Sunday, October 31, 2004

Induction

Kieran at CT points to a new reason for optimism: in every election year in the seventy-one year history of the Washington Redskins, they've won their last game before election day when and only when the Presidential incumbant has gone on to lose the election. The Packers beat the 'Skins today -- if the winning of football games and of Presidential elections are natural kinds, and thus able to enter into law-like generalizations, this bodes well.

If there is a force for justice in the universe...

...it will work towards the Ravens' defeat of the Eagles, and especially of Terrell Owens, today.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Key Endorsement

John Kerry seems to have won the hamster vote. Hat tip: Shari.

Fake Barn CountryWe

Continuing TISTAT's access-denied theme, Fake Barn Country is having some issues. SPAM was up last week by more than a little, and since yesterday, we've been unable to log in to delete SPAM or write new entries. I've put in a request to Brown Web Publishing to see if they can figure out what's going on. In the meantime, advice is appreciated. When we try to log in, which we do by going to this site
http://cgi-user.brown.edu/cgi-user/opp/mt.cgi
instead of being prompted for a password and username, we get this error message:
Forbidden You don't have permission to access /cgi-user/opp/mt.cgi on this server. Apache/1.3.27 Server at webpub.brown.edu Port 80
Did some setting get assigned wrong? Has a clever SPAMmer/hacker managed to lock us out of our own site? I know next to nothing about such things... help much appreciated. I'll be updating FBC news here if there's more to report before we're able to post there. UPDATE, already (6:15 p.m.): I went to post a comment at FBC, pointing to this post, but it turns down that my ability to comment there, too, is now gone. UPDATE (Nov. 1, 5:00 p.m.): We don't seem much closer to a solution, although we have a hypothesis as to a cause. The URL we've been using references "opp", which was Brian Weatherson's paper's blog before he left Brown. His two blogs and FBC were all set up using the same stuff, it seems -- the working theory is that somebody deleted his old things, failing to realize that they were still being used by us. I'm still waiting to hear back from Brown Web Publishing for insight. UPDATE (Nov. 2): FBC is back online, finally. At the moment, it's even free of grossly offensive spam.

Friday, October 29, 2004

We must protect our youth. From ME!!!!!

Elsie teaches in a New York City public high school. She told me today that she tried to access my blog from a school computer, and got this message:
Access Denied The requested document, http://ichikawa.blogspot.com/, will not be shown. Reason: Found in Denied List (SexEd/Advanced). Entry causing block is ichikawa.blogspot.com.
Does anyone understand how things like this work? Does that last line mean that someone specifically entered my blog as objectionable? Or is some automatic filter picking up bad keywords? It's weird, because I don't really ever talk about vulvae or fellatio or waiting for marriage. I don't think my ideas are very dangerous...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Now that's some crazy shit

Exactly one of the following two columns represents intentionally incomprehensible, apparently-pointless rambling. Can you guess which? Is it Column A? Excerpt:
"It should be!" says [identifying name omitted]. "The signs mean things - great an terrible things! Omens an miracles an dogs marrying cats an goats born with two heads, stars an moons an green clovers! Dark things to come! There's a wolf at the door! There's a bear in the woods!" "Maybe the bear will eat the wolf," says me. "Then we can all settle down an get a pizza with the bear!" "Your commie bear cannot save you now!" says [identifying name omitted]. "Wolves are the pirahna of the forest. They can skeletonize a cow in under thirty seconds!" "And the bear is the cow of the forest," says me. "Which is why forest-farmers milk bears for honey - or as it is technically known, hunny."
Or is it Column B? Excerpt:
It is only now that the dinner party lion emerges to stake his claim to greatness. While others quiver with pre-election anxiety, their mood rising and collapsing with the merest flicker of the polls, he alone radiates certainty. He alone can read the internals, cross-tabs and trends, can parse Gallup and Zogby and emerge with clear answers. He alone can captivate a gathering, while men hang eagerly on his words and women undress him with their eyes. He begins his dinner party performance with a combination of impressive name-dropping and crushing banality: "I was talking to Karl the other day - Karl Rove - and he mentioned that winning the most electoral votes is the key to winning the election. And when I bumped into Tim - Tim Russert - at Colin and Alma's place, he agreed." By this point soup will be cooling in the bowls. His dinner companions will be waiting for him to validate their highest hopes or underline their fears. The lion must be careful not to utter a final prediction too quickly.

