Smart people saying smart things (7.28)

Smart people saying smart things (7.28) July 28, 2013

Peter Buffett: “The Charitable-Industrial Complex”

As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity.

But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “To Stop Being the Party of Stupid You Must Stop Being Stupid”

Conservatives often perceive liberal attachment to diversity as a kind of “everyone’s a winner” cuddle party, where we sit around exchanging rice-cakes and hating on the military. But the great strength of diversity is it forces you into a room with people who have experiences very different from your own. …

If you are not around people who will look at you like you are crazy when you make stupid claims about other people’s experiences, then you tend to keep saying stupid things about other people’s experiences. It is not enough to pay a political price, or even to be shamed into silence. You have to come to believe — in your heart — that sincerity itself is not the same as accurate information. It is not enough for you to not be “the party of stupid” or to “stop saying stupid things” you must show some active commitment toward being less stupid.

Tuesday Cain: “I’m the 14-Year-Old Who Wrote the ‘Jesus Isn’t a Dick So Keep Him Out of My Vagina’ Sign in Texas and Was Labeled a ‘Whore’ by Strangers Online”

Normally, I prefer to look up to adults as role models. But what is happening in Texas right now it’s hard to find adults who I want to look up to.

I don’t look up to an adult who is taking away a woman’s right to choose.

I don’t look up to an adult who is calling a 14-year-old girl a whore.

I don’t look up to an adult who is screaming in my face and saying I am ugly.

And I certainly don’t look up to anyone who says they are Christian but treats women the way I’ve been treated these past few days as a teenage girl.

Paul Campos: “This Supreme Court is a disgrace”

The Constitution was specifically amended in the most explicit possible terms to allow Congress to pass precisely this sort of law [the Voting Rights Act], for this precise purpose. The 15th Amendment was enacted to give Congress the power to stop states from discriminating against racial minorities in regard to the right to vote.

So what we have here is a situation in which a war was fought in which 600,000 soldiers died, in large part so that the Constitution could be amended in such a way as to give Congress the power to force the slave states to treat black people like human beings. A century later, Congress gets around to actually using this power, and the law it passes is a remarkable success.

But according to the Roberts Five, it’s unconstitutional for Congress to enforce legislation specifically mandated by the Constitution, because it has carried out its legislative responsibilities too well.

Lisa Sharon Harper: “Jesus and Affirmative Action”

So, while Jairus waited, Jesus stopped and listened to the woman’s whole story. Finally, Jesus called the woman “daughter;” bestowing on her the dignity of belonging. To the one who has been ghettoized, Jesus says come into the center. It is time that we hear your story. It is time that we focus on you. And according to Jesus, this woman was worth Jairus’s wait. This is affirmative action.


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  • Well, the pope did say earlier that if someone’s gay and wants to be in the church “Who am I to judge?”

    (Bookmakers now offering even money on which will happen first:
    1. Vatican releases “clarification” that His Holiness meant to add “But only if they stop having gay sex forever”
    2. Vatican releases “clarification” that His Holiness meant to add “Because God will be sending them to hell anyway regardless of my input”
    3. Bill Mahr declares the pope a secret atheist. Again.


  • EllieMurasaki

    Did he? What, did the cardinals elect a liberal by mistake?

  • Too bad I can still remember 2010 and the role he played in trying to ensure that Argentina never passed equal marriage or adoption rights.

  • On another blog recently, someone said the very clever and important (if somewhat inaccurate) thing: Movies and TV are the only human endeavours where people will say “There’s no need to put any effort into doing a good job on this, it’s only for my children.”

    In a similar vein, the Executive MBA program (And I qualify it like that because I am willing to suppose that the other kinds of MBA program may actually be non-ass) is the only academic program which uses how little you will learn as a selling point.

    (Seriously. Ads for XMBA programs always follow the general pattern of “Come get an Executive MBA! The courses are easy and we’ll even count your job history toward your degree requirements! Seriously, this whole program is really just about you schmoozing with other similarly-ranked executives in the program, with a side of schmoozing with the slightly higher-ranked executives who come to alumni events!”)

  • Lori

    And once again you demonstrate that you’re kind of a terrible person, and also not all that smart. That just never gets old for you, does it?

  • Chris Hadrick

    It’s something I enjoy Lori

  • Lori

    Of course it is. Because you’re an ass. And aren’t we just so blessed that you found us?

  • Chris Hadrick

    Merry Christmas to all!

  • Vermic

    Maybe there is some graven image thing about the kind of “hero worship” involved in classic comic books, but that is not the same kind of “worship” as might involve religion.

    I came into work early this morning, so I just heard the tail end of some radio sermon my coworker was listening to — apparently part of a series on comics, comic book movies, and ComicCon. Providing my work schedule eases up, I’ll be lucky enough to not have to endure the others.

    The gist of the sermon, from what I could hear, was that comic books (and related media like the Marvel films) are preparing people for the Antichrist by getting the public used to heroic figures with superpowers, so that when the Antichrist appears with all his signs and wonders, we’ll be predisposed to like him. If you liked Spider-Man, you’ll love Nicolae Carpathia! Coming soon to a UN near you!

    Also, you know how superhero movies (and we’re including the Matrix series here) tend to have a lot of clunky Christian symbolism? Characters coming back from the dead, dying in a crucifixion pose, that sort of thing? Well, it’s actually Antichrist symbolism, because reasons.

    The guy may be on to something after all, because right now I just want to watch the world burn.

  • Broken Window Fallacy Alert!!!
    Also, how come thirteen people are so ignorant as to not understand the Broken Window Fallacy?

  • Strongly agreed.

  • Chris Hadrick

    It’s closer to the candle maker fallacy. We can’t have sunlight because it will affect candle profits.

  • Fanraeth

    Amusing given that Jesus used fictional stories as teaching illustrations. But I guess he was one of those people who thinks that every parable Jesus told was Really True.