Scientism, Signifying, and Meaning

August 29, 2013




Since I wrote my brief broadside against Steven Pinker’s monumentally misguided New Republic essay “Science Is Not Your Enemy: An impassioned plea to neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians,” a slew of additional responses have come to my attention. Rhetorically, my reply was a proslepsis (among its many names), a technique by which one talks about something while pretending […]





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A Second Look: The Brotha & the Otha

August 21, 2013




President Obama’s summer vacation just concluded, there was a fair amount of attention to the frequency of his golfing: courses traversed, rounds played, partners played with. ABC News even gave us “Obama’s Vacation by the Numbers.” He made FIVE outings to local restaurants, including TWO dinners with friends, ONE intimate night out with the first […]





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Citizen Bloomberg & the Fallacy of Appeal to Efficacy

August 13, 2013




When will it stop? I’m asking. When? These are supposedly educated people. (If all the supposeds in the world were actuals, the world would be a far, far better place than it has ever been before: all the cows would come home to hear the fat lady sing.) When will the people who would lead […]





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The Spectacular Arrogance & Ignorance of Steven Pinker’s Scientism

August 8, 2013




What is one to make of an essay seeking to bridge a purported divide of understanding between science and the humanities – in which the humanities are said to fear and mistrust the sciences – that opens with the sentence, “The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists”? The essay […]





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Talkin’ Shit about Race: Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

July 30, 2013




Had I served on George Zimmerman’s jury I believe I would have voted to convict him of manslaughter. I form this belief independent of Trayvon Martin’s race or any conviction about Zimmerman’s racial animus or suspicions. I would have voted to convict George Zimmerman of manslaughter had Trayvon Martin been white. Had Trayvon Martin been […]





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Helen Thomas and Oedipus

July 21, 2013




On the CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning, new host David Folkenflik hosted three female journalists, including Judy Woodruff and Candy Crowley in considering the career and legacy of Helen Thomas. The entire discussion addressed Thomas’s groundbreaking career and generous influence on young women journalists like Woodruff and Crowley. Just before the end of the discussion, […]





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As the sad red earth Turns

July 20, 2013




As you know if you have been a follower of this blog, I have withdrawn from the regular blogging of the past nearly five years in order to devote more of that time and energy to longer-form and more varied writing projects. The sad red earth is transforming into my writing website, where I will […]





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A Second Look: The Uncanny John Mearsheimer

July 8, 2013




The weekend found me in my cyber perambulations encountering greater than the usual concentration of anti-Semitic eruptions from the maw of the uncivilizing world. We withdraw from the end of history. It produced my own ironic rants in twitter eruption, first on Saturday, again on Sunday. Some meditation on the nature of that ur-hatred that […]





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Three Proposals for Altering the State of Surveillance

July 1, 2013




These several weeks after Edward Snowden’s arguable NSA “revelations” have offered several other kinds of revelation, including one additional that is also arguably not new – about how very badly reflexive political posturing contributes to the proper understanding of national issues or effective public debate. Let it be noted as further revealed for a broader […]





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“It goes without saying”: the Further Rhetoric of Terrorist Apologia

June 24, 2013




When the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, then with Salon,interviewed Rene Brulin in 2010, the purpose of the conversation was to discuss Brulin’s research into the origins of the contemporary usage of the term “terrorism.” According to Brulin it has two origins. One is in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the late 70s, President […]





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The State of Surveillance

June 17, 2013




God knows your calling patterns. God knows your friends on Facebook, your pages liked, your rants and your dissenting comments. More – and better than the NSA or FBI – God knows what you think. Or, if there is no personal God,  if that term is just a word made of letters – G-O-D – […]





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Notes Toward a Terror Apologist’s Rhetoric (Abridged but Unexpurgated)

June 10, 2013




This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on June 3, 2013. Apologia in the rhetorical tradition is not a common apology, in the simple sense of “sorry,” though it may fulfill that purpose. It may decidedly not. Apologia is a defense against accusation. Plato gave us Socrates’sApology, which was not. In the religious tradition, apologia is […]





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This Is Bradley Manning’s Idea of Whistleblowing

June 4, 2013




. This is his defense. According to the defense, Manning was motivated “to do something, something to make a difference,” after arriving inIraq in 2009 and hearing of the carnage that was going on around him. But Army prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow outlined how the short, bespectacled Manning fell into a partnership with the silver-haired media […]





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A Second Look: What About Chas Freeman?

May 28, 2013




. Whenever they become topically relevant, I am going to offer a scond look at some older pieces still worth reading. Yesterday, the anti-semitic Mondoweiss blog reposted a recent speech by Chas Freeman at A National Interest discussion about “Israel’s fraying image.” I do not link to Mondoweiss, but you can find Freeman’s comments at his […]





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The Obama Doctrine

May 24, 2013




. There is one. It is not simple and direct like the Monroe, Truman, or Carter doctrines. For this reason, those who are Obama’s foes and those who have always underestimated him, or who fail to see the world as he does, can easily caricature the manifestations of it. The Obama doctrine is more complex, […]





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Drones and the Human Agency of War

May 20, 2013




. This commentary previously appeared in the Algemeiner on May 17, 2013. Joshua Foust has written at Foreign Policy a misleadingly essay titled  “A Liberal Case for Drones.” I think there is such a case, but this it not it and a case for drones is not even truly the subject of the piece. The […]





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Homer did no injustice to his grief

May 17, 2013




. Robert Frost in the words of Tobias  Wolff, from Old School. Don’t tell me about war. I lost my nearest friend in the one they call the Great War. So did Achilles lose his friend in the war, and Homer did no injustice to his grief by writing about it in dactylic hexameters. There’ve […]





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Interview with John Spaulding

May 13, 2013




. From the spring issue of West Magazine, my interview with poet John Spaulding. Your can read Spaulding’s poems in the issue here. John Spaulding holds degrees in English and psychology and earned a PhD in psychology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He has worked as a psychologist for the Phoenix Indian Medical Center […]





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A Campaign of Willful Blindness on Terrorism

May 6, 2013




. This article first appeared in the Algemeiner on May 2, 2013.   On April 15, 2013 at 2:49 p.m. two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Most of us know the details, more or less – the three dead, 264 wounded and maimed, the days of fear, of investigation and pursuit, the […]





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The Boston Marathon Bombing and The Faith Privilege

May 3, 2013




This article first appeared in the Algemeiner on April 23, 2013.  You can read the follow up there now: “A Campaign of Willful Blindness on Terrorism.” The Boston Marathon bombing provoked enactment of what has emerged, since 9/11, as a ritual of political theater refined even beyond its long history of performance. Even while law […]





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