Friday fragments

As scandal rocks Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the Murdoch-owned Zondervan Publishing House was forced to issue a statement.

Zondervan, the world’s largest Bible publisher, has not been implicated in any way in the unfolding sordid tales of telephone hacking, payments to law enforcement, and a too-cozy relationship with elected officials, but the company still wanted to reassure the public that while sales of its New International Version of the Bible may enrich Murdoch, he doesn’t interfere with the publisher’s routine operations.

Spokesperson Tara Towers said:

This does not present an ethical dilemma for Zondervan as we will continue to operate with autonomy as we always have. We are fortunate to have strong and positive relationships with our authors.

Many of the company’s authors were unavailable to comment on this “strong and positive relationship.” Messages left with St. Paul, Qoheleth and Deutero-Isaiah were not returned.

For a good overview of Zondervan’s history with Murdoch, see Will Braun’s “Rupert Murdoch: Bible mogul,” which includes a thoughtful response from one of the publisher’s still-living authors, Shane Claiborne.

* * * * * * * * *

Nadia Bolz-Weber on Proverbs 8:

Sophia, the Wisdom of God is described at the creation of the world as “rejoicing in the inhabited world and delighting in the human race.”

I want the day to come when Christians are described not as judgmental but as those who, like the Wisdom of God, rejoice in the world and delight in humanity.

* * * * * * * * *

Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is living like a playboy.

Richard Land has traveled more than any Southern Baptist executive in history.

Richard Land’s wife’s household staff has been increased by tenfold. She has tenfold more people working for her than any other SBC executive’s wife in history.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s administrative budget is higher than it’s been under any other leader.

Richard Land is living like a playboy.

Note: If you follow the link, you’ll see that none of the above is actually true of Richard Land. You’ll also see that none of the above is actually true of President Barack Obama, but that this did not stop Richard Land from saying all of the above things about Obama. The fact that these are all brazen, intentional lies — the bearing of false witness — did not stop Richard Land from repeating them. This is not an encouraging indication of what passes for “ethics” at the highest levels of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

* * * * * * * * *

Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to a lovely reflection from Michael Irvin (and, no, I didn’t ever expect to be writing the phrase “a lovely reflection from Michael Irvin”). Here’s Coates’ reaction:

You can’t hate black people without hating a significant swath of this country’s history and culture. Likewise a disapproval of gays — and gay men, in particular — is, on some level, a disapproval of all things feminine, and thus a disapproval of some essential part of all ourselves.

This is something of a recurring theme for Coates. See for example, this earlier post discussing Drew Gilpin Faust’s Mothers of Invention, a history of women in slaveholding families during the Civil War, in which Coates writes:

How does any human being in the 19th century come to endorse mass slaughter for the cause of raising a republic built on slavery? To answer such a question … you have to remove the cloak of the partisan, and assume the garb of the thespian. Instead of  prosecuting the Confederate perspective, you have to interrogate it, and ultimately assume it. In no small measure, to understand them, you must become them. For me to seriously consider the words of the slave-holder, which is to say the mind of the slave-holder, for me to see them as human beings, as full and as complicated as anyone else I know, a strange transcendence is requested. I am losing my earned, righteous skin. I know that beef is our birthright, that all our grievance is just.  But for want of seeing more, I am compelled to let it go.

“The garb of the thespian.” Thespian empathy.

Ah. Yes. That’s it. That’s how it works. Incarnation.

* * * * * * * * *

Susan Brooks Thislethwaite: “How conservatives have taken the scary out of the ‘Apocalypse’

Since religious conservatives have taken all the scary out of the end of the world for the true believers, and the political conservatives are refusing to face their responsibilities for the country’s economic health in the real world, “Apocalypse” just isn’t as scary any more.

That is, unless you are paying attention to the fact that there are deep truths in scripture about the judgment on economies that, like Imperial Rome, oppress the poor and disregard justice. Then you can hear the scriptural truth in the mighty images of the Book of Revelation.

And then you should be scared. Very scared.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659001961 Brad Ellison

    Trolls never lose when they get people to pay attention to them.

  • Donalbain

    But, does someone else, who just happens to read the bullshit from the troll without being shown any counter evidence, win? That is who I am most worried about. 

  • Tonio

    While I oppose the idea of holding unfalsifiable propositions about the universe to be true, I also recognize that such behavior is in some of religion and also in some secular ideologies. While I think the anti-Islamists are motivated more by bigotry than the anti-religionists, my theory is that both are so unsettled by the killings in Norway that they retreat to some of their core beliefs out of a need for security. Both want to believe that their view of the world is a right one, instead of using the tragedy to reassess their view. That’s distinct but related to the idea of wanting explanations for horrific events like this.

  • Lori

     But, does someone else, who just happens to read the bullshit from the troll without being shown any counter evidence, win? That is who I am most worried about.  

     

    Anyone who reads these threads and accepts something as fact because the troll posted it and no one responded is, IMO, not likely to be convinced by your counterargument. They are going to see twice as much of her lies because that’s how she responds to being proven wrong. 

    Looked at another way, what about the person who takes the troll more seriously using the logic that there must be something to what she says because the Liberals are so afraid of her they have to respond? 

  • Tonio

    Taking a troll seriously doesn’t require the assumption that what the troll says has some basis. The specific trolling we’re talking about is a form of demagoguery, where the demagogue mixes fact, fiction and supposition and spins it in an emotionally manipulative way. It’s valid to be concerned that the demagoguery might work on some readers – it succeeds partly because it appears to confirm already existing prejudices and bolsters the ego. Some liberals (and some conservatives) like to think they’re immune to such appeals, when in reality no one is truly immune if the demagoguery is targeted in the right way.

  • Guest-again

    ‘Trolls never lose when they get people to pay attention to them.’
    As I pointed out, in Europe these sorts of foul words have a tradition of leading to mass murder.

    The problem is in how to best oppose such hatred – ignoring it on a forum like here is one thing. Ignoring it in real life is something else.

    Our resident snake is not just a troll – that poster is part of the same broad social movement that led someone to dress up as a police officer to be able to better kill children. Shunning such disgusting comments in a forum is reasonable – but simply saying such foul ideas lose when ignored is simply false in a European context.

    I don’t have any answers, but the discussion of how to deal with such hate filled ideology is a bit broader than just the issue of trolls. Opposing these sorts of murderous beliefs is fundamentally necessary.

  • Lori

    The things that the troll has been posting here do not, IMO, rise to the level of demagoguery. Every argument she makes and every link she posts is plainly ignorant or an outright lie. There’s nothing sophisticated about it. If someone’s emotions are manipulated by the troll’s arguments it’s my opinion that that person was primed to believe lies before s/he ever came her or encountered this troll. 

    It’s also my opinion that what we do to argue against hate and bigotry in the larger world has basically nothing to do with how we handle a troll in an online forum. It’s not as if we ignore the problems of hate and ignorance and bigotry here. Plenty of arguments are made against them every day, not to mention that almost all of Fred’s posts are in one way or another arguments against hate and ignorance and bigotry. We’re not letting things slide and I’m not suggesting that we do. 

    What I am suggesting is that we don’t feed the troll. I don’t think we know much of anything for sure about the troll. We don’t know where she really lives or what her true beliefs are. We don’t even know that she’s actually female (in any sense). We only know what we can determine based on posts—she’s a troll. She adds nothing positive or of value to the discussion and she feeds off the energy of getting people riled up enough to argue with her. The only one who benefits when we allow her to derail threads is the troll. 

  • Tonio

    While some of the troll’s claims seemed to me to cross the line into demagoguery, overall I agree with your post. It’s tempting to respond to the troll simply to stand up for what is moral, but yes, that would simply giving hir what zie wants.

  • Beatrix

    I haven’t read all these comments, but yes, it seems I was wrong.  I’m selfish enough to hate this bastard beyond belief for the oportunity he’s given the left to say “Hah!  Muslim terrorism!  How about…” 

    There is more to this but the “manisfesto” that’s come out over the last few hours seems (from accounts I’ve read) to indicate that he was a very clever and well organized lone psychopath.

    I will say two things:  How the hell does any single person gun down 80+ kids - 14-18, so many of them were physically very capable:  If I were really Canadian I’d bitch about the ”Monteal massacre”: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/220650/culture-passivity/mark-steyn , and there is something to be said here about gun control.  His guns seem to have been legal.  He roamed around for an hour or an hour and a half.  Why did nobody stop him?

    I will also say that he was not a “Christian” (“all religions are the same” etc.).  He will be portrayed as such, I have no doubt, but his facebook page seems to have been altered – http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/07/who-added-christian-and-conservative-to-norway-shooters-facebook-page-yesterday.html .

    And almost all terrorist attacks on the planet are carried out by Islamists. But yes, I was wrong on this one.

