about Mulholland Drive, she asked if i’d seen any movies i liked recently. After this afternoon i can point to Pirates of the Caribbean. I liked that quite a lot actually. Yes, lilithchilde, you can feel vindicated now. This marks what, the third time our tastes have ever meshed? ;)

hedy, MLN does have Wicked.

rollinson, Tim Riley of Slate talks about Christopher Ricks on Bob Dylan.
hermione by oatmilk

assorted links

More criticism of the BBC.

From Can Clinton help us love Kerry?:
[Ronald Reagan's funeral was last week and Clinton is pushing his book this week.] We just wallowed in the 80s, so let's wallow in the 90s. I don't know whether Bush or Kerry will benefit from the Clinton-fest, but we all benefit from the break from having to listen to Bush and Kerry.
Speaking of... McSweeney's has the pros and cons of John Kerry's top 20 VP candidates. *snerk*

Other amusement:
Ever see all those "zen fen" icons and think "boy, wouldn't it be great if it were pictures of nature or technology gone horribly wrong and it said zen bitch instead?" OK, me neither, but telesilla did
And finally, one learns something new every day:
The French call it l'esprit d'escalier, "the wit of the staircase," those biting ripostes that are thought of just seconds too late, on the way out of the room—or even, to tell the truth, days later.
broccoli quote from SIKOS 2002

(no subject)

“How is it that we have accepted the idea that hate adds to the severity of a crime when it is homophobic or racist but not when it is personal?”
-Tammy Bruce in The New Thought Police (2001)

My father saw this (background) and commented: “In fact, it’s illegal to kill anyone. You can have a bad reason or no reason at all; it’s just not allowed.”