Saturday, February 14, 2004
HMMM... SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT HITLER?
Physics Geek pointed out a story about a teacher in upstate New York who provoked a little controversy with one of her assignments:
A 10th-grade social studies teacher caused a storm of criticism from
parents after she conducted a lesson in which students were asked to
debate the positive and negative effects of Adolf Hitler, Benito
Mussolini and Joseph Stalin.
Positive effects of Hitler? Like... uh... for example?
medical experiments conducted on concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust led to advancements in the medical field
Interesting theory. In a very specific way, I agree with her.
When judging anything to be either good or bad, there are always two implied questions: for whom? and by what standard?
The Holocaust is generally considered bad. For whom? The innocent people who were murdered. The standard? Murdering innocent people is bad.
The teacher looked at the Holocaust in a different context for her assignment, and concluded that, in that context, the Holocaust was good. For whom? The innocent people whose lives were saved by Holocaust-inspired medical experiments. The standard? Saving innocent people's lives is good.
From there, you can go on to judge whether the harm from the millions
dead outweighed the good from the thousands saved, and it's so
overwhelmingly obvious that it does that the question is never asked in
polite company. However, I will say that in the isolated, well-delineated, and very specific context which I described above, it is true that the Holocaust was "good".
What bothers me about this story is NOT that the teacher chose an
abnormal perspective on the Holocaust, it's the Principal's reaction:
"I believe it was inappropriate and insensitive to the Jewish students,"
To him, it's not about whether the teacher's statements were even
slightly true in a very narrow context, it's about whether someone's
feelings got hurt.
The "no child offended" standard of education pisses me off when howling moonbat leftists do it to keep kids from drawing a picture of soldier with a gun,
and it pisses me off here, too. Context, facts, truth, arguments,
discussion, reason, logic - all of it sacrificed to the gods of
inoffensiveness. There's nothing wrong with making kids stretch their minds, even if it makes them uncomfortable, if for no other reason than the fact that discomfort is a part of life, and it does these children an unfathomable disservice to not teach them how to deal with that.
I don't know why the teacher chose her odd assignment. I also don't
know how clear she was in informing her students that the tiny "good
part" can't possibly outweigh the overwhelming "bad part". The story
doesn't say. All I know is that children have to learn how to think and
judge and reason, regardless of how it makes them feel,
because only by doing so can they eventually become the vigilant
citizenry capable of preserving and protecting the free nation in which
posted by Harvey at 11:36:23 PM permalink HOME
HMMM... SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT THE 70'S?
J of Quibbles & Bits pegs the bitter meter with a short list of reasons why the 70's sucked.
Yeah, the music sucked, the color scheme sucked, the Presidents sucked,
and ALL THAT HAIR! On the head, on the face, on the chest, on the
crotch... just nasty.
One thing he missed was that particularly unpleasant shade of orange that was in a lot of places. Makes me shudder just thinking about it.
He hinted that he might try to come up with something good about the 70's. I can think of 4 things, but that's about it:
Boston's first album.
Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".
After that, I draw a blank. Anyone else have any ideas?
posted by Harvey at 10:23:54 PM permalink HOME
WIN FRANK J.'s FUNNY!
There's a new permalink contest at IMAO, and there's still time to throw your hat in the ring. Instead of that multi-week mess that happened last time around, this is going to be one quick flash:
Write the funniest Top Ten list you can on a topic to be announced.
6 blogs enter, one blog leaves.
The twist is that Frank J. will be one of the entrants. He's assuming he'll win, and he'll just give a permalink to #2.
He may be right about that, but we'll see. The other twist is that, since I was First Loser in the last permalink contest, I'm entitled to a slot in this one. Which leaves 4 open slots, to be filled through random selection.
It's been 6 months since the last contest, and I've learned a LOT about funny since then. This is going to be interesting.
Oh, and speaking of funny, the twerp who pulled "One bullet at a time"
out of his ass to screw me out of the big prize in the last contest?
He's not even blogging anymore.
posted by Harvey at 9:56:42 PM permalink HOME
KING OF THE BLOGS:
WEEK 2 – CHALLENGE & WHOLE BLOG REVIEWS
Here are my judgments with scores omitted to retain suspense. The final
results will be available at the KotB home page soon, and I'll let you
know the outcome. If you're a betting man, put a couple on ChristWeb.
He's gonna be tough to beat forever.
The Challenge Question this week: Why do you think what you have to say is important to blog readers?
GOOD POINTS: Wants his readers to attain enlightenment. Will make a fine Buddha some day.
BAD POINTS: Forgot to drop Jesus's name in the list of important things
he has to say. Stephen should probably expect a small box of wrath to
be FedEx'd to his door in the near future for the omission.
GOOD POINTS: Bill comes clean about the source of his
succinctness phobia. Apparently it was something he picked up in law
school. He also takes the opportunity to LINK HIS OWN BLOG SEVEN
FREAKING TIMES in one post. Such self-absorbed narcissism will serve
him well should he step over Stephen's twitching corpse to ascend to
BAD POINTS: Took so long to finish reading this post, that, before I
got the end, I had to stop to shave. Twice. This isn't the OJ trial,
it's a blog entry. That nascent wit you're working on? Brevity is the
soul of it.
WHERE THE HELL WAS I?
