January 30, 2006
Thus it took a Cold Fury post to point out a Bleat to me. Reading Lileks used to be like brushing my teeth, but now it's sadly more like brushing the dog: I don't do it nearly as often as I should.
Lileks found an article that he says "should be taught in J-schools. This is Pulitizerian. Stick with it, and youll see what I mean." I read The Peekaboo Paradox and was blown away. This article is masterful. If you want to see true journalism -- not the crap that gets cranked out at Reuters -- read Weingarten's piece.
January 27, 2006
Make sure you click them both to see the power of censorship.
Over the weekend my mother, husband, and I traveled to France to visit our relatives. Somehow at one point someone brought up Scientology, which apparently is illegal in France. You can't be a Scientologist in France. For the French relatives, this seemed totally natural: Scientology is weird and cultish, and so it should be outlawed. But later I pointed out to my husband that this conversation typified a fundamental difference between Americans and the French (or insert a variety of other nationalities). I too think Scientology is a bit out there -- what else can you say about a religion that was started on a dare -- but I think people should be allowed to be Scientologists if that's what they want. I really had a gut reaction to hearing that ideas could be illegal.
When I was teaching ESL in grad school, I opened up our argumentative unit with a brief discussion of hate speech. I played devil's advocate, arguing both sides of the issue in front of the class so they could get an idea of how to write an argumentative paper. So on one hand, I argued that although many of us are repulsed by the KKK and Matt Hale, they should be allowed to have the same freedom of speech rights that anyone else does. And a Korean student promptly filed a complaint against me with the department, saying I was intolerant and bigoted.
I'm proud that in my country you're supposed to be able to say anything you want. The free exchange of ideas helps people understand the world; censoring things that make us cringe makes the world a smaller place. I'd rather refute Matt Hale than exile him.
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