Farenheit 9/11 is Downloadable

I didn't see this film, even though I wanted to. Now it is available for internet download here. The site in question claims to have Michael Moore's permission to distribute the movie for free, and that therefore this is legal -- I haven't followed up to see whether that first claim true, and I also don't know if the argument is valid -- that his permission is sufficient to make this legal, given studio rights, etc., but I'm taking the web site author at his word unless I have reason to do otherwise. The high-resolution WMV version is about a fifteen minute download on my high-speed connetion. I'm about halfway done with downloading it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

And the upsetting email keeps coming

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins tells me:
International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) arrived in Washington October 7 to prepare to monitor the U.S. presidential elections. The OSCE delegation, which was invited by the U.S. State Department, monitored the congressional elections in 2002. The initial request was made in a June 30 letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan by several Congressional Democrats. The United Nations declined, but the U.S. State Department, at the request of the same Congressmen, extended an invitation to the OSCE. This is equivalent to placing American troops in blue helmets! It undermines U.S. sovereignty and is uncalled for. U.S. elections are looked upon the world over as the best example of representative democracy.
How can any fair-minded person possibly object to having non-partisan observers to verify that due process is observed? Seriously, tell me how.

Asian = Good

I've been receiving emails for a couple of years now from a group called 80-20, an Asian-American interests PAC. In general, considerations of ethnicity do not figure much into my life, and I think the idea of an ethnic group favoring, for instance, one Presidential candidate over another is a little bit silly. (This didn't stop me from being happy to see 80-20's endorsement of John Kerry.) But today I think they've crossed the line from a little bit silly to very simple-minded and naive, possibly even offensively so. They were reacting to this NYT story, which identified an Asian-American, Harold Hongju Koh, as a possible John Kerry Supreme Court nominee.
A Supreme Court appointment like that, for Asian Ams., will mean (1) NO MORE risk of internment for us and our children, & (2) NO MORE selective enforcement of laws, e.g. enforcing E.O. 11246 for all Americans but not for AsAms. We’ll get a just hearing in the highest court of our land. Vote KERRY For A Brighter Future.
I don't know enough about the issues to know whether I should be upset about the enforcement of E.O. 11246. But I'm offended by the suggestion that just because he's a member of a certain ethnicity, he'll defend certain policies. If I were the potential nominee, I'd find these comments marginalizing and offensive. (If they're reacting to something they know about his *positions* other than his ethnicity, then fine. But they should say so. As far as I can tell, they're not.)

Fact versus Opinion

Brian Leiter links to a page entitled 100 Facts and 1 Opinion: The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration. The 'facts' are pretty clearly facts, at least if they're true, which they seem to be. Number one is "The Bush Administration has spent more than $140 billion on a war of choice in Iraq." But the 'opinion' is this: "If the past informs the future, four more years of the Bush Administration will be a tragic period in the history of the United States and the world." Is this really a non-fact? Are we committing to non-cognitivism about tragedy? That seems at the very least non-obvious.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Advertising I'd love to see

If fafblog's Presidential endorsements aren't enough hilarity for you, then check out this series of anti-John Kerry, pro-GWB ads. All three are very worthwhile, but the second one is my favorite.
When George W. Bush told the United States Senate that Saddam Hussain represented an immediate threat to the United States, John Kerry was foolish enough to believe him. John Kerry's gullibility placed thousands of brave American soldiers in danger.
Hat tip: Jeremy Pierce.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Well, the game part was good

Boston has hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of very good singers. Why don't the Red Sox ask one of them to sing the patriotic sentiments at the baseball games? Seriously, I've heard more bad singing in the past two weeks' worth of seventh innings than I did in three weeks at an amateur Gilbert & Sullivan festival. Good rules of thumb for singers in front of national audiences: (1) don't elect to go to notes that are out of your comfortable range. (2) breathe extra-deep when singing, so that you can sing more than one word per breath.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Faith

