Free speech for Putin—but not for you

On Sunday, Berlingske published an editorial in which they came out in support of free speech—arguing against the censorship of fake news on the basis of sunlight being the best disinfectant. Here’s the lede: “Instead of censorship, Western democracies should bet on freedom of expression as the best antidote to the information war.” That should…

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

Berlingske published their most superfluous and redundant editorial of the decade this morning: Berlingske believes: Everything and everyone is better than TrumpBirgitte Borup, Berlingske.dk Leader, August 1 There’s no need to parse through the whole thing because there’s very little in it that’s new or novel. The headline alone is just a condensation of the…

Patience has a shelf life

I was pleased to encounter the following statement in Fox News article I stumbled over last night. It was made by CNN host Don Lemon on live television: “We sit around and we talk about these things and we want to give this false equivalence to Democrats and Republicans. That is not where we are…

The most interesting man in the world

The richest person in the world is always going to be the person in whom the most people are interested, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the richest person in the world is always going to be the most interesting person in the world. But Elon Musk certainly is. Flamboyant, eccentric, iconoclastic, mischievous, and a master…

Debating the Debate on Debate

An opinion piece in Berlingske asks an interesting question: Should there be room for “well-coiffed hatred and cheeky fascism” at the Popular Assembly?Esben Vest Billingsøe (Opinion), Berlingske.dk, May 20 What I’m translating as the “Popular Assembly” could also be translated as the “People’s Meeting.” It’s an annual summer event (held in the 24th week of…

Democracy Under Attack

We begin this post with two quick items before getting into our headline event. First: last night’s Fredagsrock at Tivoli appears to have been a calm affair. Youngest attended with four friends: they were able to enter the park at about three in the afternoon, the crowd never got out of hand, and they enjoyed…

Chilling

On January 7, Ekstra Bladet published an editorial in which they apologized for not having done a better job questioning the government on all things covid: We FailedEditorial, EkstraBladet, Jan 7 I only became aware of the editorial today when I stumbled over it on a conservative American website (AceOfSpades). There are two reasons I…

Definition, Please

There’ve been a lot of international headlines the past couple of days about the British Home Secretary’s having put forward a bill to punish Britons expressing racism online toward soccer players by depriving offenders of the right to attend matches in person for up to ten years. For example: British minister tightens grip: Online hatred…

A Clash of Symbols

There’s a lot going on in the world these days.  The Danish media are bubbling over with stories about the upcoming election, the continuing mink scandal, and reactions to the COP26 summit.  The prime minister has called a press conference for this very evening to discuss “the corona situation,” and her remarks will surely dominate…

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…