The Slippery Style in American Rhetoric

My first career was in politics.  My jobs involved a lot of writing: memoranda, speeches, whitepapers, presentations, letters, reports, talking points, even monographs.  I’d studied classical rhetoric in college and had a lot of preconceptions about effective political communication; these quickly fell by the wayside as I was forced by bosses, clients, and circumstances—that is,…

The Nicki Manaj News Cycle

A celebrity said something silly, got called out for it by a politician, and Berlingske seemed to think that deserved a story: Fauci goes after Nicki Minaj for sharing vaccine skepticismBerlingske.dk/Ritzau/DPA, Sep 16 The headline is what Dan Rather might call “fake but accurate.” It wasn’t general skepticism Fauci was going after, but a very…

A Good Day for Big Brother

Friends of Big Brother rejoice! First: good news! According to DR, Twitter is partnering with AP and Reuters to improve their ability to enforce the narrative in real time: According to Twitter, the two news bureaus will contribute to trustworthy information about central topics and events being accessible while they happen. This will be especially…

On Misinformation

There was an article on Berlingske’s AOK website yesterday about the problem of internet misinformation: Nonsense and fake news have been spreading like a virus—here’s the cureKresten Schultz-Jørgensen, AOK, Berlingske.dk, July 29 Schultz-Jørgensen is the administrative director of Oxymoron, a Danish communications bureau that, according to their website (emphasis in original), “creates change by uniting…

The Inadequacy of “Enough’s Enough”

I haven’t seen any coverage of this in America (yet), but four Nordic newspapers published an open letter to China on their front pages today: Norway’s Aftenposten, Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter, Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat, and Denmark’s own Politiken. Politiken had it blaring out at the world from the top of their home page this morning: At…

No Country for Bad Ideas

Under which circumstances would you say it’s appropriate to stone a man to death? What conditions would have to be fulfilled? What if your ideas about circumstances and conditions differed from mine: how would we determine which of us was right? If neither of our answers conformed to the generally accepted definitions of when it…

On Seeing and Believing

There’s a passage from G.K. Chesterton’s Heretics (1905) that I’ve cited a few times on this blog. It’s a typically playful Chestertonian spin on a bit of the Gospel, specifically John 20:29, but since most of us aren’t as fluent in scripture as Chesterton’s readers were back in the day, let’s refresh: Jesus saith unto…

Violence Works

Not that long ago, a Danish newspaper editor had a theory. His theory was that Danes were so intimidated by the threat of Islamist violence that they were censoring themselves from speaking critically about Islamism. As he explained it himself, “widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam” were breeding…

The Central Scrutinizers

The big jury story making the rounds right now is the saga of juror #52 in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd. I’m more interested in a very different jury. It’s called “The Oversight Board” and its decisions are final: there is no appeal. It’s Facebook’s Star Chamber, and DR makes…

The Boomerang Principle

“What you do to your adversaries today, they will do to you tomorrow.” It’s such a simple maxim, and so obviously true, and so easily observable in every sphere of human affairs, and at every level of the animal kingdom, that one would expect it to have been said in a thousand different languages across…