Thursday, 3 April 2008

“Any Tactic, However Destructive”

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Sally Bedell Smith.

A Year Ago


Yankee Watch

Boston’s magic number to clinch the American League East title is 159.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Finding Political News Online, Young Viewers Pass It Along” (front page, March 27):

It is one thing for young people (and even the not so young) to get caught up in the excitement of a charismatic presidential campaign and to “rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them.”

But it seems to me that in this age of news à la carte, when we can easily limit ourselves to just what we are interested in and have it served up to our computers, mobile phones and BlackBerrys, we must also redouble our efforts to look for the vital news of the day, from both here and around the world, that will affect our lives.

That means we may have to click through a news Web site, sit through an informed news broadcast or, yes, even spend a few minutes thumbing through the pages of a newspaper.

Let’s not confuse what excites us with what we need to know.

Edward Deitch
New York, March 27, 2008
The writer was, until recently, a senior producer for “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.”

Note from KBJ: I love the following paragraph from the Times story:

Young people also identify online discussions with friends and videos as important sources of election information. The habits suggest that younger readers find themselves going straight to the source, bypassing the context and analysis that seasoned journalists provide.

Replace “context and analysis” with “manipulative rhetoric.” Replace “seasoned” with “biased.”

John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 41

During the winter of 1821–2, Mr. John Austin, with whom at the time of my visit to France my father had but lately become acquainted, kindly allowed me to read Roman law with him. My father, notwithstanding his abhorrence of the chaos of barbarism called English Law, had turned his thoughts towards the bar as on the whole less ineligible for me than any other profession: and these readings with Mr. Austin, who had made Bentham’s best ideas his own, and added much to them from other sources and from his own mind, were not only a valuable introduction to legal studies, but an important portion of general education. With Mr. Austin I read Heineccius on the Institutes, his Roman Antiquities, and part of his exposition of the Pandects; to which was added a considerable portion of Blackstone. It was at the commencement of these studies that my father, as a needful accompaniment to them, put into my hands Bentham’s principal speculations, as interpreted to the Continent, and indeed to all the world, by Dumont, in the Traité de Législation. The reading of this book was an epoch in my life; one of the turning points in my mental history.

Note from KBJ: Like Bentham, James Mill viewed the English common law as an incoherent mess. Perhaps he thought young John would clean it up. John did not in fact become a lawyer. He went on to work for the East India Company.

Best of the Web Today