Thursday, May 05, 2005

We've had some good comments over the years here at, but never until today has anyone been called out for having a "lemon-puss weltanschauung."

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Ross Myers and the NC VFW blogging crew will do a live video webcast of the Military blogging session from Nashville, for all those military bloggers who are too busy being in the military to get to Nashville...

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As graduation speakers cast about for inspiration, Marvin Olasky recommends a speech given by J. Gresham Machen at Hampden-Sydney College in 1929. "The man who today enters upon the Christian life is enlisting in a warfare against the whole current of the age," said Machen.

Hmm. That warfare thing wouldn't play too well at my Quaker alma mater, which is giving an honorary degree to Dave Matthews.

(More Machen, from his 1913 Princeton Theological Review essay, Christianity And Culture: "Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought...The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole of man.")

Olasky, a man with powerful connections of his own, goes on to say, "Materialist philosophies that treat human beings as machines or animals possess the high ground in our culture -- academia, the most powerful media and many of our courts."

Hmm. I think the first part has some truth to it -- but aren't at least some of the forces that hold the high ground in our culture actually the big-money boys who pay people like James Taranto to pretend they are on the same side as Olasky?

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Jeff Jarvis: "(B)ig media is adopting citizens' media faster than I ever would have predicted..."

"I thought this would take time to happen -- as it has taken time for mainstream media to decide that they wouldn't get cooties reading blogs. But I was operating in the wrong world, on the wrong timetable. Mainstream media journalists have been slow to accept or at least acknowledge citizens' media because they operate in a priesthood, a club closed in by its standards and rules, and they don't want to change any of that and allow new members in.

"But radio is entertainment. It is a business...So along comes content that is new and getting an audience and -- best of all -- cheap or even free, and you'll see guys in suits slap on iPods and webcams faster than you can spell EBITDA. "

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Accessible Airwaves: "After rejecting the UCC's ads that focus on inclusion, ABC television is allowing James Dobson's Focus on the Family to air two commercials."

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A VC: "I want to congratulate both Mark and Susan from Backfence and Roch Smith from 101 for getting these projects off the ground." A thoughtful critique of both approaches.

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Prom tips from Mr. Sun, including, "Your dress should reveal something unique about you, like 'I will do things Jennifer won't,' or 'My father is between jobs.'"

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The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion is working hard over at Backwards City. Seriously, Gerry should be proud, and Greensboro should be proud of Gerry.

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A Little Urbanity has mixed feelings about our little urban park.

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Fundraiser for PodcasterCon. Here's the proposed budget. You might be able to get coffee and bagels donated...

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Sandy Carmany: "Call it 'sour grapes' if you like since I was on the losing end of these votes at last night's council meeting. But the old adage -- 'He who does not learn from his mistakes is destined to repeat them' -- keeps coming back to me today."

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Amidst all the conversation about religion and politics, it's worth noting that labels and organizations are often the enemies of real dialogue. Money and power drive a lot of these debates, and individual voices and opinions get lost in the roar.

I bet Alex McFarland, who now works for James Dobson's Focus on the Family, and Mickey McLean and I could sit down together and hash out a workable solution to many political problems in about half an hour, with 20 minutes of that time devoted to discussing Carolina basketball and people we knew growing up in Guilford County. That's not to minimize our political or doctrinal differences, but to credit the many, many things we hold in common, and the fundamental truths we all recognize but may call by different names.

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Taranto and Hitchens debate the "Religious Right" on the WSJ editorial page (free reg. req.)

Taranto ("Why I'm rooting for the Religous Right") notes correctly that what we had in this country in 1963 was not a theocracy, and that there is intellectual heft and moral weight to many positions held by religious conservatives, and that political organizing and action are American rights.

But he falters with this sentence: "One can disagree with religious conservatives on abortion, gay rights, school prayer, creationism and any number of other issues, and still recognize that they have good reason to feel disfranchised."

There are two problems here. One is that lacking political control on an issue is not the same thing as being disenfranchised.

The more profound problem is with that opening, "One can disagree with religious conservatives on abortion, gay rights, school prayer, creationism and any number of other issues..." No, one can't, that's kind of the point here. It's one thing to have views on these issues that define one's own beliefs, it's another to say that these views will define public policy for all Americans. Taranto is saying that he's willing to ride the tiger in order to get the economic agenda he wants, but tiger-riding is not a sustainable activity.

Hitchens ("Why I'm Rooting Against the Religious Right ") invokes Barry Goldwater, Jesus, Ayn Rand, Leo Strauss and (on the cautionary side) William Jennings Bryan and Muslim extremists to make his case against "shallow, demagogic and above all sectarian religiosity." As usual, I find Hitchens funny and smart when he agrees with me.

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