He’s the kind of conservative pundit who’s made a career of equating all human weakness and lapses of taste with a liberal attack on "western values", his basic assumption being that only doctrinaire conservatives hold the key to a sound, moral society. His formula is simple enough: velour shirts = wife-swapping = feminism gone mad = fashionable Maoism = weakness on terrorism = collapse of Western Civilization.
Excellent article that outlines how much the reality of "problem teenagers" differs from popular perception:
In 1999 the number of homicides committed by teens was down 62 percent from what it had been in 1990. Over the same period, rapes in which adolescents were charged declined 27 percent, teen-perpetrated violent crime generally was down 22 percent, the incidence of sexually transmitted disease decreased 50 percent, births were down 17 percent, abortions were down 15 percent, and drunken driving offenses plummeted 35 percent.
The only statistics on the way up over the same time period? Smoking and drug-related deaths, the two areas most heavily campaigned against by government. On the same topic, see The Culture War Against Kids by Mike Males, who has entire book online on the subject, Kids and Guns: How Politicians, Experts, and the Press Fabricate Fear of Youth.
The National Post notices bloggers. You'll be glad to know there's "gold amongst the dross".
I saw the film Spectre of Hope last year at the Vancouver International Film Festival; it was basically Sebastio Salgado talking to John Berger about Salgado's book Migrations: Humanity in Transition. Turns out you can view many of the photos; there are also other galleries of his work online. Turns out he's pretty much a legend. Highly, highly recommended.
Here's something I had no idea about: pink used to be the color for boys, while blue was for girls.
At one point pink was considered more of a boy's color, as a watered-down red, which is a fierce color) and blue was morefor girls. The associate of pink with bold, dramatic red clearly affected its use for boys. An American newspaper in 1914 advised mothers, "If you like the color note on the little one's garments, use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention." [The Sunday Sentinal, March 29, 1914.] A woman's magazine in 1918 informed mothers, "There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is pertier for the girl." [Ladies Home Journal, June, 1918]
Brazil Court Rules Singer's Placenta Kept for Tests - some headlines you just gotta click on.
Hmm. DFW on Kafka:
And it is this, I think, that makes Kafka's wit inaccessible to children whom our culture has trained to see jokes as entertainment and entertainment as reassurance. It's not that students don't "get" Kafka's humor but that we've taught them to see humor as something you get -- the same way we've taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke -- that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. It's hard to put into words up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it's good they don't "get" Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his art as a kind of door. To envision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don't know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc. That, finally, the door opens...and it opens outward: we've been inside what we wanted all along. _Das ist komisch_.
David Frum responsible for 'Axis of Evil'. Dear America: we're really sorry, and we're not taking him back.
Inside a red, white and blue fortress called the Superdome, they let freedom ring last night, and they let freedom sing, and then they played a football game that stands today as tall as the Twin Towers once did as a defiant statue of liberty.
On the night they wrapped a star-spangled banner around the neck of terror and squeezed tight, they played a football game that will be remembered as Patriots' Day.