Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Po-Mo Crackup

A couple of Saturdays ago I posted on an old Chuck Colson column in which he critiqued postmodernism. I mentioned that Brian McLaren, a Maryland pastor who has become well-known for his books urging the church to accomodate itself to the postmodern mindset, wrote a rejoinder to Colson and then Colson wrote a response to McLaren. Despite the fact that the exchange is almost five years old all three essays are very much worth the time it takes to read them, and the latter two can be found here.

HT: Byron


Grand Finale

The last of the Loser Letters is up at National Review Online. All's well that ends well.


Iowa and New Orleans

In the wake of the Iowa floods Dick Francis passed along a few pertinent questions:

  • Where was the hysterical 24/7 media coverage, complete with reports of cannibalism?
  • Where was the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hadn't solved the problem and where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) were?
  • Why wasn't the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in Chicago?
  • When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines?
  • Where were Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks?
  • Where were all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets?
  • When will we hear Governor Chet Culver say that he wants to rebuild a 'vanilla' Iowa, because that's the way God wants it?
  • Where are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people?
  • How come 2 weeks afterwards you never heard anything more about the Iowa flood disaster?

Well, why was the media response to Iowa so much different than the response to Katrina, and why was the reaction of the victims of the Iowa floods so much different than the reaction of the victims of Katrina?

Perhaps we have fostered a culture of dependency among urban blacks that has all but extinguished in many of them the qualities of self-reliance and initiative that were so much in evidence in the people along the upper Mississippi. Could it be that the media sees members of the black underclass as fundamentally incapable of taking care of themselves and considers it unfair to expect them to be able to react to crisis with the same moxie as white middle class Americans? Do poor blacks feel that way about themselves?

It would be interesting if the media and others engaged in a little self-examination of the racial assumptions at play in the way these two natural disasters were covered and responded to.


Twilight of the War

The Associated Press has a story on Iraq that all but declares "Mission Accomplished". This is the AP, mind you, so there's no praise in the story for the White House, although Gen. Petraeus gets some grudging credit for the surge. The writers of the piece declare as if it were news what anyone who had been paying attention has known for some time, "The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost".

The scales having fallen from the AP's eyes, Senator Obama's narrative over the last two years that Iraq is irretrievably lost is deeply complicated and compromised. The Senator now appears to be the only person left in American politics, outside of a handful of left-wing diehards, who still thinks that the surge was the wrong thing to do. Like the Japanese soldier holding out on some lonely atoll still fighting the war thirty years after it had ended, Senator Obama still refuses to admit that the surge was a strategic and tactical success and that it has made an enormous difference in the lives of ordinary Iraqis.

He's in a tough spot, actually. If he acknowledges the success of the Bush/Petraeus/McCain surge he concedes that his own judgment of such matters is greatly inferior to that of his rival, but if he continues to refuse to acknowledge that the surge was the right thing to do then he looks like a man who can't see the sun at noon on a clear day.

P.S. We wrote a few days ago that, by choosing the Victory Column as the site for his speech in Berlin Obama "tacitly endorses the Nazi symbolism of the Column and makes himself appear just as blissfully ignorant of European history and culture as the feckless tourist who speaks no French."

It was objected by a reader that this was too strong. It's possible, the reader rightly pointed out, that Obama doesn't know the history of the column or that he will use the backdrop to denounce militarism. Unfortunately, the senator surely knew by the time of the event what the monument represented and there was nothing in his speech which would redeem his choice of the site for his rally. So, I think the original point stands - Obama tacitly endorsed the symbolism of the monument by holding his rally there, or, at best, simply chose to ignore the symbolism. Imagine the media reaction had John McCain done something similar.