The Lady Tasting Tea continues tomorrow.
Freeman Dyson Speaks
From our man-on-the-spot WS comes this link to an interview with Freeman Dyson regarding his work “In Praise of Heretics.” That word no longer has religious connotations, a milieu where the meaning is almost the opposite of what it is now. Warning: bad music alert (the intro to the program). Fun fact: Dyson was a statistician for the RAF in World War II! And he doesn’t have a PhD! (Therefore, how can he be smart?)
NPR’s interim CEO, Joyce Slocum, told the Associated Press, “I think if anyone believes that NPR’s coverage is biased in one direction or another, all they need to do to correct that misperception is turn on their radio or log onto their computer and listen or read for an hour or two. What they will find is balanced journalism that brings all relevant points of view to an issue and covers it in depth so that people understand the subtlety and the nuance.”
Slocum is statistically right: many NPR programs have nothing to do with politics and are not in danger of bias, except towards simplicity, our national curse. On the other hand, NPR member stations are often the only place that one can listen to free “classical” music on the radio (the word is a euphemism for “good” or “serious”). But of the shows, like news programs, that are politically tinged, it is absurd to claim NPR does not have a leftist bias. So the question, Mr Slocum, is this: why should I continue to give you money?
Quote from an unfortunately titled Cal Thomas piece.
TSA Body X-rays
From chief crank John Dvorak come a link to a TSA press release:
The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.
What a, uh, surprise.
Marxist, Feminist, Structuralist, Post-structuralist…
From an article by Alan Bekhor on scholasticism:
Consider, to take one example from many, the book Beginning Theory — an Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory by Peter Barry, which has virtually become a set text for any humanities or literature undergraduate course in a British university today. Five rules, Barry affirms, are to be borne in mind for critical thinking about literature: “politics is pervasive, language is constitutive, truth is provisional, meaning is contingent, human nature is a myth.”
Each of those five rules are false (or have trivially true interpretations). Given these gross, even scurrilous, falsities as a base, is it therefore any wonder that our humanities departments are in the shape they are in?
They Are Too In Bad Shape
Via A&LD, comes Uncle Joseph Epstein’s “Lower Education: Sex toys and academic freedom at Northwestern.” After lamenting that Northwestern could do no better than invite commencement speakers like Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, or Dianne Sawyer, he writes of the Michael Bailey Dildo Scandal:
Because a subject exists in the world doesn’t mean that universities have to take it up, no matter how edgy it may seem. Let books be written about it, let research be done upon it, if the money to support it can be found, but the nature and quality and even the sociology of sexual conduct—all material available elsewhere in more than plentitude for the truly interested—does not cry out for classroom study. Students don’t need universities to learn about varying tastes in sex, or about the mechanics of human sexuality. They don’t need it because, first, epistemologically, human sexuality isn’t a body of knowledge upon which there is sufficient agreement to constitute reliable conclusions, for nearly everything on the subject is still in the flux of theorizing and speculation; and because, second, given the nature of the subject, it tends to be, as the Bailey case shows, exploitative, coarsening, demeaning, and squalid.