Culture Briefs

Story Topics
Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

No-go zones

“Received an E-mail from Harry G last night which pointed me in the direction of this article about how people of a certain faith in East London are putting up posters declaring the area a gay free zone. It just so happens that the East End of London also records the highest incidents of Homophobic attacks in the UK. (I wonder why?) That region of London also records a high rate of intolerance towards white people, Jews and women.

“Does anybody else find it strange how, while the followers of the Islamic faith are usually the first to shout foul play when they perceive themselves as victims in their day to day dealings with Non-Muslims in Non-Islamic countries. In those ghettos where they have become the majority (Dearborn/East London/Dusiburg/Brussels etc.) they have no problem replacing the rule of law with a medieval mindset which accords power and prestige based on religion,gender and wealth.

“For years the liberal elites silenced anybody who dare question such a backward frame of mind by referring to them as racists. Because of that aegis of silence we empowered those bigots who hated everything the west stood for, except the benefits that is.”

Blogger Pounce UK, writing on “German leader says multicultural society has failed,” on Oct. 16 at Eye on the World

Breakfast talk

“In his book ‘Here Comes Everybody,’ Clay Shirky explains why personal blogs and social networking sites can sometimes confound us. He argues that before the internet, it was easy to tell what was a broadcast and what was a private message. A television show was a broadcast — a message meant for a large audience of people, a public message. A telephone call, on the other hand, was a private message, meant for one other person. On the internet, though, the difference between the two kinds of media is much smaller. Is a personal blog a public or a private communication? Is it meant for mass consumption by thousands or millions of people? Not typically, and yet it can be read, theoretically, by billions.

“This blurring of the two types of media is so difficult to grasp that it’s produced its own near-ubiquitous straw man argument, which blogger Jason Kottke calls ‘the breakfast question.’ It comes up whenever anyone writes about social media: ‘Why would I care what you ate for breakfast that morning?’ Shirky’s rebuttal to this is succinct: ‘It’s simple. They’re not talking to you. We misread these seemingly inane posts because we’re so unused to seeing written material in public that isn’t intended for us. The people posting messages to one another in small groups are doing a different kind of communicating than people posting messages for hundreds or thousands of people to read.’”

Patrick Brown, writing on “Gratuitous: How Sexism Threatens to Undermine the Internet” on Oct. 11 at The Millions

Tradition on roof

“St. Thomas viewed the laws of society (a notion that encompassed written laws as well as social norms) as subject to rational scrutiny. We should assess the justice of laws insofar as they accord with the natural law. [Author R.J.] Snell reminds readers, however, that St. Thomas saw social innovation — even reasonable social innovations that improved laws — as an intrinsic harm. ‘The mere change of law,’ St. Thomas wrote, ‘is of itself prejudicial to the common good.’

“The harm is obvious if we think about it. Our obedience to laws rests more in habit than reason. We tend to conform, because we largely trust and accept the authority of existing norms. Changes disrupt our habits and throw our trust into doubt. Pushed to an extreme, our law-abiding impulse can be weakened, in which case the actual justice of new and improved laws counts for little, because laws we don’t obey lack the power to promote justice.”

R.R. Reno, writing on “The Authority of Tradition,” on Oct. 18 at the First Things blog First Thoughts

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks