A Cranach Miscellany

A Cranach Miscellany March 6, 2023

So much to blog about!  So little time!  So much of interest, yet I don’t always have much to say about them!

So I want to experiment with a new feature on this blog:  short bits of information, oddities, and observations.  A “miscellany,” which means “a miscellaneous collection or group of various or somewhat unrelated items.”

I might do this weekly, I might do it occasionally, or I might never do it again, depending on how you like it.  Here goes:

New Zealand and Maori Science.  New Zealand schools must now teach Maori “ways of knowing,” grounded in myth and tribal lore, alongside courses in modern science.  Militant atheist Richard Dawkins is raising the alarm about this, calling Maori beliefs a form of “creationism” (the worst critique he can imagine).  He has a point, though, that animistic worldviews are not on a par with the scientific method.  But this is what happens when we adopt the postmodernist assumptions that there is no objective truth and that knowledge is determined by culture.  Throw in critical theory’s concerns about “white supremacy” and “colonialism,” and the science we take for granted and depend on cannot survive.  (HT:  Bob Foote)

Florida Registering Bloggers? A Republican state legislator in Florida has introduced a law that would require any bloggers who discuss Gov. Ron DeSantis or other state officials to register with the state and file financial reports on any income generated by the posts.  Failure to do so could incur a $2500 fine.  Newspapers and professional journalists would be exempt.

This would really cramp my style, especially if DeSantis runs for president!  I wouldn’t think I would fall under Florida jurisdiction, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Oklahoma would extradite me.

This law, on the face of it, would be unconstitutional, especially since it targets the speech of private citizens.  And I wonder if it isn’t a serious proposal, but rather an “if this, then why not that” ploy, as in schools responding to Christians’ efforts to ban controversial books by also banning the Bible.  My impression is that the bill had something to do with a proposal to make lobbyists register.  If they have to, why not bloggers?

I haven’t seen anything to suggest that DeSantis himself is actually in favor of this bill.  If he is, it would suggest an affinity with “illiberal conservatives”–that is, conservatives opposed to liberty–that would be concerning.  But I don’t think this is the case.

Cancelling the Very Mention of the First Talkie?  The “Carousel of Progress” ride at Disneyland is being interrogated for its political correctness.  The educational ride through the development of American technology at Tomorrowland depicts a character from the 1920’s saying how excited he is to see The Jazz Singer, which is the first motion picture with sound.  A fan points out that the movie stars Al Jolson and that Jolson appears in blackface.  The Guest was “shocked” that the ride mentioned the historically important movie and called for the reference to be removed.

This issue was raised in a Reddit thread and most commenters disagreed with it, and there is no indication that Disney is planning to delete mention of the movie.  Except that the complaint was published on Disney’s website Inside the Magic, at the end of which it solicits fans’ reactions.  So it looks like the company is testing the waters to see how offended their customers might be.

So far cancel culture forbids saying or depicting anything offensive. The Disney ride doesn’t say or depict anything offensive.  But forbidding the very mention of a work because it includes something offensive would be a new frontier in cancel culture.

Canceling the Black Professor for His  “Triggering” Critiques of Racism.  As Nathanael Blake says about the incident, “it would take a heart of stone not to laugh.”


Illustrations:  Lucas Cranach’s seal.  See this for its heraldic meaning.


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