Culture: February 2005 Archives

The Christian Carnival for this week, which I'm still working through, has one post that I thought needed extended comment, so I'm not including it in my weekly Christian Carnival roundup. Little Emily in the big world takes on the critics of James Dobson over the We Are Family video that SpongeBob was a small part of. She claims to offer information about the We Are Family website that supports Dobson's claims that apparently some have been saying are false. I don't dispute any of the factual information Dobson is saying, and I never really did. My original criticisms of Dobson's statements are almost untouched by the information presented in this post.

Out of Touch

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In the past, I've indicated my preference for NPR over conservative talk radio. There's more real content, less of the shouting match that you find on both conservative radio and cable news station shows, and mostly real commentary informed by real research and careful thought processes, with people from many backgrounds and occupations and issues along a wide spectrum of interest. My one caveat showed up in spades yesterday on Terry Gross's "Fresh Air". Most of the people at NPR just seem to me to be out-of-touch with mainstream America in a few important ways (though not at all on others, and maybe they capture the others better than the other shows I was comparing them with). It wasn't just the sense that she was out-of-touch, although that came through. She seemed to me to have a clear political agenda driving her attempt to force a sound byte for her own view from a well-known and much liked conservative.

The Le Moyne incident I blogged about over two weeks ago has finally caught the attention of blogosphere heavy hitters. I guess that shows how little influence with the top bloggers comes from being in the top 100 (something I've known for a long time).

See Instapundit and Volokh for links. I have only two things to say beyond what I already said and what's in those two posts. First, some of the facts I'd been presented with originally seem not to be the case, though I'm not willing to spend the time right now investigating those in detail. Second, Volokh quotes from Le Moyne's faculty handbook to show how what they've done is at odds with what they state for themselves about faculty:

"A college or university is a marketplace of ideas, and it cannot fulfill its purposes of transmitting, evaluating, and extending knowledge if it requires conformity with any orthodoxy of content and method. In the words of the United States Supreme Court, "Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die."

Normally I'd read something like that and feel encouraged that the administration officials won't take issue with what I choose to teach, as it seems to me the philosophy department doesn't, but these events show that I could be fired simply for presenting an argument that, e.g., Plato might have been right about something that's currently illegal and against Le Moyne policy. Of course, in my case it would be more likely that they just don't hire me again for the next semester, given how easy that is to do with adjuncts. I'm glad the hiring decisions for teaching aren't in the hands of whatever administration officials were responsible for this.

My list of things to blog about has gotten too long and contains a number of things that are too old for me to want to bother with extended comments, so here are some of them that I'm giving up on, along with some more recent ones that I've decided not to comment on but thought were worth a link.



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