Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Heard by the Shifted Librarian:
"We're in a room full of Lisa Simpsons, but the world is full of Barts." - Stephen Abrams (approximate quote)

"85% of kids under age 25 have an IM account, usually more than one. They're having conversations on the web. When they get into the workforce, they are not going to want to get letters from their librarians." - Stephen Abrams
Lewis says of the parents of a Net Gen kid, "Technology had made them immigrants."
During my first fieldwork in Zimbabwe, I was intensely phobic about domestic service...I knew that domestic workers in southern Africa were exploited. So I was determined to wash all my own clothes and clean my own apartment...
The family who lived in the small home behind my apartment building had a different opinion about domestic service, since they provided it for everyone else in the building. From their perspective, I was a selfish prick.
One of the many, many things that the ...current administration appears incapable of learning is that our soft power is a great deal harder and more powerful than our hard power. If China is a partner rather than an adversary in fifty years, it will not be because of the 82nd Airborne Division, it will be because the economic, social, and cultural links between the U.S. and China are so strong that its politics will have reshaped themselves to some degree in our image and its people will see how much they have to gain from peace and how much we all have to lose from confrontation.
From Best of the Blogs:
The most overused and overrated word in the political lexicon is "change." All politicians are for it, even those who've been around for a hundred years and have never actually changed anything except their combovers. "Change" is one of those soothing, non-specific words that implies that the candidate promising it feels your pain and is going to do something to make your life better but hasn't quite figured out what that might be yet but will certainly do so should you vote for him or her.
Contempt for reason manifests itself differently on the Right and on the Left. The extreme Left of the spectrum...tends to denigrate truth, reason, and objectivity on (preposterously shaky) theoretical grounds and reject them even as ideals. Consequently, skepticism, relativism, and nihilism are common on the Left. On the right, it is common to pay lip service to the ideals of truth, reason, and objectivity, while in fact blatantly flaunting those ideals.
Reasoning that aims at actually discovering answers is inquiry. Pseudo-reasoning, reasoning that aims at making the strongest possible case for an arbitrarily selected "conclusion" (arbitrarily selected from the perspective of reason, that is) is not inquiry, it is, rather, debate. Debate is bad enough, since, as a contest, it encourages participants to refuse to admit when they are in error, thus basically eliminating any possibility of progress. Debate as entertainment is even worse, since it tends to exaggerate the worst aspects of debate. It encourages conflict and incivility and discourages the kind of extended, calm give-and-take that is required by real political inquiry.
Jay Rosen commenting in here: way of judging whether there is an "enemies" discourse going on is whether clear areas of agreement are, in fact, noted when they exist, or ignored.

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