Archive for March, 2008

D’Souza / Singer debate at Biola

March 31, 2008

So Cal readers, if you’re into apologetics and big name debaters, mark your calendars for April 25th. Dinesh D’Souza debates Peter Singer on the topic: “God, Yes or No?”

I’m sure it will be a good event, despite the lame title. (Does God exist, yes or no? Should we believe in God, yes or no? Hey there God, could you give me a Yes or No?)

Cost is $10; registration is required.

Complete schedule

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Obama and “reviving historical stereotypes”

March 28, 2008

Read Richard John Neuhaus’s commentary on Obama’s Philadelphia “race speech.” A snippet:

Conceding to him the best of intentions, Senator Obama has inadvertently launched an exercise in the demeaning of black America that is, in consequence, very ugly. Whites are invited to make their peace with the fact that these are the children of Stepin Fetchit and Amos and Andy who have replaced humor with the shuffle of political extremism but are still entertaining the country by doing their black thing. Cut them some slack. Lighten up.
[. . .]
By reviving historic stereotypes, Senator Obama’s speech and the uses to which it is being put has dealt a severe blow to race relations in America. It is giving a big boost to what someone has rightly called the soft bigotry of low expectations.

I myself read the whole speech, and watched about 10 minutes of it. I was impressed. But I think Neuhaus has some good points. Still, it might be good to have Obama in the White House, if for no other reason than (as Neuhaus says), “a black president would put a stake through the heart of liberal guilt-mongering about our putatively racist society.” Amen to that.

Murder in the church

March 18, 2008

Is what I almost committed yesterday. I was photographing the stained glass windows with my new tripod setup—essentially, doing it right for the very first time. Tourists and miscellaneous faithful drop in throughout the day to gawk / pray / etc. One large group was walking toward the altar, down the center aisle. I was in the center aisle. The whole group saw me and took pains to keep distance from the tripod, except the last. She had her head in the clouds, and as she walked by, KICKED the tripod leg. Note that my camera was sitting on top of this tripod. My heart stopped and I grabbed the tripod–no harm done except the shortening of my life by a few seconds.

Nothing was sacred to these people—they marched right up to the tabernacle, went behind the bishop’s chair, and all manner of other things. Having been set against them by the kicking incident, I paused in my photography to keep an eye on their altar shenanigans . . . if they started climbing or opening anything, I was going to tell them to beat it.

New insanity from higher education

March 9, 2008

If you want to look “inclusive” and as non-sexist as possible, you now use the @ sign at the ends of Spanish words that would normally end either in O or A. To wit: the new “themed floors” in the residence halls at UCLA, one of which will be the “Chican@/Latin@ diaspora” floor. The @ sign, being an A inside of an O, is supposed to encompass both male and female, and thus be less likely than insensitive words like Chicano and Latina to emotionally scar someone for life.

Good Lord, shield us from an overconcentration of buzz-words.

Read the article at the Daily Bruin. It may be the first and only time in your life that you laugh while vomiting, both uncontrollably.

But I have a problem with this. (Big surprise.) I want to know how the idea of a Chican@/Latin@ diaspora floor is more “inclusive” than any of the themed floors it is replacing:

an academic floor, a social justice floor, an art floor, a community service floor and a health and fitness floor

These cover EVERYBODY. Chican@ etc. covers only Chican@s. Funny thing, too: they plan to introduce new themes in the future if Chican@ et al. prove successful. One of the projected future themes is “health and fitness.”

And what’s up with the O encompassing the A? Like the A needs the O’s protection? And what about the letter O belonging to women, for its likeness to feminine anatomy? (See this book for an example.)

The whole thing—focusing on my race rather than on “academics” or “art”—is like a piano player taking lessons to master the trill, without caring ever to learn the circle of fifths.

Do read the whole article. It’s ridiculous.

OH, there is another something I read this week that could induce joint laughter and horking. As reported on the Phi Beta Cons blog, the Madonna Constantine plagiarism case at Columbia University has been subjected to a profoundly moving analysis by one Anthony Kelley. In the piece, entitled “Is Professor Constantine Guilty of Plagiarism?”, Kelley, a self-described “advocate of black radical feminism,” is concerned less with whether plagiarism occurred than with making sure nobody’s feelings get hurt:

By staying committed to the principles of compassion and love, I trust that we may be able to preserve both the integrity of all individuals involved and the community to which we are all committed.

If you see Kelley, tell him this: a plagiarizer forfeits his or her (can I just write “h@” and be understood?) integrity, and betrays the trust of the community h@ belongs to. However, to Kelley, the whole thing “is just another instance of white supremacy and sexism at work wherein a black woman’s credibility is systematically made illegitimate.”

I suppose the mournful saga of oppression begins when an Ivy League school hires a black woman and then awards her tenure. The depths of white supremacy’s evil are indeed fathomless.

I will say, though, that if she did not plagiarize, then her accusers need to pay, big time. If she did plagiarize, she needs to pay.

Anyway, I have work to do, so I’ll leave you with the ending. Anthony Kelley makes Mr. Rogers look like Rambo in this dripping performance:

We do not know whether or not Professor Constantine committed plagiarism. Neither do we know her motivations if she did indeed plagiarize. Nonetheless, we should have fewer conversations about punishment and more conversations about redemption and healing. Only after constructive dialogue can we even begin to discuss “punishment” or “sanctions.”

Imagine a forum in which Professor Constantine and her accusers engage in the life-sustaining practice of dialogue, actively listening to each other’s concerns and extending heart-felt compassion in understanding each other’s pain. Imagine the reconciliation that could arise from such a space. Imagine the impact such a forum would have on our community. Instead of just giving lip-service to the idea of dialogue, we would be demonstrating its importance and effectiveness, even when it is difficult and uncomfortable. Imagine an end to the lies. Imagine embracing truth. Imagine healing.

Anthony Kelley is a Columbia College junior majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. Strength to Love runs alternate Tuesdays.

HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!! Dangit, sign me up! I want love! I want Columbia WGS love!

Amateur Wikipedia vandalism

March 3, 2008

Fulton Sheen would probably have laughed. This almost prompted me to sign up and do my first Wikipedia edit, but I resisted. I have faith that the “online community” will take care of itself, without my butting in.

fulton sheen