Child abuse as cultural relativism

The New York Times has published a piece condemning the U.S. military for ignoring cases of child sexual abuse in Afghanistan.  And yet, a few years earlier, the Times published a piece praising military briefers who told the troops to ignore the custom of “boy play”–older men taking young boys on “Love Thursdays” to use them sexually–on the grounds of cultural relativism.  Read Mollie Hemingway’s expose of the Times, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]

The Carly Fiorina challenge

During the last presidential candidate debate, Carly Fiorina–who has jumped to second place in the polls–posed the following challenge:

I dare Hillary Clinton [and] Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ This is about the character of our nation.

The media and abortion apologists have come back saying that those images are not on the videos and accusing Fiorina of lying.  But Glenn Stanton says that they are, giving the video clip segments to prove it. [Read more...]

A journalist’s experience in Vietnam

The German Lutheran journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto, a friend of mine, has written Duc:  Triumph of the Absurd, a Reporter’s Love for the Abandoned People of Vietnam, a memoir of his days as a Vietnam war correspondent, telling of his affection for the Vietnamese people, describing his harrowing experiences, and going on to indict the way the U.S. government and the media handled the war.  The audio book has been released by New Reformation Publications.  It’s a gripping story.  [Read more...]

Hackers enforcing morality?

So the Ashley Madison site, designed to hook up people who want to commit adultery, was hacked, leading to the release of data about some of the website’s 30 million customers (including already disgraced “family values” activist Josh Duggar).

This has created some indignation about the hackers’ “public shaming” of would-be adulterers.  But the fear of public shaming has kept people in line across all cultures for millennia, enforcing the external morality that is necessary for social order (a.k.a. “the first use of the Law”).  The internet has promised to get around that with total secrecy and anonymity, but the web isn’t as secret and anonymous as people assume.

So do you consider the Ashley Madison hacks to be egregious violations of privacy, or a fitting outing of cheating husbands and wives? [Read more...]

Why you hate talking on the phone

Do you dislike having to call up people, in real time, on the phone?  Would you rather text or e-mail?   The Millennial generation tends to feel that way, I learned, and I admit that I do too.

Media scholar Ian Bogost tries to explain why this is.  In doing so, he goes into the difference between talking on cell phones and talking on the old handset devices.  Whereas cell phones are designed to be carried, rather than talked into, and are used in public places, the old landlines were designed to enhance personal conversation in private spaces.  The handset phone, as well as the technology that went into it, created what he calls “a technology of intimacy.”

Well, I didn’t particularly like using the old-style phones either, but Bogost makes a fascinating case for the genius of old technology and design. [Read more...]

. . .and the second tier debate

I’d also like us to live blog the 5:00 p.m. debate featuring the seven candidates that didn’t make the top ten.  But I doubt that I will be back from work on time, and the same will be true for most viewers.  This adds injury to insult.

The Fox network scheme of breaking the debates into two tiers, the prime time show for the top 10 most popular candidates according to an average of polls, and a non-prime time show for the remaining 7 candidates is just not fair.  Let me tell you why after the jump. [Read more...]