Thursday, September 29, 2011

Are you like, a 1st ammendment girl? the Onion imbroglio

CNN: Did 'The Onion' take satire too far?

John King USA|Added on September 29, 2011
CNN's Candy Crowley and panel members discuss a fake tweet about a hostage incident released by "The Onion." I think if you take satire too far you lose your Satire License.

L.A. Times, "Onion story on Capitol Hill hostages sparks probe"

And finally, the link in question:

Congress Takes Group Of Schoolchildren Hostage: 'We Need $12 Trillion Or All These Kids Die'

Jonathan Turley, via John Caruso:

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama's personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. Indeed, only a few days after he took office, the Nobel committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize without his having a single accomplishment to his credit beyond being elected. Many Democrats were, and remain, enraptured.

Slate, Does Southwest Airlines Overpolice Its Passengers?

Jonathan Cook, Counterpunch, "The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian"

Two from Salon:

Thomas Rogers, "The theft of the American pension"

and Glenn Greenwald, The FBI again thwarts its own Terror plot:
Are there so few actual Terrorists that the FBI has to recruit them into manufactured attacks?

The FBI has received substantial criticism over the past decade -- much of it valid -- but nobody can deny its record of excellence in thwarting its own Terrorist plots. Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out -- only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI.

William Cavanaugh, Only Christianity can save economics

The financial crisis was not driven by materialism so much as by a desire to transcend material constraints.

To put it another way, far deeper than the desire for more "stuff" is the desire to overcome the limitations of the material world, of the human body and of death, and thus to be free from the scarcity and risk and dependence of a life that is materially based.

Maybe I'm missing something here. I don't understand what the difference is between materialism and trying to "transcend material constraints." I may write a bit more about this essay later.

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At September 30, 2011 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Cavanaugh is talking about existential anxiety and people using the acquisition of stuff to convince themselves they are the Gods and those with less stuff are merely human.

Not too difficult a concept to imagine or understand, really. For someone who is spiritual and not materialistic, the material world is a transitory thing. For some spiritually minded people, the transitory nature renders it nearly irrelevant.

Of course we can see where that goes in poorly grounded cases, if one remembers Jim Jones and Guyana.

There's no doubting that many people think they are better than others because they own more, and/or better, stuff than others. It's the essence of America, materialism via consumerism. "Buy and (use - drive - wear) this, girls will want to fuck you." (Axe deodorant, Corvette car, designer rags)

At September 30, 2011 3:11 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...


I suspect you are right as far as that goes. It reminds me of the study I've linked to a couple of times regarding how wealthier people tend to have less capacity for empathy.

'Upper-Class People Have Trouble Recognizing Others’ Emotions''

I think Raw Story has a longer discussion of this study too, from some time this past summer.

At September 30, 2011 9:45 PM, Anonymous ms_xeno said...

I've met spiritually-minded people who were every bit as unlikeable on a personal level (because of their obnoxious, absolute belief in their own superiority) as any stereotypical rich person.

Besides, plenty of wealthy people are religious as well. The two concepts aren't mutually exclusive.

Personally, I think there's no higher power at all, and I value a great old jazz record, or my comfortable workboots, or a terrific cup of coffee far more than I value rhetoric about future rewards from cosmic forces I don't believe in.

If living in the material present makes me shallow, I'm okay with it.

At October 01, 2011 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's making distinctions between rich people and spiritual people besides you, ms_x?

Spirituality is not religion.

Religion can include spirituality.

Religion can exist without spirituality -- it can be a matter of rituals and social agreements with only pretense at spiritual meaning or nutrition.

Most religions in materialistic societies are non-spiritual, and serve as social clubs and stratifiers, rather than sources of spiritual education or nourishment.

The dominant modern religions in America -- Christianity and Judaism -- are mostly about segregation and exaltation, secret handshakes and stratifiers, making apologies for consumerist attitudes and even encouraging them.

Not all religions are that way.

Not all who pretend at a-religion or non-religion are very deep, soulful, humane, or communal in outlook.

Anyone trying to categorize humanity based on religion's presence would do just as well to predict human behavior based on eye color.

At October 01, 2011 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That study is the most laughable bit of pseudo-science I've read in a while.

Assumptions aplenty.

"recognizing others emotions"?


You can quantify and qualify the ability to recognize another's emotions?


No. I don't think so.

Besides, what is "upper class"? Scientifically speaking, I mean.

It's fucking ridiculous.

I don't like upper class people at all, but I like pseudo-science even less.

At October 02, 2011 11:06 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Ms Xeno, Hi again KFO,

I haven't read the study, as you noticed it's behind a paywall. I agree that the use of "upper-class people" is odd, as opposed to the more objective "wealthy people" or something similar.

You can quantify and qualify the ability to recognize another's emotions?

I think you can. Maybe not about a specific person, but regarding general trends for groups, such as showing images of people displaying different expressions, and referencing the responses of one group of persons evaluating the emotional state of the person, vs another group's reactions. I don't know how they actually went about it in this study, but that strikes me as a plausible approach.


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