GOOD POINTS: "I don't." he says. "YES!" I say. Someone finally got the answer right by rejecting the premise of the question. Kudos, Charlie. Bonus for the phrase "upsnort Sanka".
BAD POINTS: I was going to take about 5 points off for tossing in all
those gratuitous, stream-of-consciousness asides, but I had a
growing-Grinch-heart epiphany – this sort of unplanned bizarrity IS
Charlie. That aside, I must still remind him that throwing darts at
stamps has nothing to do with chewing on gems. Please don't met your
NOTE: While it might seem unfair that
I dinged Bill for prattling on, but not Charlie, I do so with reason.
With Charlie, it's a deliberate technique – the shotgun approach to
comedy: say enough things, and something will hit somebody's target.
Bill, on the other hand, is a professional wordsmith, and should be
able to tighten up his writing without losing anything in the process.
I think he has the talent to do better in this area.
THE WHOLE BLOG: TECHNICAL MERIT & PERSONALITY
Technical things I look for:
E-mail contact info available
Blogger's name/pseudonym prominently displayed
Site search feature enabled
Link to an "About Me" post on the sidebar
Blogger's gender is easily discernable
Readable font style & size
Readable color scheme (for example, NOT bright red type on bright green
Divisions between posts clearly marked
Paragraphing in entries (NOT just writing one fat block of text)
GOOD POINTS: He was technically perfect last week, he's still technically perfect this week.
BAD POINTS: I'm going to ding him slightly on the personality issue. I
still don't understand his penchant for hiding his thoughts in an
extended entry. Your thoughts are the reason people come to your site.
I can see using extended entries to hide a joke's
punchline or to hide a picture as a courtesy to people on dial-up, but
"too many words" isn't a good reason to use it. If people read an entry
half way, they'll read to the bottom. Don't make them fumble for their
mouse for no reason. It's distracting and unnecessary.
GOOD POINTS: Technically excellent. I like that he prominently displays a fix for a known bug in the sidebar.
BAD POINTS: If Stephen's misuse of extended entries is a misdemeanor,
Bill's is a felony. Stop holding your words as political prisoners
behind the iron bars of the extended entry links. Other minor flaws
would be that the bug fix should be a little higher
so it can be seen without having to scroll down, and you might want to
place that contact e-mail address on the front page as well as in the
"about me" post.
WHERE THE HELL WAS I?
GOOD POINTS: Technically perfect, plus I really like the contrasting
color scheme between the sidebars and the middle column. I also like
the prominent featuring of the search feature in the header, which
space is usually eaten up by a banner on most blogs.
BAD POINTS: Gave KotB Judge Susie's ass
a firm, wet smooch with his finely-tailored blogrolling of her, and
completely ignored my hairy hinder. However, considering the
rosy-cheeked delight that is Susie's sittin' spot, I guess I can't
posted by Harvey at 9:06:56 PM permalink HOME
LOOKING FOR A GOOD LABEL
Reid of PhotoDude doesn't like partisan labels,
does not consider himself either Republican or Democrat, and gives a
short list of reasons why he considers himself a "fence-sitter":
On foreign policy I'm a
distinct hawk (and was long before 9/11), who supported regime change
in Iraq. I must be a Republican.
When it comes to social and
domestic policies, I'm pretty liberal, and do not believe we need to
amend the Constitution to define marriage. So I must be a Democrat.
I believe strongly in a balanced
budget, and fiscal responsibility. I must be a Republican ... no, I
can't even fake saying that with a straight face, given slashed taxes
coupled with a 20% increase in discretionary spending, and a half
trillion dollar deficit in the upcoming budget. But you know what I'm
trying to say.
I'm pro-choice. That makes me a Democrat, right?
Oddly, I agree with him on all 4 issues, but I never considered myself
"independent". From 1996 (I became politically aware rather late in
life) to 9/11, I was a staunch Libertarian, and I couldn't find single
thing in their official party platform that I disagreed with. Well, I
was a little unsure about their "bring all the troops home and don't
even twitch unless we're invaded" foreign policy, since I thought it
was probably a good idea to have troops in the area if anything heated
up, but I was willing to be flexible.
After 9/11, I did a lot of reading, and a lot of thinking, and I came
to the realization that having troops all over the world was vital to
intelligence gathering operations. If all the boys were at home, the
murdering thugs of the world could plot, plan, and execute unmolested,
and we really WOULD have to have the fight on our own borders. Bad
So I can't even consider myself a Libertarian anymore, since the
party's official line is dangerous, short-sighted, cowardly
appeasement. This year I'll have to hold my nose and vote for Bush.
Don't get me wrong - he's a hero in my eyes for his foreign policy
actions since 9/11 - but domestically, he's been tossing cash around
like the wobbliest of drunken sailors, and I hate him for that. But I
want to live long enough to hate another day, so I'll do what I can to
bring him back in November.
Meanwhile, I'll be eyeing that house in New Hampshire...
posted by Harvey at 8:51:33 PM permalink HOME
The party's still goin' on in the comments at Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon. Free booze, loose women, and all the bar snacks you can wrestle away from Dana.
Hurry up & join the fun before the Bartender gets back & kicks everyone out.
Oh, and try not to step in any of the puddles on the floor of the Champagne Room...
posted by Harvey at 12:13:50 AM permalink HOME
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Last update: 9/10/2005; 5:12:28 PM.