A Boston Red Sox fan, a Chicago Cubs fan and a NY Yankee fan were all in Saudi Arabia, sharing a smuggled crate of booze. All of the sudden Saudi police rushed in and arrested them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe offense in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of actually being caught consuming the booze, they were sentenced to death! However, the extremely benevolent Sheikh decided to reduce their sentence to just 20 lashes each of the whip. As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheikh suddenly said, "It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping." The Cubs fan was first in line (he had drunk the least), so he thought about this for a while and then said, "Please tie a pillow to my back." This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through. The Cubs fan had to be carried away bleeding and crying with pain when the punishment was done. The Yankee fan was next up (he almost finished an entire fifth by himself), and after watching the scene, said "All Right! Please fix two pillows on my back." But even two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again, sending the Yankee fan out crying like a little girl. The Red Sox fan was the last one up (he had finished off the crate), but before he could say anything, the Sheikh turned to him and said, "You support the greatest baseball team in the world, your supporters are the best and most loyal baseball fans in all the world. For this, you may have two wishes!" "Thanks, your most Royal Highness," the Red Sox fan replies. "In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20, but 100 lashes." "Not only are you an honorable, handsome and powerful man, you are also very brave," the Sheik says with an admiring look on his face. "If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second wish? What is it to be?" the Sheik asks. "Tie the Yankee fan to my back."

Monday, October 18, 2004

It's like a nightmare

Sure, the Sox won awesomely, as did the Astros. But then the Rams ruined the perfection of my sports evening by winning. But that pain was nothing to this new pain. Jerry Rice. The Seattle Seahawks. *shakes head sadly*

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Important Event at Brown

The Human Face behind the Global Economy The Bangladesh Workers' Tour is coming to Brown tomorrow evening.
This presentation will include two women who are ex-sweatshop workers, two Bangladeshi activists, as well as speakers from the National Labor Committee. The workers are women who have struggled far below the poverty line surviving on wages as low as 14 cents an hour. Our goal is to raise awareness of this hidden issue that affects millions of workers, primarily women and children around the world. As US citizens we have the power and the voice to speak for the silenced workers. This is a rare opportunity to see them speak for themselves, and find out what we can do to advance the global campaign against sweatshop and child labor. For more information, please go to: http://www.nlcnet.org/campaigns/bangtour/
This event is sponsored by OxFam at Brown and, I believe, some other student organizations as well. This is a very exciting opportunity to better understand a critically important global issue. If you are like me in that you find this issue important and worth knowing more about and understanding better, and also in that you have relatively convenient geographical access to the Brown Campus, you should definitely come. If, for whatever reason, you're not going to come, at least read about the tour. I think it is important that this page be read.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Giblits for President

I have to admit, I've wavered in my support of Giblets for President. For instance, I'm not crazy about his 'Giblets will Destroy You' policy. Then again, I guess I have to weigh that against a dangerous criminal mastermind on one side, and a pessimist on the other. But as of tonight, Giblets pushed himself over the top in my book. The man is right on.
"Nooooo!" says Giblets. "The Yankees suck and shall be doomed - ONE DAY - by a RIGHTEOUS GOD in whom Giblets believes VERY DEEPLY - to an eternity of HELLFIRE!" "But Giblets how can the Yankees suck if they have beaten the Red Sox so many times?" says me. "That is not what sucking means!" says Giblets. "Sucking is a moral property Fafnir! It does not reflect what the Yankees have done but what the Yankees intrinsically are. And they are intrinsically evil and suck!" "I am not sure about your theory of sucking Giblets," says me. "I always believed sucking was reducible to natural properties such as double-parkin your car or stiffin your roommate on rent or leavin in Pedro Martinez for too long." "No!" says Giblets. "Sucking is an objective irreducible moral property an we can intuit when sucking is present! It is an objective moral truth that the Yankees suck!" "But Giblets why would so many sucky Yankees be beloved by so many New Yorkers?" says me. "An why would so many sucky Yankees be rewarded with so many pennants?" "There is no such thing as suckical subjectivity!" says Giblets. "The Yankees suck no matter how much society has approved of and rewarded their sucking!"
I don't know who write(s) fafblog, but if I knew me and weren't me, and also overestimated my humorous ability, I'd be tempted to think that I did.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Verdict: Not Funny, and definitely Not OK.