  • Beatrix

    Lori – although I never intended to be “a troll”, perhaps I am one, to you; and in all honesty this blog hasn’t brought out the best in me.  I never did try hanging out on a lefty blog before and I’ve been having nasty insomnia these past few weeks, with time to kill.   If I’ve done wrong (and based on what I’ve seen on the internet, I don’t know as I have too much), then I’m sorry.   But to simply say “every link she posts is plainly ignorant or an outright lie” – did you even glance at them? I’ll stand by every link I ever posted here. 

    “Agitate” all you want. The truth is the truth, and the world is what it is.

    (BTW – “We don’t even know that she’s actually female (in any sense).”” – it’s the “in any sense”-  Lori, you are a joy to me.)

  • Anonymous

    I’m normally a firm believer in not feeding trolls, but I’m going to assume, just for the moment, that you’re sincere about this. And, being an unrepentant optimist, I’m going to try some 101. My hope is that, even if it’s of no help to you, it might be useful to someone else. The problem is that you’re doing exactly the things trolls do. You pop into threads and derail them. You don’t make cogent arguments. As Lori pointed out, “there’s nothing sophisticated about it”: your posts don’t even rise to the level of demagoguery.

    “If I’ve done wrong (and based on what I’ve seen on the internet, I don’t know as I have too much), then I’m sorry.”

    The internet isn’t a single homogeneous place. You will see things in one area that won’t pass muster in another. Things that work in Pharyngula, RedState, Firedoglake, Balloon Juice, the Anchoress, etc., etc., etc., don’t work here, and vice versa. The way to contribute to a conversation in one area is to watch the patterns in that conversation, see what assumptions underlie the discussion, and, once you understand how things works, then try to contribute.

    One thing you will notice about conversations here is that (a) they have certain underlying assumptions, and (b) they require some rather sophisticated support. People are called on it when they just toss out flat statements. You seem to want to challenge the generally liberal assumptions on this blog. Fine. There is nothing wrong with that. But do it in a way that respects the conventions here. For a good example, see aunursa. He disagrees with the majority of the posters here, but he supports his points and knows how to argue. He knows that simply restating things doesn’t constitute an argument. Notice that he’s also an excellent rhetorician. He knows what will be convincing to his audience, and he doesn’t waste time on things that may be persuasive to him or to other people he knows, but that won’t be persuasive to the posters here.

    Finally, if there’s anything that marks you as a troll, it’s the fact that your first response to news of a mass murder was to make a joke. Seriously, grow up.

    Here endeth the 101.

  • Beatrix

    I only recognize one of those cited blogs (the one that brought me here, actually), but “things that work on the Anchoress”?  The Anchoress’ blog is nothing like this one.  I have very very rarely commented there, but I read it and I can tell you there is almost never any back-and-forth in the comments section, rarely links.  It’s just not along those lines. Mrs. Scalia wouldn’t stand for it.  I suspect you’re not actually familiar with it.

    Seriously, smug down.  My “first response to news of a mass murder was to make a joke”? – that makes it sound, and I say it is deliberately deceptive, as if I’d said “ha ha people are dead, that’s funny!”  My comments – and they were based on the erroneous assumption that the killer was Islamist – were bitter and sarcastic because that’s how I tend to react to things that reinforce my opinion that the world is going to hell and plenty of people are yelling “weeeeee”!

    “I’m going to try some 101″ – how self-satisfied, how sanctimonious.   Was it Lori (I’m not sure) who said “every link she posts is plainly ignorant or an outright lie”?  Well that’s not so (p.s. how can a “post” be “ignorant”, unless the suggestion is that a post ought to be sentient?).

    I’m not looking up the dissenter you like.  If you like him so much he’s probably a bore.  I have defended everything I’ve wasted my time saying here on this blog. My “support” is not “rather sophisticated” enough for you?  That means I haven’t linked much to the NYT.  You don’t consider JihadWatch or Pam Geller ”rather sophisticated”?  I don’t care; you can’t prove them wrong.   And half the comments on this thread over the past couple of days seem to have been about “the troll”, i.e. me, so this pissing from on high attitude of yours is a bit rich.

     

  • cyllan

    I’m not looking up the dissenter you like. If you like him so much he’s probably a bore.

    Hey, look at that! Still a troll. (Although a clever one; I give zir at least a 8 out of 10 on the Skilled Troll scale.)  Where is my killfile?  Also, is it possible to perma-mark a link so that the next time we have a “But Maybe Ze Isn’t a Troll” discussion, we can just come to here and be done?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Nice try, anyway.

  • Black Mamba

    This “zir” thing must be a very funny joke.

    Look, why should I look him up?  Just because Dash likes to come off as a purse-lipped more-in-sorrow-than-anger schoolmarm doesn’t mean I have to take lessons from him on how to be a nice thoughtcriminal:  ”Here, investigate this guy I like.  Learn from him.”

    Daft.

  • Guest-again

    ‘Unlike Jared Loughner (the shooter of Congresswoman Gabrielle
    Giffords), with Anders Behring Breivik there’s no doubt whatsoever
    where he got the inspiration and the ideology that led inexorably to
    the horror in Oslo.
    When Gabrielle Giffords and several others were shot, I was critical
    of the right wing blogs and Sarah Palin in particular, for encouraging
    a climate of violent rhetoric. But in the Norway atrocities, the
    responsibility is far more evident and direct.

    People like Fjordman and Pamela Geller and the right wing
    blogosphere who spew apocalyptic rhetoric and refuse to denounce the
    extremists among them now have the very real blood of children on their
    hands.’
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/38928_The_Oslo_Terrorists_Counter-Jihad_Ideology

    ‘And as usual, the most incoherent defense comes from hate group leader Pamela Geller:
    Mr. Breivik frequently cited another blog, Atlas Shrugs, and
    recommended the Gates of Vienna among Web sites. Pamela Geller, an
    outspoken critic of Islam who runs Atlas Shrugs, wrote on her blog
    Sunday that any assertion that she or other antijihad writers bore any
    responsibility for Mr. Breivik’s actions was “ridiculous.”
    “If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists,” she wrote.

    As I wrote yesterday, the chain of responsibility in this case is much
    clearer than it was in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. There’s no
    doubt whatsoever that Anders Behring Breivik was seriously influenced
    by these people, and they know it. Their guilty consciences are showing.’
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/38930_NYT-_US_Counter-Jihad_Bloggers_Heavily_Influenced_Oslo_Terrorist

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Dude, even when you’re right, don’t spam.

  • GreatBigBillyGoatGruff

    Did somebody call?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. I’m usually too optimistic, and I really was hoping zie wasn’t a troll. I still hope so, but “ears to hear,” as the Bible says.

    I do take exception to being accused of sanctimony, though. I never claimed to be more pious than anybody. What I was being was condescending.

  • Lori

     I do take exception to being accused of sanctimony, though. I never claimed to be more pious than anybody. What I was being was condescending.  

    A perfect example of the troll’s lack of quality analysis. 

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

     I do take exception to being accused of sanctimony, though. I never claimed to be more pious than anybody. What I was being was condescending.

    And you did it very well, yes you did!

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist. It was clearly an earnest effort to take advantage of what could, potentially, have been a learning moment for a troll. I appreciate your optimism; I wrote hir off before Lori even stopped responding.

    Zie has, however, provided a useful service in saying this about The Anchoress – “The Anchoress’ blog is nothing like this one.  I have very very rarely commented there, but I read it and I can tell you there is almost never any back-and-forth in the comments section, rarely links.  It’s just not along those lines. Mrs. Scalia wouldn’t stand for it.  I suspect you’re not actually familiar with it.” I wasn’t really interested in poking around there now, but now I am doubly uninterested – why would you want to participate in a community where no back and forth of ideas is allowed?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Good on you, Dash. More power to your hand.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    why would you want to participate in a community where no back and forth of ideas is allowed?

    I don’t know, but some people seem to really like getting received wisdom from on high and not playing with it.

    It doesn’t seem to be a matter of political bent, either. I have quite a few friends who will shut down or divert a discussion on almost anything the minute I (or someone else) start to debate or delve into the ideas behind what someone’s said. Even when it’s very friendly and not at all aggressive and confrontational. I assume that it must be reasonably common for some people to equate disagreement with fighting, which is unfortunate.

  • Anonymous

    Why, thank you! Ever since reading Pride and Prejudice I have been practicing condescending. I believe I may be ready to move on to deigning. 

  • Anonymous

    Why, thank you! Ever since reading Pride and Prejudice I have been practicing condescending. I believe I may be ready to move on to deigning. 

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Ever since reading Pride and Prejudice I have been practicing condescending. I believe I may be ready to move on to deigning.

    You have to be careful with deigning – if you don’t do it right, it looks like stooping, and you don’t want that.

  • Hawker Hurricane

    And do not confuse stooping with stoping.  Or stopping, for that matter.

  • Black Mamba

    “Deign” all you want, if you can manage it.  But you sound like a prissy old woman, which is something Jane Austin ever did.


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