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  1. ballou  

    is right on man. it's like journalists have this idea of objectivity, where they have to show both sides of stories when one side is seriously fucked up. journalists have a responsibility to report what they perceive to be the TRUTH. if that means saying, "new orleans is a disaster; there's no government aid; this is overt racism." then they need to SAY IT.

  2. Anonymous  

    Holden's article is pretty weird. I'm not really convinced by his argument that the reason we need teleportation is because it is faster. Has speed really been a good thing for our world, or has it just dehumanized it to the point that we simply sit in front of computers and pop prozac and coffee? It seems to me teleportation would be the ultimate form of that dehumanization - we need never actually live with another person if it takes a split second to reach them. And how depressing would it be to have teleportation and still not have your children visit you during the holidays? I know it's probably supposed to be funny, but there are people in the world who are very serious about these things.

    Ballous article is pretty good except for the end. I don't really see why full disclosure of funding will solve problems - especially when most of his arguement is about personal opinion. What artist or writer ever held the opinion of his or her money? Plus, there's no way to find a perfect balance of objectivity and disclosure. Should a writer say that he has a daughter, is allergic to cats, likes cereal with chocolate syrup for breakfast, and has nightmares about his abusive father? Should they say whether they believe in god? It seems like it would be better to make a clear separation of forums - one that professes a committment to objectivity and one that is opinion. This opinion forum, clearly delineated, doesn't need to spell out the personal history of its writers since the readers can see that these are opinions and not facts. Oh, wait, I guess newspapers already do that. Isn't the statement "This is Opinion" enough disclosure?

    • bemused:  

      you need not extend his argument categorically. it seems as though you miss the subtlety of ballou's specificity.

      • wtf  

        what on earth are you talking about? "muse" makes a good point..."full disclosure" isn't really necessary in an opinion article, though it is the responsible thing to do, that is to explain why you have certain biases.

        you're the one who's bemusing!

  3. Mike Teevee  

    Mark Holden watched Willy Wonka too many times as a child, I believe.

  4. That Iranian dude

    Was a bit out of line--in the space of an hour and a half he defended the execution of homosexuals and the persecution of the Ba'hai, reaffirmed or at least failed to qualify or mitigate Ahmadinejad's comments on Israel, denied the Holocaust, and had many a condescending statement for Christians, Lebanese, Lebanese Christians and probably a few other groups I'm leaving out. Indeed, this was an absolutely Borat-like show of bigotry and backwardness—only needless to say this guy has a lot more pull on the East Side. Which is downright disturbing.

    However, the one who really made me want to wretch was Dabashi, who wore a look of honest, genuine shock when the crowd began to turn on Mr. Zayif. As an academic--indeed, as man who's dedicated his life's work to the pursuit of truth--Dabashi had a responsibility to challenge the veracity of Zayif's opinion and to not legitimate his outright denial of the Halocaust. It's revealing that Dabashi let the ambassador off the hook for this most offensive and counter-factual statement, and it's even more revealing that he expressed such shock at the audience being shocked by it.

    • momz  

      you don't go see the iranian ambassador (or any ambassador) in order to convince him that his policies and world views are wrong or offensive. no matter how many "pointed"/idiotic questions you ask him, you're not going to suddenly convince him to change his views on gays, women, or jews. he's a bigot, but there's no way some ivy league infidel is going to change that.
      the reason you go is to learn what the guy is about, because whether you like it or not, he's in charge. the best you can do is understand him (and people like him) and his ideas as thoroughly as possible. then, if you ever find yourself in an influential position where what you think actually matters, you have the ability to understand where he's coming from and work effectively from there. it's the only real way you can actually DO something to minimize him.
      i think Dabashi expressed shock at the audience being shocked by "that iranian dude" not because he agreed with what Zarif was saying but because the people in the audience were so self-righteous and off. it seems clear to any reasonable person that you don't invite the iranian ambassador to have a reasoned discussion about human rights. so asking antagonizing questions, while they might make you feel better in your own little corner of the world, do nothing to furthur the discussion. you're there to listen, because it's really the only thing you can do, no matter how disturbing it is.

      • it doesn't mean

        You shouldn't try. As for understanding him, I now see that Iran views itself as a regional hegemon that feels it can do whatever it wants. And I also understand that the Iranian regime can and will use moral relativism to justify anything and everything they do.

        I also think that a "reasonable" discussion should always be expected of anybody representing a country of 50 million people. Shit, the forum was called "towards reconciliation"--and reconciliation implies a level of reasonable dialogue and discussion that this dude simply wasn't interested in reaching. Also, is it not just as obnoxious to spout bigotry under the guise of "reconciliation" as it is to direct pointed/"idiotic" questions as someone who clearly has some explaining to do?

  5. yo yo  

    Ballou's was probably his best column of the semester. Journalists should embrace an effort towards neutrality and fairness, not an ideal called objectivity.

    • something...  

      to be said for trying...

      "There are some critics who propose that, because pure objectivity is elusive, the press should give up any pretense of impartiality, that individual reporters should declare their views and write polemically.
      To me, that is like saying that because much of our children's future is ordained by genetics, we should abandon the business of being parents. Impartial journalism, like child-rearing, is an aspiration, but it is a worthy one. And, unlike your children, a daily newspaper affords you the chance to start all over the next day, and this time get it right." -- Bill Keller executive editor of the New York Times.

      Is that just a pipe dream?

  6. hmm  

    the government's hand is in yo pants? sheeit, deez nuts bein left alone and shit. HEY GOV! GIMME A HANDJOB!

  7. The teleportation  

    article is the most poignant evidence yet that liberal arts majors need to STAY THE GODDAMNED FUCK AWAY FROM SCIENCE. The article was mildly amusing until he used "precisely" in conjunction with "atoms and molecules".

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