An annonymous commentor on my last post wondered about my take on this, a condemnation by the Traditional Values Coalition of Craig Fitzhugh, a Democratic Tennessee state representative, whose office has distributed a flier with the caption, "Voting for Bush is Like Running in the Special Olympics: Even if you Win, You're Still Retarded". I think that TVC is absolutely right to condemn Rep. Fitzhugh, and I sincerely hope that he gets condemnation from much more mainstream bodies as well. I'm not even sure how to start listing the problems I have with this ad. For one thing, it is offensive, in a particularly viscious way. A retarded-kids jab is, to me, quite a bit worse than a racist or homophobic one. Black people and gay people at least know how to stand up for themselves. So I think the flier is in very bad taste. If I saw someone using a slogan like that on the streets, I'd probably quietly disapprove. If I were feeling confrontational, I might say something about it. But from an elected official, this is nothing short of disgusting. (How 'bout that, I just agreed with a group called the "Traditional Values Coalition" on something.) MAJOR UPDATE: Joe informs me that all may not be as it seems. Here is discussion that, if true, suggests that it's just a plain lie that these fliers were distributed by Craig Fitzhugh, but rather that he was 'framed'. Fitzhugh's office is certainly denying responsibility. If he was framed, then this is an even more disgusting story than it used to be, and the bad guys are actually the ones on the Right. Thanks, Joe.

Baby Takes Political Stand

I love The Onion.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

False and unjustified bigots' beliefs as reasons

I read in the Houston Chornicle this AP story about a teenager who was brutally assaulted in North Texas. There are lots of things wrong with this story in addition to the fact that it implies that a horrible event has occurred. It's being looked at as a hate crime,
because the three attackers made slurs derogatory to homosexuals, police Sgt. Amy Knoll said Tuesday.
Hate crimes are horrible, and the attackers were probably homophobic bigots, but the fact that they used words like 'fag' while attacking him really just doesn't constitute evidence that they believed he was gay. Rural teenagers in Texas say horrible things like that all the time. Even some of the decent, progressive, liberal-minded people I knew at Rice had to make a conscious effort to remove 'gay as derogator' from their vocabulary. It's everywhere. There's a philosophical point about reasons and normativity, too. I emphatically raised my left eyebrow at this quote:
"We have found no other reason whatsoever for the attack other than their belief that he was a homosexual," Knoll told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Wednesday's editions.
Sgt. Knoll, if she's to be read literally, seems to be committing to an extremely robust form of internalism here -- a belief can be a reason for an action even if (1) the belief is false, (2) the belief is unjustified, and (3) the content of the belief would not, even if true, justify the action! We might charitably read 'reason' as 'cause' here, but if we did that, then the utterance would surely be false -- I'm sure there are *many* plausible causes to be attributed -- they didn't like the kid, or he was looking at them funny, or they were drunk.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Association for the Study of Dreams

Did you know that there's a non-profit, international, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the pure and applied investigation of dreams and dreaming? And that their annual conference next June is in Berkeley, not far from where my parents live? And that a recent journal article they published finds it surprising and regrettable that philosophers have not focused as much on dreams in recent decades? I didn't know any of those things, but I do now...

Monday, October 11, 2004

In the genes

I'm woefully ignorant about my Japanese heritage. I just chanced across this start of a discussion of what I assume is my family. Aparently, the Ichikawa family is famous for producing kabuki actors. I've performed in two productions if The Mikado... does that count?

Prayer and Medicine

The New York Times carried a story yesterday about medical research into the effectiveness of prayer in healing. Apparently, there have been some interesting-looking correlations published, which has fueled more interest and study. Some naturalistic-leaning, non-religious types are displeased that the federal government is investing in prayer research. I think this is just closed-mindedness.
Critics express outrage that the federal government, which has contributed $2.3 million in financing over the last four years for prayer research, would spend taxpayer money to study something they say has nothing to do with science. "Intercessory prayer presupposes some supernatural intervention that is by definition beyond the reach of science," said Dr. Richard J. McNally, a psychologist at Harvard. "It is just a nonstarter, in my opinion, a total waste of time and money."
This is just a mistake. No one is presupposing anything that is "by definition beyond the reach of science". If they were, they wouldn't even know how to design the experiements. But they have designed the experiments -- they're really simple, actually. All you have to do is get a bunch of people who have some common illness or injury or disorder or whatever, and divide them into two groups, where the people in one of the groups gets prayed for and the people in the other are not. It might be especially interesting to run the experiment such that each person doesn't know which group he's in. Then, see if there's a statistically significant difference between recovery/improvement/whatever rates between the two groups. If there is, that counts as evidence that prayer makes a difference. That's science. It's one thing to dismiss the possibility as so unlikely that it's not worth studying. I have some sympathy with that point of view -- but to make an informed decision about it, one really ought to look at the data. I haven't looked at the data, and the summary in the NYT seems very confused and muddled. Suffice it to say that after reading the fairly long article, I'm still skeptical that prayer for people who don't know they're being prayed for helps people. But I don't think it's something to be rejected out of hand. Ordinarily, I'd say that we should let the qualified scientists look at the data and come up with an informed decision about whether this is worth looking further into, but said scientists seem to be rejecting the possibility before even really considering it, which is unfortunate.

