David Geltner

Conor Friedersdorf has a fascinating interchange with Geltner in the Atlantic. The ideas are rich and wide ranging. In an era of STEM, the computer scientist has other things on his mind, not least, how we nurture our soul.

 As important as scholarship and science are, arts and religion are more important. … Arts and religion define, in a sense, a single spectrum rather than two topics. And this spectrum is where you find mankind’s deepest attempts to figure out what’s going on in the universe. A student who doesn’t know the slow movement of Schubert’s B-flat major op post sonata, or the story of David and Absalom, needs to go back to school and learn better.

HT: Micah Mattix, Prufrock

Gosnell and Abortion

Slowly, like a prodded beast, the media has begun to turn its attention to the Gosnell case, the infamous abortion mill that was little more than a late term abbatoir. Rather than review the entire, sorry mess of evil, let’s give this to Conor Friedersdorf. Of more interest has been the hesitancy of the media to cover this case, here the work  of Mollie Hemingway at Get Religion has played a major role (this is her latest).

Yet, prodding the media seems futile. Why do they turn down such a seemingly juicy story? Friedersdorf, again has some ideas. The best idea been that of “mushiness” — the uncertainty of the general public (and so the reader) on the question of abortion itself. No matter how the conservative would trumpet Gosnell as an exemplar of what abortion “means” the reality may be something different.

The problem with that framing is simply that most abortions take place far earlier (90 percent in the first trimester), and were one to grant the framing of Plan B as an abortifacent, then far more than 90 percent. This shift of weight to the early stages of a pregnancy certainly undergirds public experience and understanding of the issue. Ironically, then the use  of the term “abortion” to cover everything from infanticide in the Gosnell case, to birth control in Plan B undercuts potential outrage and framing of Gosnell as about “abortion.”

Political Beguilement

One day, it would be interesting to tally up all the morally indefensible political attacks Rove has been party to in his life and to speculate about what circle of hell he and his hack Democratic analogs would occupy if Dante were writing today. These people are treated in television appearances as if they’re upstanding community members, but it really is true that much of their professional lives have been spent deliberately manipulating people for financial gain.

Conor Friedersdorf, “Obama Is Against Blowing a Bunch of Cash in Vegas, So the GOP Is for It” The Atlatic Online. 14 September 2012.

In our speech class we have been reading Joe Stowell’s wise, little devotional The Weight of Your Words. In chapter two he deals with characteristic sins of speech (and by extension of public “speaking”). There’s a word that Friedersdorf is reaching for, it’s beguilement.