Getting older

As of yesterday, I am twenty-three years old. It feels odd to have turned twenty-three, because I tend to think of myself as being older than that most of the time.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Debate Thoughts

Tonight I got to actually watch a debate for the first time. Speaking as a person with some limited experience in public and extemporaneous speaking, I am really, really impressed with John Kerry's performance and rhetoric. And, well, I'm not at all impressed with the President's. Lots of people were talking before the first debate just how good a debated George Bush is, but I just don't see it at all. A few scattered thoughts: Early on, President Bush argued that Saddam Hussain intended to develop and use weapons of mass destruction. The evidence he cited seemed to amount pretty much to "Saddam wanted to releave sanctions, therefore he intended to develop WMDs."
But as we learned in the same report I quoted, Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions. He was trying to get rid of sanctions for a reason: He wanted to restart his weapons programs.
Questionable, very. I'd've liked a whole lot more discussion of there not being any weapons of mass destruction or links to terrorism in Iraq. The draft came up, which I was glad of. Bush stated very, very clearly that there would be no draft, period. I've never heard language that strong from this administration before -- I think Cheney said a week or two ago that a draft would be a very extreme measure, but refused to rule it out absolutely. Bush did. And he went on to say that we didn't *need* such manpower any more, thanks to happily technological advances. John Kerry mentioned the current 'back door' draft with reserves. He didn't ask the obvious question: if we don't need the manpower, then why are we so short on troops?
Because they understand that our military is overextended under the president. Our Guard and reserves have been turned into almost active duty. You've got people doing two and three rotations. You've got stop-loss policies, so people can't get out when they were supposed to. You've got a back-door draft right now. And a lot of our military are underpaid. These are families that get hurt. It hurts the middle class. It hurts communities, because these are our first responders. And they're called up. And they're over there, not over here.
I'm not convinced that Kerry's equipped to save us from a draft either, I'm afraid. But look at how Bush bullied his way to not-responding to that one. Immediately following Kerry's point:
GIBSON: Mr. President, let's extend for a minute... BUSH: Let me just -- I've got to answer this. GIBSON: Exactly. And with Reservists being held on duty... BUSH: Let me answer what he just said, about around the world. GIBSON: Well, I want to get into the issue of the back-door draft... BUSH: [interrupting] You tell Tony Blair we're going alone. [continues, never getting back to the draft]
I wish that John Kerry hadn't repeated Edwards's blunder about the percentage of casualties who are American. It'd be nice if at least *one* of our candidates appeared to care about Iraqi civilians. And the actual bad guys, for that matter. I'm less than completely comfortable with how callously -- proudly, even -- both candidates discuss killing our enemies. But, as I mentioned to Savannah, I guess a candidate who considered any killing to be regrettable wouldn't be strong-looking enough for the American electorate. It's a shame. I think that the President of the United States uttered the phrase, "battling green eyeshades" on national television tonight. I have no idea whatsoever what it means. One woman asked Senator Kerry how he would protect the American manufacturing industry against outsourcing. Here's another point where I was disappointed with the nature of politics -- politicans never bite bullets, even when they should. I would really, really respect a candidate who said "well, we can't be competitive in everything in a global market". Finally, two points where I thought Bush was really, really weak. First, his discussion of being a strong leader, willing to do things that are unpopular. He said:
I made a decision not to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is where our troops could be brought to -- brought in front of a judge, an unaccounted judge. I don't think we ought to join that. That was unpopular. And so, what I'm telling you is, is that sometimes in this world you make unpopular decisions because you think they're right.
He cut his sentence short before he had to finish it by saying, "...where our troops could be brought to trial for war crimes," because if he'd finished the sentence it would have been obvious that Bush's policy was tantamount to a declaration that U.S. troops are above international law. His *sole* point seems to be that he did something unpopular -- he did not in any way *defend* his position. As Savannah brilliantly put it, "He was like, this may SEEM like a bad idea, but actually, it's very unpopular!" Oh, how I wish Senator Kerry had chosen to focus things to that point. Second, President Bush really, really ought not to try to talk about Constitutional Law. He just really obviously had no idea what he was talking about, and Kerry let him get away with it. When asked what kind of person he would appoint to the Supreme Court, President Bush said he'd appoint someone who would literally interpret the letter of the Constitution, then went on to demonstrate that he didn't even know what was in said letter. Bush cited Dred Scott as a 'bad' ruling, which is obviously correct, but he seemed to think that someone who read the Constitution literally would have opposed it. That's not clear to me at all -- Bush seemed to *almost* claim that the Constitution explicitly decrees that all men are created equal. False.
I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. I think that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process as opposed to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights. That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America. And so, I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We've got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the Constitution.
I really wish that Senator Kerry had taken a moment to explain to the United States just what a literal reading of the Constitution would amount to. All things considered, though, this Kerry-supporter is pretty pleased with the debate. (I will add quotations of what I'm talking about as transcripts become available online.)

Flip-Flops!

These are pretty brilliant. It's a regular, well, catalogue of Bush's flipflop flip flops.

Further evidence that NASCAR is lame

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a race on Tuesday, but during his post-race interview, he said the word 'shit'. Because this word is obscene and evil and makes one a bad race car driver, he was fined a, well, shitload of money and penalized a bunch of points. I don't really get NASCAR, but I think those points are the things that add up over the course of lots of races and let you become the super champion of the year or something like that. Anyway, he's not in first place any more, because he said a naughty word. Look, if you want to protect the kids of America from hearing the word 'shit' on television, that's one thing. Fine him for his lack of discretion, ok, fine. Actually, I don't think that's an ok fine, but I think it's a lot more ok than taking away his actual points. What he says in his interview has nothing to do with whether he's the best race car driver. And this at a time when Congress is thinking about cracking down on violations of broadcast indecency laws. Seriously, what harm has the word 'shit' ever done anyone? What possible harm can come of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. uttering the word 'shit' on television? Whose life becomes worse? Some people get really worked up over this sort of stuff. I have no idea why.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I'll self-promote if I want to

I just got accepted to my first philosophy conference! I'll be presenting my paper on the imagination model of dreaming at the Virginia Tech Graduate Philosophy Conference next month. Whee.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

I love political satire as much as the next guy...

...but it has its place. Fafblog and The Onion are fantastic. But it doesn't even need to be said that it would be absurd for a non-satirical, mainstream news source to pass off a piece of satire as real news. (Imagine this being printed on the front page of the New York Times.) Well, that is, it shouldn't need to be said. FoxNews, what are you thinking? How can this sort of mistake possibly happen? Bold emphasis mine.
...Fox News ... [posted] a made-up news article on its Web site that quoted Mr. Kerry as gloating about his fine manicure and his "metrosexual" appearance. Fox News quickly retracted the article, saying in an editor's note on its Web site that the article "was written in jest and should not have been posted or broadcast.'' It said, "We regret the error, which occurred because of fatigue and bad judgment, not malice." The article, posted on Friday on foxnews.com, was written by Carl Cameron, the chief political correspondent for Fox News, and included several bogus quotes from Mr. Kerry, supposedly assessing his performance in the debate. "Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" the article quoted Mr. Kerry, the Democratic candidate, as telling his supporters in Florida after the event. "Women should like me! I do manicures," the story also quoted him as saying. It also had Mr. Kerry contrasting himself with President Bush: "I'm metrosexual - he's a cowboy." ... He declined to say how Mr. Cameron had been reprimanded or whether action had been taken against others at Fox News who reviewed the article before it was posted. Mr. Cameron, who is well respected in news media circles, declined to discuss the incident when reached on Saturday. He is continuing to report from the campaign trail.
I find the last paragraph quoted to be particularly atrocious.

Saturday, October 02, 2004